It’s never too early to start thinking about how you want to spend the holidays! Our frog squad looks forward to our tradition — celebrating Christmas at Universal Studios Hollywood at the beginning of the holiday season! Each year, we time our visit to occur on the opening weekend of Grinchmas so we can enjoy the Holiday Whobilation and then hop over to The Wizarding World to experience the magic of the holiday season in Hogsmeade. We do not yet have the official dates for Grinchmas and Universal Studios Christmas celebrations for 2022. Hop back int the fall for the full details. If you are trying to plan your trip ahead of time, you can use the 2021 information in this post as your guide.
In 2021, both Grinchmas and the magic of the holiday season in Hogsmeade ran daily from Nov. 26, 2021, to Jan 9, 2022. More entertainment hoppened on the weekend than during the week since the park closes early on weekdays in early December.
With shows, decorations and delicious food, there are so many fun holiday experiences for the Universal Studios Christmas celebration! Here's a look at what to expect now that the old Grinch has sled into Whoville.
You can find the most up-to-date information about visiting the park in our post on what's hoppening following the Universal Studios Hollywood reopening.
What to Expect for Universal Studios Christmas 2022
We got an extra special gift from Universal Studios Hollywood in 2021 ... more days of Grinchmas! The daily Whobilation and Christmas in Hogsmeade celebration ran until Jan. 9, 2022. Check the calendar before you visit for park hours! Nights on which the park stays open until at least 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. include more entertainment.
You’ll find all of Universal decorated for the holiday season, with colorful lights, bows, ornaments and even a dusting of snow. Look for themed Christmas trees throughout the park, from dinosaurs to wizards and minions to Seuss-ian! Your favorite characters don their Santa hats or ugly Christmas sweaters and scarves to greet guests. And behold the merry (and mischievous!) minions, who also help you get into the holiday spirit.
When you visit, you'll have a new ride to celebrate. The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash! is now open, plus Jurassic World — The Ride has a new and terrifyingly exciting ending. Be sure to add these to your list of must-do rides.
Our hearts always grow three sizes when we visit Grinchmas and Christmas in Hogsmeade. Hold onto your wizard hats and join us for the complete guide to Universal Studios Christmas 2022.
Celebrate the Holidays in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
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 greenery and enchanted candles. Harry experiences his first-ever Christmas feast of roast turkey and mounds of side dishes 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! You’d better add Universal Studios Hollywood tickets to your wish list this year so you can experience all of the Universal Studios Hollywood holiday events and magic too.
You do not want to miss one bit of this celebration, which runs daily, usually from late November until late December (this year, it ends Jan. 2!). Here’s what to expect:
- Festive holiday décor — Throughout the streets of Hogsmeade, find glimmering lights, wreaths, garland and the largest ball of mistletoe you’ve ever seen.
- The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle — This nighttime show with projections, music and dazzling lights returns in 2021 (it will be the first Hogwarts nighttime show since the park reopened).
- 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 may include the English Holiday Dinner with juicy turkey, gravy, sourdough stuffing, carrots, Brussels sprouts, bacon-wrapped sausage and cranberry sauce at the Three Broomsticks. It's quite tasty! The Three Broomsticks also offers a "Cheese Toasty with Chicken" sandwich (think fancy grilled cheese with chicken, bacon-mustard sauce and sliced tomato) served with salad or potato wedges.
- 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 showtimes, so you’ll need to ask team members in The Wizarding World for them. The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle showtimes appear on the Universal Studios Hollywood app after 9:30 a.m. that day under "Park Updates." When we last visited, the castle show was expected to start at 6 p.m. and run every half an hour until park closing (but there was a surprise bonus show a little early!).
We recommend getting in place an hour before the first scheduled show on peak days because Hogsmeade reaches capacity during the show, and team members may stop letting guests enter Hogsmeade. If it is crowded and dark enough, you might get treated to an early showing!
The park may begin limiting entry into The Wizarding World to control crowds on busy days, and may only admit people as space allows, so keep that in mind when planning out the rest of your night. Chances are, you'll want to see "The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle" show and also hop over to the Grinchmas tree lighting. Let's hop over to all of the naughty (and nice!) details of Grinchmas 2022!
Grinchmas 2022 at Universal Studios Hollywood
Some of my hoppiest holiday memories involve reading and watching Dr. Seuss’ "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" as a young froglet. That’s why I am always just as frogcited as the kids to ring in the Who-liday season during Grinchmas. Here is the Who (get it?), what, when, where, why and how of Grinchmas, all neatly packaged for you.
Many costumed Whos are just "who" you will find waiting to greet and entertain you during Christmas at Universal Studios Hollywood 2022. Not to mention, the Grinch himself and even his dog, Max, will be present. Meet Cindy Lou Who and her many Who friends, from the tall to the small, as they are walking around, posing for pictures and making guests laugh. Their faces are covered in 2021, but normally it is fun to see the Whos' expressions.
The Grinch has become quite popular and chatty since his heart grew three sizes, so visit and take a photo with him early — lines grow throughout the day. Max, being a real dog, does not have much to say, so his line is quite short, and he leaves earlier than the Grinch. 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, donations will be made to help support tutoring for homeless youth!
The Grinch steals the light from the tree — and the show — for the tree lighting. But his growing heart makes him put the light back, and you can enjoy the tree in all its wonder. Christmas at Universal Studios Hollywood 2022is the most Grinchful time of the year at the park. You can’t miss him!
There is so much to celebrate during the Who-lidays. You can meet the Grinch, Max or other Who citizens. Holiday music sets the tone. Starting when it gets dark enough on select nights (5:30 p.m. on the night we visited), the Whos (along with the Grinch) gather on stage for the Christmas tree lighting for the new Whoville Christmas tree. The lighting usually occurs every 30 minutes. Each lighting is followed by a brief snowfall. In 2021, only the mayor and Cindy Lou joined the Grinch on stage. Things could return closer to normal by 2022.
In terms of other treats, there are some Grinchy treats, such as green cotton candy, giant Grinch doughnuts and mini doughnuts to buy. Find other holiday favorites in the Grinchmas area. Bite into one of the yummy Who-liday cookies (we were hoppy to see a Hanukkah cookie, as well as a Christmas pinwheel cookie). You'll also find cake jars, snowflake or gingerbread cupcakes, and chocolate peppermint rice crispy treats. Sip flavored hot chocolate drinks (great for warming up when it gets dark). Adults can enjoy spiked hot cocoa and hot buttered rum.
When can you experience Grinchmas at Universal Studios Hollywood 2022? We don't know for sure just yet. In 2021 it kicked off the Friday after Thanksgiving and ran until Jan. 9, 2022 (but that was an unusually late end date.) Grinchmas used to fall only on select days in December with a lot more entertainment. But now Grinchmas comes every day (but note that the tree lighting and snowfall don't hoppen every day)!
While we get more days of the grinch, in recent years, the park shrunk the amount of Grinchmas entertainment from what we experienced in years past. There is no longer a musical act with the Grinch during the Studio Tour (the Whoville set on the tour is gone). The Who-liday Singers and Martha May no longer have musical acts. The tree lighting is now the main event at night. But we do have hoppin' good news — Story Time with Cindy Lou is back on select days. Look for carpet circles on the ground for the tadpoles to sit and listen.
The Frog Family likes to hop in and out of the Grinchmas Who-bilation in the Upper Lot throughout the day. We love meeting the various Who characters! They are so funny! Look for signs with all of the Who-liday event times posted at Grinchmas entrances so you can plan accordingly. There are lighter crowds during the day than at night. You'll also encounter lighter crowds during the week in early December than closer to the holidays. But you'll still want to visit Grinchmas at Universal Studios Hollywood during the night, starting at 5:30 p.m. The lights after dark make the whole scene even more festive. Be sure to visit on a night with evening hours in the park after it gets dark.
You’ll find Grinchmas in the Upper Lot in Universal Plaza. It is just a hop, skip and a jump away from The Wizarding World, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem (where you can also meet Minions and other "Despicable Me" characters) and Super Silly Fun Land. This makes Grinchmas one of the most fun times of the year at Universal Studios for young tadpoles!
Why go to Universal Studios Hollywood at Christmas time? It’s toadally fun, of course. Where else will you see a Seuss-ian wonky Christmas tree and real-live Whos? The Grinch is hilarious now that he's not trying to ruin your holiday (and he’s green, right? Can I get a ribbit, ribbit for my favorite color?!). It's something new to try at Universal and provides holiday fun for the whole family. Snowfall in Southern California is already pretty magical, but snowfall in Whoville is even more amazing. After visiting Grinchmas, hop on over to The Wizarding World for a cup of hot Butterbeer or a holiday dinner. Yum! Click here for more on the best food and drinks in the Wizarding World.
How should you approach Grinchmas at Universal Studios Hollywood? Hit the Grinch line as early as you can, and then hit the Studio Tour or your must-see rides in the Lower Lot early in the day. Then, return to see the tree lighting and snowfall. Note that the Grinch leaves his post to do the tree lighting show every half an hour in the evening.
Enjoy Seasonal Flavors Around the Park
We love trying seasonal foods, treats and beverages during the holidays at Universal Studios Hollywood.
Besides the yummy themed holiday foods in The Wizarding World and Grinchmas, you can also enjoy other fall food items at Universal Studios such as these 2021 items:
- Butternut Squash Soup (Vegan)
- Turkey Chowder in a Bread Bowl
- Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl
- Turkey Leg with Cranberry Glaze
- Cheese Tamale with Red & Green Sauce
- Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Beef Birria Tacos with Red Sauce
- Baguette Dog
- Hot Chocolate Cake in a Jar
- Pumpkin Spice Cake in a Jar
- Cupcakes and cookies
- Horchata Churro Bites
- Pesto Pasta Salad
- Holiday Eggnog
- Santa Minion Popcorn Bucket
Kick Off the New Year at EVE
If you hoppen to be visiting on Dec. 31, 2022, you can ring in 2023 at EVE, the New Year's Eve party. Enjoy multiple party areas with music, dancing, drinks and souvenirs. The midnight countdown celebrates with fireworks.
Experience some holiday cheer at CityWalk from mid-November to early January. The giant Christmas tree brightens the scene as people do their holiday shopping. Voodoo Doughnut offers holiday creations.
Tips for Universal Studios Christmas
With so much hoppening 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. You'll want a weekend or holiday week to see all the nighttime entertainment.
- Arrive early.
- Find out what you need to bring in terms of face coverings.
- Plan to stay until the park closes.
- Visit during weekends in the first half of December for the lightest crowds but full entertainment.
- Consult the app as of 9:30 a.m. the day you visit for the Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle showtimes.
- Be sure to check the Grinchmas signs for the tree lighting and Story Times.
- Ask the employees in The Wizarding World about showtimes.
- Bring a sweatshirt or Hogwarts robe and scarf — even if it's 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, or hop in place an hour before the first show to hopfully catch a bonus early show.
- Stay at a nearby hotel.
- Enjoy the CityWalk musical entertainment and Christmas tree, with 200,000 choreographed LEDs that move to the music (usually through Dec. 26)!
- Check out the Hanukkah décor in the window of Saul & Sons New York Deli and Market façade in the Upper Lot (and enjoy a Star of David cookie sold in the park).
- Try holiday treats, but save room for the English Holiday Dinner and hot Butterbeer in The Wizarding World.
- Purchase a Universal Express Ticket so you can fit everything in.
- Take advantage of Single Rider lines and Child Switch service.
- Enjoy the Jurassic World Christmas tree in the Lower Lot (as well as the minion tree in Super Silly Fun Land and many other colorful trees near Despicable Me Minion Mayhem).
Even though the earlier and weekday dates of Grinchmas are not as crowded as peak times near holidays and weekends, the park hours are much shorter on weekdays in early December. The closing times vary from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. throughout the season. A shorter night can definitely cut the fun off early. You'll want to plan to fit it all in. Having Express access on any of those days can help you experience more of the park. You want to hit all the seasonal entertainment, rides and shows no matter which day you visit.
What are you most looking forward to during Christmas at Universal Studios Hollywood 2022? Share a tip or two in the comments below. If you're looking for a hoppin’ deal on Universal Studios tickets or lodging in the Los Angeles area, Undercover Tourist offers discount hotel rooms near Universal Studios Hollywood. Beat the traffic and save time by staying nearby. Merry Grinchmas and Hoppy Who-lidays!