Happiest Place on Earth for the Holidays

Universal Studios and Walt Disney World
United States


Recently, I went to Disney World and Universal Studios / Islands of Adventure for my birthday, and it was the first time I had ever done this.

Truth be told, it wasn’t all that crazy this time of year! If you go with a good group of people, and you plan your day accordingly, you WILL be okay. It’s not any busier than it is during the summer or springtime. 

I decided around summer of this year to plan a trip for my birthday to Disney and Universal with my closest friends and family. We looked into accommodation, ticket prices for the days we were looking to go, and we talked about the fast pass+ options we had for Magic Kingdom.

Many hotels are offering really awesome deals and ticket packages for the holiday season and depending on whether you want to visit one park or more, you can decide based on which is cheaper for you, and what deal is best!

PRO TIP: Select dates at Disney have the Very Merry Christmas event and the park WILL close early on those days to allow only those with event tickets into the parks after hours. Over at Universal, there are a few nights that they simply close early. I also suggest going as early on in November/December as you can, as you can still enjoy the holiday décor without having to deal with the insane over-crowding. Also make sure you take advantage of the photo opportunities for the holidays and the shorter lines for other photo spots like the always-crowded Rapunzel Lantern photo!

The parks at this time of the year have such a magical feel to it. Everything is decorated with garland and ornaments and beautifully-decorated Christmas trees. The best part is the seasonal food and shows the parks have to offer during this time of year.

Over at Universal you get the opportunity to see the brand-new castle show over at Islands of Adventure’s Hogwarts castle in the Wizarding World, an absolute must-see. They also have the Macy’s Parade over at Universal Studios and a few Holiday sing-along shows throughout the park!

At Disney, they have Very Merry Christmas as mentioned on select nights, but, if you don’t want to spend the extra $95 on that ticket you can still see the beautiful Christmas decorations and enjoy seeing the lights on the castle look like fallen snow at night before Happily Ever After. There are plenty of treats all over the park that cater to the holiday season, and at many of the shops you can find little Christmas ornaments to decorate your home with. They also have really cute holiday-themed clothes that make great momentos for your loved ones.

Keep your eye out for the popcorn buckets at Disney as well, each park has a different one!

One final tip worth mentioning is if you go for a special occasion like a birthday the way I did, always ask for a Birthday or Celebrating button at Guest Relations or Will Call. They will gladly give you a special button with your name on it for you and your group to serve as a wonderful memory, and hey; you might even get some perks around the parks for wearing that button along with a special “Happy Birthday” from all the Cast Members and Crew who see you.

Special thanks to Disney World and Universal Studios Orlando for making this birthday the best one yet and making my time there more special than any other before. I had the best birthday ever! Happy Holidays!

                                                                                                             (All photos in article are my own)