Universal Holidays Returns with Grinchmas and the Wizarding World at Christmas

Universal Studios Hollywood stepped it up this year with a dusting of holiday cheer for Universal Holidays! The month-long celebration includes holiday activities, shows, food, decor and merchandise in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, including a dazzling light spectacular that transforms Hogwarts Castle. Plus a new addition for 2018: magical snowfall in Hogsmeade! From there, it’s a short walk to the middle of the theme park, in the heart of the plaza, where a giant Dr. Seuss-style Christmas tree presides over Grinchmas. Here you will encounter dancers, singers, more mouthwatering treats and the Grinch!

Universal Studios Grinchmas

The festivities for both holiday celebrations are included with park admission. Scroll on for complete show and walk-through videos, pictures and some handy tips for Universal Studios during the holidays.

A Harry Potter Christmas

Glistening Snowfall and Dazzling Lights in the Wizarding World

If you are a Potterhead, then Universal Studios during the holiday season is a MUST. Hogsmeade already boasts a year-round sprinkling of snow on the rooftops, so adding ACTUAL (fake) snow is the perfect accompaniment. Multiple snowfalls happen every evening starting at 5:15pm.

In the evenings, the holiday spirit culminates in “The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle.” Lights dazzle and Christmas music surrounds you as you gaze upon a transformed Hogwarts Castle. Luckily, the show happens every half hour after sundown. This is a can’t-miss eight minutes of Holiday Harry Potter goodness and you can watch it right here:

TIP #1: Don’t expect to waltz into the Wizarding World 5 minutes before the first Hogwarts Castle light show. Hogsmeade gets so crowded right before this first show that park employees must implement crowd control and one-way walkways leading into the Wizarding World itself. Our tip? Wait for a later showing when you can walk straight into Hogsmeade. If you absolutely MUST see that first show, park yourself in front of the castle about 30-45 minutes before showtime and find some like-minded souls to chat with while you wait.

Warm Butterbeer

Served in a “Starbucks-like” sustainable coffee cup, warm butterbeer looks upscale and is warm to the touch. Then you drink. With that amazing butterscotch taste, it’s like liquid gold running down your throat,. Among the three butterbeer options — frozen, iced and warm – the warm one is definitely my favorite.

TIP #2: Drink 3! But seriously, grab a fresh, hot butterbeer right before watching Hogsmeade’s Frog Choir.

Singing Toads and Students!

You’ve soaked in the ambience of Hogsmeade, ridden all the rides and bought a really cool but overly expensive wand. Now what? Chill out and listen as the a cappella Frog Choir and their Hogwarts student keepers sing new Christmas carols unique to the Wizarding World! Watch their entire set here:

Grinchmas at Universal Studios

Who Has Awesome Shows? The Who’s Do!

No joke, you could spend your entire day at the park in Who-ville, where Grinchmas is in full swing. There is a TON of stuff to do and see. Here’s a great walkthrough video to give you an idea:

What to do first? It depends on what’s important to you. If you love live music and performances, you are in for a treat. The main stage boasts shows every 15-30 minutes. We were lucky enough to see the “boy-band” Who-liday Singers, and their 18-minute set was delightful. Check it out:

Shortly after the guys left the stage, Martha May and the Who-Dolls took over with a VERY short 3-song set. Martha May (not in Who make-up, for some reason) belts out unique holiday tunes while the four Who-Dolls dance. You can watch the entire 5-minute show here:

TIP #3: Don’t want to wait in the 60-90-minute line for a picture with The Grinch? He leaves his spot for a short cameo at the end of the Who-Dolls show and you can snap a quick picture/video of him doing his Grinchy thing.

TIP #4: If you’d like a seat to watch a particular show, come before the previous show ends. As some people vacate the area, you can wind your way up to a seat, if you’re quick.

Meet The Grinch

If you absolutely MUST take a family photo with The Grinch, it is worth the wait. He is very interactive and his poses are to die for.

Photo by David Sprague for Universal Studios Hollywood

You may be waiting about an hour to meet the Grinch, but luckily you can benefit from hearing all the amazing shows and singers on the main stage. Don’t forget to meet Max, the Grinch’s favorite furry friend. He is the most adorable thing!

TIP #5: Divide and conquer! If you have little ones, you can write and mail The Grinch a letter with no wait! One adult can wait in line for the Grinch while the other accompanies the kids as they write their letter and mail it in the Post Office.

Grinchmas Tree Lighting

Who doesn’t love a festive tree-lighting ceremony? Who-ville does it right. The crazy Christmas tree lights up in several different colors, projections and more, to rockin’ holiday music. The ceremony is about 7 minutes, and happens every half hour starting at 5:30pm. Colors pop and the atmosphere is even more merry at night, because it also snows in Who-ville! Watch the whole show here:

Plan Your Visit

While Grinchmas and Christmas in the Wizarding World took up most of our time this year, don’t forget that your Universal Studios ticket also includes the Studio Tour, world-class rides like Transformers and Minions, and so much more.

Grinchmas occurs on 12/1-12/2, 12/8-12/9 and then daily from 12/14-12/30.
Holidays in the Wizarding World will be decked out from 11/17 to 1/6/2017.

For more information and tickets, head to www.universalstudioshollywood.com. For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on InstagramTwitter and “like” our Facebook page too.



About Richard & Sarah Woloski

Richard and Sarah Woloski are the co-hosts and creators of the Disney / Star Wars Podcast Skywalking Through Neverland. The husband and wife team strives to create a polished, positive and fun weekly show celebrating fandom. They also love writing for Adventures By Daddy. Find them @SkywalkingPod