Our frog squad is ready to start a new tradition — celebrating the holidays at Universal Studios Hollywood! We are all looking forward to the return of Grinchmas on Dec. 2, and the holiday festivities are already underway in the rest of the park and in The Wizarding World with shows, decorations and delicious foods. Universal is decorated for the holiday season, with colorful lights, bows, ornaments and even a dusting of snow. Your favorite characters have donned their Santa hats to greet guests. And behold the merry (and mischievous) minions who will also help you get into the holiday spirit. Hold onto your wizard hats and join us for the complete guide to Universal Studios Hollywood holiday events 2017.
Celebrate Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter During Holidays at Universal Studios Hollywood
In the Harry Potter books and movies, Harry wakes up on Christmas morning to gifts that magically appear at the foot of his bed. Hogsmeade is covered with snow and decorated with greens and enchanted candles. Harry experiences his first ever Christmas feast of roast turkey and mounds of potatoes and other goodies, and now so can you. Here’s your chance to magically transport yourself to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter this season, so you’d better add Universal Studios Hollywood tickets to your wish list this year so you can experience all the Universal Studios Hollywood holiday events and magic, too.
You do not want to miss one bit of this celebration, which runs daily from Nov. 24 to Jan. 7. Here’s what to expect:
- Dazzling holiday décor throughout the streets of Hogsmeade including lights, wreaths, garland and the largest ball of mistletoe you’ve ever seen.
- The magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle — an all-new nighttime show with projection, music and dazzling lights
- Holiday Frog Choir — ring in the holiday season with holiday songs sung by a choir of Hogwarts students and their croaking frogs
- Holiday food — try hot Butterbeer the way Harry Potter and his friends enjoy it. Seasonal foods include the English Holliday Dinner with juicy turkey, potatoes, vegetables, braised red cabbage, sage, stuffing and cranberry sauce at the Three Broomsticks. It’s quite tasty. You can add a dessert like the Christmas pudding (fruit cake with a rum drizzle) or any of the other delicious desserts — we recommend the sticky toffee pudding. This season, The Great Feast platter for four is the regular feast that you can enjoy throughout the year.
- Holiday shopping — pick up your wizarding ornaments, stockings, figurines and tree topper so you can take the holiday magic home with you.
Universal no longer prints out show times, so be sure to consult the Universal Studios Hollywood app for the Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle show times or go to www.ushwaittimes.com to find Frog Choir and other show and music times. When we visited, the castle show started at 5:40 p.m. and then at 6 p.m. it ran every half an hour until park closing, although there was a surprise early bonus show about 5:20 p.m. If it is crowded and dark enough, you might get treated to an early showing. When the park closes early during the week, there may be only one show. Be sure to find out in advance, so you do not miss it.
For the least crowded viewing, avoid the first two shows. The park may begin limiting entry into The Wizarding World before the first show to control crowds, and may only admit people as space allows, so be sure to plan around that. Having multiple shows allows you to see the Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle show and also hop over to the Grinchmas tree lighting. Chances are you’ll want to experience Grinchmas at Universal Studios too.
Grinchmas 2017 at Universal Studios Hollywood
Some of my hoppiest holiday memories involve reading and watching Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas as a young froglet. That’s why I am always just as excited as the kids to ring in the Wholiday season during Grinchmas. There is much to do during Grinchmas, so here is the Who (get it?), What, When, Where, Why and How of Grinchmas all neatly packaged for you in our Grinchmas 2017 Universal Studios Hollywood holiday events guide.
Many costumed Whos are just “whom” you will find waiting to greet and entertain you during Grinchmas 2017 at Universal Studios Hollywood. Not to mention the Grinch himself and even his dog, Max, will be present. Meet Cindy Lou Who after listening to her read the story How the Grinch Stole Christmas. They have some pads on the ground in front of the stage for little ones. Cindy Lou’s many Who friends from the tall (on stilts) to the small are walking around, posing for pictures and performing on stage (singing and dancing).
The Grinch has become quite popular and chatty since his heart grew three sizes, so be sure to visit him and take a photo early — lines peaked mid-afternoon. Max, being a real dog, does not have much to say, so his line is quite short. We recommend visiting the Grinch in the morning shortly after he arrives for the shortest line. And if you send the Grinch a postcard promising three good deeds, a book will be gifted to a child in need! The Grinch cannot stand to miss a tree lighting, so you’ll see him insert himself into that show as well. So Ginchmas 2017 at Universal Studios Hollywood is the most Grinchful time of the year at the park. You can’t miss him!
There is so much to celebrate during the Wholidays. You can meet the Grinch or Max, sit down with Cindy Lou Who for story time, meet Who citizens and enjoy musical entertainment from the beatbox-style Who-ville singers or Martha May and the Who-Dolls. Shows cycle throughout the day and evening. Starting at 5:30 p.m., all the Whos (along with the Grinch) gather on stage for the Christmas tree lighting, which occurs every 30 minutes. In terms of other treats, there are some mini doughnuts to buy as well as other holiday favorites. When you visit the Grinch, you can decorate an ornament in the tree lot while you wait. Write down three good deeds on a postcard to have a book donated to your community (compliments of the Seuss family). You will also find surprise entertainment from the Who-liday singers in Who-ville during the Studio Tour.
When can you experience Grinchmas during the Universal Studios Hollywood holiday events? Grinchmas falls only on select days of December. The 2017 dates are Dec. 2-3, 9-10 and 15-31.
The Frog Family likes to hop in and out of the Grinchmas Who-bilation in the Upper Lot throughout the day because something new is always happening there. Different Who characters make appearances throughout the day. There are signs with all the Wholiday event times posted at Grinchmas entrances so you can make your plan. There are lighter crowds during the day than at night. Most musical acts run throughout the day, but be aware that Cindy Lou’s story time only occurs during the day. The Christmas tree lighting is fun, so be sure to visit Grinchmas 2017 at Universal Studios Hollywood during the night too, starting at 5:30 p.m. The lights after dark make the whole scene and musical acts even more festive. Note that there is not a musical act with the Grinch during the Studio Tour of Grinchmas 2017.
You’ll find Grinchmas in the Upper Lot in Universal Plaza. It is just a hop, skip and a jump away from both The Wizarding World, Minion Mayhem (where you can meet Minions) and Super Silly Fun Land. This makes Grinchmas one of the most fun times of year at Universal Studios for young tadpoles!
Why go to Grinchmas 2017 during Universal Studios Hollywood holiday events? It’s toadally fun, of course. Where else will you see a Seuss-ian wonky Christmas tree that changes colors at night and real live Whos? The Grinch is hilarious now that he is not trying to ruin your holiday (and he’s green, right? Can I get a ribbit ribbit for my favorite color?!). It is something new to try at Universal and provides holiday fun for the whole family. Where else do you get to see snow and palm trees? After visiting Grinchmas, hop on over to The Wizarding World for a cup of hot Butterbeer or a holiday feast. Yum! Click here for more on Wizarding World eats and drinks.
How should you approach Grinchmas 2017 at Universal Studios Hollywood? Hit the Grinch line as early as you can, and then hit the Studio Tour or your must-see rides. Return to the Grinchmas area in between other attractions when ride lines are long, and maybe catch story time and meet some Whos. Then come back to see the tree lighting and snowfall, and watch some other musical shows. You might wait to see the Grinch at night and use your time in line to watch the tree lighting (perhaps twice!) and musical entertainment from the line.
Tips for Holidays at Universal Studios Hollywood
With so much happening during the Universal Studios Hollywood holiday events this season, you need to plan ahead to see it all. Here are our tips for maximizing your time during the Universal Studios Hollywood holiday events — consider them an early Christmas present from us:
- Know the park hours before you arrive.
- Arrive early.
- Plan to stay until the park closes.
- Consult the app for show times so you can catch all the shows you want to see, and be sure to check the Grinchmas signs for all that programming and event times.
- Bring a sweatshirt — even if it is warm and sunny during the day, it can cool off significantly at night.
- If there are multiple Hogwarts Castle shows, see a later one for lighter crowds.
- Try holiday treats at Grinchmas, but save room for the English Holiday Dinner and hot Butterbeer in The Wizarding World.
- Purchase a Front of Line pass so you can fit everything in.
- Take advantage of Single Rider lines and Child Switch service.
- Stay at a nearby hotel.
- Meet Santa Claus in Universal City Walk
- Consult ushwaittimes.com to locate Dreamworks characters, Scooby Doo and friends, Simpsons characters, Frankentein’s monsters, the Mummy, Sponge Bob, Curious George, Dora and more.
Even though the earlier dates of Grinchmas are not as crowded as peak times near holidays, the park hours are much shorter in early December, as in 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. the first few weekends compared to 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the peak season. Having Front of Line any of those days can help you experience more of the park, from the seasonal entertainment to all the rides and shows no matter which day you visit.
If you are looking for a hoppin’ deal on lodging in the Los Angeles area, Undercover Tourist offers discount hotel rooms near Universal Studios. Beat the traffic and save time by staying nearby.
What are you most looking forward to during Grinchmas 2017 at Universal Studios Hollywood? Share a tip or two in the comments below. Merry Grinchmas and Hoppy Wholidays!