Accio holiday cheer! Christmas has finally arrived at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, and we’ve got the scoop on all the hidden gems to be enjoyed in the park for it’s first holiday celebration!
For the first time ever, the most magical time of the year is being celebrated in the most magical place for all young witches and wizards. Universal Studios Resort in Orlando kicks off their holiday festivities on November 18th and for the first time, the Harry Potter theme parks are getting in on the action. From special decorations to brand new shows to a must-see to believe light show on Hogwarts castle, there is simply something for everyone to enjoy at the parks, even if you’ve been there a few times already. During a special sneak peek of the festive overlay, HollywoodLife.com was immersed in the world and got to see every special detail. Now, here are some of the hidden gems you shouldn’t miss if you’re planning a trip
4. Hot Butterbeer For The WIN
You’ve had it frozen and regular and perhaps even in ice cream form. But if you’re truly hoping to get the full holiday experience like Ron, Hermione and Harry, you need to try warm Butterbeer. I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s like drinking liquid, sugary gold. But, only a few places actually serve hot Butterbeer over the original versions. You’re going to want to hit up The Hopping Pot or Leak Cauldron in Diagon Alley or the Three Broomsticks and Hog’s Head Pub in Hogshead.
3. Christmas Carols Approved by J.K. Rowling Herself
Even before Thanksgiving, holiday music can be heard these days out of every store and in every commercial — and it’s the same ones over and over again. Well, fear not, because Harry Potter’s creator has given life to not one but six brand new holiday songs you’ll probably want to listen to all year round if you’re into that sort of thing (like me.) Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees will whip you into a holiday frenzy with some divalicious tunes — including one about getting a hippogriff for Christmas — and the Hogwarts school Frog Choir has put some interesting twists on some of your favorite tunes. Truly, there is never been a better to revisit these performers than RIGHT NOW.
2. Holiday Decor Subtly Inspired By Your Favorite Characters
When you walk into the parks, you will be immediately blown away by the amount of holiday detail added to every inch of Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. Garland and trees and lights cover every store front, but if you look closely, you’ll see that the decor is not just to bring in the holiday season. Actually, some of the decorations are very strategically placed. For instance, when you are in Hogsmeade, stop over by Gladrags Wizardwear to see the dress Hermione wore during the Yule Ball. Now, look around you! The decorations are themed around the store, and more specifically, Hermione’s dress! Subtle touches like that help tell the holiday story Universal is sharing and real fans will enjoy the adventure of finding all the little touches like that.
1.The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Has TONS Of Easter Eggs
If there is one thing you can not miss if you’re visiting Universal for the holiday festivities, it is the “The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts” light show in Hogsmeade. Not only will it be the highlight of your trip, but for any superfan of Harry Potter, it will be a chance to see parts of the films and books that may feel woefully absent from the theme park at other times of the years. You’re going to get to see Hogwarts ghosts never seen before at the parks, the fairy magic, and even a certain flying car. But the key to enjoy this wonder for the eyes is multiple viewings. There is so much see on every inch of the castle, you’ll easily miss some of the best parts of the projection if you only see it once. For instance, the Yule Ball is beautifully presented mid-way through the show and front and center is Hermione and Krum, waltzing to the iconic Patrick Doyle score. But look closer and you’ll see some other Tri-wizard champions dancing on other sides of the castle… and a certain headmaster … AND MCGONAGALL! Truly, a not to be missed show!
In addition to the new excitement in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Macy’s Holiday Parade has evolved into Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s, an all-new version of the classic street parade that will make you feel like you’re standing along a NYC street on Thanksgiving morning. Plus, the Grinch is back at Islands of Adventure with his Grinchmas celebration and Mannheim Steamroller returns to Universal Studios Florida with their popular nighttime concerts.
HollywoodLifers, will you make it done to Orlando for the holiday festivities?