Fans pack Universal's theme parks for new Christmas shows

December 2, 2017, 11:18 PM · Something amazing happened tonight at Universal Studios Hollywood.

With Grinchmas kicking off today at the park, and the new Harry Potter castle show drawing fans, too, the crowd inside the park got pretty big by sundown. I mean really, really big.

That's the queue of people waiting to get into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to see the new Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle projection show — stretching all the way across the Upper Lot of the park back to the Waterworld theater. Universal turned Hogsmeade into a one-way street after dark, pushing people into and through the land to see the show, which runs every half hour in Hollywood. (It runs every 15 minutes in Orlando, due in large part to more permissive local rules on the use of fireworks.)

In case you missed it, or want to see it again, we recorded the show when it debuted last month. (We shot it in Orlando, but the show is the same on both coasts.)

It's a great show, but more than that — it's a new show. If you'll allow me to speak for theme park fans, we love great entertainment, but we love fresh, great entertainment most of all. Disneyland hasn't debuted a major new Christmas production in years. Its most recent one, the Jingle Cruise, didn't return to Anaheim this season. And playing holiday songs on the Cars Land spinner rides doesn't exactly move the needle. The food festival in California Adventure is nice, but that's just extra food for sale. If you want a big new show this Christmas, you've got to head up the 5.

Universal delivered that new holiday attraction experience for fans this season, and they're embracing it. Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a big hit on both coasts and another reminder to anyone who runs a theme park that the "secret" to success in this business isn't hard to find — just keep building great stuff so fans always have something new to enjoy, along with classic favorites.

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Replies (9)

December 2, 2017 at 11:31 PM · It's so nice to see Hollywood finally bustling. The downside of that though is that when the park is bustling - it's also bursting at the seems. Maybe it's time to start jotting down plans for that 2nd gate.
December 3, 2017 at 1:23 AM · Saw the USH show. It lacks the emotional power TDA’s, so-called outdated, show. And, when you compare the lack of fire works vs USO and TDA the USH show really falls short.

That said, Universal Creative has already been instructed to “Plus like Disney” the show for 2018.

December 3, 2017 at 12:17 PM · ^Disney fanboy alert.
December 3, 2017 at 2:12 PM · Disneyland doesn't need a new show to bring more people in to their parks. They can barely handle the packed-to-near-capacity crowds they have now with their old shows.
December 3, 2017 at 4:29 PM · This is a wonderful addition. My family loved it, and it was a great cap to our day at the park.
December 3, 2017 at 7:55 PM · I guess everyone is swarming the streets to see the emotionless show! What a failure!/s

And really? Fireworks? You must know that’s out of their control right?

December 3, 2017 at 11:53 PM · Though I love and agree with everything you’re saying... world of color: seasons of light was a brand new show last year... so besides that being a brand new entertainment offering. You’re right!
December 4, 2017 at 4:17 AM · Universal fail again tbh. Disney would have done this much better.
December 4, 2017 at 5:32 AM · Saw it in Orlando last night, along with the new Holiday Parade. Job well done, Universal! It isn't great, but I don't have to pay an extra $100 to see it and it was way, way better than the wretched "Jingle Bell Jingle BAM," so Universal beats Disney for my holiday entertainment this Christmas season.

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