Universal Studios Florida trip report – December 2012 (construction updates, holiday festivities and more)
Since I have never visited Universal Orlando Resort during the Holiday season, I truly looked forward to this month’s trip. As I arrived at Universal Studios Florida, I couldn’t help but notice the impressive holiday decorations including the large Macy’s Holiday Parade ornament spanning the Universal Studios’ entrance. Photo opportunities with holiday decorations abound here and throughout the park, helping set a festive atmosphere.
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Construction of the Transformers ride is progressing quickly. The outside walls are now being put in place. There are also new movie posters advertising characters from the movie along the construction walls. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to take photos of the Transformers construction from Rip Ride Rockit this trip. I noted that construction did not stop during my visit that weekend day and in fact, was still occurring when I left the park at 7:00 that evening.
Construction of the attraction rumored to be Gringotts Bank continues in the old Amity section of the park. This large building seems to be progressing, but it is still difficult to see any details other than a significant portion of the outside walls are in place.
As if there weren’t enough construction projects at Universal Studios Florida, the area around The Simpsons Ride is being revamped. According to rumors it will incorporate more Springfield-themed shops and restaurants. Demolition has begun on the International Food & Film Festival restaurant and the waterfront area in front of The Simpsons Ride. Only a small walkway exists between construction walls from Animal Actors on Location to The Simpsons Ride, blocking off the lagoon.
The Blues Brother’s show incorporated the holidays with performances of some traditional holiday songs. They also adapted their popular “I’m a Soul Man” into a comical performance of “I’m a SnowMan.”
During December, Universal’s Superstar Parade is at 2:00 pm daily. The parade starts near Disaster and finishes at the Horror Make-Up Show with short parade stops in New York and Hollywood. The Macy’s Holiday Parade is at 5:00 pm daily culminating with the lighting of the Christmas tree across from the Macy’s storefront in the New York zone. The parade route for the Holiday parade is opposite that for the Superstar parade. There is a designated viewing area for Annual Passholders to watch the Macy’s Holiday parade across from Revenge of the Mummy.
We were able to see the Macy’s Holiday Parade and it was very entertaining. The large balloons and floats were wonderful to see with several of them having been featured in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York. The bands and other performers were marvelous. Santa’s sleigh stops in front of Macy’s and the Christmas tree. Guests count down with Santa to help light the tree. It was a fun and exciting experience including confetti blasting in the air.
After the Macy’s Holiday Parade we stayed for the live performance of Mannheim Steamroller. They were fantastic. A portion of the concert included cast members from Grinchmas performing some of their numbers. Chip Davis of Mannheim Steamroller contributed to the music and lyrics in the Grinchmas production. Manheim Steamroller will perform select nights throughout December.
Crowds were moderate throughout Universal Studios with most ride wait times between fifteen and thirty minutes. The exception was the Macy’s Holiday Parade since it was the first one of the season. It became crowded along the parade route with guests lining up at 3:30 pm for the 5:00 pm parade. The weather was spot on with temperatures in the mid-70’s and partly cloudy.
As usual, my family and I had a fun trip to Universal Studios. We really enjoyed the holiday shows and decorations during this visit. I highly recommend the Macy’s Holiday Parade and Mannheim Steamroller performances at Universal Studios Florida and hope you make it part of your theme park plans this holiday season.
Universal Studios Florida trip report – photo gallery
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