December 7, 2015 – Christmas season is here, and with it, the Grinch and the Whos bring their Wholiday cheer. They decorate the park with ornaments and light. They sing songs and dance dances all through the night. They bake cookies to decorate with icing and treats. They meet and greet all through the Universal streets!
Grinchmas is a fantastic way to celebrate the season. Decorations take over the entire park, the Grinch and his Whos meet and greet with families, and they even have a few limited time treats to enjoy. This year was very similar to last year’s event, but I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing.
Let’s check it out!
Universal really goes all out decorating the entire park. From the moment you see the front gate, you can tell you’re in for a treat. Ornaments and lights are strung almost everywhere. The shops and facades are covered in snow. They even project snowflakes all over the walls and ground at night.
The shops are filled with Christmas merchandise and displays. If you’d like to take home some Grinchmas merchandise or some Despicable Me ornaments, this is the place to get them. The merchandise really reinforces the whole holiday feel.
The main event, like every year, takes place in the Universal Plaza. They really do a fantastic job of transporting you to Who-ville. Everywhere you look, there are Christmas trees, candy cane light poles, Who-ville inspired signage, and twinkling lights.
Let’s not forget the main Christmas tree! In true Seussian nature, it’s curved from top to bottom, not a straight line on it. They use so many different kinds of lights to really make it shine. It’s something that really must be seen in person to fully appreciate.
The Whos are one of the best parts of the entire event. Everywhere you turn there is a Who to greet you. There are the staple Whos, like Cindy Lou Who, Martha May Whovier, and the Mayor of Who-ville. However, my favorite Whos are the ones created specifically for this event.
They are each their own character and you won’t run into two Whos that are alike. There’s the baker, band leader, police officer, the news reporter; the list goes on and on. They are so friendly and happy, it’s hard not to get in the Christmas spirit while you’re conversing with them. Of course, they will pose in pictures and sign autographs. However, the real fun is watching their personalities come to life as they walk around and have fun with guests.
The highlight, of course, is The Grinch himself. Unlike most of the Whos, you must wait in line to see him. He looks fantastic and seems to have popped straight out of the movie. You would almost guess it really was Jim Carrey in that Santa suit. He was funny, lively, and just a little bit gross, just as any real Grinch should be. It’s always a joy to see him.
Last year, Grinch and his dog, Max, were together at the photo op. This year, they gave Max his own area to meet. If you’d like to take a picture with Max in his reindeer attire, the offer is on the table. He was very cute.
Like last year, there is construction going on right outside the plaza. With that said: Universal did a great job on maintaining a cohesive environment within the plaza. Between the music, lights, characters, and treats. You really felt like you were in the middle of the Who-ville celebration. Even though the plaza was crowded, Universal did a fantastic job making it feel manageable.
The seating for the shows was the same as last year: a few rows of benches in front of the stage. As long as you show up a few minutes before showtime, it’s fairly easy to get a spot. Most of the shows are bite-sized as well, so it’s easy to stand and watch even if you show up right as they start.
At night, the entire plaza is filled with color and it really is a sight to behold. Everywhere you look, people are smiling and having a great time. This has really become one of my favorite theme park traditions over the holidays.
This year’s activities were very similar to previous years’. It’s all family-friendly, and good for young children and children at heart, alike.
First, I decorated an ornament. They have tables set up where you can use crayons to color your very own Grinch inspired paper ornament. Once you’re done, you even get to hang it on one of the many Christmas trees in the tree lot. This activity is completely free and I could see it keeping little ones occupied for a good amount of time.
Next, I decorated my very own cookie. This year, you can choose between two types of cookies: a gingerbread man or a Christmas tree. I ended up choosing the man. The price of the experience was $6.49 and I found it to be a good value. The cookie is huge and came with three colors of frosting, a cup of M&M’s, and another of sprinkles. Everything you need is in the box. I found the cookie to be pretty good. Softer towards the middle and a little bit dryer on the outside, but with the frosting, it was very yummy.
A small change they made this year is to the book donations. They used to have a station set up specifically for donations. Now as you wait in line for Grinch, you are handed a card where you can write down three good deeds you will accomplish over the holidays. For every three good deeds you fill out, they will donate a book to children in need. It’s a fantastic gesture and it warms my heart to think about it.
There are four shows and a tram presentation that take place, as well: Story Time with Cindy-Lou, Martha May and the Who-Dolls, the Wholiday Singers, and The Wholiday Tree Lighting. You can find the shows throughout the day and night. It really is a lot of added entertainment for the park, giving you a lot more to take in.
Grinchmas was a ton of fun this year. The amount of time and effort put into the decorations and characters is evident. I fully recommend checking it out.
Even though it was very similar to last year, it was still a great time. I would even argue that part of the Christmas fun is tradition. If they had changed it up too much, I would have been a little disappointed. The decorations, Grinch, Whos, and shows were all on point. If you’ve never experienced Grinchmas, now is as good a time as ever. It’s going to be hard for any Grinch to avoid the holiday fever!
Tyler Crouch is an editor for Inside Universal.
Tyler is a Los Angeles native who grew up going to theme parks in Southern California and Orlando. His love for the parks grew from a young age. Fueled by his passion, he founded AttractionFaction.net. He has always wanted to visit Japan and will forever miss E.T.
You may reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.