Most theme parks have special events and seasonal celebrations throughout the year. Some take place during regular park hours and are included in the cost of admission, while others are separately ticketed after-hours events — Universal Studios Hollywood has both types! Let's hop to it and break down the popular Universal Studios Hollywood events and (as well as what hoppens during peak seasons). Some events take place every year and other celebrations may occur just this year.
Overview of Universal Studios Hollywood Events
Whether you enjoy being chased by monsters, meeting the Grinch, sipping hot Butterbeer with a holiday meal or dancing under fireworks, there are a few Universal Studios Hollywood events for which you might want to time your visit while they occur. Keep hopping back as more events — such as Running Universal or other fun events — may be announced.
Lunar New Year
Lunar New Year brings some special decor, food and beverage options to the park from late January through February. You can purchase Lunar New Year merchandise in the gift shops. Celebrate by taking a photo with characters — such as Hello Kitty — dressed in their Lunar New Year best.
Spring break does not always have a specific event associated with it. It can, however, be a time of new attraction openings and increased entertainment. In 2023, Super Nintendo World opened, which was an instant smash (and we're not talking about bricks). But it's important to know that the last two weeks of March through the first two weeks of April generally see larger crowds and often the return of longer hours and nighttime entertainment. Catch a showing of the Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle or the Dark Arts shows during select days of spring break.
Grad Bashes are separately ticketed events that occur after hours for graduating seniors. These events with DJ dance parties are organized through schools, and they take place on select nights in May and June. They should not affect your daytime visit as they hoppen after the park is closed. You may see stages and decor set up for the events.
- 2023 Grad Bash Dates: May 12, 25, 26 and June 2 & 9, 2023
- 2024 Grad Bash Dates: May 10, 23, 24, 29, 31 and June 7, 2024
The park closes by 8 p.m. on Grad Bash nights (check the calendar for actual operating hours). Attendees can enter the park at 8 p.m, and the party starts at 9 p.m.
Summer is peak season at Universal Studios Hollywood. That means long hours, Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle (or the Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle) and finding ways to cool off. Summer crowds typically fill the park from mid-June through mid-August. You'll want to purchase tickets early and get Early Access tickets if Super Nintendo World is a priority. It's a great time to get Universal Express or take a VIP Tour to skip the lines. A perk of the VIP Experience is that it allows you to skip the line for the highly popular Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge. That ride is not included with Universal Express at this time.
Bring swimsuits and water shoes for the tadpoles to splash in the water at Super Silly Fun Land. Keep an eye on Virtual Lines for Secret Life of Pets and Super Nintendo World. Sit in the soak zone for WaterWorld. We have hot tips to beat the heat and summer crowds at Universal Studios Hollywood.
Here are a few Universal Studios Hollywood events hoppening this summer.
Jurassic June in 2023
Enjoy specialty food and beverages, as well as exclusive merchandise, during the month of June 2023 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the "Jurassic Park" movie. Select merch items will be available at the UNIVRS and Universal Studios Store on CityWalk and within the theme park at the Universal Studio Store and Jurassic Outfitters. New food items at Jurassic Cafe include Grilled Veggie and Beef Skewers, Brazilian Cheese Bread, Raptor Hummus, Coconut Flan, Dino Chocolate Tres Leches Cake and a Family Feast (two half chickens and two skewers, hummus, chips, cheese balls, mojo pork and vegetables).
Moviegoers can also catch screenings of the original "Jurassic Park" movie at Universal Cinema AMC during the weekend of June 9.
Fourth of July
If you hoppen to be visiting on Independence Day, catch a spectacular fireworks display.
Halloween Horror Nights
From mid-September through Halloween, Universal has a separately ticketed nighttime event that will terrify even the bravest visitors. We have separate posts on Halloween Horror Nights and tips for survival. Enter the park to the unleashing of monsters, encounter themed mazes, scare zones and a Terror Tram that takes you down to encounter more than just psychos in the Backlot. Death Eaters patrol the Wizarding World and duel with guests. You can catch a breather by enjoying music, special drinks and themed food.
Holiday Season at Universal Studios Hollywood
Between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, there is a lot hoppening at Universal Studios, and it's all in included in your Universal Studios ticket. The park and CityWalk are decorated with a bunch of garland, lights and trees. Characters are in their holiday and winter best. You can enjoy special entertainment, seasonal characters and celebrations. You can get all the festive details in our guide to Christmas at Universal Studios Hollywood.
Here are three events that fall during the holidays at Universal Studios:
Meet the Grinch, Max and all the Whos, including Cindy Lou Who, during Grinchmas. You can eat special treats, watch special entertainment and experience a Seussian tree lighting with snowfall. It's one of our favorite Universal Studios Hollywood events, for sure!
Christmas in the Wizarding World
Step into Hogsmeade to the sights of festive holiday décor with glimmering lights, wreaths, trees, garland and the largest ball of mistletoe you’ve ever seen. Each shop is decorated with its own holiday-themed garland! Watch The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle and the Holiday Frog Choir. You can also do some holiday shopping for the wannabe wizards and witches in your family.
Warm up with hot Butterbeer and the English Holiday Meal with juicy turkey, gravy, sourdough stuffing, carrots, Brussels sprouts, bacon-wrapped sausage and cranberry sauce at the Three Broomsticks. It's quite tasty!
Ring in the new year on Dec. 31 at EVE, the New Year's Eve party. Enjoy multiple party areas with music, dancing, drinks and souvenirs. The midnight countdown celebrates with fireworks. Winter snowfall and confetti bursts add excitement to designated areas. The festivities are included in your theme park ticket, and the park stays open until 2 a.m. The New Year's party festivities kick off at 9 p.m.
Which Universal Studios Hollywood Events are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments below. Don't froget that you can save big on Universal Studios Hollywood tickets, Universal Express, VIP Experiences and Halloween Horror Nights when you purchase authorized discount tickets and book nearby hotels with Undercover Tourist!
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