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Grinchmas at Universal Studios Hollywood

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Grinchmas at Universal Studios Hollywood
Grinchmas at Universal Studios Hollywood

Whoville at Grinchmas - Universal Studios Hollywood

© 2012 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.
Universal Studios' Christmas holiday celebration centers on the holiday film "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," morphing the name of the holiday into "Grinchmas" and launching a "Wholibration." Decorations go up outside the gates and in the entry area and the rest of the park gets a light dusting of holiday theming.

What to Expect at Grinchmas

Shows and other activities created around the Grinch theme take center stage. Special Grinchmas activities include:
  • Somehow, in the middle of mostly-sunny Southern California, you'll find a snow play area, filled with real snow, open until late afternoon when they close it to set up for the evening tree lighting.
  • In other places, you might meet Santa Claus and tell him what's on your Christmas list. At Universal, you can have your photo taken with the Grinch and his dog Max.
  • On the tram tour, you can see special performances in Whoville, where the already colorful sets get a dusting of artificial snow.
  • Evening tree lighting ceremonies with celebrity narrators. The show includes a musical performance that ends with the tree lighting and the whole thing lasts about 15 minutes. Several showings are held each evening, with the earlier ones being the most popular (which means the longest waits).

Grinchmas festivities start Thanksgiving weekend (late November) and run throughout the month of December. If you look for information on the Universal Studios website before then, don't be discouraged if you see no mention of it. Sometimes schedules are published only a week or two before the event begins.

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Tips for Visiting Universal Studios at Christmas

If you go to Universal Studios on Christmas Day (December 25), expect some of the largest crowds of the year.
  • If your schedule allows, get there in the morning and take in all the popular rides while lines are short. As the day goes on, lines and wait times can grow longer than Santa's list as season pass holders drop by for one more visit before year's end.

  • If the holidays are the only time you can visit Universal and you want to spend more time enjoying the attractions than in line, this is a good time to consider buying a Front of the Line pass, which allows you to bypass the long lines. Buy them online from Kijubi.com and you won't have to stand in line when you get there, either.

  • If anyone in your group is likely to get too tired if they stay all day - and you want to see the tree lighting - think about arriving in early afternoon. Enjoy the snow play area first, then plan to be in line for the tree lighting about an hour ahead of its scheduled time.

  • Celebrities are recruited to narrate the tree lighting show and often, they're stars of popular television shows. Check the schedule at the Universal Studios website to see if any of your favorite performers are participating (and when).

All the Details for Universal at Christmas

As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary tickets for the purpose of reviewing Grinchmas and Universal Studios at Christmas. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our ethics policy.

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