Even amid busyness and schedules, taking a short two-day break can inject a dose of magic into life.
We just got back from a short trip to Universal Orlando where we took the time to reconnect our little family. The three of us enjoyed our time relaxing without the worries of business and work while seeing all the holiday decorations, catching the Macy’s Parade and even catching the Mannheim Steamroller Concert!
We each had one or two items we wanted to do, maybe a ride, a show, or a particular food to try. Other than that, we spent our time, just enjoying being together. Going where our feet took us without any real plan. Just soaking up the Holiday spirit of the park.
One of the first things we noticed as we arrived in the park was the new facial recognition technology. Just another way Universal Parks is always transforming and adapting to new technology!
When we were there in October, they were just testing it in Islands of Adventure and my husband was selected to try it. It really does make things smoother as well as safer for everyone. Now, instead of trying to remember which finger you used to scan the first time you used your ticket, you just stand in front of a large screen and it scans you in. A big green check mark appears on the TM’s screen and in you go! A word of caution…don’t stand too close to the person in front of you or you may inadvertently ‘photobomb’ their picture! LOL! Made for some interesting conversations!
To those who know me, know that Christmas is my favorite time of year! Universal’s Christmas decorations do NOT disappoint! There is not a spot in the parks that is not decorated with lights and sounds of Christmas! The trees are dripping with lights, the storefronts are decked out in colorful baubles decorating Christmas trees in every size and shape, while the cityscapes in Universal Studios are adorned with millions of tiny white lights that reflect in the lagoon. It is truly magical.
In Islands of Adventure, the Christmas finery doesn’t stop! Even though Hogsmeade is always Christmasy, during this time it is even more so! And let’s not forget Seuss Landing! The main entrance has a special Christmas tree that is impossible to describe or photograph. It’s LED light show would take hours to capture as it does not seem to ever repeat itself! Every Who down in Whoville is decked out in their Christmas finery and the decorations are not to be missed! Oh, let’s not forget a meet and greet with The Grinch! Let’s just say that while it was only on one member’s MUST DO list, we ALL loved the interaction! Well worth the wait!
Universal’s Holiday Parade Featuring Macy’s is NOT to be missed! It starts at about 5:30 each night and runs for about an hour. If you plan on grabbing a spot to watch it, plan on being there at least an hour earlier! I think, no matter how many times you see it, you MUST watch it at least once in front of Macy’s so you can see Santa light the huge Christmas Tree! The vibrantly dressed performers, magical floats, beautiful character balloons, and warm atmosphere truly capture the Holiday spirit!
The Mannheim Steamroller concert was one of my must-do items. I was so happy I was able to see it! It brought back so many memories of Christmases past. I missed it last year and was very disappointed! I think next year I will make another trip to Universal during the time they are there just for the concert! While the concerts are only for a few select showings, they are definitely worth it! Get there early, grab a seat on the lawn, and grab a snack! You will not be disappointed!
Remember, during this busy holiday season, take time to stop and remember what matters most. Spend time with your family. Relax, recharge, and restart! It is not about how long the journey is, but how much we allow ourselves to enjoy each step along the path. A quick trip might just spark a lifetime of memories!
This blog does not have as many pictures as I had planned, because I was so engrossed in experiencing the magic! Sometimes it is important to put down your phone and fully immerse yourself in the moment.
Remember, Quality over Quantity this Holiday Season!
Most of the content is written by people at JMorris Travel. Every once in a while we will have a guest blogger, usually it is part of our 'family'.Always with a nod to Family Travel!