November 27, 2013 – Universal Studios Hollywood on Wednesday awarded actor Florence Henderson (best known for playing television’s Carol Brady on The Brady Bunch) with its annual Who-Manitarian of the Year Award for her work with the City of Hope research and treatment hospital in Los Angeles County.
Ms. Henderson’s award ceremony also signifies the start of Grinchmas 2013. While this year’s festivities will not feature a snow area or a full fledged tree lighting ceremony (there is still a scaled back show being offered) like in year’s past, Universal has promised to continue the Backlot Whobilation (which, as its name suggests, takes place on the Universal backlot on sets used in Ron Howard’s film How the Grinch Stole Christmas) as well as introduce a slew of interactive activities for kids. Universal has also erected a 60-foot tree in Universal Plaza – the parks’ new central gathering area – for photo opportunities and meet-and-greets.
Inside Universal was at Universal Studio Hollywood first-hand to detail Ms. Henderson’s award ceremony and the park’s elaborate tree setup at Universal Plaza. Grinchmas begins on Thanksgiving Day and continues on weekends through December 15. The event will then operate on a daily basis from December 20 through December 31.
We will feature more photos of this year’s park decor in a future photo update, but for now, here’s a sneak preview of the arch and entry-way as Universal prepares to welcome in the holiday season.
Along with the 60-foot tree, Universal has also introduced interactive Christmas stations throughout Universal Plaza. Guests can decorate cookies, create Christmas ornaments, take photos with the citizens of Whoville and even meet the Grinch.
Despite the lack of a snow play-area and a full featured tree lighting ceremony, Universal Plaza does look quite nice.
Best known for her role as Carol Brady on The Brady Bunch, Florence Henderson was honored with this year’s Who-Manitarian of the Year Award for her charitable work for the City of Hope research and treatment hospital. Members from the L.A. Family Housing organization gathered around the tree as the Grinch presented Ms. Henderson with her award.
Photos by Bruce Babcock and Chris Lord. Text by Jon Fu.