Universal Studios Florida trip report – December 2012 (construction updates, holiday festivities and more)

Universal Studios Florida trip report – December 2012 (construction updates, holiday festivities and more)

Universal Studios Florida trip report – December 2012 (construction updates, holiday festivities and more)

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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.

Universal Studios Florida trip report - December 2012.
Universal Studios Florida trip report – December 2012.

Remember, you can click any image to view it full-screen. And don’t miss the complete photo gallery at the bottom of the post.

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.

Universal Studios Florida trip report - December 2012.
Universal Studios Florida trip report – December 2012.

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.

Universal Studios Florida trip report - December 2012.
Universal Studios Florida trip report – December 2012.

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.

Universal Studios Florida trip report - December 2012.
Universal Studios Florida trip report – December 2012.
Universal Studios Florida trip report - December 2012.
Universal Studios Florida trip report – December 2012.

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.

Universal Studios Florida trip report - December 2012.
Universal Studios Florida trip report – December 2012.

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.

Universal Studios Florida trip report - December 2012.
Universal Studios Florida trip report – December 2012.

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.

Universal Studios Florida trip report - December 2012.
Universal Studios Florida trip report – December 2012.

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.

You can learn more about the holidays at Universal Orlando, or view all of our trip reports.


Universal Studios Florida trip report – photo gallery

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Orlando Informer Tickets
Maureen Maureen is married with a teenage son who has autism. Since she and her family moved to Orlando in 2007, they have visited Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, or SeaWorld almost every weekend. Maureen recently created AutismAtTheParks.com to help vacationers who have a family member with a developmental disability to better navigate and enjoy the theme parks.

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Doug
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Doug

We were there this past Sunday.  The Macy’s parade reverses direction every day, so ot starts or ends near Disaster every other day.  Best viewing is near the Christmas tree.  Mannheim Steamroller indeed was fantastic!  Worth the trip themselves.  Construction on Transformers seems to be going 24 hours as we spoke with some construction guys entering the park just after 7PM.  Lots to do!

Maureen
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Maureen

Wow! I didn’t realize that about the parade! Thanks for the info!

OrlandoInformer
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OrlandoInformer

I’m pretty certain the parade doesn’t switch directions. I’ve never seen this, and here is a description of the parade route right from the Universal team member handout:

Source: http://www.uoteam.com/UNews121203.pdf

Let me know if I’m missing something.