We Went To Universal Orlando Annual Passholder Holiday Event at Islands of Adventure!

by SharonKurheg

Living in Central Florida can have its disadvantages (yes, really!), but it certainly has its advantages, too. One of the latter is having annual passes to both Walt Disney World and Universal Studios Orlando, and living close enough to both parks to be able to take advantage of their special opportunities for pass holders, even when they announce them sort of “last minute.” Such was the case Universal Orlando Annual Passholder holiday event, with sign ups that began only about a week and a half ahead of time.

Besides last-minute sign ups, it was a decidedly unusual event, in that it was so short – just scheduled for an hour, in two separate shifts.

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Fortunately, as it turned out, we were given much more time than originally explained. Event #1 people were allowed in at 8pm, and the event began for them as soon as they entered (they were then allowed to stay all the way until the 11pm ending time). Event #2 people were allowed into the park a few minutes before 9pm and again, of course, were able to stay until the event ended. So Event #1 people got about 3 hours, and Event #2 people got about 2 hours. It was an uneven amount of time but honestly, we were done in about an hour and 45 minutes anyway, so… ;-).

The park had only limited offerings – the Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular show (two shows to choose from: roughly 9:15pm and 10:15pm), everything in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and the shops at Port of Entry. But the event was also only limited to a few thousand people for Event #1 and Event #2 each, which was cool.

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Port of Entry with no one in it PC: Sharon H.

Joe and I were a part of Event #2 and since we had gotten onto our queue early (a few minutes after 8pm, because I saw how long the queue was for the Event #1 people), we were let in a minute or two before 9:00pm.

We discovered that the Grinchmas show was starting in just a few minutes, so we queued up to see that before going to the back of the park for Harry Potter stuff.

PC: Andrew Sullivan
PC: Andrew Sullivan

^^ PC: Andrew Sullivan ^^

The Grinch show has a brand new set, as well as a a couple of of new lines of dialogue, both of which I found enjoyable. There were a few small glitches in the show that could be put off as it’s still being brand new for the season, and none of them majorly distracted from the performance. We’ve seen the show many times over the years and it’s still a fun way to spend 30 minutes. We look forward to seeing it again sometime this season.

Photo Nov 16, 9 27 02 PM

PC: Andrew Sullivan

When Grinchmas was over, we walked back to “Harry Potter Land,” where The Magic of Christmas At Hogwarts Castle was just about ready to begin. THIS is when being at a special event with limited attendance allowed in makes all the difference – we weren’t packed in like sardines and this very little lady, whose view in crowds is usually boobs and shoulder blades, not only had some breathing room, but could still see the show, too!

We next went onto Harry Potter And The Forbidden Journey, which was a “walk on” (another advantage to an event with limited attendance).

Once we were one with that, Joe decided he wanted something from the Hog’s Head and once he got his Firewhiskey, I went over to the Three Broomsticks for a hot Butterbeer, since it was chilly out and ’tis the season.

By the time we were done with all of that, it was 10:45pm and we were ready to leave, since Joe had to be at work at 9am the next day. We did see more people in the shops in Port of Entry than we did when the event first started but really, still not a whole lot.

The night was very different from the other Universal Resort Annual Passholder events we had been to in the past (like this one in 2017 and this one in 2018, and the times when we’ve gotten to throw beads at some of UOR’s Mardi Gras events. I’m not sure why they decided to have this relatively limited event or to schedule it in “shifts” like they they did. But I’m certainly not disappointed with what they had to offer, and should they ever offer something similar in the future, I’d definitely be there if I’m available :-).

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


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