The holiday season has once again hit the beautiful hills of Universal Studios Hollywood and, with it, comes Grinchmas and Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!
Grinchmas is back at the Universal Plaza location with a massive Grinchmas Tree! The festivities become even more eye-catching at night when all the beautiful lights begin to glow. The Universal Plaza is not the biggest area, so be in line for the tree-lighting ceremony early, as it gets pretty long. Once inside the plaza, you can enjoy pictures with Max and the Grinch! You can even enjoy a large assortment of Grinchmas-themed goodies from the food stands around the plaza. Our pictures with the Grinch and Max were amazing; the Grinch was everything you would expect him to be. Max was the sweetest dog, and his soulful eyes were magical.
Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter brings the yuletide season to J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World. I love seeing Hogsmeade all decked out for the season. The park introduced spooky Death Eaters for the Halloween Horror Nights event, and seeing the transformation to the merriest time of year is outstanding. Walking around the snow-capped buildings, grabbing a hot butterbeer from the Hog’s Head Tavern, and taking a spin on Flight of the Hippogriff was a blast, and we spent so much time just walking around the streets and shops. We even witnessed a wand ceremony at Olivanders, and one of our party members was selected for it! Even though the Southern California sun was beaming down on us during our visit, the Universal Studios set decorators did such a good job we felt colder than it was. I have no idea if or when the Diagon Alley expansion will happen at our Hollywood park, but I would love to see it happen. I need to ride on the Hogwarts Express! Also, stick around in the evening as the Holiday Lights at Hogwarts Castle show is spectacular.
Over in Super Nintendo World, not much has changed regarding bringing in the holiday season, but given the popularity of the land and its young age, I am not surprised. You can still enjoy everything that Super Nintendo World has to offer during the holiday season, such as eating a great meal at the Toadstool Cafe and racing against Bowser in Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge! On the day we ventured into the Mario Bros.-inspired glory, guests needed a reservation to get on the ride and get into the cafe, so be sure to make one early if you’re interested! Aside from the ride and cafe, there is a great gift shop with Super Nintendo World goodies only found at Universal Studios. It’s a great place to find stocking stuffers for the people on your Christmas list!
The world-famous Universal Studio Tour didn’t change much for the holiday season, although it is still jam-packed with various fun experiences and glimpses of movie magic. I would love to see Courthouse Square up close and personal one day, but on our Studio Tour that evening we had to avoid the area altogether (maybe they were filming there?). We also didn’t go through Earthquake, which was a bummer as I am a much bigger fan of experiences with practical effects work rather than movie screens and 3D glasses – but, I digress… Overall, the studio tour is a must-do event at Universal Studios – it’s tradition!
Universal Holidays is a must-see event filled with joy and fun for the whole family. The event runs from now until January 1st, 2024 (so weird to type that!) and the Universal Holidays experience is included with the cost of general admission. Be sure to check out the Universal Studios website for ticket information and more!