Video: Happy Purple Hippo arrives at Universal Orlando’s Holiday Parade
Walt Disney World had long dominated the local market on holiday merrymaking, but Universal Orlando has spent a decade or building a respectable stable of secularized seasonal entertainments. Universal's guests can see Christmas celebrities like the Grinch (starring again in his Grinchmas musical celebration at Island of Adventure) or Santa Claus, who closes out each evening Macy's Holdiay Parade at Universal Studios Florida. But this year, the new star of the show seems to be a giant purple hippo with pink toenails.
The happy purple hippo dates back to the 1940s, when a similar balloon was a mainstay of the New York Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. It was recreated this year expressly at the request of Universal, who have made it the star of a charming pre-show dance routine that precedes the nightly parade.
Watch this video of Universal's Lora Wallace and Macy's John Piper explaining the hippo's origins, plus her complete debut performance. Then enjoy this gallery of photos I took in Manhattan last month of the hippo being inflated before her national debut in the real Thanksgiving parade.