Skip New York for Macy's Day Parade in Orlando

Every year since 1924, people have tuned in to their TVs from all over the nation, joining millions of others in the streets of Manhattan to watch the seasonal spectacle that is The Macy’s Day Parade. 

Yellow star balloon at the New York Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

While watching the parade from the comfort of your couch on Thanksgiving Day may be tradition, there’s another, more accessible way to see it thanks to Universal Orlando Resort. 

Trade in the freezing temperatures and unbearable crowds for palm trees and thrill rides at Universal Studios Florida, where Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s brings an excerpt of the famous New York City show straight to Production Central.  

Iconic Universal Studios Characters 

Ever wonder what an almost forty-foot-tall Minion looks like? 

Starting in November, the parade becomes a nightly ceremony that takes the classic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and adds its own Orlando flare to it. The parade showcases iconic Universal characters like you’ve never seen them before. 

The Holiday Parade’s character balloons come to life in grand proportions, featuring beloved trademarks like Gingy from Shrek, Bob the Minion from Despicable Me, and even SpongeBob’s pineapple palace. 

A giant minion balloon towering over people watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

However, the spotlight isn’t reserved solely for DreamWorks and Illuminations. Authentic Macy’s balloons are walked down the streets of Universal Studios, as well. 

The tradition traces back to 2002, when the real Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade started to generously dispatch retired balloons down to the sunshine state – a most fitting destination for any retiree.    

Consider the renowned Blue Starflake, for example. This balloon made its first appearance in the 93rd annual parade in New York, and now lives out its days captivating Universal guests. 

Accompanying the balloons are fifteen intricately designed floats carrying Shrek and Fiona, the Madagascar crew, Santa Claus himself, and many other familiar faces. 

No holiday parade is complete without marching bands, snow queens on stilts, and energetic dancers getting the crowd pumped for Saint Nick’s arrival. The show then wraps up with the lighting of the giant Christmas tree in Central Park.  

The parade starts at either 5:30 or 6:00 p.m., depending upon what time the park closes that night. 

Optimal Viewing Spots for First-Time Visitors 

While the Universal Holiday Parade can be enjoyed from various vantage points in Production Central or New York, specific premium locations offer an enhanced viewing experience. 

One such spot is situated at the intersection of the Mummy ride and the Jimmy Fallon ride, providing an unparalleled view of the enchanting Christmas Tree lighting. 

This sought-after location holds special appeal as it is nestled within the heart of the New York section of the park, seamlessly aligning with the authentic ambiance of the parade. 

Spots like this are usually the most crowded and will fill up quickly, so we recommend setting up camp at least 30 minutes before the parade starts. That surely beats the several hours some people wait in New York for the real deal! 

Stay With Us at Rosen Inn Closest to Universal 

After the parade ends, make your way back to the Rosen Inn Closest to Universal. With free shuttle services to and from the parks, lodging and transportation is one less thing to worry about during the holiday season. 

Our hotel offers comfortable accommodations, fun amenities for the whole family, and some of the most affordable rates in Orlando. Spend your holidays with us and see what makes us a choice hotel destination for your jolly getaway.  


Be sure to check out our vlog below to see all of the exciting holiday festivities happening at Universal Studios Florida!