The last time my husband and I celebrated Christmas with Universal Studios and Islands of Adventures was the day after we were engaged, eight years ago this month. It was a beautiful (cold) day, and my entire family was on hand to enjoy the park. The highlight of our adventure was being balloon holders in the Macy’s Day Parade — did you know you can do that? It was so cool!
So eight years later, there we were with two kids in tow, back to enjoy a little holiday spirit studio style. Guess what. It is just as much fun eight years and two kids later.
The Universal team had a very special day planned for a select group of bloggers, including some of my local pals (it’s always fun to see familiar faces), and we were thrilled to attend. If you have family in town that you are looking to entertain with a little holiday fun, you have to check out Universal Studios and/or Islands of Adventures. You will be happy to learn that all holiday events at Universal and IOA are included in the price of admission, but it will take two days if you want to see everything. (I was so close to Harry Potter’s castle, and yet this muggle has still yet to visit Hogwarts… another time.)
Our holiday agenda:
- Grinchmas – Islands of Adventure
- Cookie Decorating – Christmas Village at Universal Studios
- 85th Macy’s Day Parade – Universal Studios
- Mannheim Steamroller concert – Universal Studios
It’s hard to say what my favorite moment of the day was – catching K (on camera) licking the icing off her gingerbread cookie, K winning Rudolf in a carnival game in the Christmas Village all by herself, watching the parade that reminded me of our engagement with my daughters, or maybe listening to a Mannheim Steamroller concert in person. With Christmas all around us at the parks, we soaked in the spirit of the season.
It is official. My two month old has already been to four theme parks. I am not sure exactly how I feel about this – a mixture of pride for my theme-park loving family and sadness that I will never revel in her excitement on her first visit. She mostly slept through all four parks. My three year old, on the other hand, is loving life! Back to the current theme park adventure…
Even though the special concert series with Mannheim Steamroller has concluded for the season, guests can still enjoy the music of Mannheim Steamroller in the Grinchmas production. The classic tale of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” by Dr. Seuss is brought to life in a live stage show, “Grinchmas Wholiday Spectacular,” starring The Grinch and the Whos from Whoville with an original recorded musical score by Mannheim Steamroller. For even more Who-liday fun, enjoy a character breakfast with The Grinch and the Whos (through December 31, 2011).
It’s not too late to enjoy the holidays at Universal Studios and/or Islands of Adventures, but you have to hurry. The holiday celebrations, including the Macy’s Parade are going on now through January 1, 2012.
Suburban Mom Tip – Did you know American Express cardholders enjoy special perks at Universal (you must use your AMEX to buy your tickets, of course). In addition to a special (well-stocked) complementary lounge near the Shrek attraction, just for being a card holder, you can be a balloon handler in the parade (like we did years ago) or enjoy special reserved seating to view the parade. If you are an AMEX cardholder, this is an amazing perk. Guess what card I will be using next time we go?!
Disclosure – I was invited on a blogger trip to the parks, however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.