Photowalk Through Universal Studios Hollywood Grinchmas 2016

The Grinchmas celebration is back at Universal Studios Hollywood. And while not much has changed from last year (click here for our Grinchmas 2015 recap), it remains one of my favorite theme park holiday go-to’s. I’m genuinely excited when it’s Grinchmas time and we make our way over to Universal Studios Hollywood. Here are some of the highlights of our trip this year.

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Universal Studios Hollywood Backlot Tour

There are many theme parks in Southern California. But what makes Universal Studios unique is that it is an honest-to-goodness movie studio. And when you board that tram you are going to get a different experience every time. Yes, Jaws pops up. Yes, you experience an earthquake, and all of the other attractions that are part of the tour. But when you drive through the studio lot, you never know what you are going to see. So it’s always fun to see what productions are going on. In our case the New York sets are being used for the live TV performance of Hairspray. And the European sets were dressed for a show called, The Good Place that stars Ted Danson and Kristen Bell. So it’s really neat when you drive up to the actual Who-ville sets and see the Grinch and the Who-ville dancers do their thing. It’s the real set from the real movie it it comes to life right before your very eyes. I love that stuff! As a film buff, I’ll geek out all day on the studio tour. It’s fantastic and the Who-ville sets with the Grinch performing is just a nice bonus.

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The Who-liday Celebration at Universal Plaza

Once you are finished with the Studio Tour and have seen some other attractions like, The Simpsons Ride, Transformers, or Jurassic Park the Ride, head over to the Universal Plaza and check out the Who-ville Celebration. Again, not much has changed here from last year. But if you have never seen it, it’s definitely something to check out. Especially in the evening. All day they have several different shows including, Cindy Lou Who reading stories, musical performances by the Who-liday Singers Boy Band, and Martha May Who-vier and her Who-Dolls. In addition to that you can decorate your own holiday ornament and send a postcard to have a book donated to your community as thanks from Dr. Seuss L.P., Random House and First Book. Joining you in the celebration are some of the Who-ville citizens who walk around the plaza and interact with guests. And of course it wouldn’t be a Who-liday celebration without the Grinch and his dog Max. And you get to meet both! They also have so very tasty holiday treats! But the big highlight of this area is at night they do a tree lighting ceremony. They changed it up ever so slightly from last year, and it’s a really cool little show. And you really don’t have to worry about missing it as the show repeats every half hour. We watched it twice and loved it both times!

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Despicable Me and Super Silly Fun Land

Another fun area of the park is Super Silly Fun Land. This is where The Minions of Despicable Me live, and they put up some really nice holiday decorations up.

In addition, they have all the characters in the movie available for picture taking. And of course, the minions are all decked out in holiday attire which adds some extra festive flair to the numerous photo ops.

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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Of course we have to mention the crown jewel of Universal Studios, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I recently visited The Wizarding World in Orlando, so I had a pretty good idea what to expect. And of course it’s amazing. Love it SO MUCH. But there were a few highlights for me this time and one of them was I got to experience this with my kids. My youngest daughter got picked in the little wand show they do at Ollivanders wand shop. The wand chose her (for just $49.99)! The other thing that was new for me was Butterbeer. While my wife and I were in Orlando visiting, we didn’t partake in Butterbeer. We just kept hearing about how sweet it is and neither of us wanted a full cup as we are not sweet tooths. But this time around since we had the kids, we decided to grab a couple cups for them. That way we couls just take a few sips. In addition to the normal (or cold) Butterbeer, we also got something I understand is new. HOT Butterbeer. I simply can’t put into words how good this stuff is. It’s nectar from the gods. But yes, it’s very sweet. I tried the hot Butterbeer first and after sipping on that, the cold Butterbeer didn’t seem very sweet in comparison. I liked the hot Butterbeer the most, but both are delicious. Just get them. You’ll thank me later.

One other thing that has changed recently is that Universal removed the 3D element of the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction. So I never got to experience the 3D version, but I heard it was causing problems with ride load times, and motion sickness. So maybe that’s a good thing. Everything about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is amazing and I could go on and on. If there was anything I could say that is negative, is that I wish they put up some Christmas decorations. Sadly, they didn’t.

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Holidays at Universal CityWalk

One of the fun things about Universal is you don’t necessarily have to go to the theme park to have some holiday fun. You can head up to CityWalk for some awesome decor, free live performances, and of course you can visit with Santa. CityWalk is a lot of fun and we make it a point to visit there several times a year. But during the holidays, it’s really nice. The Christmas tree is Awesome!

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Between seeing the magic of movie making and the magic of Harry Potter, you really can’t go wrong with a holiday trip to Universal Studios Hollywood for Grinchmas. The park in general has improved so much and there really is a lot to do. They have great decor and merchandise.

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The Grinchmas celebration is just so much fun for the entire family, and for ours, it’s become a holiday tradition. Grinchmas at Universal Studios Hollywood runs on select dates through January 1, 2017. For more information and ticket visit www.universalstudioshollywood.com. Holidays at Universal CityWalk runs through December 23rd and is free. For more info and show schedules visit www.citywalkhollywood.com. For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on Twitter and “like” our Facebook page, too.

About Daniel Hale

Daniel Hale is a Theme Park Fanatic with a passion for the world of Themed Entertainment, especially Disneyland. As a podcaster he brings his love for all things Disney to his multiple award winning podcast, The DisGeek Podcast. He is also the co-host of the Earvengers Podcast, and co-host of the Getting Dirty Podcast. Daniel can be found at www.disgeek.com and @disgeekpodcast on twitter.