Is Universal Orlando’s Holiday VIP Tour Worth the Price?

It’s the holiday season at Universal Orlando!

The..the..the..THE GRINCH

The holidays kicked off earlier this month, with decorations going up around the parks, special entertainment, and festive food. There are a ton of things you can do to enjoy the holidays at Universal just with regular theme park admission. But, if you want some extra holiday cheer, you can add on the Universal Holiday Tour! We went to the first day of the tour today and are here to tell you all about it.

The Universal Holiday Tour takes place on select dates from November 21st through January 2nd and starts at $69.99. You also have to have a separate park-to-park ticket and reservations in order to go on the tour. So, this cost is in addition to your regular ticket cost.

This is a guided tour through both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, so that’s why you need the park-to-park ticket! Now, let’s break down everything you get to see and do during the tour.

Let’s go!


You start off by checking in inside Universal Studios near Rip Ride Rockit, on the other side of the lawn in front of the stage.

Check-in here

There will be a sign so you know where to go!

Ready for the holiday fun

Then, a Team Member will guide you to the next spot.

Follow the leader

Holiday Parade Featuring Macy’s

The tour begins with VIP viewing for the Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s! There is a huge viewing area, but we recommend checking in early to get best possible spot.

VIP Viewing Area

It was unfortunately really windy when we were there, so they couldn’t fly most of the giant balloons over the floats, but we still saw some fun characters all decked out in their holiday gear!

Parade time!

You’ll can see Shrek and Fiona dressed up as Santa and Mrs. Claus…

And Dragon!

…Donkey with a bunch of presents…

Donkey having fun

…and Puss in Boots in his holly jolly best.

Santa Puss in Boots!

Then, we saw King Julien from Madagascar


…and the Penguins…

Watch out for those sneaky penguins

…the girls and Gru from Despicable Me

Despicable Me Float

…as well as some Minions…


…and Santa Claus, of course!

Ho Ho Ho

And, you can’t forget about those big Macy’s star balloons.

Macy’s balloons

The Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular

After the parade, we headed on over to see The Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular!

Time for the show!

As part of the tour, you get reserved viewing fo the show. This is the first time the show has been in this theater, which used to be where the Blue Man Group performed.


The show is a live retelling of the story of the Grinch and includes music from Mannheim Steamroller. It’s the story you know and love, with the super funny Mr. Grinch, of course.


Also, you get to see a REAL DOG playing Max — which is honestly worth the cost of the entire tour, in our humble opinion.


The Grinch is up to his usual shenanigans of stealing Christmas from the Whos.

Always up to something…

He dresses up like Santa Claus so he can be disguised during his stealing.

You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch

And, has his usual encounter with little Cindy-Lou Who.

Nothing to see here, Cindy-Lou

The Grinch also has a run in with the Mayor of Whoville…

Grinch with the Mayor

…which seems to go well!

Oh my!

Then, the Grinch and Max comes back and returns Christmas to the Whos.

They brought back Christmas!

The show ends with singing…

Happy Whos

…and snow falling down onto the stage!

It’s snowing!

Meeting Santa Claus

After the show, we got to meet Santa Claus!

Hi, Santa!

Jolly ol’ St. Nicholas is located in the executive room about Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon, so there is a great view from the balcony. There are also a TON of Christmas trees in here.

So many trees

A Universal photographer snaps your pic with Santa and then you can talk to him for a moment and tell him what you want for Christmas.

Santa Claus

Then, Santa gives you an ornament!

Our ornament

Right after, a Team Member will give you your pictures with Santa — it was super quick. And, you get to take these pictures home as a souvenir.

You get the photos right away

This is the only way to meet Santa Claus in Universal and it’s the first time they’ve done a real meet and greet with him.

Bye, Santa!

After meeting Santa, we also got a few minutes to take some pictures of all the decor in the empty park.

How pretty!

The Christmas tree was looking beautiful…

Merry Christmas!

…and the decorations over in the New York area are stunning.

Highly underrated area for holiday decorations

Who & A

Next up, we got to see an exclusive “Who & A” with some of the Whos from The Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular.


This was super cute! You can submit questions when you check-in for the tour while you’re waiting for the parade, and they ask them to the Whos sort of like a talk show.

Just some Whos having some fun!

The is really entertaining if you’re a big fan of the Grinch like we are. Otherwise, you may not like it as much.

Those Whos sure do love the Holidays

Meeting the Grinch

After that, we got to meet the Grinch himself over at Circus McGurkus Cafe Stoo-Pendous in Islands of Adventure.

Let’s go meet the Grinch, shall we?

The inside is all decorated for the holidays!

Looking beautiful

In here you can get sugar cookies…


…and there’s a hot cocoa bar that’s all you can enjoy included in the price of the tour.

Cocoa Bar

And, the cookies are very festive!

So pretty!

While in here, the Grinch will be wandering around and you can meet and take pictures with him.

He seems alarmed

He definitely has a good time wandering around!

Just chillin’

We, of course, had to take some selfies.

Such a silly dude

And, we got some great shots of the Grinch, too — for your viewing pleasure.

What’s wrong, Grinch?

We’re not entirely sure what’s going on here!

Oh, my!

But, he seems to be having fun…

We’re a little scared


Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle Show

To end the night and the tour, you get to see an exclusive after-hours showing of The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle Show. Yep! You get to watch the show after regular guests have left the park.


Before the show, you get about 30 minutes to explore Hogsmeade — the shops and Hog’s Head are open if you want to buy anything!

Shops are open!

And, the holiday decoration in here are absolutely gorgeous.

Does it get any more beautiful?

We want to celebrate Christmas at Hogwarts every day, please.

Hogwarts Express

The magic spots also work during this time if you have an interactive want you would like to use!

So cute!

Then, it was time for the private viewing of show. The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts.


The projections on the castle are so awesome. You’ll see characters you know on the area where the Great Hall is…


Can you see them?

…a Christmas tree…

Look at those colors!

…a whole Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes section…

Do you see any Easter eggs?

…and SNOW!

Snow is falling!

Then, there are a few fireworks to end the show.


Let’s just appreciate the beauty of Hogwarts for a second!


That’s everything on the tour! Overall, we think the Universal Holiday Tour is really fun. You get to do a lot of things you can’t do with a regular park ticket. Plus, it’s way less expensive than Disney World’s Very Merriest After Hours event (although it’s important to note that does include admission into Magic Kingdom). If you’re looking for a way to get the most out of the holidays while you’re at Universal, we definitely recommend the tour! Stay tuned to AllEars for more Universal news and updates.

Click here to see why we love the holidays at Universal Orlando

Will you be taking the Universal Holiday Tour this year? Let us know in the comments!

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