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Grinchmas Magic: A Universal Studios Hollywood Holiday Adventure

A twisty turvy Christmas tree reaches up to the sky

By Shannon McGrew

For most folks, December signifies the most wonderful time of the year. With festive lights adorning homes and neatly wrapped gifts under the Christmas tree, there’s a contrasting desire for horror fans to have a touch of the ghoulish and peculiar. Amidst the wintery cheer, Universal Studios Hollywood offers up the anti-icon of Christmas with the stinkiest, stankiest, and stunkiest of them all… THE GRINCH

Running from now until Jan. 1, 2024 guests can attend Universal Studios Hollywood’s festive holiday celebrations with GRINCHMAS! Last weekend, we here at Creepy Kingdom were invited to check out all the merry festivities taking place at the park and we must admit that our small hearts grew three sizes that day after being immersed in all of Who-ville’s holiday magic.  

What makes GRINCHMAS so special is that it is accessible for both kids and adults. You’d be hard pressed to not feel the whimsical joy of the holidays while standing in front of the iconic “Grinchmas” tree. The topsy-turvy tree stands at 65’ and is a wonder to behold. Especially at night, when the tree is lit and a soft flurry of “snow” drifts down from the sky. 

Photo by James H. Carter II

While waiting for the tree lighting there are a myriad of holiday activities to help keep you entertained as you wander through Who-ville. There are photo-ops with the Grinch and his trusty dog, Max, a reading of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” by Cindy-Lou Who, paper ornament crafts to decorate the tree, a Who-ville post office to send a yearly list of good deeds to Santa Clause, and an all-new daytime performance by Who-ville’s latest musical sensation, Who-Bee Doo-Wops. 

With meeting The Grinch being one of the most popular attractions, Universal Studios Hollywood mixed things up a bit by providing more places than ever before to meet The Grinch. Previously, you could only meet him at Universal Plaza where Who-bilation takes place. While still there, he also can be found on busy days and weekends on the lower lot near Jurassic Cafe and up on the Upper Lot at the Universal Studios Tour exit. While there we made note that the lines were longest at Universal Plaza and the lower lot, while the shortest was at the Studio Tour exit. 

Two people, a male and female, stand in front of a dog dressed like Max from The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.

It’s important for me to make mention of ADA accessibility. There’s a lot of talk about ADA passes and their use, but here’s the reality that a lot of people don’t consider - having a disability doesn’t automatically equate to relying on a mobile device for assistance. In my case, I have lupus and fibromyalgia and standing for long periods of time can incur a flare up. Due to this, I typically need someone to be by my side. Yet, when it comes to queuing we are told that one of us must sit for whatever the length of time is while the other person stands in line. This setup basically separates the person needing assistance from their helper. 

When we met the Grinch by the Jurassic Cafe we were initially asked to wait the 70 minutes by having me and my partner split up. Because this doesn’t allow me to be with my partner in case of an emergency, I explained the importance of reasonable accommodations for people who have invisible disabilities. Thankfully, they understood my position and let us take a quick photo without the long wait. If anything, they should have the entire party return at a later time. Bottom line, I hope theme parks start rethinking how they treat people with disabilities. We should have the chance to experience the stuff we want without having to choose between waiting ages without our caregiver or skipping the experience altogether. 

If you’re in need of a break from the flurry of attractions and experiences that Universal Studios Hollywood offers, the Who-bilation taking place at Universal Plaza is the perfect place to rest. You still get to experience the holiday festivities while also giving yourself a chance to recharge. This would also be a great time to take in some of the delicious holiday offerings available. We tried the Grinch donut and let me tell you, it was mouth-watering. If a giant donut isn’t your jam, there are quite a few other offerings to choose from such as the Who-ville Spiral Croissant, 2 Sizes Too Small Cupcake, Heart Grew 3 Sizes Sugar Cookies, and more!

Photo by Shannon McGrew

GRINCHMAS offers everything you could want from a themed holiday event. But that’s not where the festivities end as the park has a sleigh-load more holiday stuff to check out. Over at the "Wizarding World of Harry Potter," Christmas hits Hogsmeade like a wintery spell. In other themed areas such as "The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash" and "Despicable Me Minion Mayhem" these have been transformed to capture the essence of a winter wonderland. Plus, if you need last minute gifts there are a slew of holiday ones to choose from. I’m all about The Grinch items but there’s a whole lot more to choose from. 

Universal Studios Hollywood does a wonderful job of bringing the holiday spark to the park for all to enjoy. Every time I’ve immersed myself into GRINCHMAS it’s left a smile on my face, and this visit was no exception. If you’re craving that extra dose of magic and enchantment, Universal Studios Hollywood has you covered. It’s the perfect place to find that missing sparkle and let the holiday spirit work its wonders.


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