Christmas Comes to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Theme Parks
J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter stories describe Christmas as a… a… well, “magical” time in the Wizarding World, and now Universal theme parks’ Wizarding World of Harry Potter reflect that, too. Families can hop a broom (or airplane) to Universal Orlando Resort or Universal Studios Hollywood and take in all the holiday festivities of “Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter” including the signature “Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts” light projection show that uses the iconic castle as its canvas.
For the very first time, Muggles and No-Majs can take in the Harry Potter world wrapped in the trappings of Christmas. At Universal Orlando, the London façade of Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida is decked with swags, lights, and glimmering Christmas trees can be spotted in windows all the way to Grimmauld Place. Entering Diagon Alley, the Yuletide spirit continues with each store and window receiving specially themed decorations appropriate for the shop. Hop aboard the Hogwarts Express to travel to Hogsmeade at the Islands of Adventure theme park, and you’ll find the snowcapped village similarly dressed for the season. The west coast version of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood also drapes the quaint town with festive décor themed for each storefront.
The highlight of Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter on both coasts is the nighttime illumination show “The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle” – that lasts approximately eight minutes and runs intermittently from dusk until park closing. The show, at Hogsmeade Village in both Hollywood and Orlando, features holiday moments including Christmas trees, the Yule Ball, and even some seasonal gift ideas brought to you by Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. In addition to the Hogwarts Castle light show, the a cappella Frog Choir croaks out original holiday songs, including, “The Most Magical Yule Ball Of All.” And, only at Universal Orlando’s Diagon Alley, Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees take the stage for a holiday set with new songs like, “Nothing like a Holiday Spell” and “Accio Christmas.” The live (not recorded) performances are a great holiday overlay for the popular Wizarding diva Celestina and her Warbecks, and not to be missed.
Of course, it wouldn’t be the holidays without extravagant meals and special treats. Universal Studios Hollywood offers a holiday feast exclusively at Three Broomsticks restaurant. The newly-introduced Holiday Dinner features a succulent roast turkey with gravy platter that includes pigs in blankets, a medley of vegetables, braised red cabbage and roasted potatoes served with cranberry sauce, along with a Christmas Pudding. In Orlando, you can tuck into the Holiday Great Feast in two locations: Three Broomsticks and/or The Leaky Cauldron. Also, during the Christmas season, both the California and Florida Universal theme parks offer hot Butterbeer – my personal favorite version, well, besides the Butterbeer ice cream.
And it wouldn’t be Christmas without gifts, and the Harry Potter holiday event has created a collection of keepsakes from stockings to ornaments in addition to the traditional wands, toys, and clothing offered year-round. Some of the notable additions include decorative Hogwarts Castle snow globes, Hogwarts crest & mascot ornaments representing each of the houses, as well as a collection of unique tree toppers and house pennant garland.
Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter runs from November 18, 2017 through January 6, 2018 at Universal Orlando Resort and November 24, 2017 through January 7, 2018 at Universal Studios Hollywood. Access to all of Universal’s Holidays festivities including Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter are included with the regular admission price to the theme parks.