After last year’s quiet winter season during the park’s 2020 closure, the holidays have at last returned in full swing to Universal Studios Hollywood! This year features the return of Grinchmas in Universal Plaza, Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and holiday décor all throughout the park daily now through January 9.
Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter returns with its usual magical splendor. Nothing appears to have changed from years past, but that does not make the land any less magical during the holidays. Themed Christmas décor lines nearly every building from Honeydukes to the Three Broomsticks, and guests can enjoy the ambiance while grabbing a hot Butterbeer and catch one of the performances of the Holiday Frog Choir throughout the day.
Alongside hot Butterbeer, the Three Broomsticks and Hog’s Head Pub have a handful of unique holiday offerings. Guests can purchase the English Holiday Meal at the Three Broomsticks – composed of roasted turkey with gravy, stuffing, carrots, brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce, and a bacon-wrapped sausage – or try the Holiday Eggnog or Hot Holiday Pear Cider at Hog’s Head Pub.
At the end of the night, guests can flock back to Hogsmeade for a viewing of the nighttime spectacular, The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle, back in all its glory as it lights up Hogsmeade with vibrant imagery, animations, and pyrotechnics. As usual, we recommend arriving at least half an hour early to secure a spot for the show in the designated viewing area, as the holidays crowds can be quite intense. The show remains the same as in previous years, though is just as popular among guests as in the past.
Outside of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Grinchmas has returned to Universal Plaza in a remarkably similar fashion to 2019’s event, though with some small but needed improvements. Story Time with Cindy-Lou has returned as the main daytime show at Grinchmas, helping to fill in the noticeable gap for daytime entertainment present in 2019.
Mayor May Who also heads to the stage in front of the tree periodically throughout the day to answer questions from guests in the audience, playfully referred to as the citizens of Whoville.
Other than those two additions to Grinchmas, the event remains the same as in 2019, with opportunities to meet the Grinch and Max, send a postcard to the Grinch at the Whoville Post Box in exchange for Universal making a donation to charity, and the opportunity to purchase some “Who-bilicious” treats from a food cart at the corner of the plaza.
Showtimes for the Wholiday Tree Lighting begin at 5:30 PM each night and run every half hour until park closing, though the full show only occurs on weekends at the time of this article’s publication. The plot of the show has not changed from 2019, though its cast has shrunk to include only the Mayor, Cindy-Lou Who, and the Grinch now. On weekdays though, only the tree is lit up, as there are no characters present during the day except for the Grinch and Max photo opportunities.
Overall, though we always look forward to visiting Grinchmas each year, we still would like to see the addition of at least one or two more shows in the future to expand the number of entertainment options offered during the day. However, we cannot emphasize enough how the cast of phenomenal actors and actresses that bring the characters of Dr. Seuss’s heart-warming story to life for guests of all ages at the event are what truly make it feel complete each year. There’s an indescribably optimistic twinkle of cheer that surrounds every Who – and of course, the Grinch – as they wander about in character, each sporting a distinct personality that uniquely distinguishes them from one another. Whether it be the Whoville postman, the Emerald Emissary, Martha May Whovier, or even the Grinch himself, you’re always sure to have a memorable interaction with the citizens of Whoville that brightens your day.
Be sure to catch Grinchmas and Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood this holiday season.