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Universal Orlando gives you a choice between having a traditional holiday or a whimsical Wholiday

Universal Orlando gives you a choice between having a traditional holiday or a whimsical Wholiday

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Okay. We're T-minus country now when it comes to the holidays. And with just a handful of days between now and you-know-when, it always helps to have a list. So that you don't wind up forgetting anything when you next head out for the Mall.

"And what's on your list, Leslie?," you ask. Oh, you know. The usual stuff. I need a couple of cans of Who Pudding. And it'd be nice I had a few tringlers & dafflers & fuzzles & wuzzles to place under the tree. And then - of course - there's the roast beast ...

What that you say? You don't have any of that stuff on your holiday shopping list? Well, that because you don't live in Central Florida. Where - down here - thanks to the nice folks at the Universal Orlando Resort - you actually have a choice when it comes to the kind of Christmas you can celebrate each year.

Copyright Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved

If you're a traditionalist, you should probably head on over to the Universal Studios Florida side of the operation. Where you can stroll through that theme park's Holiday Village and shop for unique gifts & sample delicious Christmas treats while the kids try their hand at Christmas crafts.

Better yet, you can grab a spot at curbside and watch at the Macy's Holiday Parade rolls by. This is the 10th year running that Universal Orlando has taken many of the more colorful balloons & floats from Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City and then brought them down to Central Florida. Where - now through January 1st - this holiday favorite (which features marching bands, clowns and an even an appearance by Santa Claus) will be entertaining Universal Studios Florida visitors.

More importantly, if you plan on dropping by this theme park this coming weekend, Universal has an extra present for you this year. It's a free holiday concert by Manheim Steamroller, the biggest selling Christmas artist of all time. This acclaimed musical group will be taking to the Universal Music Plaza stage this Saturday & Sunday starting at 8 p.m., where Manheim will then play a selection of its holiday hits.

Copyright Universal Orlando. All rights reserved

And if it's traditional Christmas music that you want, Universal Studios Florida has that in spades. You can join the Big Purple Dinosaur and his friends for an X-mas singalong at the Barney Holiday show. Or if you're more of a Blue Christmas kind-of guy or gal, you can always rock out on Delancey Street with Jake and Elwood at the Blues Brothers Holiday Show.

But if you're more like me and enjoy a holiday celebration that's longer on whimsy than it is on tradition, then you should probably head on over Universal's Islands of Adventure. Where Seuss Landing has been completely transformed as this part of this theme park gets ready for its annual Grinchmas celebration.

As you wander through this Dr. Seuss-inspired section of IOA, it's hard not to grin at all of the whimsical decorations you'll find scattered about. The folks in charge of holiday theming at the Universal Orlando Resort have really done a terrific job of transforming this part of that theme park. Every little detail from "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" has been replicated here, right down to the Wonky Tree Lot.

Copyright Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved

And if you're as a big a fan of that "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" holiday special as I am ... Well, you're just going to love the Grinchmas Wholiday Spectacular. This is a 30 minute-long live stage recreation of the tale of the Grinch which not only features the well-known songs from the beloved animated version of this holiday story but also some brand-new music recorded by Mannheim Steamroller.

But if I had to pick my favorite part of Grinchmas at Universal's Islands of Adventure, it's that moment when you can actually meet the Grinch, get your Christmas Card photo taken with the Mean One and - if you plan ahead - get this Dr. Seuss character to answer a few of your holiday-related questions.

During my most recent encounter with the Grinch, I asked him if he'd ever stolen any holidays other than Christmas.  And the Grinch admitted that - back in 1977 - he had taken a stab at stealing Halloween. But things hadn't gone quite according to plan. (And for all your trivia buffs out there, Dr. Suess did in fact take part in the production of a "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" prequel. Which was entitled "Halloween is Grinch Night" and premiered on ABC on October 29, 1977).

I then asked the Grinch if he'd ever been to his cardiologist, given that -- if my heart had grown three sizes in one day -- I'd think that this had to be a symptom of a pretty serious underlying medical condition. The Grinch laughed when he heard this question, then admitted that he'd deliberately been avoiding his doctor when it came to this issue " ... because I don't like hearing bad news."

And speaking of bad news ... You've only got two weeks or so left to enjoy the "Holiday Cheer That You'll Only Find Here" at Universal Orlando. So if you're in the mood for some traditional Christmas fun (like - say - watching the Macy's Holiday Parade as it marches down Hollywood Boulevard), then you'd best make tracks for Universal Studios Florida. If - on the other hand - you're in the mood for a far more whimsical take on the season, then beat feet for Universal's Islands of Adventure and grab a seat at that theme park's Grinchmas Wholiday Spectacular.

And speaking of the Wholidays ... OMG, I'm late for the mall. I still have to pick up those pop guns, pampoogas, pantookas, and drums. Not to mention checkerboards, bizilbigs, popcorn, and plums.

Copyright Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved

Here's hoping that you and yours have a great holiday / Wholiday. Whichever you prefer.

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