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Our ~Grinchy~ Guide to Christmas at Universal Studios Hollywood 2019

by Mommy Frog on December 3, 2019 37 Los Angeles

Guide to Christmas at Universal Studios Hollywood - PinterestIt’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 Who-bilation and then hop over to The Wizarding World to experience the magic of the holiday season in Hogsmeade. This year, they both began on Thanksgiving Day! With shows, decorations and delicious food, there are so many fun holiday experiences throughout Universal Studios Hollywood! Here's a look at what 2019 brings.

We are getting an extra special gift from Universal Studios Hollywood this year ... more days of Grinchmas! The Holidays at Universal Studios Hollywood and Grinchmas run from Nov. 28 to Dec. 29, 2019. This season, you’ll find all of Universal decorated for the holiday season, with colorful lights, bows, ornaments and even a dusting of snow. You'll find themed Christmas trees throughout the park, from dinosaurs, to wizards, to 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.

Guide to Christmas at Universal Studios Hollywood 2019 - Entrance

We just hopped back from visiting Grinchmas and Christmas in Hogsmeade, and there are several changes in 2019 (including a new Whoville Christmas tree!). Hold onto your wizard hats and join us for the complete guide to Universal Studios Hollywood Christmas 2019.

Celebrate the Holidays in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Tthe Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts - Universal Studios Hollywood Christmas 2019

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.

Guide to Christmas at Universal Studios Hollywood 2019 - Holiday Feast

You do not want to miss one bit of this celebration, which runs daily from Nov. 28 to Dec. 29, 2019. Here’s what to expect:

Guide to Christmas at Universal Studios Hollywood 2019 - Frog Choir

  • 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 — A 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 in 2019 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 Studios Hollywood Christmas 2019 - Owl Post

Universal no longer prints out show times, so you’ll need to ask team members in wizard robes for them. The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle show times don’t always appear on the Universal Studios Hollywood app or ushwaittimes.com, although you can find the Frog Choir and other show and music times (under music). When we visited, the castle show was expected to start at 5:30 p.m. and run every half an hour until park closing, although there was a surprise early 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 show time, and team members may stop letting guests enter Hogsmeade. If it is crowded and dark enough, you might get treated to an early showing! If you are visiting on weeknight in early December, you do not have to invest much time before the show. On the other hand, you will have fewer opportunities to catch a show on a quieter night when the park closes at 6:00 p.m., so do not delay too long or you might miss out!

Wizarding World of Harry Potter Crowds - Universal Studios Hollywood Christmas 2019

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 be sure to plan around that. 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 2019!

Grinchmas 2019 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. Here is the Who (get it?), what, when, where, why and how of Grinchmas, all neatly packaged for you.

Who (Exactly!)

Guide to Christmas at Universal Studios Hollywood 2019 - Grinch Sticking Out TongueMany costumed Whos are just “who” you will find waiting to greet and entertain you during Christmas at Universal Studios Hollywood 2019. 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.

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 grow throughout the day. 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, 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 2019 is the most Grinchful time of the year at the park. You can’t miss him!

What

Guide to Christmas at Universal Studios Hollywood 2019 - Tree Lighting and Snowfall

There is so much to celebrate during the Wholidays. You can meet the Grinch, Max or other Who citizens. Holiday music sets the tone. Starting when it gets dark enough, (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.

Guide to Christmas at Universal Studios Hollywood 2019 - Doughnut

In terms of other treats, there are some Grinchy treats, such as green cotton candy, giant Grinch doughnuts and green popcorn to buy. Find other holiday favorites in the Grinchmas area. Bite into one of the yummy Wholiday cookies (we were hoppy to see a Hanukkah cookie, as well as a Christmas pinwheel cookie). You'll also find hot chocolate cupcakes, coconut holly cupcakes and chocolate peppermint rice crispy treats. Sip flavored hot chocolate drinks (great for warming up when it gets dark). Mel's sells cans of Who Hash, made from tater tots with beef, gravy and green onions.

When

Guide to Christmas at Universal Studios Hollywood 2019 - Mayor of WhovilleWhen can you experience Grinchmas at Universal Studios Hollywood 2019? Grinchmas used to fall on only on select days in December. But in 2019, Grinchmas runs every day from Nov. 28 to Dec. 29, 2019!

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 Wholiday 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.

Be sure to visit Grinchmas at Universal Studios Hollywood during the night, too, starting at 5:30 p.m. The lights after dark make the whole scene even more festive. Note that there is no longer a musical act with the Grinch during the Studio Tour, nor is there storytime with Cindy Lou. The Wholiday Singers and Martha May no longer have musical acts. The tree lighting is the main event at night. Benches appeared before the first show, so hop on over and take a seat!

Where

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 year at Universal Studios for young tadpoles! 

Why

Guide to Christmas at Universal Studios Hollywood 2019 - TreeWhy go to Christmas at Universal Studios Hollywood in 2019? 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 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. 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

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 meeting guests to do the tree lighting show every half an hour in the evening.

Kick Off the New Year at EVE

If you happen to be visiting on Dec. 31, 2019, you can ring in the new year at EVE, the New Year's Eve party. Enjoy multiple party areas with music, dancing, drinks and souvenirs. The midnight countdown celebrates with fireworks.

Tips for Universal Studios Hollywood Christmas 2019

Universal Studios Hollywood Christmas 2019 - Minion Christmas Tree

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:

  • Guide to Christmas at Universal Studios Hollywood 2019 - Cindy LouKnow the park hours before you arrive.
  • Arrive early.
  • Plan to stay until the park closes.
  • Visit during the week in the first half of December for the lightest crowds.
  • Consult the app for show times so you can catch all of the shows you want to see.
  • Be sure to check the Grinchmas signs for tree-lighting times.
  • Ask the employees in The Wizarding World about show times.
  • Bring a sweatshirt or Hogwarts robe and scarf — 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, or hop in place an hour before the first show to hopfully catch a bonus early show.
  • Stay at a nearby hotel.
  • Meet Santa Claus at Universal CityWalk.
  • Enjoy the CityWalk musical entertainment and Christmas tree, with 200,000 choreographed LEDs that move to the music (through Dec. 26, 2019)!
  • Check out the Hanukkah décor in the window of Saul & Sons New York Deli and Market façade in Upper Lot.

Guide to Christmas at Universal Studios Hollywood 2019 - Sponge Bob

  • 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 near Super Silly Fun Land and many other colorful trees near Despicable Me Minion Mayhem).

Penguins of Madagascar - Universal Studios Hollywood Christmas 2019

  • Consult ushwaittimes.com to locate Dreamworks characters, Scooby Doo and friends, Simpsons characters, Frankentein’s monster, the Mummy, Sponge Bob and Patrick, Curious George, Hello Kitty and more. Many are dressed to impress in their holiday clothes.

Universal Studios Hollywood Christmas 2019 - Merry Minions

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 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. throughout the season, and a shorter night can definitely cut the fun off early. You'll want to plan to fit it all in. Having Express access any of those days can help you experience more of the park, from the seasonal entertainment to all of the rides and shows, no matter which day you visit.

What are you most looking forward to during Christmas at Universal Studios Hollywood 2019? Share a tip or two in the comments below. If you are looking for a hoppin’ deal on 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 Wholidays!

Related: Universal Studios Hollywood Tips to Maximize Your Time

Hoppy planning!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
View Comments
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Dec 5, 2019 at 2:55 a.m. Layla H Smit Says...

Never been to Universal Studios and have been wanting to do the studio backlot tour, but wonder if it’s worth it during the holidays or if we should focus instead on Grinchmas and Hogwarts? If the backlot tour is worth it during holidays, would you suggest during the evening vs. day (if any holiday decorations can be viewed during the tour is what I’m wondering otherwise normally I would select the first am tour). If not, then perhaps the express pass is the way to go for this particular visit? Thank you.

Reply
Dec 4, 2019 at 9:42 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Layla!

You definitely must do the Studio Tour. Hop on it in the morning or during the day so you can focus on nighttime entertainment in Grinchmas and at Hogwarts. There aren't any holiday decorations on the Studio Tour, so enjoy seeing them in the rest of the park. If you are visiting at a peak time, Universal Express is the way to go. For weekdays in early December, you won't need it.

Hoppy Planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Dec 3, 2019 at 1:08 a.m. Susie Says...

Do u know if the Harry Potter show still occurs even if it rains?

Reply
Dec 5, 2019 at 11:48 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Susie!

If it's a light rain, the show may go on, but in the event of anything substantial, the show may be canceled.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Nov 18, 2019 at 12:54 a.m. MIA VILLAREAL Says...

Do you know why the tickets for christmas day are not on sale yet?

Reply
Nov 18, 2019 at 11:20 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Mia!

We can see them on Universal's site! If you are purchasing from us, you'll need either a Peak or Anytime ticket. Hope this helps!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Nov 15, 2019 at 10:57 p.m. Ericka Says...

Do you know if all of the holiday decorations will be taken down at the end of 12/29/19? Naturally- we got our tickets on the 30th... womp womp. It will still be fun, of course but I'm hoping some of the festive decor will still be up?

Reply
Nov 18, 2019 at 1:43 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Ericka!

Since the festive décor was already up two weeks before the holidays starts, we expect that they will not be able to remove it all overnight. You probably cannot access the Grinchmas area, but the rest of the park will likely have decorations for a few days. Enjoy!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Nov 13, 2019 at 4:28 p.m. Tina Says...

Does any Resturant in the park serve anything special Christmas Day ?

Reply
Nov 14, 2019 at 9:22 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Tina!

It's not limited to Christmas Day, but the Three Broomsticks in the Wizarding World offers a Holiday Dinner and hot butterbeer throughout the holiday season :) Enjoy!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Nov 4, 2019 at 10:53 p.m. Olivia Says...

Visiting for 4 days during Dec 22-26: do we need express passes? If not, how long are wait times?

Reply
Nov 4, 2019 at 5:10 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Olivia!

Those days are forecast to be very busy, so we'd definitely suggest Express Passes if you can swing it.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Oct 24, 2019 at 2:33 a.m. Holly Says...

Will Universal Studios Hollywood be decorated earlier for Christmas? We will be there 11/26 hoping for some holiday cheer.

Reply
Oct 25, 2019 at 9:12 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Holly!

This year, Universal starts the Christmas season on Nov. 28. We do not have the dates for Grinchmas yet, but the rest of the park will be decorated Nov. 28, 2019. Crossing our froggy fingers that you may catch a glimpse of some early decorations!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Dec 29, 2018 at 12:58 a.m. Brittany Says...

Does the Grinchmas happen every year? And if so, when will it start in 2019? Planning a trip and want to go to it.

Reply
Dec 29, 2018 at 6:41 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Brittany,

Grinchmas is so much fun! It's an annual tradition for our frog squad! While it happens every year, keep in mind that it and all events, until confirmed, are always subject to change.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Dec 11, 2018 at 4:47 p.m. Peri Says...

Hi there! I was wondering if you had any idea about the photo times for grinchmas? Tried to get one last year but missed the window!

Reply
Dec 11, 2018 at 2:58 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Peri!

The Grinch does photos all day long, usually from about 10 a.mm until near closing time. The line is about an hour all day, up to 90 min. in early December, or longer closer to the holidays. The Whos wander about all day for photos. Hope this helps!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Oct 10, 2018 at 6:55 p.m. Abbey Says...

We are going to both universal studios and isles of adventure on Dec. 18, 19, and 20.....tues through Thurs. Is it really busy during this time? Also would you suggest getting the express pass?

Reply
Oct 12, 2018 at 3:19 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Abbey!

You can check out our Crowd Calendar for details, but this looks like a pretty great time to visit! Since you have three days to enjoy, we don't think Express Pass is a necessity.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Dec 3, 2017 at 11:37 p.m. Anthony p Says...

Are you open on Christmas for Grinchmas?

Reply
Sep 16, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. Sara Sherman Says...

How are the crowds on Christmas Day itself?

Reply
Nov 21, 2017 at 2:34 a.m. horton eva Says...

does Fast of line ticket work for the grinch show as well?

Reply
Nov 21, 2017 at 2:26 a.m. horton eva Says...

I like to know when the grinch program starts/how often and fron what time to what time?

Reply
Dec 22, 2017 at 8:55 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi there,

It's about 25 minutes. Show times vary. You can find times on Universal's site.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Nov 19, 2017 at 4:07 p.m. Lisa Knous Says...

I am trying to figure a way to get a picture with the grinch for my Christmas card this year with my husband and myself. We have no children and I am a grinch collector. I can't afford the 200 for us to get into the park for a day. Any ideas? Help

Reply
Nov 14, 2017 at 3:26 a.m. Miguel Says...

When can we purchase tickets for grinchmas?

Reply
Nov 14, 2017 at 11:52 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Miguel,

Grinchmas is included with regular theme park admission. You can purchase a ticket now!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Sep 24, 2017 at 10:13 p.m. Nikki Says...

Do they always do it on Saturday and sunday?!?!? we are going Dec. 8th(Friday) also if we go on the Friday not the date of it , is there still Grinch and whoville things to see?

Reply
Sep 25, 2017 at 3:02 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Nikki,

Grinchmas dates are usually Saturday and Sunday in early December and then every day once the holiday break gets underway. They do not usually release the dates until mid to late November.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Aug 13, 2017 at 11:54 p.m. Rana Melton Says...

We will be there Dec. 3rd. It's the first Sunday of the month. Do you think they'll be having Grinchmas then? We were planning on the 6th but from the looks of 2016's schedule they did it the first two weekends only, then daily from the 16th on. I'm hoping we get to see it!! I'll be so sad if I buy my tickets now for the 3rd and they don't do it until after our trip.

Reply
Aug 14, 2017 at 7:36 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Rana,

While it's always possible they could start early, we would expect Grinchmas to follow the same schedule as last year.

Hoppy Planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Jan 2, 2017 at 8:16 p.m. Erika Ruiz Says...

Asta cuando esta lo de navidad y el Grinch

Reply
Dec 17, 2016 at 1:31 a.m. Jewel Says...

Great article...do you have any specifics as to the times of the shows or when the Grinch begins his meet & greets?

Reply
Dec 21, 2016 at 12:03 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jewel,

Universal Studios Hollywood does not publish showtimes online. Grab a show time schedule when you arrive at the main gate during your visit.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Dec 5, 2016 at 2:11 p.m. Jessica Says...

Thank you for the article!

Reply
Mar 9, 2016 at 10:58 p.m. Cheryl Tears Says...

Please let me know when Grinchmas 2016/2017 dates are. I would like to send my Grandson there for Christmas. Looks like the best time ever !!!!

Reply
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