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Universal Studios debuts collectible Butterbeer stein, Grinch popcorn bucket

Riverside Press-Enterprise logo Riverside Press-Enterprise 11/30/2022 Kelli Skye Fadroski, The Press-Enterprise

Universal Studios Hollywood’s holiday celebration is now in full swing. The topsy-turvy 65-foot Grinchmas tree is bold, colorful and sparkling in the Universal Plaza and Hogsmeade Village is completely decked out in festive seasonal fare inside The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Thousands of poinsettia flower plants fill the concrete planters, oversize ornaments and bright strings of lights hang from a variety of structural arches and even the costumed characters roaming the theme park are sporting their most fabulous Christmas outfits. The sweet smells of baked treats and popcorn fill the air and Universal has brought back several pre-COVID-19 shutdown activities.

The holiday celebration, which is included with the price of admission, will continue daily through Jan. 1.

Guests entering The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will find several new themed food and beverage options, as well as Harry Potter ornaments, Christmas stockings and decorations and other seasonal gifts in the various shops. Inside the Three Broomsticks restaurant, the English Holiday Dinner ($17.99) is back, with roasted turkey, sourdough stuffing, ginger-glazed carrots, Brussels spouts, bacon-wrapped sausage, turkey gravy and cranberry sauce. Families and friends who want to share can order The Great Fest ($69.99 for four), which includes herb roasted chicken and spare ribs, corn on the cob, fresh vegetables and roasted potatoes.

Top the meal off with Sticky Toffee Pudding ($6.99) or Butterbeer Potted Cream ($5.99). This year, there’s also a limited edition metal Butterbeer stein ($38) that’s available inside the Hog’s Head Tavern that keeps the Butterbeer ($8) cool. A seasonal favorite is the Hot Butterbeer ($8) which has a richer, butterscotch flavor, that is poured inside the tavern, and the slushie-like Frozen Butterbeer ($8), which is available at a cart just outside. All Butterbeer is non-alcoholic.

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Throughout the day there are performances by the a cappella Hogwarts Frog Choir and once the sun goes down, “The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle” light projection show floods the castle façade with stunning imagery and animation from the Harry Potter films and it’s set to music from the beloved series. The show runs every half hour and concludes with a fireworks finish.

Over in the Universal Plaza, The Grinch is back with his trusty dog Max and the residents of Who-ville roam their bright and colorful town, greeting guests and posing for photos. The Who-ville Post Office and Schoolhouse have reopened, too. Guests can write holiday messages on postcards and drop them at the post office and Cindy-Lou Who will host story time and read “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

There are also several tables where kids (and adults) can color ornaments. The Grinch and Max are also meeting and greeting throughout the day. Beginning at 5:30 p.m. and running about every half hour, the citizens of Who-ville get together for a little performance and the giant Grinchmas tree is lit up and a flurry of snow falls upon the audience.

There’s a bunch of Grinchmas-themed sweet treats and cocktails available in the Universal Plaza. These include jumbo donuts in the shape of The Grinch ($10.99) or a chocolate Christmas wreath ($9.99); mini donuts ($8.49) or churros ($5.99-$6.49) coated in cinnamon and sugar or pumpkin spice; Grinch cotton candy ($5.99); and a variety of cookies ($4.99) and dessert jars and cupcakes ($6.99). There’s even a limited edition Grinch popcorn bucket ($24.99) that comes with a red and green neck or shoulder strap and same-day unlimited popcorn refills.

Adults can enjoy a cold or hot alcoholic beverage including The Grinch’s Heart (vodka, lemonade, pineapple and Sprite over ice) and hot drinks like Spiked Peppermint Hot Chocolate and Buttered Rum and Pear Cider. Elsewhere in the park, there are cocktails like the Winter Mojito, Santa’s Secret Tonic, Mulligan’s Treat, Sleigh Bell Irish Sour and the Fiesta Fizz (drinks range from $14-$17). There’s also plenty of non-alcoholic beverage options throughout the park and in Who-ville including classic, peppermint and s’mores hot chocolate and the cold Grinch’s Heart lemonade ($5-$8).

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Much like the Harry Potter-themed holiday merch, there’s plenty of Grinchmas swag — seriously, everything from ornaments and Christmas decor to matching family pajamas and silly Who-ville hats.

Holidays at Universal Studios Hollywood

When: Various hours; Open daily through Sunday, Jan. 8

Where: 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City

Tickets: $104-$109 for single-day general admission; $179-$189 for Universal Express; $379 for the VIP Experience. All passes are available at universalstudioshollywood.com.

©2022 MediaNews Group, Inc. Visit pe.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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