On November 12th, 2022, the holiday season festivities began at Universal Orlando. A unique part of this event happening each year would be the holiday parade. In the current Orlando area theme park culture, a nighttime parade included with the cost of daytime admission qualifies as rare. This highly themed parade serves as a highlight to many guests of Universal Studios Florida. This parade happens nightly from November 12th until January 1st, 2023.
If you are unfamiliar with this holiday parade, it features floats, balloons, performers, and holiday music. As Universal Orlando stated, “fan-favorite characters from Illumination’s Despicable Me and DreamWorks Animation’s Shrek and Madagascar – along with larger-than-life balloons, dozens of colorful holiday floats, and hundreds of festive performers – fill the streets of Universal Studios Florida during Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s.”
The parade concludes nightly with an appearance by Santa Claus. When Santa Claus, upon his float, reaches the 80-foot Christmas tree in the New York area, the tree comes to life with lights as a type of finale to this parade.
So, what should you expect to see during this parade? The parade opens with a wintry snowflake float serving as an introduction for all the following floats. From the New York viewing area, you can see the first float coming from a significant distance. The blue construction walls create a challenge for Team Members to guide the floats and balloons through Universal Studios Florida.
Yet, the costuming of the performers matches the wintry theme well. This rings especially true with the snowmen.
Since this parade features Macy’s, a Macy’s balloon should be expected. The parade will technically conclude with a Macy balloon also.
After the brief Macy’s section, we view the Despicable Me characters on a series of floats and balloons. The lovable Minions created smiles on many people’s faces during the opening night parade. I guess we need to get used to seeing these lovable yellow guys.
Though the Minions and gang can be despicably cute, they are followed in this parade by the Madagascar characters. I would keep an eye on those penguins if it were me. Of course, King Julien wants to let us know that it is nothing personal, he is just better than us. Whereas the other Madagascar animals just want to enjoy New York.
After that, the Shrek movie characters pass by during this parade. Donkey will have plenty to say, of course. Please do not mention his need for another moving company to visit him as he passes by.
After those floats and balloons, the toys march into the scene. After much dancing, they make way for the big guy in a red suit bringing lots of toys.
Santa Claus arrives high up on his holiday float. As mentioned, after Santa passes by the tree lights up for the parade finale.
Overall, this year, at least on opening night, the parade brought many positives to those watching. Of course, nothing qualifies as perfect on this planet. The overall pacing of this parade struggled a bit due to music and issues guiding the floats and balloons around. The parade stopped a few times over these issues. This caused the performers to work very hard. Yet, fans of parades and the holiday season will love this parade. Universal Orlando continues to offer excellent entertainment at the price of a daytime admission ticket.
Happy holidays to you!
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