Holiday Celebration at Universal Studios Hollywood
‘Tis the season! Holiday fans rejoice – because Universal Studios Hollywood is celebrating the festivities once again with “Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter” and an array of other fun, themed celebrations and activations all around the park that visitors can experience from November 28, 2019, through December 29, 2019.
While most Southern Californians won’t get to experience a truly white Christmas, the decorations and activities are sure to get you in the yuletide spirit in no time. From the second you enter the park, you are greeted with a winter wonderland that includes every building and every one of your favorite movie characters.
We got to experience all the 2019 events, including the park’s annual Christmas-themed light show and holiday exclusive menus as well as all the other fun happenings in the park. Here’s your guide to all the action!
For Potter fans and Christmas-lovers alike, visiting Universal Studios Hollywood during the holidays is a long-standing tradition. One of the most exciting things about being a returning guest year after year is noticing things from previous years that might not have caught your attention before and spotting the obvious differences from one year to the next.
While much of the decor and merch throughout the park was very similar to last year, there was one obvious difference we spotted this year – the snow effect was missing from Hogsmeade after the “Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle.” However, this effect was moved to the tree lighting at the Who-bilation, which makes watching that big ol’ topsy turvy tree come to life even better!
And the “Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle” light show was just as spectacular as ever.
Much like their “Dark Arts” show, the “Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle” light show is always a magical experience. Starting around 5:30–6:00 PM to every 30 minutes after, gather in the area from the castle to the performance stage to watch the castle light up with a 7-minute, state-of-the-art projection mapping and special effects show.
The show starts with an intro with caroling Hogwarts ghosts, before taking you through a snow day with Harry and his friends. Then re-experience memorable book moments such as the Yule Ball from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Fred and George Weasley’s firework goodbye in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It’s a must-see sight for all nostalgic fans who want to relive the series and a perfect way to finish off a long day in the park.
TIP: The first show will always be at capacity, but if you’re as patient as a Hufflepuff you can come by for the last 3-4 showings to get a better view! We recommend the Frog Choir stage. Although the show is absolutely magical and is best seen in person, we’ve provided a video for those who aren’t able to make it to the park this holiday season.
Throughout the day, the Frog Choir stage is graced with the presence of the truly enchanting Hogwarts Frog Choir – a conductor, one student from each Hogwarts House, and two frogs – that delivers an acapella, entertaining medley of holiday-themed tunes (our personal favorite was the catchy “I Cast a Spell on Father Christmas”). They end their performance with a fun version of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and invite the audience to join in!
This is a seasonal performance you don’t want to miss, so check with any employee within Hogsmeade for the day’s schedule, although we noticed they took the stage every hour or so. And be there early to get a great seat. You won’t be sorry you did!
All tired out from walking around the park? Be sure to stop by The Three Broomsticks for a special holiday feast. Traditional British options such as Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken, Bangers and Mash, and the Chicken and Ribs Platter are ready to be ordered. And if you have a group, go ahead and splurge on the Christmas exclusive GREAT FEAST – a platter of smoked spareribs, rotisserie chicken, steamed vegetables, roasted potatoes, and corn on the cob, served with a large garden salad on the side, gravy and cranberry sauce. The meal comes out to $69.99 for four people.
Also available is warm butterbeer along with a few holiday-themed sweets at Honeydukes. If you prefer your butterbeer chilled, never fear – the year-round cold, fudge, and ice cream versions are still available as well!
When you’ve ridden all of the rides and sampled all of the treats, both savory and sweet, there’s plenty of shopping to be done! Tucked here and there within Hogsmeade are shops carrying a variety of holiday-themed Potter merch. From stockings and tree decorations to snowglobes and Hermione’s Yule Ball robe, there’s something to meet the needs of every witch or wizard who sets foot through every shop door.
If you’re not in the market for anything particularly festive, each shop carries a variety of House-themed merchandise, including House robes and a few snuggle-worthy throw pillows. Those with a sweet tooth will also enjoy visiting Honeydukes, where you can buy ginger newt cookies and butterbeer fudge while you admire the whimsical music and adorable lollipop holiday decorations.
And for those who are unable to Apparate, use Floo powder, or fly their Cleansweep down to Hogsmeade, these gifts are available online!
Luckily, the Christmas magic does not stop at Wizarding World of Harry Potter!
The celebrations begin before you even enter with Universal CityWalk, where a 40-foot Christmas tree and other decor bring some holiday cheer to the outdoor shopping plaza along with free concert performances.
Just outside of Hogsmeade you can visit GRINCHMAS, where the classic Christmas film “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” comes to life. Take a stroll through Who-Ville where you’ll meet familiar Who citizens as well The Grinch himself (and his pet dog, Max). At the center of the “Who-bilation” is an all-new, state-of-the-art, topsy-turvy Christmas tree that is 55 feet in height and decorated with LED lights. Stop by at night for a special Christmas tree lighting show and re-enactment of the film every 30 minutes.
TIP: The line to meet the Grinch can be one of the longest ones out there; be sure to arrive early if you want to meet & greet with the man himself!
There truly is something for everyone at Universal Studios Hollywood! To learn more about planning a trip or any seasonal celebration, visit UniversalStudiosHollywood.com!