By Chad Emerson
Michael Roddy, Manager of Show Development, Universal Orlando Resort, spoke to Blooloop’s Chad Emerson about the theme park‘s special winter holiday programming.
Chad Emerson: What will be featured in the holiday lineup at Universal Orlando this year?
Michael Roddy: This Christmas season, our guests will have the unique opportunity to visit the tiny town of Who-ville and watch a musical retelling of How The Grinch Stole Christmas, experience an authentic New York tradition with the Macy’s Holiday Parade and enjoy an unbelievable concert series featuring some of the biggest names in Christmas music.
Emerson: How does Universal Orlando Resort address the planning of these events?
Roddy: Our Holiday event is a huge undertaking, combining elements of live music, parade vehicles and balloons, hundreds of costumed characters, effects like snow and scents, some of the biggest names in the music business and most of all interaction with the guest. The project is becoming a year-round process, involving massive creative development, coordination and production and casting.
Emerson: How did the partnership come about with Macy’s parade?
Roddy: Universal Orlando is always looking for that unique blend of taking an established brand and bringing it to life in a way unlike any other. When you think about the holidays, one of the most time-honored traditions is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. For over 80 years Macy’s has been producing a wonderful and cherished experience, but it has only been located in New York City. Universal worked closely with Macy’s to transplant the best of the experience here to the backlot of Universal Studios. After the parade in New York, truckloads of costumes, balloons and floats make there way here to Florida. Then our team works with the Macy’s team to capture the perfect magic and bring that experience to you.
Emerson: Tell us about Universal Orlando and the Grinch.
Roddy: Universal Orlando worked closely with the Seuss estate to bring the story of How The Grinch Stole Christmas to life. Using elements found in the original book, the animated classic and the Universal film, we combined them with a score orchestrated exclusively for Universal Orlando by Chip Davis and Mannheim Steamroller. The production features the music you know and love, and of course The Grinch, who is one of the most notoriously Grinchy characters ever created. We even have opportunities to meet the Grinch for that one-of-a-kind postcard memory.
Emerson: What trends are you noticing in terms of guests’ interest in Christmas season activities in a theme park setting?
Roddy: Guests want to be able to step through a portal and be transported. They want to hear stories and music and see and sense things that they normally would never see. That is what the Universal Orlando team focuses on the most. We dedicate our experiences to bring the guest out of the real world and transport them to a fantastical world only seen on the screen, or in books.
This year has been a tumultuous one, and we appreciate that guests choose Universal Orlando to share their holidays. We will not let them down.
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Images Courtesy of Universal