The Who-lidays return this December to Universal Studios Hollywood! Every year, the snowflake arrives at Universal Plaza, bringing along with it the citizens of Who-ville, with favorite characters such as the Grinch and Max the Dog to partake in the Who-bilation.
In this complete insider’s guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know in order to get the most out of the Christmas hijinks for you and your family.
Last updated: September 20, 2018
Grinchmas 2018 – overview and explanation
Grinchmas, which is included with your general admission, is Universal Studios Hollywood’s annual holiday event located at the center of the theme park. It has stayed relatively the same for the past four years, offering meet-‘n-greet opportunities with the citizens of Who-ville and a dedicated photo spot with the Grinch himself, but that doesn’t mean it’s lost any of its fun or appeal. We should note, however, that the entire event is condensed into Universal Plaza, which makes the area extremely crowded at most points throughout the day.
Grinchmas starts off as a weekend-only affair for the first half of December, and then switches over to daily for the back half.
Dec. 1, 2, 8, 9, 14-30
What will the busiest dates be?
With Grinchmas only running for 21 days this year – Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, by contrast, is more than double that length – you can expect every day of the event, unfortunately, to be busy. The wizarding Christmas should only add to the crush of the crowd, but at least that also gives you another holiday option to peruse should Grinchmas be too full for your tastes.
Grinchmas 2018 – character meet-‘n-greets
The heart of Grinchmas, the various meet-‘n-greet opportunities with the citizens of Who-ville are among the highlights of any such character encounter at Universal Studios Hollywood throughout the entire year. Make sure to keep your camera handy and your smile at the ready – you’ll find that tons of unexpected antics tend to unfold around you whenever the Grinch’s nearby.
The three meet-‘n-greets consist of:
The Grinch – the flagship experience of the event, the Grinch tends to get the longest lines, peaking at a 70-minute wait during the busiest time of the day. If this is on your to-do list – and, frankly, it should be – we recommend doing it first thing in the morning, before the crowds really start to arrive.
Max the Dog – although Max provides for a more sedate encounter than does the Grinch, you can actually pet the dog and still pose for pictures with him. Max is actually a rescue animal who normally stars in the Animal Actors show, and he’s every bit as sweet as you might think.
CI tip: be sure to turn off your camera’s flash, as (a) it tends to annoy the animal (and his trainer!) and (b) the area’s very well-lit to begin with.
The citizens of Who-ville – Mayor May Who, Cindy Lou Who, Martha May Whovier, as well as many other denizens of Whoville roam around the plaza interacting with guests. Since these are not dedicated meet-‘n-greets, there are no lines, but it can still be pretty hard to find an open Who during the busier times of the day.
Grinchmas 2017 – live entertainment
There are four live productions that happen throughout the day to celebrate the Who-lidays. All the live entertainment is located in front of the unique 60-foot tree, which provides for a picturesque setting.
Grinchmas Tree-Lighting Ceremony – every half-hour from 5:30 pm to park close, the towering 60-foot-tall Christmas tree is lit up with snowfall.
Story Time with Cindy Lou Who – Cindy Lou Who reads the iconic How the Grinch Stole Christmas book. This performance typically occurs in the morning.
Martha May Whovier and the Who Dolls – Martha May and her Who Dolls perform a choreographed dance routine with songs, usually in the first half of the day.
The Who-liday Singers – also known as the Whoville 5, this boy band sings holiday songs in a capella. They tend to perform in the afternoons/evenings.
Please note that, in years past, The Whoville Sing Along on the Studio Tour was offered, but it has, sadly, been discontinued for the 2018 season.
Grinchmas 2018 – family activities
After you’ve gotten your picture taken with the Grinch and his Who pals and while you wait for that next stage show to start up, why don’t you take your family over to the ornament-decorating table (located next to the Universal Plaza tower building) and, well, decorate some Christmas tree ornaments? Once you’re done, you can always choose to hang them at the tree farm inside the plaza – or, of course, just take them home with you.
While you’re at it, you can also grab some snacks and drinks, such as holiday themed cupcakes and cookies. While these don’t compare with, say, the Wizarding World’s Holiday Feast, they still allow you and yours an extra way to enjoy the festivities.
If you’re interested in growing your heart three sizes (not literally), at The Who-ville Post Office, located to the left of the spiraling tree, you can write a postcard, with three good deeds you did this year. For every card filled out, Universal Studios Hollywood’s Discover a Star Foundation will donate to School on Wheels!
For those who wish to “slither and slunk,” as the Grinch did in the book, you can participate in The Who-ville Scavenger Hunt! Once you have completed filling out the postcard, you will be given a pamphlet with six clues to find all around Universal Plaza. After you have found all six, you will be given a red “Grinchmas 2018” bracelet to wear!
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