Making the Most of Christmas at Universal Orlando Resort

The iconic Universal Globe greeted Sara & her family as they hit the park last Christmas.
The iconic Universal Globe greeted Sara & her family as they hit the park last Christmas.

Last year, my family and I made the trip to Orlando, Florida for the Christmas holidays. On previous trips, Universal Orlando Resort had been one of many stops, but this time, in addition to some holiday pool time, was the reason for the trip.

Our three-day Park-to-Park pass allowed us to go back-and-forth between their two theme parks: Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Christmas Day was our third and final day of fun at Universal Orlando Resort, so we’d already planned exactly where we wanted to go.

Here’s our Christmas Day timeline. It worked out great for us and I hope it helps you put together a super Christmas Day of family fun!

Thursday, Dec 25, 2014

Forecast: High 69 degrees – Partly Cloudy – pretty close to perfect weather

5:30 am Wake up

Yikes! We set our alarm clock – on Christmas Day! Even our daughters were onboard with maximizing our time at Universal Orlando Resort and wanted to be there when the doors opened.

7:00 am Depart for Universal Orlando Resort

Something to consider is staying at one of Universal Orlando Resort’s hotel properties. In addition to being great places to stay, you have the added benefit of getting into the theme parks earlier than the rest of the crowd.

7:56 am And we’re off! (Theme park gates open)

Since our all-time favorite ride is Harry Potter’s Forbidden Journey, we started out at Islands of Adventure, and made a beeline for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade.

7:59 amArrived at Harry Potter’s Forbidden Journey

Our wait time was a quick 20 minutes.

8:31 amHopped in line for Flight of the Hippogriff

Our wait time only 5 minutes.

8:38 amStopped by Honey Duke’s, a must do that will satisfy even

the most ravenous sweet tooth

9:02 am Hopped on The Hogwarts Express and headed to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley over in Universal Studios. This leisurely ride gave us a few minutes to sit down and sample our sweet treats from Honey Duke’s.

Our wait time was a mere 6 minutes.

9:20 am Stopped at Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

There was a 75-minute wait, so we decided to come back to it later and instead, took a few minutes to browse some of the cool shops in the area.

9:43 am Arrived at Despicable Me. This 3D ride makes you feel like you’re one of the minions!

The hour and a half wait was worth it.

11:28 am Souvenir shopping

12:00 pmLunch at Emeril’s - located in City Walk. And yes, it was excellent!

2:30 pm Another must-do: Stop by the iconic Universal Globe for a photo op!

2:43 pm Arrived at The Simpson’s Ride. What a fun ride with our favorite cartoon family

Our wait time was an easy 35 minutes.

3:45 pm Arrived at Revenge of the Mummy

This ride will have you believing that bloodthirsty mummies are really out to get you.

Our wait time of only 35 minutes.

4:30 pmJust past the Revenge of the Mummy ride is a climbing wall. Here our girls got to climb up the side of a New York brownstone.

4:55 pm Arrived back at Diagon Alley

We had an express pass and thought this was the perfect place to use it. Unfortunately, after a 55-minute wait, a malfunction caused the ride to be shut down. To ease the disappointment, every rider was given an express pass for any ride in the park. We all agreed to head back to Harry Potter’s Forbidden Journey, – our favorite ride!

6:27 pm Arrived at Hogwarts Express

Our wait time was 34 minutes.

7:10 pm Arrived at Harry Potter’s Forbidden Journey

We ended up not needing our express pass because there is no express pass line for this ride. Luckily, it was only a 45-minute wait, so we stayed. Even better, it turned out to be only a 34-minute wait.

8:01 pm Arrived at The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman ride

The wait was only 45-minutes, but using our Express pass dropped that way down to a super-fast 4 minutes.

8:15 pmExhausted and completely satisfied with our exciting day of family fun, we headed for the gates.

For more info, go to