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Unwrapping Universal Studios Hollywood's Holiday Magic: My First Visit During Universal Holidays

I finally made it to Universal Studios Hollywood, and guess what?
Entrance to Wizarding World of Harry Potter
I was invited to experience all the holiday festivities Universal Studios Hollywood has to offer. As someone that loves everything Christmas, it was a dream come true!

I had read about their festive celebrations–Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the cheerful Grinchmas–and they live up to the hype! If you have been following me on Instagram then you have seen how exciting this whole experience through my stories, picture post and reel. Universal Studios Hollywood is celebrating the holiday season until January 1st, 2024. Buy your tickets and/or passes here

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

First stop: Hogsmeade. The whole place was decked out like a winter wonderland. The twinkling lights, the garlands – it was like stepping straight into the Harry Potter books I read as a little girl. I had to hold back some happy tears. 

We accidentally missed the Frog Choir's a cappella performance while we were on the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride. The Frog Choir consists of festive songs harmonized by Hogwarts students, which I will make sure to catch them on our next visit. Oh, and I can't forget about the Butterbeer! One of the seasonal offerings is a hot version, which is perfect for cooler weather. I opted for a frozen version, which was perfect for sipping while browsing through the shops under the warm sun.

We returned to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in the evening to experience The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle. It was a mind-blowing spectacle of lights and music that made me feel like I was part of the Harry Potter world, like, for real. The show ended with fireworks, which was an unexpected surprise. 

Now, let's talk souvenirs! They had these exclusive keepsakes that were begging to be bought – personalized ornaments, scarves, stockings – you name it. I had to resist grabbing a few because I am probably the only member in my family that is obsessed with Harry Potter. I am hoping that changes soon! *crosses fingers*

Hogwarts Castle during Christmas Holiday Season

Frozen ButterBeer at Universal Studios Hollywood

Holding a Frozen Butterbeer at Hogsmeade

Hogwarts Castle at night during the Christmas lIght show with Fireworks


First of all, I couldn't believe we had the opportunity to meet The Grinch and Max. I am. not a dog person, but meeting Max almost changed that for me. Cindy-Lou had storytime sessions where she recounted "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," and it was adorable watching the kids get all into it. After story time, guests are invited to meet and take pictures with Cindy-Lou. 

Another addition to the daytime performances was The Who-Bee Doo-Wops. On select days, Who-ville's musical sensation performs Christmas classics with a twist. We were able to see people and some Whos rocking out with them during the Grinchmas celebration.

Right next to the Grinch meet-and-greet area was the Grinchmas post office. You could send out postcards spreading good cheer by sharing three good deeds. For each postcard that is sent out, Universal Studios will make a charitable donation, which is such a wonderful idea! We also had the opportunity to get crafty at their themed craft area, making ornaments to add to the Christmas trees or take home as a souvenir. 

The Whoville celebration is hard to miss, not just because it is near the entrance, but because the twisting Grinchmas tree is massive – 65 feet tall! While the crowds gathered around the Christmas tree, I made sure to get some themed treats. A snowflake sugar cookie and a giant Grinch donut to take home. The tree lighting ceremony started off with music and songs. And the wintery snowfall? It was the perfect ending to the tree lighting celebration. 

Story Time with Cindy Lou at Grinchmas

The Whos from Whoville at Grinchmas

Meeting The Grinch's Dog Max at Grinchmas

Make your own ornament at Grinchmas

Hugging the Grinch at Grinchmas Universal Studios

Shaking The Grinch's hand at Grinchmas

Grinchmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Universal Studios Hollywood

Tips for Visiting Universal Studios Hollywood During the Holidays

Tip #1 - The Grinch Meet and Greet
If you want a picture with The Grinch, make sure you get in line as soon as the park opens in the morning. We arrived around 12PM and there was a 60 minute wait to meet The Grinch and the evening line was even longer. However, Pass Members get a special photo op at the Lower Lot above Jurassic Cafe.

Tip #2 - Get the Universal Express Pass
I know it can be a little pricey, but if you are someone like me that likes to make the most out of every experience and gets anxious while waiting in line, The Universal Express pass is so worth it. We got on almost every single ride (we were determined, to say the least) and we still got to enjoy the Studio Tour and nighttime entertainment. 

Tip #3 - Nighttime Entertainment
The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle and the Grinchmas Tree Lighting Ceremony attract pretty big crowds. Try to arrive early to get a good spot. Otherwise, you risk not being let into the viewing area in the first place. This brings me to tip #4.

Tip #4 - Check the Entertainment Schedule 
I noticed it is updated every morning and it is helpful to plan your visit around the shows you really want to see. We should have followed our own advice, especially since Universal Studios Hollywood is so big! We split both Grinchmas and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter into daytime and nighttime visits, but this may not be ideal for those on a tighter schedule. 

Tip #5 - Holiday-Themed Treats
This one is for my fellow foodies. Keep an eye out for holiday-themed treats throughout the park. I thought they were only in the Grinchmas and Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but I was so wrong. I later learned that holiday beverages and specialty foods were being served at several dining locations. Luckily, I discovered the Isla Nu-Bar after riding the Jurassic World ride and got to try the Winter Mojito, which I still dream about. 

Winter Mojito from Isla Nu-Bar at Universal Studios

The grinch seasonal souvenir Popcorn buckets and cups

The Giant Grinch Donut at Grinchmas

Holiday Treats Snowflake Sugar cookie at Universal Studios Hollywood Holidays

Christmas Lights at Universal Studios Hollywood Holidays


Leaving Universal Studios Hollywood, I didn't just carry souvenirs; I had a truckload of holiday joy and memories with me. It was the perfect blend of festive adventure and pure fun. Universal Studios Hollywood sure knows how to sprinkle that holiday magic, and I'm already planning my next visit during their celebrations. Trust me, it's an experience you won't want to miss! 

Universal Studios Hollywood Holidays Tips - Grinchmas and Wizarding World of Harry Potter


  1. this looks like so much fun! i've never been there but maybe one day lol
    btw your hair looks sooo good!

    1. It was an unforgettable day and thank you! I already let the purple fade out :(

  2. What a fun time! I would love to go here one day.


  3. We went about 2 years ago and it was lovely! It would be so much fun to visit this time of year. Thanks for sharing these tips!

    1. That's amazing! Glad you loved it and thank you for reading!

  4. Oh wow! SO much fun! I've been to Disney for the holidays, but not Universal. It looks so fun!


    1. I still need to experience Disney during the holidays. Hopefully you get a chance to visit Universal during this magical time!

  5. This is SO fun and sooooo festive!!



  6. Thanks for sharing, Perla! Such a great experience you had:) I've been there (and the one in FLorida) ages ago...should really go back!
    Have a great Thursday:)

    1. Really? Hopefully we can bump into each other the next time you visit!

  7. So much fun! I really love the holiday themed treats...just so festive and I bet so yummy.


  8. What a cool and fun way to get into the holiday spirit! I've never been to Universal and I feel like I'm missing out now.

  9. OMG, Perla, thank you so much for sharing! you had the most amazing experience ever!

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  10. Omg, I absolutely LOVE this! I wanna go to Universal Studios sooo bad because of HP World! I went in Orlando a few years ago and really wanna go to the one in California. It's so close to me too, and I still haven't been :D

    Krissi of the marquise diamond

    1. Really?? It's definitely time for you to visit! P.S. The Orlando Harry Potter World is really cool too!

  11. https://inspiremyfancy.com/December 3, 2023 at 2:55 PM

    Universal Studios looks so fun. I haven't been there in so long! Whoville looks adorable and you tempted me with all those treats. My sister goes every year because she loved The Grinch, lol. It is a nostalgic place for me and I need to go back and experience all the new things it has to offer. Thanks for the tips Perlita!


    1. Yes, it's something that I would like to continue experiencing with my kids, especially when they are older. We loved the Grinch--couldn't get enough!

  12. What a nice place, I love The Grinch I always see it at Christmas, how exciting it must have been to tour Universal Studios! Kisses.

    1. Oh yes! It was definitely exciting! Thank you for stopping by!