Universal Hollywood Christmas festivities are a feast for the senses and never fail to disappoint. Each year the popular Southern California theme park undergoes a major transformation to incorporate the sights and sounds of the holiday season. In addition to the high-octane thrill rides and legendary movie set tours, Universal Studios Hollywood comes alive with spectacular Christmas-themed displays, shows and attractions.
Universal Hollywood Christmas Attractions
From mid-December through the first of January, Universal Hollywood turns into a magical winter wonderland. The can't-miss holiday event caters to families and is filled with whimsical treats designed to delight guests of all ages. Once you pass through the admission gates you are instantly transported from southern California to the North Pole complete with snow, twinkling lights and Santa Claus.
Universal Studios and the shops, restaurants and theaters that make up the park's CityWalk come alive with seasonal staples that are so popular they are brought back year after year. One of the most memorable is the nightly tree lighting ceremony. The park's massive six-story Christmas tree is decked out with thousands of movie-themed ornaments and miles of brilliant holiday lights which come alive at dusk during the holiday season. In addition to the towering main tree, the CityWalk also boasts more than two-dozen regular-sized Christmas trees that are decorated with colorful twinkling lights.
To make the season even brighter, Universal Studios Hollywood hosts an annual Christmas Spectacular show which features simulated snow showers, live music and specially-choreographed dance performances by a cast of professional hoofers and several of the park's most nimble costumed characters. The show also includes special visits by Mr. and Mrs. Claus who happily pose for photos with guests after the show.
Meanwhile, Christmas music fans get their fill on weekends in December at the park as the CityWalk comes alive with updated versions of popular holiday classics. Saturday nights typically feature traditional holiday choirs singing melodious carols while Sundays are reserved for regional bands that perform edgier Christmas tunes.
Each year Universal Hollywood unveils a special themed attraction as part of its holiday extravaganza. For example, in 2010, the park hosted "Grinchmas" in honor of the rotten Mr. Grinch and his loyal dog, Max. Guests were able to go wild at a "Whoville Whobilation" set up on the original movie sets where the motion picture How the Grinch Stole Christmas was filmed.
Typically, admission to the themed events, such as the "Grinchmas" attraction is part of the theme park ticket price and includes access to related events, such as celebrity readings of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas and encounters with popular Whoville characters. In addition, families are encouraged to snap holiday greeting card pictures in front of these magical attractions. In 2010, the park erected a curving "Grinchmas" tree, which towered 60 feet above the center of a snow-covered "Grinchmas" scene. Some guests even scored a shot with the Grinch and Max while others got snap-happy with their cameras in an area where guests of all ages were able to build their own snowmen.
How to Get Into the Holiday Spirit
Whether you are looking to kick up your heels with high-energy street performers, brave some of southern California's scariest thrill rides, or you want to experience a one-a-kind "kiss-mas" posing under the CityWalk's legendary gorilla holding a monstrous bunch of mistletoe, Universal Hollywood is the place to be during the holiday season.
To get in on the seasonal festivities you can purchase tickets online or in person. You can save on admission to the Christmas-themed attractions by visiting the theme park's website during the first week in November. That's when you'll find money-saving deals on day passes and other special offers good on various park amenities, from food to souvenirs. Finally, if you are traveling from out of town to enjoy the holiday cheer, consider taking advantage of hotel and park combo packages that offer reduced rates for local lodging and admission to Universal Studios Hollywood.