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The Grinchmas heart is growing at Universal Studios Hollywood – DePaoli on DeParks

by Jeff DePaoli

During last year’s holiday season, I wrote a DePaoli on DeParks article about my disappointment over what had become of Universal Studios Hollywood’s Grinchmas in 2021. For fairness’ sake, I feel it is only right to share my thoughts on this year’s Grinchmas, given its improvement. I wasn’t the only one disappointed last year, and to Universal Studios Hollywood’s credit, they took notice and made some updates.

universal studios hollywood grinchmas
Photos by Jeff DePaoli

I’d like to reiterate that, through the years, Grinchmas as a whole has truly been one of my favorite holiday-season theme park experiences. It’s extremely unique, the Seussian Grinchmas Tree is stunning, the Who’s makeup is fabulous, and there’s lots to love about it.

This year marks some nice improvements to Grinchmas. One of my biggest complaints last year was how, although Grinchmas was advertised as an over-a-month-long celebration, the full Grinchmas experience had only been taking place on the weekends. I am thrilled to share that this year you will have the same Grinchmas experience any day you attend during the holiday time, November 25, 2022-January 1, 2023. The only difference will be the number of performance times. But that shouldn’t matter as crowds are lighter during the weekdays.

I’m also happy to report that a full tree lighting ceremony has returned to Grinchmas. This new nearly ten-minute show happens multiple times per night and now features performers with live microphones. The days of lip-synced tree lighting shows are gone, and hopefully the less-than-one-minute “ceremony,” sans performers from 2021, will never return. The 40-foot tall, twisted Grinchmas Tree now has a proper and entertaining tree lighting ceremony back in place. Happy Who-lidays indeed.

grinchmas christmas tree

In addition to the return of a tree lighting ceremony, we also get a brand-new daytime show on the tree stage, entitled “Who-ville Welcome Committee.” The Welcome Committee is in search of a new Junior Cheermeister for the Who-liday celebration, so they turn to the little ones in the audience to help them out. It’s nice to see the willingness of Universal to spend money on Grinchmas by creating a brand-new show.

universal studios hollywood grinchmas

Speaking of new, I couldn’t help but notice the new backdrop surrounding the Grinchmas Tree. Typically, the backdrop is simply an illustrated flat, very much like an oversized page from a Dr. Seuss book. This year, actual building facades were constructed on each side of the tree. They both had second-story balconies that were used during the tree lighting stage show. I’m hoping these building facades continue to expand over the years with an eventual 360-degree Whoville. Additions like this make it feel like Grinchmas is here to stay and continuing to grow.

universal studios hollywood grinchmas

Admittedly, if you remember the years of stadium seating, real snow, a Grinchmas performance on the World-Famous Studio Tour, and more as part of Grinchmas, this is still considerably smaller. But, if you’ve never experienced Grinchmas before, this year feels like the return of a fully realized event. This is the first time in a while that I’ve felt an upward-motion growth for Grinchmas at Universal Studios Hollywood.

It’s impressive to think how a movie from 22 years ago is still an event anchor for Universal Studios theme parks, even though there was another iteration of the classic story released in 2018. Folks seem to love Jim Carrey’s take on the Grinch, often causing lines over an hour long to meet him and take a photo. But here’s a pro-tip for you: If you’d like to take a photo with the Grinch but don’t want to wait that long, the Grinch has a second photo spot at the exit of the World-Famous Studio Tour with a far shorter wait.

how the grinch stole christmas picture car
A picture car used in the 2000 movie “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” starring Jim Carrey.

I’d be remiss not to mention not only the Grinch, but all of the Who-ville citizens at Grinchmas. They really are top-notch performers and skilled improvisors. I’d like to give a special mention to The Mayor who performs an uncanny vocal impression of Jeffrey Tambor’s performance in the film.

the mayor of whoville

Grinchmas is back at Universal Studios Hollywood and some of the magic it had been missing has returned. I hope the annual celebration continues heading in this direction. Congratulations to all of the performers and everyone involved in the Who-liday festivities.

Have you ever visited Grinchmas on either coast? If so, what are some of your favorite parts of the event? If you’ve been lucky enough to experience it on both coasts, what are some of your favorite differences? Leave a comment and let me know.


Jeff DePaoli is a producer and voiceover artist living in Los Angeles.

Jeff DePaoli is a producer and voiceover artist living in Los Angeles. He can be heard as the voice of Disney Trivia on Alexa as well as the host of “Dizney Coast to Coast,” the ultimate, unofficial Disney fan podcast. Get your FREE gifts of “America’s Hidden Mickeys,” “On the Rohde Again,” “Theme Park Comfort Kit” and more at DizneyCoastToCoast.com. DePaoli’s opinions are his own and do not necessarily represent Attractions Magazine.

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