Annual passes drive attendance in this market. Universal's aggressive with its "buy a day, get the year free" promotions early each year (though those would be blacked out on the holidays, I believe.)
Universal could pick up a lot of out-of-towners during Christmas, especially, given its proximity to Pasadena (home of the Rose Bowl and Rose Parade). Disneyland traditionally owns the Christmas market around here, so I wonder what, if anything, Universal might do to position itself so that locals think "Universal Studios" when they think of where to go for Christmas or Thanksgiving, the way they now think of Disneyland.
But kudos to them for trying something new.
But I also got to spend a good part of the day with my friends at work, and with thousands of people on an absolute holiday high. It was intoxicating, really. Some of my favorite work days ever.
Now, if you want to talk depressing, then let's talk working at a newspaper on Christmas. Ugh. Been there, done that and didn't enjoy those days nearly as much.