Is Universal Studios Hollywood Open Christmas Day? (2023)

For those considering a unique and thrilling way to spend Christmas, a visit to Universal Studios Hollywood might seem like a pretty cool option.

Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal’s CityWalk are both open for guests on Christmas Day. In fact, it’s one of the busiest calendar days of the year at the park.

While Universal doesn’t release daily attendance records, the park reached capacity (roughly 21,000 guests) in both 2016 and 2017 – just as the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter area had opened. As such, if you’re planning on visiting Universal Studios Hollywood over Christmas it’s worth planning ahead to avoid disappointment.

Universal Studios Hollywood Christmas Day Open Times

To cope with increased demand Universal Studios Hollywood typically extends its opening hours from December 23rd through until January. Sadly, however, the opening hours of the park are only announced one month in advance.

That being said, if previous years are anything to go by expect the park to be open between 8:00am and 10:00pm from December 23rd until the first week of January.

Is Universal Studios Hollywood Busy On Christmas Day?

Surprisingly, Christmas Day is one of the most popular days of the calendar year to visit the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park. As such wait times for popular rides and attractions are longer than you would otherwise experience in the off-peak season that shoulders the holidays (November through to February).

Therefore, if you don’t want to spend all your Christmas Day waiting in line then it’s highly recommended you purchase an Express Pass or go ahead and wait until January to visit the park.

Is Universal Studios Hollywood Busy On Christmas Eve?

Christmas Eve is just as, if not busier than Christmas Day at Universal Studios Hollywood with families looking to tie in a trip to the theme park with seeing family and friends in California over the holidays.

Typically you’ll find that restaurants at CityWalk are booked well in advance, and tickets to the cinema are few and far between with locals looking to unwind and relax in preparation for the upcoming festivities.

Is Christmas Day A Blackout Date For Annual Pass Members?

At the time of writing (July 2023) Christmas Day and the day following Christmas Day (26th December) are currently only available for Gold & Platinum Universal Studios Hollywood Annual Pass Members.

Meanwhile, the days surrounding Christmas Day and the 26th of December are blacked out for all Annual Pass Members except for those holding a Platinum Pass, since this Universal Studios Hollywood Annual Pass has zero blackout dates and permits entry into the park 365 days a year.

Is A Trip To Universal Studios Hollywood More Expensive Over Christmas?

Tickets to Universal Studios Hollywood are sold on a dynamic pricing model based on the estimated demand for the park on that date with one-day tickets currently ranging between $109 and $149 per person.

For Christmas 2023, the pricing is as follows;

  • Christmas Eve: $134
  • Christmas Day: $144
  • December 26th – December 31st: $149

These prices are subject to change depending on the number of tickets sold. For reference, I am currently referencing the prices I’ve seen when updating this post in May 2023, so there are still more than six months until the big date.

However, I expect in October or November, the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day ticket prices could increase to the $149 cap.

If you’re based in the UK I recommend buying your Universal Studios Hollywood park tickets from AttractionTix. They have the most competitive prices and incredible customer service.

If you’re based in the US or Canada I recommend Klook for your Universal Studios Hollywood tickets. They have the most competitive prices and a range of different ticket options to suit all budgets and requirements.

It’s worth keeping in mind that the Universal Express Pass also works on a dynamic pricing model too since it’s going to save you more time, given that the park is busier.

When Does Universal Studios Hollywood Decorate For Christmas?

Universal Studios Hollywood has yet to release the dates on which Grinchmas and the magic of the holiday season in Hogsmeade are set to begin for the 2023 season. However, based on previous years we know that Universal will typically begin decorating shortly after Halloween, usually the first week of November.

The decorations are usually completed by the middle of November so that the shows and food stalls can start in time for Thanksgiving. These then remain in place until January 1st, and by the middle of January, the park is usually back to normal.

What’s The Weather Like At Universal Studios Hollywood In December?

December is one of the coldest and wettest months in Los Angeles with average temperatures of 14°C (around 56°F). When it comes to what to wear to Universal Studios at this time of the year, I recommend long pants, a T-shirt and a jacket. You’ll also want to pack either a poncho or a raincoat too!

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How To Avoid The Crowds At Universal Studios Hollywood, While Still Enjoying The Magical Decor & Festivities

While the holiday season is one of the busiest times to visit Universal Studios Hollywood, there are still plenty of ways in which you can still have a great time when visiting the park.

Stay In A Nearby Hotel That Offers A Complimentary Shuttle

Consider taking the hassle out of your morning when visiting the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park by staying in a nearby hotel and / or a hotel that offers a complimentary shuttle to the theme park.

Decide How You’re Getting To The Park

If you’re not staying in a hotel within walking distance of Universal Studios Hollywood, then you’ll need to decide how you’re going to get to the theme park and account for that time accordingly.

If you’re driving you’ll need to think about the traffic and which parking garage you’re going to use upon your arrival at the park. Meanwhile, if you’re staying in a hotel near Universal Studios Hollywood with a shuttle you’ll want to check whether they are running on Christmas Day and if so at what times.

Alternatively, if you’re getting an Uber drop off at Universal Studios Hollywood then you’ll want to order the car with plenty of time, as it’s likely that fewer drivers will be working on Christmas Day and therefore the wait time for pick-up may be longer than usual.

Upgrade Your Parking

General parking at the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park is the cheapest option. However, it also sees you parking 20 minutes away from the park gates over at the back of CityWalk.

As such if you have the budget, Christmas is one time when we think it’s worth considering upgrading your parking to ‘Front Gate’.If you are a solo traveller or a couple looking at upgrading your parking and purchasing a Universal Express Pass then it may work out cheaper to go on the VIP Tour of the park instead.

Arrive At The Park Before It Opens

One of the cheapest and easiest ways to maximise your trip to Universal Studios Hollywood is to arrive at the park before it even opens. Usually, you’ll be able to have your ticket scanned at the park entrance roughly 20 minutes before the park is officially opened and held at Starbucks / Hello Kitty until the official opening time.

From there you’re then able to go straight to the ride / attraction you’d most like to go on while many others are still parking their vehicle or going through security. To be in this position we recommend arriving at least one hour before the estimated parking opening time if you’re driving or 30 minutes if you’re being dropped off (since general parking is typically a 20-minute walk through CityWalk).

Grab Breakfast Before You Arrive

If you have gone to all the effort of arriving at the park early, then you want to make sure you maximise it by going straight to the most popular rides first since this will be the quietest time of the day.

As such the last thing you want to be thinking about is breakfast. We therefore highly recommend picking up breakfast or eating breakfast prior to arriving at the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park.

Buy Your Tickets In Advance

The cheapest ways to minimise the amount of waiting around you have to do during a visit to Universal Studios is all about planning and preparation.

So while you can still buy your park tickets at the Universal Studios Hollywood gates, we’d highly recommend against wasting your time doing this. Especially since tickets are dated, and therefore could sell out in advance, leaving you having to go home disappointed. Instead, we recommend purchasing your park tickets online in advance.

If you’re based in the UK I recommend buying your Universal Studios Hollywood park tickets from AttractionTix. They have the most competitive prices and incredible customer service.

If you’re based in the US or Canada I recommend Klook for your Universal Studios Hollywood tickets. They have the most competitive prices and a range of different ticket options to suit all budgets and requirements.

Pick Up A Universal Express Pass

The Universal Studios Hollywood Express Pass is an upgraded ticket when compared to the traditional park ticket and comes with two key benefits;

  1. One-time express access to each ride, attraction & show (excluding Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge)
  2. One-time reservation-free entry into Super Nintendo World (when reservations are required, which they likely will be over the holiday period).

It’s worth noting that a Universal Express Pass ticket includes entry into the park and park tickets do not need to be purchased separately. Unlike at Universal Studios Orlando where the park tickets and Express Pass is sold separately.

Right now one-day Universal Express Pass tickets are being sold for the holiday season for $289 per person (between December 23rd – 30th) while the pricing cap for these tickets is $309.

Much like the general park tickets, you may find that the price increases based on demand as Christmas comes closer.

Take The VIP Experience

If you’re looking to have an incredible time at Universal Studios Hollywood then consider booking the VIP Experience.

This experience includes;

  1. Your entry into the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park
  2. Complimentary valet parking
  3. A guided tour of the park
  4. Exclusive backlot access
  5. Unlimited Universal Express access to all participating rides, shows & attractions
  6. Access to the exclusive VIP lounge with light snacks and refreshments
  7. A gourmet meal in the private VIP dining room

VIP Experience tickets range between $369 and $489 per person and are currently being sold for $469 between December 23rd and December 30th.

Get A Two Day Park Ticket

During the majority of the year, one day at Universal Studios Hollywood is long enough to experience all the rides and attractions that the theme park has to offer. However, during the height of the peak season such as Christmas Day, it may be worth extending your trip to two days instead.

However, when it comes to how many days you need at Universal Studios Hollywood, I think even at Christmas you don’t need both a Universal Express Pass and two days inside the park. Instead, one or the other should allow you to go on all the rides and see all the experiences. As such it’s really about which option best suits your budget and personal preferences.

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🎟️ Where To Buy Tickets for Universal Hollywood?

If you’re based in the US or Canada, I recommend Klook for your Universal Hollywood tickets.

Klook consistently has the most competitive prices. There’s also a range of different ticket options to suit all budgets and requirements.

Meanwhile, if you’re based in the United Kingdom. Then I recommend buying your Universal Hollywood theme park tickets from AttractionTix.

I personally use AttractionTix when purchasing theme park tickets. That’s because AttractionTix consistently has the most competitive prices and incredible customer service.

🏥 Should I Buy Travel Insurance for a Visit to Universal Hollywood?

If you’re travelling to Universal Hollywood for vacation, then travel insurance is recommended. Basic travel insurance coverage with Safety Wing averages between $5 – $10 per day and offers peace of mind.

However, if a trip to Universal Hollywood isn’t part of a vacation. For example, you live locally. Then travel insurance isn’t likely to be necessary.

🚘 Do I Need to Rent a Car for a Visit to Universal Hollywood?

You don’t need to rent a car to visit Universal Hollywood, as the theme park has Uber / Lyft pick-up and drop-off points.

However, if a trip to Universal Hollywood only makes up a portion of your vacation, then you may want to rent a car. I personally use Discover Cars to find the best car rental for all of my trips to Los Angeles.

🏨 Where to Stay When Visiting Universal Hollywood?

When visiting Universal Hollywood, I recommend staying at Loews Hollywood. From this hotel, you can take an Uber or Lyft to Universal Hollywood in under 15 minutes.

When it comes to booking any hotels in Los Angeles, I use either Booking.com or Hotels.com. However, for large families and groups, VRBO is my number one choice.

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2 Comments

  1. claire keefe says:

    We are coming to Florida’s for ten days from 20/12/2021, I’m looking at buying 3 day 3 park flexi pass online now, will this pass allow us entry to the park on Xmas day?

    1. It should tell you inside the terms and conditions of the ticket. If you’re unsure it’s best to speak to Universal Studios Orlando directly before purchasing 🙂