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Universal Orlando’s Holiday Ornaments: A Tribute to Historical Park Attractions

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As the temperatures drop, festive tunes fill the air, and decorations adorn every corner – the holidays are officially here! And when it comes to decking the halls, Universal Orlando Resort doesn’t just participate; it steals the show! From the coziness of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to their original festive character, Earl the Squirrel, greeting all of his new friends, they have truly outdone themselves.

One of the more unique ways Universal Orlando celebrates the holidays this season is by paying homage to theme park attractions of the past through Christmas ornaments. They are hung amongst the many decorations, and our team was able to spot some of these discreet surprises to share with you!

Dueling Dragons

Islands of Adventure, Islands of Adventure Trading Company

Once upon a time, before Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure and even before The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the fire and ice dragons were in a constant struggle with one another, and riders were thrown right in the middle of it on dueling tracks. While it was sad to see this opening day attraction go, it made way for arguably one of the greatest rides to date.

Universal Orlando Resort decided not only to give Dueling Dragons its own Halloween Horror Nights house in 2023 but also to celebrate it this holiday season. The fire and ice dragon ornaments can be found on the tinsel surrounding the Islands of Adventure Trading Company.

Poseidon’s Fury

Islands of Adventure, DeFoto’s Expedition Photography

The echoes of the recently-retired walk-through attraction still reverberate this Yuletide. Those who dared step into the colossal temple would find themselves in the heart of a clash of titans. The pivotal role of Poseidon’s trident in the epic battle against Lord Darkenon is commemorated in its miniature ornament version – make sure to check it out at DeFoto’s Expedition Photography.

The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad

Islands of Adventure, DeFoto’s Expedition Photography

While searching for Poseidon’s trident at Defoto’s Expedition Photography, be on the lookout for Sinbad’s swords! This action-packed stunt show took place in the Lost Continent and showcased our hero, Sinbad, and his sidekick, Kabob, hunting for treasure hidden in a cave. Even though the show’s 19-year run ended in 2018, the legend still lives on.

Terminator 2 3D

Universal Studios Florida, The Bourne Stuntacular

The Terminator famously stated he would be back, but we didn’t expect it to be in this fashion. Terminator 2 3D combined live-action stunts with 3D film and ultimately closed in 2017. Head over to The Bourne Stuntacular, the show that replaced the vacancy left by Terminator 2 3D, to spot the famous silver skull with red eyes hidden in a wreath.

Lucy: A Tribute

Universal Studios Florida, The Brown Derby

Before the combined UNIVRS store and Hello Kitty shop, there was Lucy: A Tribute. This little exhibit that closed in 2015 showcased many artifacts from Lucille Ball’s life and awards given to The Lucy Show and I Love Lucy. Keep your eyes peeled for the famous Vitameatavegamin bottle ornament on the Brown Derby Hat Shop in the Hollywood section of the park.

Fievel’s Playland

Universal Studios Florida, The Kitty Cat Club

Earlier this year, Fievel’s Playland closed for good to make way for the new Dreamworks Animation land coming soon to Universal Studios Florida. Fievel can be spotted amongst the decorations around The Kitty Kat Club.

Hercules & Xena: Wizards of the Screen

Universal Studios Florida, Mel’s Drive-In

This closed attraction goes pretty far back into the theme park archives. This show, a relic from 1997 to 2000, didn’t just entertain – it threw viewers right into the heart of the movie. Where this classic production once captivated audiences, Transformers: The Ride – 3D now reigns supreme. Swing by Mel’s Drive-In for a tiny treasure keeping the nostalgia alive.

Back to the Future: The Ride

Universal Studios Florida, Central Park

Before handing the reins to The Simpsons, this attraction had an impressive run between 1991 and 2007. Spot the famous DeLorean hanging from the East Green sign in Central Park.

Alfred Hitchcock: The Art of Making Movies

Universal Studios Florida, Universal Orlando’s Horror Make-Up Show

This fusion of 3D film and live performance opened alongside Universal Studios Florida in 1990. Alfred Hitchcock: The Art of Making Movies commemorated the 40+ year history Alfred Hitchcock had with Universal Studios before closing in 2003 to make way for Shrek 4-D (RIP to this attraction). The ornament paying tribute to this retired attraction can be seen outside of Universal Orlando’s Horror Make-Up Show.

Dynamite Nights Stunt Spectacular

Universal Studios Florida, Starbucks

Speaking of opening day attractions, Dynamite Nights Stunt Spectacular is another remembered in ornament form. This Miami Vice-inspired stunt show took place from 1990 to 2000 on the Universal Studios Florida Lagoon and was packed with tricks performed by live actors and pyrotechnics. Head over to Starbucks to find the glittery jet ski hiding in the tinsel.

JAWS

Universal Studios Florida, Starbucks

While checking out the Dynamite Nights Stunt Spectacular ornament, keep those eyes peeled for Bruce donning a Santa hat. Back in the day, JAWS, an opening day attraction, held its ground until 2012 when it made way for Diagon Alley. This boat ride around Amity Island would have thrill-seekers face-to-face with the legendary great white beast.

Kongfrontation 

Universal Studios Florida, Sahara Traders

Before there was Skull Island: Reign of Kong at Islands of Adventure, there was the ever-popular opening day attraction Kongfrontation. Riders followed along on Kong’s path of destruction until Revenge of the Mummy took over in 2002. This incredible ape can be found on the corner of Sahara Traders.

Twister: Ride It Out

Universal Studios Florida, Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon

This extreme experience plunged participants into the blockbuster movie Twister, unveiling the special effects that brought this film to life. Intense winds and flying farm animals were just a glimpse into what this wild attraction offered. The tribute ornament for Twister: Ride It Out can be found outside of Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon, which is where this thrilling experience once stood.

Curious George

Universal Studios Florida, Metropolis

In 2001, Curious George stole the spotlight as a giant balloon at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. This moment is referenced in the metropolis façade, a nod to the whimsical presence of everyone’s favorite curious little monkey.

Ghostbusters Spooktacular

Universal Studios Florida, New York Firehouse

The Ghostbusters franchise has been part of the tapestry of Universal Studios Florida since its early days. With a dedicated attraction, HHN house, merchandise, and more, it would only make sense for a slimy homage by the New York firehouse.

The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera

Universal Studios Florida, Music Plaza

The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera had riders joining forces with Yogi Bear and Boo-Boo on a quest to save Elroy Jetson in this adventure that delighted guests until 2002. You can find a reminder of this journey at the Universal Music Plaza kiosk across from the Super Silly Stuff store.


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About Kaylyn Nichols

Kaylyn is originally from southern California, but now resides in the Orlando area with her husband. She grew up consistently visiting theme parks both near and far from her home and attributes some of her fondest memories to these visits. She hopes her writings can help others with their theme park visits and give assistance in making some amazing memories with loved ones.