Universal Orlando Holidays: Macy’s Balloons, Mannheim Steamroller, and Grinch

Photos by Scott Nadeau

Universal Orlando Resort has kicked off their holiday celebrations in a big way this week.  And I mean BIG!  If you are one of those many folks who dream of being AT the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade instead of simply enjoying it from your TV, this is the celebration for you.  Adventures by Daddy was invited to a media preview of Universal Orlando Holidays, so continue reading for a sneak peek of the event.

Universal Orlando Holidays

The Macy’s Holiday Parade fills the streets of Universal Studios every evening with the same larger-than-life balloons seen in the famous New York City parade.

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This year, the parade will include all-new Nutcracker and Mouse King “trycaloons” – tandem tricycles that appear to be pedaled by whimsical balloon characters from the popular holiday tale.  Guests will also enjoy colorful holiday characters, fantasy-filled floats and a tree-lighting ceremony by Santa Claus.

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My good friend Scott Nadeau saw the preparations in person.  He called the Macy’s balloons “incredible” and was happy to see some recreations from the 1930’s and 40’s.  He spoke with some of the balloon handlers and was surprised to find out that they only required 1 hour of training.  However, to be a pilot required a much more extensive 1 year training as well as special training.

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Macy’s brings their own team to Universal and then employs park employees to help.  Many of the Macy’s team members have been with the parade for years.  Some have as much as 41 years experience with the New York parade.

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Returning this year with more concerts than ever before is Mannheim Steamroller – the masters of Christmas music with more than 40 million albums sold worldwide.  The acclaimed musical group will take to the Music Plaza stage in Universal Studios eight nights this year to perform their memorable holiday hits for guests.  Performance nights are Dec. 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22 and 23.

Mannheim Steamroller at Universal Studios Holidays

Photo by Kevin Kolczynski © Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

Universal Orlando Holidays

Over at Islands of Adventure is yet more unique celebrating. Grinchmas comes to life throughout Seuss Landing.  Guests can watch the heartwarming live show, “Grinchmas Wholiday Spectacular,” featuring The Grinch and the Whos from Who-ville, accompanied by an original musical score by Mannheim Steamroller.

Universal Orlando Holidays

Scott, as well as others, agree that the band was fantastic and all but stole the show!  I am sure the Grinch will have something to say about that!

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The Grinch and cast of Who’s all look top notch with outstanding performances.  Scott was able to witness the transformation of an actor go from Human to a Who-ville resident.

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This special holiday entertainment – including the Mannheim Steamroller concerts – is included as part of two-park or multi-day admission to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.

Universal Orlando Holidays

For more information on Universal Orlando’s Holidays celebration, guests can visit www.UniversalOrlando.com/holidays.  For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on twitter and “like” our facebook page too.

About John Saccheri

John Saccheri has been rooted in the Disney culture from childhood. John only had the opportunity to visit Walt Disney World once, at the age of 5. After returning home, he never stopped talking about it, yearning to return. His parents were worried about this “obsession,” but John began working at the age of 12 with a focus on saving up for the next Disney trip. He was able to visit Disney World at least once a year from 14 years old onward. Today, a successful entrepreneur, John was able to move from his hometown of Long Island, New York, to Central Florida to be close to the Mouse. Going to the parks still seems like a fantasy to him!