It’s almost time to commence your holiday shopping at Universal Studios Florida, as the Holiday Tribute Store has opened its doors for the season. Universal Orlando Resort Annual Passholders were able to preview the retail location on the morning of November 9. This year’s theme is the Universal Tribute Store and Post.
2023 Holiday Tribute Store at Universal Studios Florida
This year’s Holiday Tribute Store is located in the Hollywood section of the park. Its festive facade went up on November 6.
Holiday Tribute Store Entrance
Guests are greeted by holiday décor upon entering. Two Christmas trees adorned with red and gold ornaments flank a white and maroon “Studio Shipping and Post” logo; the plane in the icon’s center is a reference to the aircraft that previously circled the globe in the short reel played in front of Universal-produced films in the studio’s early years. The logo gives us our first indication of the theme of this year’s Holiday Tribute Store: each room is designed to look like a post office.
Garland is hung atop the wall. An industrial canvas cart full of holiday gifts and stuffed toys appears next to one of the trees; the plushes depict characters that can be found throughout Universal Orlando Resort, such as a minion, The Cat in the Hat, Iron Man, Captain America, and Venom.
The first part of the store is a post office for Universal Orlando. An easter-egg-filled display is seen behind a desk along with a map of the Universal Shipping Routes.
A large map of Universal Orlando Resort serves as its centerpiece; white, yellow, and blue maps of Universal Studios Florida, Universal Islands of Adventure, and Universal Volcano Bay have been marked with red shipping routes.
Holiday gifts and wrapping paper/materials are spread out throughout the display. There are also vintage maps of the Universal Orlando Resort parks and references to attractions both former and current, such as the King Kong poster hung behind the maps.
There are also several references to former Tribute Stores, such as the Tribute to Terror comic book on the desk, and a reference to the Halloween Horror Nights 32 store.
A map containing several items attached to a framed corkboard appears next to the display. A calendar opened to November 1990 is present and a box marked “please ship by June 7th, 1990” sits on the shelf. That is the date that Universal Studios Florida opened.
Flanking either side of the display are decorated tubes with envelopes emerging from their bottom openings. This motif is expanded upon near the store’s ceiling, as tubes meant to deliver mail to different themed areas throughout Universal Orlando Resort are present.
The tubes are labeled and each feature unique decor.
The labels read “Volcano Bay,” “Lost Continent,” “Hogsmeade,” “Jurassic Park,” “Toon Lagoon,” “Marvel Super Hero Island,” “Production Central,” “San Francisco,” “Diagon Alley,” “Hollywood Blvd.,” “World Expo,” and “New York;” all referencing themed areas within the Universal Orlando Resort parks.
Keep an eye out for Easter eggs from past Tribute Stores, like the figure from the Jurassic Park Tribute Store.
The themed areas are again referenced on a sign pinned to another framed corkboard.
This frame includes another vintage Universal Islands of Adventure map and a set of fake Universal Orlando Resort-inspired postage stamps. The stamps are sold out, since you’ll see many defunct Universal attractions features. Monsters Cafe, an old Tribute Store facade, and even Dueling Dragons are featured on the stamps.
We see another framed corkboard as we head to the other side of the entry area. This frame, again, contains several references to Universal Orlando Resort attractions and past Tribute Stores.
There’s a reference to the Men in Black: Alien Attack attraction at Universal Studios Florida, as there are two “wanted” posters for aliens issued by the Men in Black. Santa hats have been pinned above their heads.
There’s also a post-it note that states “Don’t Forget Holiday Card for Gerg,” the first of several references to the holiday llama seen throughout this store. Similar post-it notes have been seen at past Tribute Stores.
Another display features a Santa hat-topped moai-like statue and a singing white candle.
A mailbox and illuminated Santa and snowman decorations sit on wrapped gifts between the statues. There’s a case of Plutonium and a few other items from last year’s Summer Tribute Store. There are so many details, make sure you look closely!
There’s also a squirrel decoration, the first of many Earl the Squirrel references throughout the store.
The plushes first seen in the industrial postage basket are available for purchase near this display.
‘Harry Potter’ Owl Post
The first franchise-specific post office that guests walk through in this year’s Holiday Tribute Store is inspired by “Harry Potter,” an IP with representation at both Universal Orlando Resort parks in the form of Hogsmeade at Universal Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida.
The room features general holiday decor and owl figures. The owls perfectly fit this year’s Holiday Tribute Store theme, as they’re used to transport mail in the “Harry Potter” books and films.
Some of the owl figures are animated, as their heads move.
Behind the counter of the Owl Post, there’s also a Christmas tree. White and yellow envelopes replace traditional ornaments.
A large animated window injects seasonal ambiance into the room, as the windows display a winter snowstorm occurring just outside. Ever so often, you may spot a pair of owls flying by.
“Harry Potter” plushes are available in this section, as is general and holiday-specific “Harry Potter” merchandise.
More owls and holiday decor are present near the exit.
Whoville Post Office
The Whoville Post Office allows you to step into the world of “How The Grinch Stole Christmas!” and sample the fine holiday cuisine of the iconic fictional town.
Several holiday treats are available in this room. Offerings include a chimney cake, pistachio, chocolate, and strawberry cheesecake macarons, the jar cake with cookie, the onion cheesecake tart (don’t worry, it just looks like an onion), the Who Hash trifle cake, wreath brookie, chocolate and cookie treats inspired by Max, a Christmas tree cupcake, a gingerbread cookie sandwich, cocoa bomb, and cookie dough balls in Roast Beast Peanut Butter, Christmas lights vanilla, and Lump of Coal chocolate.
Ornament-adorned garland is seen throughout the room with strangely shaped archways. The mailboxes for the residents of Who-ville can be seen on the walls, full of presents and letters. You might notice the mailbox for the Grinch is looking very empty, though. Nobody sends him anything.
A collectible Mold-A-Matic Grinch figure is available in this room; it was also present in last year’s Holiday Tribute Store.
Whomolian bills are scattered throughout the room, as are envelopes with somewhat comedic, somewhat concerning labels such as “jury duty” and “eviction notice.”
A device designed to suck up the presents and carry them out of the room on a conveyor belt hangs from the roof in one of the rooms in this post office (no, the conveyor belt is not actually functional).
General “How The Grinch Stole Christmas!” and Grinchmas merchandise are available in this particular post office.
Earl the Squirrel Post Office
Earl the Squirrel again has a major presence at this year’s Holiday Tribute Store as he continues to be used as a holiday mascot at Universal Orlando Resort. His comical post office this year leads to his house, which is also filled with Earl-specific references.
The ramshackle post office section of the room features metal walls with comical signs and neon lights.
The neon lights depict a vivid acorn, what looks like a Twisted Tater, and a doodle of Gerg the llama.
This section of the store also features general holiday decor and Coca-Cola paraphernalia. It feels like you’re in Earl’s garage.
Items from the recently released Earl-centric holiday merchandise collection are available in this room.
The next section of the room is Earl’s Shipping and Receiving. There are additional gifts and holiday decor as well as pictures that place Earl in various locations throughout the world. The souvenir postcards available for purchase are on display here.
Cartoonish depictions of snowflakes and acorns hang alongside postcards and advertisements for Earl’s entrepreneurial enterprises.
Fan favorite bumper stickers seen in previous Holiday Tribute Stores make their return this year.
Earl’s Holiday Package Delivery Service looks quite busy this time of year. Boxes are piling up on a conveyor belt.
As you make your way through Earl’s shipping area, you’ll find yourself in the very cozy home of Earl the Squirrel.
You might even spot a secret stash of lights and Christmas decor tucked away in the closet.
Earl has quite the collection of lights.
A large Gerg statue appears in the center of Earl’s home. There’s also a Santa decoration that’s sporting 3D glasses.
The rest of his home is also intricately decorated, even featuring a wallpaper that sees two squirrels playing with a string of holiday lights wrapped around a Christmas tree. In a not necessarily surprising development, the wallpaper is peeling off in some areas.
A decorated Christmas tree is seen in the corner of the room. It features several ornaments and general holiday decor in addition to Earl’s truck and even some flamingos.
Stockings are hung from a nearby brick fireplace for Mom and Dad.
Decorations sit atop the fireplace. Earl’s truck is seen, as are lumberjack nutcrackers and a Christmas tree covered in a buffalo plaid flannel design. An acorn with antlers hangs above the mantle.
Several framed images are hung throughout the room. Some feature emotionally moving photos of Earl’s family.
Others place Earl in unique and, frankly, impressive locations, such as near the peak of Mount Everest, on the moon, and at a buffet.
One image even places Earl in front of the Bates family home from the film “Psycho,” a reference to the former Alfred Hitchcock: The Art of Making Movies attraction that was an opening day offering at Universal Studios Florida.
Guests can check out near the exit of the Holiday Tribute Store.
The cash registers appear behind a camper facade that’s adorned with several Earl-inspired bumper stickers. A sled holding a Christmas tree is seen atop the decorated trailer.
Check out our full video tour of this year’s Holiday Tribute Store here:
What do you think of this year’s Holiday Tribute Store? Will you be checking it out when it opens? Let us know in the comments.