Just starting to look at Universal for a Christmas week 2019 trip. Will staying on site be worth the cost?! After planning a Disney trip that was AMAZING last summer (TP is the best), I worry there won’t be enough for us to do.
Originally thinking 4 days and debating EP or not due to the presumed holiday traffic. We probably wont utilize pools in December. We are a family of 2 adults and 12+12+15 yr kids. Shopping isn’t really our thing. The idea of wands are nice but we’d skip due to crowds. We are there for HP. TP also mentions the 2 HP night shows would be too close to park closure? Does that mean no light shows at park close over winter? All insight and opinions welcome as I delve into obsessive planning!

I know opinions vary greatly, but on our last trip, we were there for four nights, which amounted to roughly four and a half days in the parks, and I still could have used more. I am someone who likes to re-ride my favorite rides multiple times and feel like I have the freedom to take my time. I am also a major Harry Potter fanatic, so I can easily spend an entire day and a half doing nothing but Harry Potter stuff.

I always stay on site because it’s so easy and the parks are so close together. I also am totally spoiled for the Express Pass, though I did do one trip with lower attendance without it and still had a fantastic time.

I am going in December this year for the first time, so I don’t know how the December show schedule works.


I think staying onsite at one of the three hotels that include EP might be worth it. At your kids’ ages they might like the Hard Rock (or Royal Pacific).

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Thanks guys! I was reading a lot of ‘we left the park by mid afternoon’ and was worried there may not be enough to justify the premier hotels expense!

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I just came across your thread again and wanted to add a piece of information. I was at Universal this past December 6th through 10th. We were able to see both nighttime shows, despite 7:00 closure time… The lights on Hogwarts Castle began at 6 and ran every 20 minutes. The Cinematic Spectacular ran at 7 when the park closed. I hope you have everything sorted for your trip. I’m sure you will have a great time!

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Don’t skip the wands, the shows don’t take too long anymore. Follow the official TP touring plans and check out shows and experiences you normally wouldn’t: there are lots and lots of hidden gems in the parks that most Disney fans skip over thinking it’s not worth their time.