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Universal Studios Hollywood does not make for a holly jolly celebration

The holiday event keeps you for the bright lights and christmas spirit, but pushes you away with its unentertaining events.

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"Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" at Universal Studios Hollywood is all decked out for the holidays.

David Sprague | Universal Studios Hollywood

David Sprague | Universal Studios Hollywood

"Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" at Universal Studios Hollywood is all decked out for the holidays.

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HOLLYWOOD — It may be difficult to get into the Christmas spirit in California’s sunny setting, but Universal Studios Hollywood celebrates its all-new holiday experience with two attractions to help you get into the holly jolly mood. Christmas in “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” features a light show with fireworks, holiday food and Christmas merchandise at Hogwarts. There is also Grinchmas, where you can meet The Grinch and delve into the world of Dr. Seuss’ novel, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

When you enter the park you are greeted by a plethora of Christmas decorations. Lights and decorations are hung all around the entrance, but the holiday feel becomes underwhelming once you venture deeper into the park. Besides the decorations and Christmas music playing in the background, the rest of the park does not feel like an immersive holiday experience.

Courtesy of Universal Studios Hollywood
“The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle” light projection spectacular is one of many activities at the holiday event.

The events were lackluster and uninteresting, but the most entertaining of the bunch was Christmas in “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” offering small memorable details such as the Harry Potter Christmas soundtrack playing and a choir that features Hogwarts students singing with fake giant throaty frogs, which was one of the funnier events of the day.

Every 30 minutes after 6 p.m., Hogwarts Castle comes to life with The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle,” a projection light show that ends with a small firework display. The usually dark looming castle that overlooks the section of the park was transformed into a canvas of glittery lights, swooping Quidditch players, dancing lanterns and a gargantuan Christmas tree that transforms the area into a twinkly, icy fortress. The fireworks were dull to end with though, which hurt the show.

The experience is visually and audibly immersive, but lacks the punch to really make it memorable event. It would have been nice to see the park hire actors to recreate scenes from the movies, or even fake snow that falls from the sky.

While the event was crowded throughout the day, the crown dwindled down at the end of the night — which is great for people who enjoy the elbow room.

The best part of the experience was the hot version of Butterbeer, Universal’s signature  butterscotch mixture that is meant to mimic the same iconic drink from the series.

David Sprague | Universal Studios Hollywood
The Frog Choir at the “Chrstmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter” is one of the more enjoyable shows at this year’s event.

Grinchmas was even less of a spectacle than the light show in Harry Potter World, and it is clearly aimed to younger children. The event features the lighting of a one-of-kind 60-foot Seussian tree where you can take a picture with The Grinch. Guests were also able to decorate small trees while listening to the Wholiday Singers beat-box. Cindy-Lou Who makes an appearance for story time, where she recaps how the story of “How the Grinch stole Christmas.”

It was nice to look at and listen to, but there was barely enough keep me interested for more than 20 minutes.

The best part of Universal is still the celebration of its achievements in cinema. The studio tour remains the best attraction in the park, and they should consider making it Christmas themed as well, like they do with Horror Nights.

Holidays at Universal Studios began on Dec. 2 and will continue through Dec. 31, and students can purchase discounted tickets at http://ushtix.com/collegediscounts. The park will also be hosting EVE, a New Year’s Eve party that will transform three areas of the park into party hubs that will light up at midnight with a traditional New Years countdown and a fireworks display. The event includes multiple entertainment hubs with DJs and live music starting at 9:00 p.m.

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