- Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – visitor’s guide & insider tips
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For only the fourth year, Christmas is in full effect at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!
Encompassing both Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley in Universal Studios Florida, the holiday party has most of the wonderful experiences that muggles and wizards alike have come to know and love over the years; some of the others, unfortunately, have been cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Even still, guests will feel as if they’ve stepped into their favorite films to celebrate the season with Harry and his friends.
There are three different parts to Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. A slew of holiday decorations (including individualized decor for each of the wizarding shops) cover both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade from end to end; a seasonal drink option (yup – that’s Hot Butterbeer) is on hand; and festive live entertainment gets you in the spirit, with new yuletide performances by the Frog Choir, Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees, and (occasionally) London’s street buskers. (A former fourth component, the Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle projection-mapping show, is not returning for 2020 – with one special exception.)
Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter runs from Saturday, November 14, 2020 to Sunday, January 3, 2021.
Christmas in the Wizarding World 2020 – Christmas decorations
How do you make the Wizarding World even more beautiful? Easy – you take a whole bevy of intricately detailed Christmas decorations and string them all throughout Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade Village.
What really makes the decor stand out is how the elements of each individual store are incorporated into its holiday accoutrements – Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, for example, features fireworks worked into its garland, while Spindlewarps has a wreath festooned with giant balls of yarn. This makes pausing and examining the decorations absolutely necessary (as well as absolutely fun!), as just a quick glance is likely to miss some pretty sublime theming.
Just to set the stage for you, we have some video walk-throughs of the marvelous sights from previous years – or you can check out a sneak-peek of this year’s yuletide decor right here. Trust us when we say you’ve never seen Christmas done quite this way.
And be sure to swipe through our full photo galleries at the bottom of the page for even more seasonal goodness.
Christmas in the Wizarding World 2020 – live entertainment
Be prepared for a special holiday version of both the Celestina Warbeck and Hogwarts Frog Choir shows.
Celestina Warbeck, the Singing Sorceress, serenades guests with the greatest hits from her chart-topping Christmas album, Nothin’ Like a Holiday Spell: the titular “Nothing Like a Holiday Spell,” “A Witch and Wizard’s Wintry Wondrous Land,” “My Baby Gave Me a Hippogriff for Christmas,” and “Accio Christmas” (which is calypso-inspired).
The Frog Choir, over in Hogsmeade, meanwhile, performs the traditional “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” along with the wizarding carols of “Christmas at Hogwarts,” “The Most Magical Yule Ball of All,” and “I Cast a Spell on Father Christmas” (which asks young witches and wizards to “be sure of the incantation before casting a spell”).
Be sure to read our in-depth impressions of Celestina’s and the Frog Choir’s holiday spins in our review.
2020 dates and times
Nov. 14, 15, 21-28 – 10:30 am, 11:30, 12:30 pm, 2:00, 3:00, 4:00
Nov. 16-20 –11:00 am, 12:00 pm, 1:00, 2:30, 3:30, 4:30
Celestina Warbeck and the Singing Banshees
Nov. 14 – 9:30 am, 10:30, 11:30, 1:00 pm, 2:00, 3:00, 4:00, 5:00, 6:00, 7:30
Nov. 15, 21, 27, 28 – 9:30 am, 10:30, 11:30, 1:00 pm, 2:00, 3:00, 4:00, 5:00, 6:00, 7:30, 8:30, 9:30
Nov. 16, 20 – 12:30 pm, 1:30, 2:30, 3:30, 4:30
Nov. 23-26 – 10:30 am, 11:30, 12:30 pm, 2:00, 3:00, 4:00
Christmas in the Wizarding World 2020 – holiday foods
For 2017’s inaugural Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, three new festively exclusive dishes were added to the magical menu at The Three Broomsticks and/or The Leaky Cauldron; in the years since, those got replaced by just one special holiday treat. For 2020, however, no new plates are offered at all – instead, guests will just have to content themselves with Hot Butterbeer, that most delectable of seasonal delights (though one that has been popping up every winter since 2014).
Christmas in the Wizarding World 2020 – The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle
While both Universal Studios Japan and Universal Studios Hollywood had been enjoying projection-mapping shows revolving around their Hogwarts Castles since early 2017, Orlando had been left out in the cold – until that year’s Christmas, that is. The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle wraps the ancient building in the sights and sounds of the season, including a majestically large Christmas tree, the Hogwarts ghosts singing carols, a recreation of the Yule Ball, and students riding broomsticks and creating snowmen. It’s a beautiful show, and one every bit worth watching.
While it’s true that the yuletide production is not available for the average guest to watch, given social-distancing requirements, Universal is still offering The Magic of Christmas in a limited, premium capacity: all those individuals who take part in Universal’s Holiday Tour will have the ability to catch an exclusive showing. You can find the full details – including how much these add-on tickets cost – over in our full Holidays guide.
(Note that Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts was only the tip of the projection-mapping spear; since its debut in November 2017, Orlando audiences have received The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle in 2018 and Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle in 2019.)
For even more on The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle, be sure to read our in-depth impressions in our review.