It’s that time of year again, when the Tribute Store changes from Halloween Horror Nights to the Holidays at Universal Orlando. And we’ve got your complete photo and video tour.
Let’s explore all of the special treats you can find here, exclusive merchandise for 2021, and all of the wonderful theming in this massive update! (See the video below for a walking tour around the entire store.)
What is the Tribute Store?
In recent years, Universal Studios Florida has been using a flex space near Revenge of the Mummy for what they call “Tribute Stores.” These are incredibly well-themed retail experiences that usually coincide with a seasonal event.
Currently, the Tribute Store is all decked out for the Holidays at Universal Orlando. This seasonal event is happening now through January 2nd. The Holiday Tribute Store is open during regular park hours.
This Tribute Store is separated into four rooms themed as Santa’s Workshop, Earl the Squirrel, The Grinch, and Harry Potter’s Yule Ball. Each section features its own collections of related merchandise.
The entrance to the Tribute Store sets the mood for Santa’s Workshop, with a Santa Tracker and reindeer food. Inside the foyer there are photos of “Elf of the Year,” which may be children of the designers, (I am assuming,) as well as their pets too!
The first room, themed as Santa’s Workshop, offers various toys and plush, ornaments, and other gifts for sale. The theming includes toys in various states of being produced by Santa’s elves, including a conveyor belt where toys start unpainted and then get painted before exiting in a wrapped package.
Another area shows wooden projects being carved, including some that are Universal Studios Easter eggs. There is ET’s spaceship, a DeLorean with open doors, and some dinosaurs. There’s also some plans for what appears to be a former HHN Tribute Store entrance in this area!
And speaking of Halloween Horror Nights, among the various toys that sit atop the product shelves, is a standing bear figure. Could this be another HHN bear reference, just like we had in the previous Tribute Store!?
A great touch here, is that a toy train encircles the room near the ceiling. Look very VERY closely, and you may be able to see that it is actually pushing a DeLorean time machine on the tracks! This is such a perfect little nod to Back to the Future Part III. (Thanks to @magiccitymayhem for spotting this one!)
This room also features a fireplace with a portrait of Santa, his ‘Nice and Naughty’ list, and a chair for photo ops in the big guy’s seat.
Who is Earl the Squirrel?
The next room in this year’s Tribute Store is themed to everyone’s favorite little scamp, Earl the Squirrel.
In case you’re unaware, the legend of Earl the Squirrel started several years ago when a Team Member supposedly found a squirrel when it was time to decorate the big tree at Universal Studios Florida. Every year since, starting in 2015, you could find a plush squirrel hiding in the big tree.
Christmas critter hiding in Universal’s tree now sneaks back in every once in awhile! Sneaky critter. pic.twitter.com/d1eh2IPDTx
— Alicia Stella (@AliciaStella) December 12, 2018
Last year, a section of the Tribute Store was themed as Earl the Squirrel’s Tree Farm and for the first time ever, merchandise specific to Earl was available for sale.
This year, it looks like Earl has expanded his empire, and has opened a roadside attraction named “Earl the Squirrel’s Christmas Museum & Emporium.” Here you’ll find of the new Earl the Squirrel merchandise, as well as the sweet treats for this year’s store.
The room is absolutely packed with kitschy Christmas decorations, adverts, and bumper stickers, perfectly befitting a tourist trap-style roadside attraction.
Also fitting for Earl the Squirrel, his Christmas Tree has terrible wiring and is always shorting out every few minutes.
The tree itself is filled with unique decorations, including some of this year’s Tribute Store collectible coin designs. You can purchase these collectible coins from a machine in this room.
This room also features a Mold-a-Rama machine where you can get your own molded Reindeer figure made right before your eyes for $6.
Earl the Squirrel Merchandise
All-new Earl the Squirrel merchandise has been released for 2021, and you can find all of it in this room of the Tribute Store! Below are all of the items that debuted with the store along with their prices.
The room is also filled with many sweet treats, including fudge and bags of cinnamon nuts sporting Earl the Squirrel on the labels.
Tribute Store’s Sweet Treats
Below are all of the Sweet Treats that debuted with this year’s Tribute Store, including names and pricing information.
Hallway Decor Between Rooms
Leaving this room and heading to the next one, everyone must pass through a hallway. This hall extends the Earl the Squirrel with portraits of real people that have purchased a caricature to be hung on the wall.
This hallway also features a bulletin board with important details in case you’d like to work for Earl the Squirrel. If you take the time to read the many postings you’ll learn more about Earl and what kind of boss he is. He’s an equal opportunity employer, except for badgers, of course!
As we start to move away from Earl’s room, and towards the next, it becomes clear that the next one is themed to The Grinch!
The Grinch Room
The third room is themed as the Whoville Sanitation Department, with huge machinery, pipes, and gears around the room. Here you can find various Grinch related merchandise for sale.
Another Mold-a-Matic machine can be found here as well, this one for a Holiday Tree.
The Grinch’s sleigh, with all of the town’s stolen presents is parked in the corner of the room.
Some of the more unique items for sale here, include miniature models of different locations so you can create your own Whoville village display.
Harry Potter Yule Ball Room
Filled with Wizarding World and Harry Potter merchandise, the final room is decorated as the Yule Ball from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Projected snow can be seen at the end of the room, icicles are on the fireplace, and plenty of Potter merchandise, including holiday items, can be found here. The cash registers and checkout lane for the entire store is also found in this room.
And that’s all of the rooms in this year’s Holiday Tribute Store. You will be able to explore the store yourself from now through January 2, 2022! Remember to say hi to Earl when you do! And see our video tour for more at this year’s store.