December 5, 2014 – With a star-studded opening ceremony, Universal Studios Hollywood officially welcomed this year’s Grinchmas event.
Featuring Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, actor and singer Alexa PenaVega and Carlos PenaVega alongside Yvette Nicole Brown from NBC’s Community and the cast of Whoville, Universal kicked off this year’s festivities with various song and dance performances alongside a spectacular fireworks display. Also in attendance were a group of Los Angeles area school children who after the show got to participate in the Whoville activities surrounding the tree. The kids had the opportunity to decorate cookies and ornaments which theme parks guests will also be able to do when visiting Grinchmas.
As Grinchmas grows prominence in Universal’s yearly lineup, the park continues to receive additional holiday decor each successive year. Guests can expect a colorful holiday array scattered throughout the Upper and Lower Lot – perhaps more notably in Universal’s newest addition, Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem.
As was the case with last year’s event, this year’s Grinchmas will be held in Universal Plaza.
Despite the park’s dominating construction zones, this year’s Grinchmas continues to run without a hitch.
While the bulk of the Whoville show has been shortened (a precedence set by last year’s event), Universal has attempted to make up the loss of the main show with additional props, photo opportunities, meet and greets and Whoville singers and entertainers spread across the entire day.
Universal’s towering 60-foot Grinchmas tree.
Martha May Whovier, Mayor Augustus May Who and Cindy Lou Who alongside the rest of the Whoville community begin this year’s opening festivities.
Interestingly enough, the Santa Doll Dancers – which used to occupy the Blues Brothers stage as a separate show – have been integrated in this year’s event.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Grinchmas without a special appearance by the Grinch himself!
With the inclusion of the Santa Doll Dancers, Universal has also increased the number of walk-around Whoville characters throughout this year’s Whoville celebration.
Max the Dog makes a special appearance…
…alongside Cindy Who Lou!
Unlike the previous opening ceremonies which have included a Whomanitarian of the Year Award, this year’s festivities have been introduced with a first-ever Mayoral Proclamation issued by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Mayor Garcetti spoke briefly about the jobs and tourism dollars Universal’s five-year expansion will bring to Los Angeles.
NBC’s Yvette Nicole Brown was on hand to welcome this year’s event…
…and Alexa PenaVega and Carlos PenaVega!
With the Grinch by his side (and the residents of Whoville), Eric Garcetti ignites the Whoville tree with a spectacular fireworks display.
Fireworks – a first for Grinchmas!
Eric Garcetti with the Grinch, Max the Dog, Alexa PenaVega and Carlos PenaVega and Yvette Nicole Brown.
Eric Garcetti, the Grinch and Universal’s Chief Operating Officer Larry Kurzweil.
Along with the usual cookie-decorating and ornament-making activities, this year’s Grinchmas will feature a special charity activity dubbed “Letters to the Grinch.”
For every postcard written and sent through the Whoville post office, Random House will donate a children’s book to the community of the post card writer.
For an extra fee, Grinchmas patrons can also decorate their very own cookie.
Finally, ornament coloring is also an option for those who want to add a bit of Whoville to their Christmas tree.
Finally, this year’s Grinchmas features a plethora of Whoville characters – some old, and some new! Along with the Grinch and his designated meet-and-greet, guests can also take photos across Universal Plaza with a variety of different characters inspired by the Ron Howard film.
That does it for this year’s opening ceremonies for Grinchmas 2014. Despite the prevalent construction throughout the park, this year’s event appears to maintain the same features and characteristics of last year’s event – a remarkable feat indeed. Additional characters have been added to the roster, and the wildly popular Whoville Singers will be making special appearances throughout the evening. Finally, Universal must be acknowledged for adding a charitable side to this year’s event with Random House’s donation program. If you’re at the event, be sure to fill out a postcard to make a small difference in your community.
Grinchmas runs from December 6 to January 3 on select dates, and is included in the price of general admission.
Special thanks goes out to Universal for the invitation and kind hospitality. Please stay with Inside Universal as we continue our comprehensive coverage of this year’s Grinchmas celebration!
Christopher Tillman is an editor for Inside Universal.
Christopher is a California native who grew up visiting all of the Golden State’s theme parks. While studying theatre in college Christopher bounced around working at a few different attractions in Orange Country and Los Angeles. Now the father of a two year old, he is experiencing theme parks in a whole new way and has become the old man saying things like; “I remember when KITT and the A-Team van used to be here.”
You may contact Christopher at firstname.lastname@example.org.