Tag - universal studios

The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle Starts Tonight

Universal City, CA, June 23, 2017 Beginning this evening, guests are invited to see “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” in a whole new light when Universal Studios Hollywood debuts its all-new “The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle,” featuring a dazzling light projection experience against the backdrop of Hogwarts™ School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

As night falls on Hogsmeade village, “The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle” will shine brightly with an awe-inspiring spectacle that showcases the four houses of Hogwarts: Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin and culminates with awesome beams of lights that fan into the night sky.

The colorful state-of-the-art light display and special effects projection, designed to dance across the stunning Hogwarts castle, will be accompanied by a special musical arrangement created by Academy Award-winning composer John Williams based on his original scores composed for the film series. The musical arrangement that will emanate in a surround sound environment was conducted by prolific arranger William Ross and recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra in London.

“The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle” will take place multiple times a night during its summertime run.

Inspired by J.K. Rowling’s compelling stories and characters that were brought to life in the Warner Bros. films, “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” at Universal Studios Hollywood is a masterful recreation, faithful to the visual landscape of the fiction and films, including as its iconic focal point, Hogwarts castle.

From its snow-capped roofs and cobblestone streets to the historic British sensibilities that characterize the whimsical look and feel of the land, “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” transports guests of all ages to the very places they watched on the silver screen.

The architecturally stunning land also includes the incredibly captivating and highly acclaimed “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” thrill ride, now enhanced with 4K-HD and ride film projecting at an astounding rate of 120 frames-per-second for an even more immersive glimpse into Harry Potter’s world, as well as Flight of the Hippogriff™,” Universal Studios Hollywood’s first outdoor family coaster.

“The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” resonates with immense detail, inviting guests to revel in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World with the opportunity to enjoy authentic food and beverages at multiple locations, including Three Broomsticks™ and Hog’s Head pub, as well as the Magic Neep and Butterbeer™ carts.

A foray through the shops adds to the authenticity of the land with eight retail venues and locations, including Honeydukes™, Ollivanders™, Owl Post™, Zonko’s™ Joke Shop, Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment, Dervish and Banges™, Gladrags Wizardwear and Filch’s Emporium™ of Confiscated Goods.

More information is available at www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com. Join the conversation online using #WizardingWorldHollywood. Like Universal Studios Hollywood on Facebook and follow @UniStudios on Instagram and Twitter.

American Horror Story Roanoke Maze Announced for Halloween Horror Nights

Universal City, CA, June 15, 2017 – Universal Studios Hollywood announces the return of FX’s critically-acclaimed, Emmy® and Golden Globe® Award-winning television series “American Horror Story,” bringing Ryan Murphy’s demented “Roanoke” installment to life at this year’s “Halloween Horror Nights” event, beginning Friday, September 15, 2017.

“American Horror Story: Roanoke” will unearth the twisted legacy of The Lost Colony of Roanoke, transporting guests to the haunted backwoods of North Carolina where they will experience the terror that has tormented the town for centuries. The all-new disturbing maze, reimagined in acute and disturbing details, will unmask a cast of deranged killers, from the cannibalistic Polk family who subsist by feeding upon innocent victims to The Butcher who thrives on human sacrifices. Trapped in a vicious circle of evil and murder, guests will find themselves in a life or death battle to outrun the nightmare of Roanoke before the vindictive spirts and demented killers soak the earth with the blood of their victims.

“The macabre mind of Ryan Murphy brings a treasure-trove of limitless possibilities to ‘Halloween Horror Nights,” said John Murdy, Creative Director at Universal Studios Hollywood and Executive Producer of “Halloween Horror Nights.” “Because of the multitude of terrifying layers that come to life within this latest installment of FX’s ‘America Horror Story,’ we are devoting our entire maze to uncovering every twisted detail to fully immerse our guest into the Roanoke storyline.”

Captivating – and shocking – viewers since its debut in 2011, “American Horror Story” has won 15 Emmys, three Golden Globes, four Critics’ Choice Awards and one People’s Choice Award. The latest installment of “American Horror Story” returns to FX Fall 2017.

“Halloween Horror Nights” at Universal Studios Hollywood brings together the sickest minds in horror to immerse guests in a living, breathing, three-dimensional world of terror. Featuring an all-new slate of unrivaled film production quality mazes, frightful scare zones and a fully re-imagined “Terror Tram” experience uniquely themed to today’s most definitive horror properties, “Halloween Horror Nights” will taunt, terrorize and torment guests with spine-chilling haunted attractions as part of Southern California’s most extreme Halloween experience.

Updates on “Halloween Horror Nights” at Universal Studios Hollywood are available online at HalloweenHorrorNights.com/Hollywood and on Facebook at: “Halloween Horror Nights – Hollywood,” Instagram and Twitter at @HorrorNights as Creative Director John Murdy reveals a running chronicle of exclusive information. Watch videos on Halloween Horror Nights YouTube and join the conversation using #UniversalHHN.

Steven Spielberg Helps Inaugurate Universal CityWalk’s New State-of-the-Art Universal Cinema

Universal City, California, April 20, 2017 – Ron Meyer, Vice Chairman, NBCUniversal; Academy®, Emmy, Golden Globe and BAFTA award-winning filmmaker Steven Spielberg; Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Jordan Peele (Get Out); Emmy Award-nominated filmmaker Will Packer (Straight Outta Compton); Academy Award®-nominated and Emmy Award-winning producer Jason Blum (Get Out); and Karen Irwin, President & COO, Universal Studios Hollywood, celebrated the grand opening of Universal CityWalk’s multi-million dollar AMC Theatre renovation to create an all-new state-of-the-art Universal Cinema

With its proximity to the Universal Studios’ production lot and filming locations for many blockbuster movies, these award-winning filmmakers helped call “action” and shine a spotlight on the Universal Cinema as the place to “see movies where movies are made.”

“The new Universal Cinema is a spectacular place to enjoy blockbuster films and we’re thrilled to have such acclaimed filmmakers join us to commemorate the occasion,” said Karen Irwin, President & COO, Universal Studios Hollywood. “As The Entertainment Capital of L.A., we’ve entertained guests for generations, taking them behind-the-scenes of movie-making and placing them in the heart of the action with our incredible attractions, so it’s only fitting that we create the ultimate movie-going experience giving fans access to a movie theatre where they watch films in Hollywood screening rooms the same way filmmakers do.”

Universal Cinema’s top-to-bottom makeover coincides with Universal Studios Hollywood’s ambitious epic transformation to reimagine the world-class entertainment destination.

For film buffs, Universal CityWalk has long been the epicenter for fans seeking an environment that matches the excitement of their favorite blockbuster movies. Delivering modern, high-tech elegance and chic sophistication, the renovation of the split-level movie theatre offers a stylish and inviting place that captures the spirt of the glamourous movie studio—complete with screening room quality theatres and ultra-plush reclining seats.

The Director’s Lounge Cocktail Bar—an all-new upscale and stylish second-level retreat, flanked by the upper level theatres—adds a charismatic new dimension to the space for casual pre- and post- movie-going fun.  Beverages served at the lounge can also be taken into the second level theatres.

Each redesigned theatre has been fully upgraded with the most technologically advanced sight and sound achievements. The Universal Cinema represents the first multiplex in the United States to incorporate Christie laser projection, Christie Vive audio sound system and Dolby ATMOS with recliner seating to deliver maximum-impact movie presentations in 18 auditoriums. The installation of new state-of-the art screens, perforated to enable 360 degree audio, complement the overall enhancements.

The recent upgrade to the IMAX theatre features IMAX’s next-generation 4K laser projection and 12-channel sound systems designed to enhance the entire movie-going experience and provide an audience with sharper, brighter, clearer and more vivid digital images than ever.

A departure from traditional movie concession stands, the completely redesigned AMC Marketplace offers movie-goers a contemporary grab-n-go, self-service experience, featuring a delectable new take on concession favorites, including specialty popcorn, gourmet foods, real fruit smoothies, café style coffees and a Coca-Cola Freestyle self-service touch screen soda fountain featuring 165 different Coca-Cola drink products. 

A box office and guest services concierge is now located inside the venue, with convenient automated box office kiosks situated adjacent to the venue by the “5 Towers” outdoor concert stage. Additionally, movie-goers can enjoy $5 Movie General Parking with the purchase of a movie ticket. 

Since 1993, CityWalk has boosted the city’s rhythm through a foundation built on providing memorable entertainment experiences.  With a series of dramatic enhancements currently underway from the introduction of new dining experiences such as the recently opened Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, Voodoo Doughnut, and LudoBird, shopping experiences and visually aesthetic design features, CityWalk continues to resonate as one of L.A.’s most influential lifestyle centers.

More information on CityWalk is available at www.CityWalkHollywood.com. Regular updates can also be found on CityWalk’s Twitter @CityWalkLA, Facebook-Universal CityWalk Hollywood and Instagram @CityWalkLA.

Universal Cinema to Host Fate of the Furious Cars and Props Display

Universal City, California – April 18, 2017 – Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal CityWalk become headquarters for Universal Pictures’ blockbuster new movie The Fate of the Furious, inviting fans to see the No. 1 film in the world at the all-new Universal Cinema, get up close and personal with original prop cars and costume displays and cap off the experience aboard the theme park’s exciting thrill ride, The Fast & Furious—Supercharged, which features stars from the original film series.

As the one-stop destination for all things Fast & Furious, Universal CityWalk’s new state-of-the art Universal Cinema offers movie buffs the best seat in the house, where they can kick back on ultra-plush recliner seats in Hollywood screening-room quality theatres to watch their favorite characters reunite on the silver screen.

The turbo-charged takeover also provides guests with an exclusive look at the high-speed vehicles from the new movie on display both at Universal CityWalk and Universal Studios Hollywood.  This includes “Dom” Toretto’s (Vin Diesel) 1970 Dodge Charger, which has been souped-up to an Ice Charger with a 707 horsepower, 6.2 liter V8 engine to enable the vehicle to zip along snow and ice terrains in the new film. Other cars on display include the International MXT driven by Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), Hobb’s Dodge Ram, Roman Pearce’s (Tyrese Gibson) 2004 Bentley GT and the Ripsaw driven by Tej (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges).

Authentic wardrobe worn by Dom and Hobbs will also be prominently featured within the lobby of the new Universal Cinema.

Universal Studios Hollywood also invites guests on an electrifying thrill ride aboard it’s all-original “Fast & Furious—Supercharged” mega-attraction. The Studio Tour’s grand finale ride features characters made famous by Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson and Luke Evans and catapults guests into the high-stakes underground world of fast cars in a harrowing escapade – at perceived speeds in excess of 120 miles per hour – to save one of their own from an international crime cartel.

For more information and to purchase tickets to The Fate of the Furious, visit www.CityWalkHollywood.com. Additionally, movie-goers can enjoy $5 Movie General Parking with the purchase of a movie ticket.

Visiting guests can get a supercharged look at the new The Fate of the Furious displays within Universal Plaza, located in the heart of the theme park, now through Friday, April 28, and just outside Universal Cinema until Sunday, April 23.

More information about Universal CityWalk is available at www.CityWalkHollywood.com. Regular updates also can be found on CityWalk’s Twitter @CityWalkLA, Facebook page Universal CityWalk Hollywood and Instagram @CityWalkLA. Join the conversation online using #FastFuriousRide, and for the latest news, ‘like’ Universal Studios Hollywood on Facebook and follow at @UniStudios on Instagramand Twitter.

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey 4K Upgrade Review

The good people over at Universal Studios Hollywood’s PR team allowed us entry into the park to check out the upgraded Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction located within the park’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter area. Recently, the ride’s projection system was upgraded once again – this time, to ultra-high definition 4K resolution and a higher frame rate of 120 FPS! You might recall that, originally, the attraction opened with a 3D projection system that relied on riders to wear special 3D goggles. The ride experience left something to be desired, so the park smartly transitioned the ride back to 2D. The standard definition version of the ride was immensely-fun, but you could see a lot of blur in the image quality of the projection system. This is party due to the fact that the ride video is rear projected onto curved screens. So with the 4K upgrade, I just had to come out and experience the ride again – at least it would provide a good excuse for drinking more butterbeer!

Arriving at the park early, one of the Universal Studios PR team members escorted us onto the attraction and actually rode it with us as she had yet to experience it for herself. The ride was a blast and the 4K update is very noticeable, especially if you rode it prior to the upgrade. The video is still a bit blurry, but nowhere near the degree it was before and it is a lot easier to track the action on the screen thanks to the enhanced frame rate. I didn’t notice any other upgrades to the ride aside from the new projection system, but that’s not a bad thing as the ride is pretty amazing as it is.

After riding Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, we went over to the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade and had a big American breakfast plate with eggs and bacon. Of all the dining experiences inside Universal Studios Hollywood, this restaurant has consistently been the best since its launch a year ago. Their variety of food – from breakfast platters to shepard’s pie to so much more is prepared well and features great taste. Unfortunately, I did find out that the hot butterbeer which wowed me during the Winter is no more. It appears to be a seasonal beverage and I can’t wait for the end of the year to see it come back. In the meantime, I will “make do” with my favorite frosty drink, the frozen butterbeer.

Universal Studios Hollywood is open daily. Check out their official website for ticket information and more.

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Universal Studios Hollywood Chinese Lunar New Year 2017

Universal Studios Hollywood is celebrating the Chinese Lunar New Year with a bang. In their central plaza you will find all manner of costumed characters from Universal IPs, such as Kung-Fu Panda, Curious George, and a whole lot more (my personal favorite was Woody Woodpecker). You will even find the evil Decepticon known as Megatron, arch-enemy of the Autobots, speaking Mandarin to guests in celebration of the holiday. Finally at the plaza area,  you will find an assortment of Chinese-inspired foods and snacks, as well as be able to write your own message of hope to add to the beautiful, blossom covered archways. I give a ton of kudos to the park designers as the plaza area is beautiful – they did a terrific job.

On the day we went, it was raining cats and dogs, the height of the most recent Southern California storm system, but we didn’t let that stop us. We purchased some Wizarding World of Harry Potter themed rain ponchos and had a terrific time. The lines and crowds were short, allowing us to get into anything we desired within a few minutes of waiting. The world famous Universal Studios Tour was even considerate and had vinyl rain flaps deployed on each side of the trams (although for us in the front corner, the rain came in anyway, lol).

I highly recommend checking out the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in the rain and wind. Nothing says real English weather like gloomy clouds and downpour, and it adds to the overall effect of being in Hogsmeade. Also, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey has returned to its pre-eye strain 2D film mode. I couldn’t ride this enough! The goggles and 3D film during the attraction’s opening were not well-received and the park listed to its guests. The 2D ride film is plenty immersive, and waiting just a couple minutes to ride meant we could go on as many times as we could go through the rain to get back in, lol. It is not uncommon for the ride to have wait times in excess of 60 minutes – yet we rode the attraction seven times in a row! Thank you sweet, sweet rain!

I use any reason I can to get out to Universal Studios Hollywood. It is a terrific theme park and truly a Southern California treasure, reflecting our Hollywood history and providing hope for its future. The fact that the park is also culturally-progressive and forward-thinking enough to pay tribute to our Chinese American brothers and sisters with the Chinese Lunar New Year celebration is a testament to that way of thinking and yet another reason for us all to come together in unity. Get your butts out to Universal Studios and celebrate with them!

You can get ticket information and more at USH’s official website.

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Mayor Eric Garcetti Announces Record Year for LA at Universal Studios Hollywood

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles’ economy continued to surge in 2016, breaking all-time records for tourism, travelers at LAX, and cargo volume shipped through the Port of Los Angeles.  

Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the new records today at Universal Studios Hollywood’s “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” alongside Councilmember Paul Krekorian, and leaders from the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, Los Angeles World Airports, and the Port of Los Angeles.  

“This is L.A.’s moment. Los Angeles is welcoming more visitors to our city and passengers through our airport than ever before, our nation-leading Port is making L.A. an even more critical trade gateway to the world, and we are experiencing the kind of job growth that we haven’t seen in a generation,” said Mayor Garcetti. “We’re working hard to keep up the momentum, by going after and landing one-of-a-kind attractions like the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. And here’s the best part: there’s even more opportunity on the horizon, and an even bigger role for L.A. to play on the world stage.” 

According to the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, the city welcomed 47.3 million visitors in 2016 — an increase of nearly 4 percent over 2015. It marked the sixth consecutive year of record-breaking tourism growth, and moved L.A. closer to Mayor Garcetti’s goal of welcoming 50 million visitors a year by 2020.

“Los Angeles continues to establish itself as one of the most desirable destinations in the world for tourists and business people alike,” said Councilmember Paul Krekorian, chair of the Budget and Finance, and Job Creation committees. “Whether it’s the sunny beaches and scenic landscape, our diverse communities and cuisines, our rapidly growing technology sector or the lure of movie magic as the global entertainment capital, Los Angeles has something to offer everyone who visits. We’re making tremendous investments into LA’s future to ensure it grows into an even greater metropolis that is transit and business friendly, on the cutting edge of innovation and an unparalleled hub of diversity.”

“Global desire for the Los Angeles experience is at an all-time high and we are humbled to welcome a record 47.3 million visitors,” said Ernest Wooden Jr., president and CEO of the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board. “There’s never been a better time to discover Los Angeles and we invite travelers from across the globe to immerse themselves in our thriving culinary scene, unparalleled cultural experiences and celebrated only-in-L.A. attractions.” 

LAX also broke its record for total number of passengers for the third consecutive year. In 2016, 80.9 million travelers passed through the airport, an increase of more than 8 percent over last year. Of those travelers, 22.6 million — or more than 28 percent — were international. 

“We are creating an airport experience that makes a great first and last impression of Los Angeles,” said Los Angeles World Airports Chief Executive Officer Deborah Flint. “Our focus is on delivering a gold-standard airport that shines with the top-rated airports around the world, by transforming LAX with a $14 billion investment that will bring it into the modern era for today’s traveler.” 

The Port of Los Angeles broke a record of its own, moving more cargo in 2016 than ever in its 100-year history. The Port shipped 8.8 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) last year, the most ever by a port in the Western Hemisphere. 

“I salute the strong collaboration among the labor workforce, our terminals and the many stakeholders in the supply chain who kept cargo moving speedily and efficiently during a record-breaking year,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “To handle this much volume without congestion issues is an extraordinary accomplishment and bodes well for the future of the San Pedro Bay complex.” 

The records come amid an unprecedented period of growth across L.A.’s economy. Since Mayor Garcetti took office in 2013, the City has created more than 140,000 new jobs, cut the unemployment rate in half, and permitted more than 150,000 new businesses. The economy has come all the way back from the Great Recession, and L.A. now has more jobs than it did at the peak before the civil unrest of 1992.  

The City has also added numerous high-profile attractions in recent years. Just yesterday, Mayor Garcetti announced that Los Angeles has been chosen as home the new Lucas Museum of Narrative Art — adding another cultural treasure to L.A.’s collection of renowned civic institutions. In addition, the tourism sector has benefited from new investments in attractions like “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” at Universal Studios Hollywood. 

“With Comcast NBCUniversal’s unprecedented $1.5 billion investment in the company’s core businesses of production and tourism, Universal Studios Hollywood has achieved record-breaking attendance, created thousands of jobs and had a positive impact on the region’s economy,” said Ron Meyer, Vice Chairman, NBCUniversal.   

“The ambitious Epic Transformation of our property has had a remarkable effect on our theme park, and as a major entertainment destination we are thrilled that Universal Studios Hollywood has played such a significant role in driving global tourism to Southern California,” said Karen Irwin, President & COO, Universal Studios Hollywood.  “With the popularity of such signature attractions as our behind-the-scenes Studio Tour and ‘The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,’ Universal Studios Hollywood makes the elusive world of movie-making magic accessible to our guests and it’s our pleasure to invite them to peek behind the velvet curtain for these truly authentic experiences.”

Cult of Chucky Announced with Teaser

Universal City, California, January 5, 2017 – Cult of Chucky, an all-new spellbinding chapter of the Child’s Play thriller franchise, begins principal photography in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, on January 9, 2017. The seventh film in the blockbuster series will be released in a bone-chilling Unrated Version on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD in fall 2017 — just in time for Halloween. Packed with the franchise’s signature blend of horror and demented humor, Cult of Chucky is the latest production from Universal 1440 Entertainment, a production entity of Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

“It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly 30 years since Chucky first terrified moviegoers in Child’s Play,” said Glenn Ross, General Manager and Executive Vice President, Universal 1440 Entertainment. “Since then the films have generated millions in worldwide box-office revenue. Now Chucky’s back with more scores to settle in his trademark twisted style, and you can bet he won’t stop until he gets his revenge.”

Fiona Dourif (Curse of Chucky) returns as Nica, the wheelchair-bound heroine framed by Chucky for the bloody murders of her entire family. She’s joined by franchise veterans Alex Vincent (Child’s Play, Child’s Play 2) and Jennifer Tilly (Monsters, Inc., Bride of Chucky), with Brad Dourif (The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) once again providing the eerie, unnerving voice of the demon doll possessed by the spirit of a maniacal serial killer.

Don Mancini, writer of the Child’s Play franchise, is the executive producer of the new film, which he also directs from his original script. Longtime franchise producer David Kirschner (The Pagemaster,Frailty) is joined this time by Ogden Gavanski (Warm Bodies,Immortals). The production team includes special-effects guru and associate producer Tony Gardner (Zombieland, Curse of Chucky), director of photography Michael Marshall (“Killjoys”), production designer Craig Sandells (Mother’s Day) and costume designer Patricia J. Henderson (ATM).

Confined to an asylum for the criminally insane for the past four years, Nica Pierce (Fiona Dourif) is erroneously convinced that she, not Chucky, murdered her entire family. But when her psychiatrist introduces a new therapeutic “tool” to facilitate his patients’ group sessions — an all-too-familiar “Good Guy” doll with an innocently smiling face — a string of grisly deaths begins to plague the asylum, and Nica starts to wonder if maybe she isn’t crazy after all. Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent), Chucky’s now-grown-up nemesis from the original Child’s Play, races to Nica’s aid. But to save her he’ll have to get past Tiffany (Oscar®-nominee Jennifer Tilly), Chucky’s long-ago bride, who will do anything, no matter how deadly or depraved, to help her beloved devil doll.


About Universal 1440 Entertainment, LLC:
The Universal 1440 Entertainment banner develops and produces live-action and animated non-theatrical productions directly for distribution in all media worldwide. Since its formation in 2005, the group has assembled an exceptional roster of animated family fare, including the Daytime Emmy®­-winning Curious George television series for PBS KIDS and Hulu; as well as the latest installment of the beloved The Land Before Time series, The Land Before Time: Tale of the Brave. The group also has successfully built upon some of Universal’s highly celebrated live-action, comedy and drama franchises,Scorpion King, Death Race, Jarhead, American Pie, Honey, Bring It On andTremors. Universal 1440 Entertainment is a production entity of Universal Pictures Home Entertainment (www.uphe.com). Universal Pictures Home Entertainment (UPHE) is a unit of Universal Pictures, a division of Universal Studios.  Universal Studios is part of NBCUniversal.  NBCUniversal is one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production and marketing of entertainment, news and information to a global audience.  NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group and world-renowned theme parks. NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation.

Universal Studios Hollywood Grinchmas 2016 Review

Grinchmas has once again returned to Universal Studios Hollywood and I, while not quite sure what to expect when driving to the famed movie studio/theme park, had a wonderful time that made my heart grow three sizes that day. When we first walked up to the front gates of Universal Studios, the park decorations were striking. They are a blend of whimsy and class, with elegant ornaments and swooshing lines all throughout – especially in the Grinchmas themed area. It’s a delicate mix of Hollywood and Seuss that they balance extremely well. The security checkpoint was on top of their game, using metal detectors and going through belongings to look for any dangerous items (they have such an important job in keeping the guests safe – please give them some patience), and into the park we went!

The area of the dedicated to Grinchmas is a kid’s dream come true. There is a gigantic, Seuss-inspired christmas tree with some seriously cool lighting effects, as well as numerous activity stations where people can do festive things. Things like decorate a Grinchmas tree, buy holiday themed food and drinks, take a their pictures with the Grinch himself, and even scout out a good spot to watch the tree lighting ceremony which takes place every half hour. This fast turnaround time is excellent for guests as, unlike some other Southern California theme parks where people have to line up for hours on end to watch one show, if they miss one show another one is just around the corner.

Hogsmeade and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter are in full form, although not really decorated for the season. We ate at the Three Broomsticks and had a great lunch – the establishment offers a wide variety of food – from beef stews to full English breakfasts! This is where I discovered the unsung hero of Grinchmas, hot ButterBeer. I love frozen ButterBeer – way moreso than the regular ButterBeer. However, this hot butterscotch-y beverage with full head of sweet foam warmed me up nicely on the cold Winter’s day we attended the park. The biggest thing that I would like to see in Hogsmeade is decorations to coincide with the season at hand. Christmas and Halloween are both displayed in the Harry Potter film and book series, it would be nice if story-themed decor graced the land for these holidays.

We ended up hitting the Universal Studios Tour a bit later in the day – I would say around 7:00 PM which, right now, is already in basically darkness. The tour was a lot of fun and, although some stuff was a bit too dark to enjoy comfortably, we saw some really cool movie locations. I finally came to the conclusion, however, that 3D film and glasses are being used way too much by the Studio these days. Peter Jackson’s King Kong 3D and the Fast and the Furious 3D drive-through areas are fun, but don’t feel real at all.

Back in the “good old days”, the back-lot tour attractions were created with physical effects. The best case for this is still in use at the tour – the Earthquake building. That stop is riveting, with actual objects coming loose, fire effects, scary lights, and a lot more. When things are physically right there in front of your eyes, they carry a lot more weight than 3D movies projected onto large film screens – but I digress…

Overall, the 2016 holiday celebration known as Grinchmas is a wonderful, fun attraction where families can come for some fun and joy. Plus, you get to enjoy all of the other attractions that Universal Studios Hollywood has to offer – attractions like HOT BUTTERBEER! You must try it – it is delicious and warms you up from the inside. Grinchmas runs until January 1st, so check it out before it’s too late!

Official Website

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