Universal Studios holiday
Universal Studios Hollywood. Photo by Colleen Park.

Holiday season is already in full swing at Universal Studios Hollywood, with its annual “Grinchmas” festivities complemented this year with a holiday light show at the park’s Hogwarts Castle.

But for the first time, the park will culminate the season with a New Year’s Eve bash, with three parties planned for visitors to ring in 2018.

To accommodate the party, the park will extend its hours on Dec. 31, staying open until 1 a.m. Jan. 1.

Three “entertainment hubs” will be set up at the park — at Universal Plaza, “The Simpsons” plaza and the area outside the “Jurassic Park” ride. Each location will have its own themed party, leading to a New Year’s countdown and highlighted by a midnight fireworks display. The parties will begin at 9 p.m. Dec. 31, with desserts and champagne available to boost the festivities.

Since Nov. 24, the park has been offering nightly showings of “Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” a holiday-themed light show projected onto the exterior of Hogwarts Castle. The show has proven to be a big attraction, with park-goers lining up en masse for the roughly every-half- hour showings, beginning after sunset. The show features bright images such as Harry Potter’s trademark owls soaring along castle’s facade with presents in their grasp, and a glimpse at a massive Christmas tree illuminated on the castle’s main tower — and it ends with a sparkling burst of pyrotechnics in the air over Hogwarts.

The light show will continue through Jan. 7.

Beginning Dec. 15, the park will begin nightly lightings of the winding, 60-foot-tall “Grinchmas” tree made famous by “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” with The Grinch himself leading the ceremony. The festivities end with music and snow falling in “Whoville.”

The attraction also includes photo opportunities with The Grinch — and his dog Max — and other notable “Whoville” residents, along with storybook readings of Dr. Seuss’ famed book.

“Grinchmas” will continue at the park through Dec. 31.

–City News Service

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