Universal Studios Hollywood – The Show Must Go On – Rain or Shine

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in In the Parks, Universal Hollywood

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Published on December 06, 2012 at 5:03 am with 14 Comments

The old saying, “The show must go on,” is taken seriously at Universal Studios Hollywood. We visited the park last week during a rain storm and found that when bad weather rolls through, their gates remain open and they make all sorts of special accommodations to keep you happy and comfortable.  Grinchmas is on the way and we have the full list of celebrity readers along with a tour of the Grinchy store in the upper lot.

Special Rain maps are handed out to guests on bad weather days that point out the dryer places in the park.

Surprisingly, very little of the park operations are  affected by rain.  None of the shows are closed, not even Waterworld.  As guests enter, they are handed special rain maps that point out the spots that offer escape from the rain. Free hot cocoa and Coffee are offered inside the Old Globe Theatre facility, across from the Terminator attraction. This is a classy and generous move as the park could easily make a lot of money by  selling warm beverages to shuddering guests.


City Walk, however, is not the best place to stroll in the rain.  It is better to grab a coffee at one of the restaurants and watch the rain fall. But, I had an update to prepare, so I had to slog through buckets of rain.

The CityWalk Christmas tree is now set up.

The Five Towers stage flanked by tin soldiers and trees.

Santa was rained out.

Guests can take their picture with Rockin’ Santa when the weather cooperates.

The planters are filled with pine and poinsettia.

Kong is getting his Santa on.

Rain aside, CityWalk looks and feels hip and festive. It’s a fun vibe.


At the front gates of the park everything is decked out for Christmas Grinchmas.  Ornaments dangle from the archway and the gate is a bright chartreuse, the Grinch’s signature color.

The main gate turnstiles are decorated with garland and wreaths.

The entry fountain statue is surrounded by bright red poinsettia.


The flex retail space at the entrance plaza has been reopened as the Grinchmas store.  Here you can pick up everything from Grinch pajamas to T-shirts and tree ornaments.

Plenty of Ornaments. A little on the spendy side at $15 per ornament on average, but mostly adorable.


The Cat in the Hat.


What happens when it rains at Universal Studios Hollywood? Well, the show goes on of course. But they do it with a surprising amount of style.

Spot the hidden Mickey.

The Brooklyn facades near the entrance of the park are coated with realistic looking snow.

Baker Street looks right at home in the rain.

Hey! It’s dry in here!

They did have the characters out, under covering.

Ironically, no one wants to get wet in the Coke Soak Zone when it’s raining.

Paris is also decorated.

GRINCHMAS – December 8th and 9th then Dec 15th-31st

The merriest villain that ever was brings Grinchmas celebrations to Universal Studios Hollywood on December 8th and 9th then Dec 15th-31st.  What is Grinchmas?  During the day, it is a winter wonderland of real snow that guests can play in.  In the evenings, there are celebrity readings of the classic Dr. Suess book, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, with a tree lighting to top things off.

The main celebrations take place in the upper lot at the center of the park.  Once inside the main gates, you really can’t miss the whimsical, curvy Christmas Tree on the horizon.  Follow that and you will find the snow, and the arena for the nightly show.

Below is a full listing for the celebrity readings of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  Note that there are usually two performances each night, but show times vary.  Before heading out, don’t forget to double check the full show schedule on the Universal Website here

Celebrity Readings of How the Grinch Stole Christmas
December 8th
Nia Vardalos 5:30pm
Alison Sweeney 6:15pm

December 9th
Jillian Michaels 5:30pm
Daniella Monet 6:15pm

Dec 15th
Yvette Nicole Brown 7:00pm

Dec 16th
Tahj Mowry 6:15pm
Yarel Ramos 7:00pm

Dec 17th
Jillian Rose Reed & Nikki de Loach 6:15pm
Danny Pudi 7:00pm

Dec 18th
Corbin Bernsen, Kirsten Nelson & Kurt Fuller 6:15pm
Sierra McCormick 7:00pm

Dec 19th
Ryan Beatty 6:15pm
Lu Parker 7:00pm

Dec 20th
Tia Mowry-Hardict 6:15pm

Dec 21st
Jamar Rogers 6:15
Tim Dekay, Willie Garson & Tiffany Thiessen 7:30pm

Dec 22nd

Peyton List 6:15
Diego Boneta 7:30pm

Dec 23rd
Xolo Mariduena 6:15
Raphael Sbarge 7:30pm

Dec 24th
Lauren Bowles 6:15pm
Sharif Atkins 7:30pm

Dec 25th
Kate Linder 6:15pm
Chris Gorham 7:30pm

Dec 26th
Matthew Fahey 6:15pm
Kirk Cameron 7:30pm

Dec 27th
Camryn Manheim 6:15pm
Benjamin Stockham 7:30pm

Dec 28th
Ryan Potter 6:15pm
Ryan Newman 7:30pm

Dec 29th
Teri Reeves 7:30pm

Dec 30th
China Anne McClain 6:15pm
Steve Blake 7:30pm

Dec 31st
Dot Marie Jones 7:30pm

There is also a bit of Grinchmas fun on the backlot tour as well.  As the tram pulls through the Whoville set, the whos bring the exisiting set to life with song and dance. It wasn’t quite ready for guests on my trip, so I don’t have photos for you yet. Stay tuned.


Another nice touch that always appears for the holidays can be seen at The Simpsons Ride.  The figures out in front of the ride all wear Santa hats.  There are also a few Christmas tree light structures set up with presents surrounding them.

We hope Marge isn’t getting another bowling ball named Homer.


When the weather decides to deliver rain, the Studio Tour soldiers on.  A ride though the backlot could prove to be a damp proposition.  But they thought of this too.

Studio Tour all prettied up.

Universal has installed plastic sheeting on the trams in an attempts to keep riders dry.

The solution offered above, at first seemed awkward and likley to ruin the experience.  But, after a few minutes getting acclimated, the sheets actually didn’t bother us.  In fact, I was pretty thankful for them when the rain really began to pour down.

The Tour Guide gamely engaged the guests.

Shooting kept the tram from venturing into the New York streets sets.

Strangely, Kong was better with the sheets obscuring the view. It added an extra layer of depth and made it seem less like a projection.

A large house set has been constructed near the Earthquake attraction.

Up at the Whoville sets, they are getting ready for the Grinchmas festivities where Whos will greet each tour and dance and sing.

Workmen were out in the rain getting everything ready.

Finally, some nice wintery trees have been added along the exit of the Tram tour.

A nice little holiday touch.


Jurassic Park was down for adjustments the day of our visit.  But, really, who would have been riding it?

Both of the open lower lot attractions were walk-ons with signs beckoning guests with dry conditions inside.

And with that rather dry note we leave Universal Studios today.  Though soggy, the Studios park is still a ton of fun in the rain. And due to the weather, the crowds were practically nonexistent. We’ll have a followup article for you shortly as Universal awards Betty White with its annual Whomanitarian award for her lifelong work on behalf of animal welfare.

About Norman Gidney

Norman Gidney, also known as Fishbulb, produces and edits many of the articles on MiceChat. Tune in every Tuesday for the Orlando Parkhopper and every Friday for In The Parks. But you'll also find his photos in the Weekly Round Up, SAMLAND, and numerous other columns on the site.

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  • jcruise86

    THANK YOU for toughing the rain for us, Norm!

    How about one “construction update” with each Universal Report on Hollywood’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter? Is Disney running this? Maybe the person in charge of Orlando’s “Transformers in One Year” drive can lead this (hopefully) much bigger project. It’d be nice
    to open it before the summer of 2015 (2.5 years),
    and if they don’t go DCA ToT or MK PotC on us by making it inferior.

    • mratigan

      I’m thinking they delayed the project to compete with Iron Man.
      Also it was a year ago to this day that they announced the expantion…….

    • Amy VandenBoogert

      I don’t think they’ve started construction yet.

  • BC_DisneyGeek

    I played in the Coke Soak Zone in the rain once. I was already drenched from head to toe, so I figured might as well.

  • lighttragic

    one thing that is interesting in the rain is the flex space terminator 2 3d turns into. Throughout the course of the day .

    It hosts terminator 2 3d, The blues brothers and Animal Actors Stage.

    I wonder what will become the new flex stage when Terminator 2 closes down to make way for the Minions.

  • Algernon

    I hated it when they put monitors on the Trams. It no longer seemed like a candid backstage tour, but a canned theme park ride.

  • Eric Davis

    I love all the rainy day signs! And I love the rainy day map! Very thoughtful!

    Also love all the Grinchmas stuff!

  • Ryan120420

    I’m surprised that there was no mention of the construction for the Wizarding World. It is noticeable when entering and leaving the Studio Tour… if you know what you are looking for

    • mratigan

      maybe construction did not start when the photos were taken….

      • Ryan120420

        Construction has been visible to guest for over 2 weeks now.


    not shown here (because they were just put up monday) are the new grinchmas trees out in the front gate! really cool looking and they have LED lights in them as well!

  • SoarinMatt

    I went to Universal on a rainy day several years ago, and I have to say that it was a pleasantly memorable experience. I actually wish that Disney would take a page from Universal’s book and offer the free coffee and hot cocoa when it rains. It really helps give the feeling that park management actually cares that people are visiting in the rain.

  • Westsider

    They give out FREE coffee and hot cocoa, just because it’s raining?!? They have special park maps and signs printed up for rainy day visitors?!?

    I can only imagine the shrieks of horror from TDA’s executive suites if anyone ever suggested that we try to do something that nice for our “Guests” on rainy days. For all the lip service Disney can give regarding “World-Class Guest Service”, all it takes is an Internet connection and a few minutes to see that Disneyland really isn’t “World-Class” in the way it treats its paying customers. Especially on the rare day in Southern California when it rains a bit.

  • darkamor

    It looks like the Walt Disney Co could learn some hospitality queues from Universal Studios Hollywood when it comes to taking care of Park Guests during inclement weather … & judging from the Grinch Shop (plenty of cute stuff) it looks a bit pricey (I wonder if this merchandise goes on sale after December?) …. a pleasant update on USH (I look forward to Grinchmas Photos / Videos – glad I wasn’t there for Kirk Cameron, I would’ve pelted him with eggs (lol) :)

    C J