Merry Christmas MiceChat readers! We bring you a very special update from Universal Studios Hollywood as the park readies for its biggest year ever in 2016.  As the finishing touches are being placed on The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Grinchmas is being celebrated on the upper lot and Studio Tour.  Now through January 3rd, guests can get in on the Who-bilation both in the park and on the world-famous Studio Tour. Next we take in the progress on the new shopping and dining locations at the front of the park with their nicely detailed facades.  Finally, after looking at the progress of a new bit of construction on the lower lot, we take in the sights of Christmas at Universal Studios Hollywood. Let’s get this party started.

Grinchmas Now through January 3rd

Yes folks, Grinchmas is back, running daily until January 3rd.  The central Universal Plaza acts as the epicenter for the festivities.  Here guests can join the residents of Whoville cavort and celebrate the true meaning of the holiday with the big, fuzzy, green guy himself, The Grinch.

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Here you can meet The Grinch’s dog, Max.  Take a pic with him and give him a nice scratch behind the ears.

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Below is an official listing of all activities taking place in the Universal Plaza during Grinchmas

  • Who-ville Post Office – Visitors will have a chance to partake in the “Grow Your Heart 3 Sizes” campaign when they share their good deeds on a postcard and mail them to The Grinch. In return, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. and Random House Children’s Books, the publishers of Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, will pay it forward by donating a book to a child in need through First Book on behalf of the sender.
  • Trim up the Tree Lot – Guests can design and personalize their own “Grinchmas” ornaments to help decorate the venue’s other “Grinchmas” trees or take them home as a keepsake.
  • Who-bilicious Cookie Dec-Who-rating – Freshly baked gingerbread and Christmas tree cookies will be available for purchase, and guests can create their very own amazing treats with an assortment of delectable frostings and tasty toppers.
  • Story Time with Cindy-Lou Who – Cindy-Lou Who and her Who friends will gather guests of all ages – tall and small – for an engaging storytelling show of Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas, featuring special effects and audience participation.

Studio Tour

Hopping aboard the Universal Studio Tour we find more Ginchmas fun.  At this time of year, they go the extra mile by putting on a mini-musical right along the tram route.

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As the tram pulls up to the Whoville set, Who’s pour out of every corner, filling the stage with music, dancing and fun.  Of course, the Grinch appears and is then won over by the spirit of the season.

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Entry Plaza Work

The front gate ticket booths are being reconfigured and optimized to handle the massive crowds that will inevitably swamp Universal Hollywood for Harry Potter.

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At the entrance to the park we find that the work on the new shopping and dining building is coming along beautifully.  Highly detailed facades are being crafted to replicate the storied look of Hollywood.  In contrast to the plain, white stucco designs of the Universal Plaza and entry way this skews more toward the illusion of creating an idealized Hollywood to explore.

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The day we visited they were working on resurfacing a large pad of concrete smack-dab in the center of the main entrance.

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Yes, this is how you get into AND out of the park right now.

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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Universal recently announced that the opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has been set for April 7th, 2016.  With the day getting ever closer the land is for the most part complete.  Reports are indicating that most of the animations in the windows are all fully operational and actors have been regularly in rehearsal at Olivander’s Wand Shop and other areas of the land. That bodes well for early soft openings (or technical rehearsals as Uni calls them).

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Flight of the Hippogriff is in continuous testing mode during park hours and can easily be seen from the Shrek 4D queue.

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Lower Lot

The lower lot is keeping its end of the “festive” bargain with a central tree and garland on every pole.  Here we share the progress at the former Universal Experience building.

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Christmas lights adorn the rooftop lines of all the buildings here.

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Christmas in Universal Studios Hollywood

You must hand it to Universal.  Just a few short years ago sprinkling a few roof tops with snow and stringing a few lights up over walkways was acceptable.  Not any more.  Now nearly every facade on the upper lot area is covered in faux snow.  Intricate garland, distinctively themed, is strung over walkways, on poles and along rooftops.  It’s a new Universal folks.

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Merry Christmas everyone. I so look forward to my time with you and can’t wait to share the exciting theme park advances which will be unveiled in 2016. I’ll see you again soon, In The Parks.