Merry Grinchmas From Universal Studios Hollywood

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in Features, Universal Hollywood

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Published on December 25, 2012 at 4:03 am with 8 Comments

Merry Grinchmas and Happy Wholadays everyone!  Today, as a special Christmas treat, we share the festivities taking place at Universal Studios Hollywood and drop a little news on you too!  Grinchmas is in full swing and will continue until December 31st.  We also brave the chilly waters of Jurassic Park to share with you what to expect from this attraction which has just returned from refurbishment.  Finally we ride the world famous Studio Tour and find even more Grinchmas along the way.

Entering the gates of Universal Studios, you cannot help but notice Grinchmas.  Lime green bunting is strung over the entryway and the citizens of Whoville dance around the entry plaza, greeting guests and posing for pictures.

GRINCHMAS

In the center of the upper lot lies the main epicenter for Grinchmas.  A large, snow filled arena anchored in the center by a massive Suessian Christmas tree.    Children can play and cavort in the snow during the day, and at night, there are hourly performances of the Tree lighting ceremony featuring the Grinch.

Play in the snow, but don’t PLAY in the snow.

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. Seuss book, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, with a tree lighting to top things off.

We were able to catch a showing of the Tree Lighting last Friday night and were delighted to find that it’s really more show than simple tree lighting. Very cute show.  But be warned, the lines for this presentation get surprisingly long.  In fact, we advise showing up 30 to 45 minutes early for any given performnce.

The show begins with a partial reading of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

The reading transitions into a performance inspired by the second half of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

The costumes and make up are all that you would expect from a Hollywood Studio park.

The Grinchmas tree is massive.

The Grinch shows up and things get hairy.

Just look at how the tree dwarfs the performers below.

All is well in the end and the Grinch is won over.

There’s even the requisite snow at the end of the performance.

Grinchmas is still going on at Universal and will be until the end of the year.  Below, is the listing of remaining celebrity readers for the Tree lighting ceremonies.

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

UPPER LOT

The Upper Lot is in full Christmas mode.  From Terminator to The Simpsons, all is decked out and covered in snow.  Up on Brooklyn Street, the streetmosphere actors were getting into the act too.

Is that Adam Carolla?

TERMINATOR is TERMINATED

Fans of the post apocalypse attraction, Terminator 2: 3D, should make their way to the park before year’s end, this attraction is slated for permanent closure on December 31st. Rumors on MiceChat’s forums have long indicated that a version of Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem would be headed to this location. Multiple sources now indicate those rumors are true.

The visibility of the show building should offer sufficient challenge for Universal Creative when coming up with a way to make the existing structure look like Gru’s fortress.  We are keeping our ears open for other clues on the redevelopment of this area. We are expecting several projects to pop up prior to Harry Potter breaking ground. The park is going to need to replicate lost capacity prior to removing any existing attractions. This should be a very interesting time for Universal Studios Hollywood in the near future.

JURASSIC PARK REFURBISHED

The Jurassic Park River Adventure has emerged from its refurbishmant sparkling new and significantly cleaned up.  All of the animatronics and inner workings of the ride have been spiffed up and cleaned. There are a few very minor timing issues, nothing major, that we noted on our trip that we hope are being worked on.

The gate leading into the first pool was not working on our visit.

The dinosaurs are still impressive.

The lava in the Stegosaurus paddock is a fresh, bright vermillion.

The Hadrosaur gag works perfectly again, even gushing water over the bow of the boat.

He pops up out of the water suddenly, sending your boat off course.

Even the falling Jeep effect is working again (which has been problematic since the early days of the ride).

The passengers weren’t so lucky. Some of them appear to have lost their heads (or at least their hats).

There seemed to be more mickey hats in the water this time.

The big payoff is paying off again.

Overall, the attraction looks and sounds great again.  During these colder months, they have worked to reduce how wet the guests get by lowering water effects and using the brakes at the bottom of the final drop.  We are very happy to see the ride looking so good again.

STUDIO TOUR

On the studio Tour, we find a bit more Grinchmas along with a peek at productions in the back lot.

Refurbishment of the Dispatch center is complete.

The Tram loading area is freshly painted.

Along the Tram route we get to see how the Studio Firemen decorated for Christmas.

On Friday, the Mindy Project was prepping to shoot on the backlot.

Lots of vehicles were used in the shoot.

As the tour goes on, we get another wonderful dose of the Grinch.  A nice little 3 minute medley that is a cliff’s notes version of what you see in the tree lighting ceremony in the upper lot.

The construction near the tram station may be early prep work for the upcoming Harry Potter Construction.  However, this is more than likely just studio infrastructure work.

As we close out the final Universal Studios Hollywood update for the year, we would like to thank all of you for reading and being a part of our little corner of MiceChat.  We look forward to continuing to bring you news and photos from this park which is soon to receive a wizarding transformation.

Merry Grinchmas!

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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  • Malin

    First thanks to you guys for posting updates on Christmas Day.

    We have been so focus on Universal Orlando that its easy to forget that the Hollywood Studios is about to receive an equal investment. Exciting times ahead for sure. Terminator is starting to age although still an impressive show. So with space limited it makes sense to replace this with the more family friendly attraction. And I’ve heard good things about Dispicable Me attraction in Florida. Although would have much preferred to see them do something with the Shrek attraction. But if the rumours are true that attraction days are also numbered once construction on Potter kicks into gear.

    The Tree Lighting ceremony is a nice alternative to Disney’s Candlelight Ceremony. And love the mini Christmas show on the Tram Tour. It’s the little touches like that set this park in a league of its own.

    • http://micechat.com Dusty Sage

      I believe that the whole side of the upper lot that Shrek is located will give way to potter. That means that Waterworld, the Gibson Amphitheater, Shrek, and the Curious George water playground are all on the chopping block.

      • Zeathos51

        It’s not fun to see shows like Shrek go but attractions like that do have sort of an expiration date on them unlike a classic Disneyland attraction.

  • iamdisneysgirl

    I was able to go to USO last week and go on Despicable Me Mayhem the ride and I LOVED IT!!!!!!!!

  • Zeathos51

    I loved the Terminator show. I didn’t watch it last time but I got to see behind the scenes one summer so I’m good. I need to get back to see Transformers for the first time. Plus the Despicable Me ride looks good from what I’ve seen on Youtube. It will be fun having Potter land in Hollywood, I plan on living in California far into the future and buying quite a few passes.

  • clara

    I went to Universal this past Sunday for the first time since 1997.

    I had a fantastic time and my kid loved all the movie themed rides. He liked the tram and didn’t get scared at King Kong (I thought he would be scared of it but wasn’t). He liked Transformers the best and if it wasn’t for my horrible motion sickness..I would have enjoyed it more. But I still did.

    I got the 2013 AP so I’m definantely going back next year to try The Mummy and Jurassic Park.

    The Grinchmas show was fantastic to. I’m glad that I did Shrek on Sunday if it is set to disappear to make way for Harry Potter.

    Thanks for the photos! I look forward to visit USH many times in 2013!

    • clara

      Oh I saw Terminator to and glad I did if that is on its way out to. I liked it alot. I like that there are live performers in all the shows, even the Tram ride!

  • Eric Davis

    I love seeing what is going on out there in Hollywood!