Archives for December 19, 2019

Universal Studios Hollywood Celebrates with Traditional Holiday Favorites, “Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” and “Grinchmas.”

The whimsical spirit of the holidays transforms Universal Studios Hollywood into a winter wonderland bringing merriment and cheer to families and friends this festive season as the theme park ushers in seasonal favorites, “Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” and “Grinchmas,” beginning Thursday, November 28 and running daily through Sunday, December 29, 2019.

An annual family tradition, “Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” adds holiday warmth and cheer to this beloved land as the quaint town of Hogsmeade village is enchanted with seasonal décor uniquely themed to each of the individual storefronts and a dazzling light projection spectacular brings the iconic Hogwarts™ castle to life.

As night falls on Hogsmeade village, “The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts™ Castle” illuminates Hogwarts™ School of Witchcraft and Wizardry with colorful imagery and impressive dimensional animations that dance across Hogwarts castle in tandem to a musical arrangement from the Harry Potter movies.

Musical performances from the a cappella Frog Choir, comprised of Hogwarts students and their giant throaty frogs, entertain guests with their harmonized holiday themed songs and fill the land with holiday cheer.

In time for the holiday season, a wide selection of custom-made Christmas ornaments created especially for “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” will be available. Collectibles include a decorative Hogwarts castle snow globe, Hogwarts crest and mascot ornaments representing each of the four houses, wizard card ornaments, unique tree topper and house pennant garland.

            Holiday-themed fare and hot Butterbeer further complement the overall experience.

An all-new state-of-the-art, topsy-turvy “Grinchmas” tree, twisting and turning over 55 feet in height and adorned with hundreds of ornaments and thousands of white and multi-colored LED lights choreographed to music, brightens the merry “Grinchmas” Who-lebration. Dazzling “Grinchmas” tree lighting ceremonies that take place every evening, accompanied by a snowfall flurry, bring this annual favorite to life, creating a festival of fun fit for The Grinch, his faithful dog Max and a roster of Who-ville Whos.

Spirited holiday décor and festive whimsy will also permeate throughout the theme park, bringing a crew of very merry and mischievous Minions to “Despicable Me Minion Mayhem” and “Super Silly Fun Land” to gleefully spread Christmas cheer to visitors of all ages.

Universal CityWalk’s spectacular 40-foot tall Christmas tree will once again glisten with 200,000 LED icicles choreographed to the lights and sounds of the season as the magic of the holidays comes to life in the “5 Towers” outdoor plaza along with a slate of free concert performances and an eclectic ensemble of talented street performers.

CityWalk’s iconic, dancing water fountain with over 230 individual power jets will continue to mesmerize guests when it projects streams of choreographed water into the air complemented by red and green LED lights and an array of holiday-themed music.

The holidays at Universal Studios Hollywood is included in the price of theme park admission. 

With so much to see and do at Universal Studios Hollywood, the California Neighbor Pass makes the perfect holiday gift, providing guests with the opportunity to experience 175 days of fun for $149 when purchased online. Visit for more details. Blackout dates and restrictions apply.

More information is available at Like Universal Studios Hollywood on Facebook and follow @UniStudios on Instagram and Twitter.

Admission to Universal CityWalk is free. More information available at

Credit: Universal Studios Hollywood.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker * Amazing. Great Ending To The Saga

Lucasfilm and director J.J. Abrams join forces once again to take viewers on an epic journey to a galaxy far, far away with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the riveting conclusion of the seminal Skywalker saga, where new legends will be born and the final battle for freedom is yet to come. The film stars Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong’o, Keri Russell, Joonas Suotamo, Kelly Marie Tran, with Ian McDiarmid and Billy Dee Williams. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is directed by J.J. Abrams and produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Abrams and Michelle Rejwan.

The surviving Resistance faces the First Order once more as Rey, Finn and Poe Dameron’s journey continues. With the power and knowledge of generations behind them, the final battle commences. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Lindalee R. comments, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is amazing and a great way to end the saga. This film is full of action and explosions – on the ground, in space and even in the ocean. I have never seen “the Force” used so amazingly well as it is in this movie.” See her full review below.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

By Lindalee R., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is amazing and a great way to end the saga. There have been eight Star Wars movies, with this being the ninth and with iconic characters we’ve gotten to know and love over 40 years. This film is full of action and explosions – on the ground, in space and even in the ocean. There are a bunch of crazy choreographed light-saber fights, like really crazy!!! I have never seen “the Force” used so amazingly well as it is in this movie.

There are a bunch of really funny moments that break the tension and action and lots of really sad parts that made me cry, so I suggest taking tissues with you when you go watch it. A bunch of characters from past Star Wars movies return and, every time we saw an old character come on-screen, everybody in the audience went crazy and that was really funny. The special affects are spectacular. Don’t wait for it to come out on DVD or DISNEY+ because it is fantastic on the big screen and I highly recommend seeing it in theaters, even in IMAX.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker sees our heroes Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega) and Poe (Oscar Isaac) as they band together to rise up and build the Resistance against the New Order, now led by Supreme Commander Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). When an unexpected presence from the past returns and threatens the balance of the plans of the Empire, it’s up to Rey and Kylo to decide whether to continue fighting each other, or to fight side by side to defeat this new threat to the entire Star Wars galaxy. 

J.J. Abrams directs this film and he has commented that he did his best to please the die-hard fans, wrap up the many loose storylines and create a closing to the saga that will hopefully leave everyone happy. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is two hours and 22 min, so I advise hitting the bathroom before the movie starts, because you will not want to miss a single moment of this epic conclusion! 

Be ready for lots of surprises and shocking moments, because this movie is full of them! And a note to parents: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has some dark, intense and scary moments, so consider that before bringing small children to the movie. As a young Star Wars fan, I have to say, this is a terrific finale and quite possibly the best of the recent franchise’s sequel trilogy that my generation has been a part of. I give this amazing movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to18. And adults will definitely love it too. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker comes out in theaters on Friday, December 20. Be sure to look for it.