Universal adding merry Harry Potter events for holidays

Christmas is coming to Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. The holiday season will be celebrated on both sides of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando theme parks this year. At Islands of Adventure, the new experiences include special effects projected onto Hogwarts castle featuring Christmas moments from J.K. Rowling’s series about the boy wizard.

In both parks, themed décor will line the streets and every storefront of the Wizarding World will have unique decorations, Universal says. Specialty holiday food, drink and entertainment are planned.

In addition, Universal is retooling its holiday parade and rechristening it as “Universal’s Holiday Parade Featuring Macy’s.” It will include new balloons and floats, Universal says, alongside characters such as the minions from “Despicable Me” and from the “Shrek” and “Madagascar” movies.

Macy’s, longtime sponsor of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, has had a hand in the Universal parade for 15 years.

Universal is moving up the beginning of its holiday celebration. The festivities will launch Nov. 18 this year, five days before Thanksgiving. Typically, the resort has waited until December to have holiday activities in its parks.

The events will extend through Jan. 6 and mark the longest holiday celebration in Universal Orlando’s history.

The Harry Potter activities and parade will be included in regular park admission.

Mannheim Steamroller concerts and Grinchmas festivities will be included in Universal’s plans for the holidays, a spokeswoman said.

Additional news about the Wizarding World and details about the new parade will be released “soon,” Universal Orlando says.

dbevil@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5477

See more of the Theme Park Rangers blog »

Copyright © 2018, The Virginia Gazette