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Universal Studios Hollywood debuts its 'Grinchmas' snow playground

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Published: December 4, 2008 at 12:40 PM

Tuesday Park Visit (on Thursday this week): This morning, I headed over to Universal Studios Hollywood for the media preview of its Grinchmas winter playground.

Universal is opening on Christmas Day this year, for the first time ever, and has sprinkled holiday decor throughout the park. Here, the park's Brooklyn street scene lies under a dusting of "snow."

For Grinchmas, Universal's taken its The Adventures Of Curious George play area and overlaid a "Grinch Who Stole Christmas" theme.

The rocket ship is now a Christmas tree and the water "sprayground" is blocked off by a large shallow pit of real snow, trucked in for the occasion.

This isn't the soap-bubble fake stuff that you'll find in some places around Southern California. Nor is it just flakes in the sky, which melt upon hitting the ground. This is a foot deep of good stuff, the kind you can roll around in, dump on your brother's head and pack into a snowman, as Universal did for the show.

Universal brought in Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for an opening ceremony with the Grinch, the mayor of Whoville and a much-older-than-toddler-aged Cindy Lou Who.

After the mayor's spiel, the bussed-in local schoolkids, on cue, all pelted the snowman with snowballs, as local TV crews filmed the action. I, however, decided to shoot the sign behind the snowman...

The one that started with "No Throwing Snow." So, I guess that regular theme park customers won't get to join in the media-friendly snowball fight. Alas. ;-)

A snow play ground might not seem like much to folks from up north. But having spent two hours in a traffic jam trying (and failing) to get up to Big Bear a couple Decembers ago, it's nice to have that option closer to home. (I believe that the last measurable snow in Pasadena fell in 1949.)

Touch is one of the underutilized senses in theme parks. And this attraction is, ultimately, all about touch -- the feel of snow on your hands, on your face and all around your body.

The Grinchmas snow play area will be open weekends, starting this Saturday, and daily from Dec. 21 - 31.

Readers' Opinions

From Joshua Counsil on December 4, 2008 at 8:25 PM
If you can't have snowball fights, what's the point?

Still, it's a great idea. I was very bitter when the fireworks at Disneyland were canceled due to wind when I went during the Christmas season. Instead, they created a faux snowstorm, and it wasn't anything but soap suds. What a rip.

From Robert Niles on December 4, 2008 at 10:56 PM
Well, there's no long-distance warfare (i.e. snowballs), but hand-to-hand combat (i.e. dumping it on someone's head) remains possible. ;-)
From Anthony Murphy on December 5, 2008 at 10:06 AM
How do they keep the snow not from turning into slush? Its a very interesting idea and sounds actually like a blast if you live in CA, but being from Chicago, I can roll around on my front yard though it looks like its melting as we speak.........
From Robert Niles on December 5, 2008 at 11:10 AM
If you make the snow deep enough, and pile it on some insulated material or relatively cool ground, all but the top layer of snow keeps itself cold. It won't be champagne powder, but change it every day, and it should be in decent shape to play in.

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