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The new Harry Potter Christmas festivities transform the Wizarding World at Universal Orlando Resort with holiday decorations, music, and a spectacular light show on Hogwarts Castle. If you are a fan of the magical world of Harry Potter, you will love the way Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley are dressed for the holidays. New live performances and an incredible animated show projected on Hogwarts Castle make for a very special Harry Potter Christmas season.
Experience Kissimmee sent Charles and I to a media preview at Universal Orlando Resort so we could experience the new holiday celebrations and share our thoughts with the McCool Travel Network.
Harry Potter Christmas in the Wizarding World
As a first-time visitor to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, I was already excited to explore the streets of Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. Seeing them festooned with holiday decorations just adds to the fun.
Attention is paid to the finest details. Wreaths and garlands vary at each storefront to reflect the proprietor and what’s on sale inside. For example, fireworks are part of the garland adorning the Weasley’s mischievous shop.
Visitors are treated to special holiday songs in both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. Warm butterbeer and a special Christmas feast add a tasty element at the restaurants.
The highlight of the season is The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle, a spectacular map projection that transforms the castle with holiday scenes set to music. The magic extends to the trees in the viewing area. Lights sparkle along with the music, mimicking the firefly lights of a Harry Potter Christmas.
The first #holiday experience at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opens tonight at @universalorlando and it is spectacular! Holiday decor and special musical shows set the stage. Most impressive is an 8-minute show that illuminates #Hogwarts with animations and scenes from the movies. It’s truly spectacular! #travel #MyKissimmee
The animations and images projected on the Hogwarts castle are impressive and fun. Harry and friends ride brooms across the castle. A giant Christmas tree grows in the tower while Harry and Parvati dance at the Yule Ball. The Flying Ford Anglia and Hedwig both make an appearance.
When the Weasleys enter the action they cover the castle with a giant, gaudy advertisement for their shop.
The seven minute show ends with dramatic fireworks and the castle slowly returns to a snow-covered scene.
Tips for Enjoying a Harry Potter Christmas
- Wizarding World of Harry Potter is split between two Universal Orlando Resort parks—Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure—and you should visit both to experience all of the holiday festivities.
- Visit both during the day and after dusk if possible. It is easier to see the wreaths and decoration details when it is light. Festive lights and the incredible projection on Hogwarts can only be seen after dusk.
- Special holiday songs are performed by the Frog Choir in Hogsmeade, and by Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees in Diagon Alley, throughout the day.
- The incredible Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle is shown repeatedly from dusk to closing. There is no set schedule, but the show starts every 20 minutes. If you see fireworks going off you know the next show is about 20 minutes away.
- The best place to see the projection show is in front of the Frog Choir stage or from the bridge between Hogsmeade and Jurassic Park. Both areas are likely to be crowded, but repeat shows should give folks a chance to find a good viewing spot.
- There are special holiday items on sale in the gift shop including pretty Christmas stockings and ornaments.
- In 2017, the Harry Potter Christmas fun runs from November 18 through January 6, 2018.
Universal Studios Florida is also staging a brand new Macy’s style holiday parade in 2017. The parade features 15 intricate floats and 16 giant balloons along with live entertainers. Favorite characters from Shrek to Minions and the gang from Madagascar all make an appearance. Of course Santa makes an appearance, and uses his magic to light a giant Christmas tree.
Where to Stay: Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee
Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee hosted us during our visit. It’s a convenient base for visiting Universal Orlando, and Gaylord hosts their own holiday extravaganza. Enjoy a live show by performers from Cirque Dreams accompanied by music, lights, and a giant Christmas tree. Gaylord Palms is also home to ICE!, a walk-through tent featuring beautiful ice sculptures and five ice slides. In the Alpine Village you can go snow tubing, visit with Santa, and try more family-friendly activities.
What are some of your favorite things to do during the holidays? Will you visit the Harry Potter Christmas show at Universal Orlando Resort?
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Article by Julie McCool, whose Virginia travel site FuninFairfaxVA.com helps locals and visitors find fun places to explore, dine, drink, and play in the Virginia, Washington DC, and mid-Atlantic region. Follow Fun in Fairfax VA on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.