Home / Travel  / Where to Play: Attractions  / Universal Studios Hollywood  / Christmastime at Universal Studios Hollywood

Christmastime at Universal Studios Hollywood


Merry GRINCHmas from Universal Studios Hollywood!


This year, we kicked off December a little bit differently with an awesome day trip up to Universal Studios Hollywood to celebrate Grinchmas and Christmastime in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Those new to JetSetFam.com and my Instagram, so you know, I big puffy heart luuuuuuuuuuv Christmastime.


Christmas at Universal Studios Hollywood


It’s my favorite time of the year. Ironically, I recently confessed on Facebook, how bad I am at the whole Christmas surprise part of things. I can’t wait to give everyone their gifts as they are delivered, but I totally want to leave the decorations up for 2 months just because they make me happy, and wrapping gifts feels like a form of therapy. Never mind the fact that something about stockings hanging from the mantle and white lights warms my soul.


Tips for Enjoy Universal Studios Hollywood During the Holidays

Universal Studios Hollywood is a blast, and I forget how much fun we have there. From door-to-door, (Orange County to Los Angeles,) it only took us an hour each way. That’s unheard of, especially on a Saturday during Christmastime! It was a full-day, we left at 7:30 and got home at 9:00 and the kids were wiped out, but they were troopers and really grateful which made things feel even more Christmasy.
Christmas at Hogsmeade Village


It was considered a busy day with 24,000 visitors, but it never once felt congested, and we were still able to go on all of the rides at least twice should we want. In fact, the kids went on the Harry Potter ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, back-to-back between 6:15 and 7 pm when the park closed about 5 or 6 times which is incredible. Wait times for all the rides, with one exception, took between 20 – 25 minutes.


Christmas Hogwarts at night


I highly suggest getting there when the park opens at 9 am. Make sure you are at the gates, already through security with your tickets in hand, and do not stop at GO, proceed to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and go directly to Hogwarts. Why? Well because this is a really cool ride, and chances are you are going to want to ride it more than once. We kicked off the day and went on it twice immediately because the lines were so short. Then head over to Ollivanders in Hogsmeade and see which wand he has in store for you.



What to Eat at Universal Studios Hollywood?

Switch things around a bit and eat about 1/2 hour earlier to beat the lines. Have lunch by noon, and dinner at 5-5:30 the latest. And here’s my BIGGEST tip of the day, don’t waste your precious time and money on “OK” food, when you can have a decent, sit-down meal with substance at Three Broomsticks.


Let me break this down. While in “Springfield,” I unknowingly paid NINE DOLLARS and EIGHTY-FIVE CENTS for a SLICE OF PIZZA at lunch. If that’s not the most ludicrous thing you’ve ever heard, I’m not sure what is. There were no prices listed, so I figured the most it would be is $5, maybe $6. Nope. That didn’t even include a drink. The worst part? It wasn’t even the best pizza I’ve ever had. I didn’t even finish it. Total bummer.


Universal Studios Hollywood Welcome to Springfield Sign


But at Three Broomsticks, a very generous sized kids’ portion of Fish and Chips (which also came with fruit) meal at dinner, which was under $10. If you are not a fan of fish, they also offered chicken, mac and cheese, ribs, an English Holiday feast, and not listed, but you can ask for vegetarian options, the potato soup with salad and asparagus was pretty fantastic.


Score a table at 5:30 so by the time you are done, you are in the best location in all of Hogsmeade village for the Hogwarts Christmas light show. If you prefer to eat later, or outside of the park, Universal City Walk has Ludo Lefebvre’s Ludo Bird, Dongpo Kitchen, Vivo Italian Kitchen, and Wasabi Sushi which are all great picks.

What to Skip at Universal Studios Hollywood?

OK, it breaks my heart to say this, but The Simpsons™ Krustyland ride is brutal, and it only gets worse each time I visit. The wait is incredibly long, and drawn out making you rethink why you are even in line in the first place. But now, it’s all about the invested time, and you’re not about to retreat.


By the time you are in the queue, you have to wait even more, and then you are taken on this super depressing ride through what could rival street artist Banksy’s Dismaland. I understand that’s Krusty the Clown’s whole M.O. and humor, but a really fun morning took a serious buzzkill turn pretty quickly. The ride looked so promising from the outside.


Krustyland Universal Studios Hollywood

What not to miss at Universal Studios Hollywood?

The Mummy. It’s easily the fastest, and most thrilling rollercoaster I’ve ever been on. However, it is over very quickly. This was another ride the kids made a point to go on back-to-back. Since this attraction had a higher wait time between 25 – 30 minutes, after we all rode the ride together as a family, we walked the kids to the “Single Riders” entrance and then waited for them at the exit. This cut the time almost in half.
I also love The Minions ride, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem. It’s a tad juvenile, but it is still fun, makes me laugh, and kids like it. I mean, who doesn’t adore Minions? It also breaks up the day nicely and a good transition from roller coasters to meal time.


Bates Motel Psycho Universal Studios Backlot Tour


Pro tip: After lunch, don’t miss the Universal Studios tour. There is always a wait, but since you revised your schedule a bit, it should be under a 25-minute wait. You sit in an open-air tram that goes through the backlot and there are quite a few surprises. It’s really interesting and fun for the kids. It also gives them time to digest before going back on the rollercoasters and CGI rides.

What is different during Christmas at Universal Studios Hollywood?

Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter


If you or your child is anything like the members of our family, Harry Potter reigns supreme. Not only are we complete HP nerds, but every Christmas I transform Kiddo’s room into Christmas at Hogwarts! This year, getting to take her and a friend on a trip to Hogsmeade village via Platform 9 3/4 for Christmas inside The Wizarding World of Harry Potter made this holiday season all more awesome.


Hogsmeade Village Holiday Christmas Universal Studios


Universal Studios Hollywood is celebrating the holidays with “Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” which will take place daily through January 6, 2019. During the day, guests can enjoy everything from the newly introduced holiday fare at Three Broomsticks to hot butterbeer while enjoying the Frog Choir comprised of Hogwarts students and their giant frogs to perform holiday songs.


Hogsmeade Conductor Uniform


As night falls, for the first time ever, glistening snow will fall upon Hogsmeade village and the quaint shops that line the streets. Then Hogwarts Castle will illuminate and it’s really cool! Expect to see colorful imagery and animation depicting Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry during the 7-minute show, accompanied by a musical arrangement from the Harry Potter movies and fireworks.


Is Christmas even Christmas without the Grinch?


This season signal the beginning of the holidays with a proper Dr. Seuss Who-lebration! From December 1-2 & 8-9, and daily from December 14th until December 30th,  Grinchmas returns to Universal Studios Hollywood with a Who-lebration complete with holiday-inspired fare, and appearances by The Grinch, Max, and all of the Who-vill Whos.


Seuss Tree Universal Studios Hollywood


I’m not exaggerating when I say your friends will have some serious Instagram envy with the Grinchmas tree photo-op in Universal Plaza. Just imagine you and your clan posing next to the towering 60-foot tall whimsical “Grinchmas” tree that twists, turns, and spirals, or with The Grinch himself. He’s REALLY funny, and REALLY into photo-ops.


Seuss fans “tall and small” will love the entertainment planned for the season as well. Martha May Who-vier and the Who Dolls will take center stage performing musical sets to usher in the Christmas season in style, while a hip boy-band ensemble, the Who-liday Singers, perform a cappella concerts featuring a mix of Christmas favorites and pop rock. 


Cindy-Lou Who will also be there with her Who friends to celebrate by reading Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I had no idea I was going to love this area as much as I did. The Grinchmas photo ops in Dr. Seuss Who-lebration are off the hook. A friend sent us her Flat Stanley to have fun with, so this was a great place to snap photos, and it’s impossible not to get into the spirit of Christmas while checking the spot out. Overall, the day was a complete success with lots of laughs and big smiles. Thank you, Universal Studios for inviting us to spend the day with you. We can’t wait to return!

Have You Visited Universal Studios Hollywood?

We would love to know more about your experience. By sharing your tips, recommendations and memories in our comment section below, you help fellow members of The JetSet Family community decide the best fit for them and their families. Let us know what you liked most, or if you have any questions about Universal Studios Hollywood.


Promotional consideration is courtesy of  Universal Studios Hollywood. On occasion, contributors of The JetSet Family are invited to experience gifted products and services. This practice does not hinder the influencers’ point of view. Our descriptions have always accurately reflected our overall feelings, and The JetSet Family will only ever share things that we genuinely love and believe worthy of being featured. This post may include affiliate links, but that’s OK. Any purchases made using these links helps The JetSet Family blog continue to share great content with our readers. Thank you for supporting us and our sponsors. If you are a brand looking to be featured on The JetSet Family, please contact us at info@jetsetfam.com for more information.

Review overview


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.