Is The Grinch at Disney? Who owns the rights to The Grinch?

In honor of Theodor Suess Geisel, I thought about writing this in rhyme.

Spoiler alert: I made it about three lines, deleted it and started over.

That rhyming business is tricky.

In fairness to me, Dr. Seuss – aka Theodor Geisel – made up a lot of words whenever he needed a rhyme. I mean Zimpahone? Poogle-Horn? Mount Crumpit? Really, Ted?

In fairness to Dr. Seuss, he was a genius. I am not.

So we find ourselves here at the beginning without a clever hook, with a clever line, without a clever book and without a clever rhyme.

See? I told you my rhyming genius level is sub-optimal. Where’s Fezzac from the Princess Bride or Mos Def when you need them?

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Lorax at Universal Studios
The Lorax and other Seuss characters can be found at Universal Studios, not Disney World (photo by Morgan Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

Who created The Grinch character?

A lot of folks, if you can believe it, at a certain point begin to go through life without thinking much about the massive and genius output of Dr. Seuss, the creator of The Grinch.

Of course, these people are typically adults.

Sure, around Christmas time they may watch the live-action version of the Jim Carrey holiday classic “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” or the animated movie which features Benedict Cumberbatch. Whose name, in fact, sounds like someone Dr. Seuss made up to rhyme with thunderscratch or something.

Some people still prefer the old – and mercifully short – Boris Karloff’s Christmas Classic animated version of the Grinch.

We have several streaming platforms including Disney Plus. But no matter what streaming service you have, you should be able to find some version of the Grinch at Christmas time.

But the rest of the year? They don’t think about “Green Eggs and Ham”. Or “The Places You’ll Go” or even “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish”.

I am not one of these people. I have three kids who are surely outgrowing regular Seuss encounters. But I still come home frequently to Cat and the Hat TV shows’ cartoon hijinks. Or perhaps, the abominable Mike Myers movie.

In fact, my kids are as apt to turn on one of the Grinch movies in April or August as they are in December.

I, myself, have been known to declare “I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees” when of course, a suitable moment arises.

Speaking of the Lorax, my youngest daughter – at around 4 – became enamored of the Taylor Swift-starring vehicle that also featured the voice work of Danny Devito and Ed Helms.

Near the end of the movie, the townspeople are inspired to sing about the last Trufulla seed and how they should Let it Grow. Rob Riggle’s evil mayor, however, tries to swing the crowd back his way by boisterously singing “Let it die, let it die, let it shrivel up and die.”

For whatever reason, that snippet of earworm got stuck in Ainsley’s head and she couldn’t let it go. We’d be visiting family and out of nowhere, she’d sing to herself “Let it Die” as happily as she could.

At the ball field, “Let it die, let it die.”

In the grocery store, “Let it shrivel up and die.”

“Oh, that’s the Gullion child. Maybe it’s best if you don’t play with her.”

I say all that to say this. We remain something of a Seuss family.

As a result, I find myself a bit baffled when I run across people who haven’t given the good doctor much of a thought since they left the second grade.

In particular, what does that mean for Orlando? Well, what any major, well-known fictional property means for Orlando. It’s the possibility for intellectual property.

Seuss Landing at Universal Studios, Florida
The entrance to Seuss Landing at Universal Studios in Orlando (photo by Morgan Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

Who owns the rights to The Grinch?

In short, it’s Universal. In the theme park game, Intellectual Property is king.

A well-known IP can lead to a themed land, rides, restaurants, meet and greets and merch. That’s why Universal clings dearly to its Marvel characters whose movie rights belong to Disney. It’s why there’s a Star Wars Land and a Harry Potter World and Avatar and more.

In Orlando and beyond, IP is gold.

But it wasn’t always that way. Back in 1998 repurposing popular IP into a theme parkland was a relatively new idea.

After Theodor Giesel went to the big housamawhatsamachiatolismo in the sky, there was an auction for the rights to “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “Oh, the Places You’ll Go,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

As a result, Universal Pictures Studios won the rights for up to $9 million.

It’s the fifth paragraph that specifically notes the sea-changing inclusion.

The Times reported:

The size of the deal underscores the value that entertainment conglomerates place on characters and stories already well-established with the public. Beyond capitalizing on the Seuss properties in movie theaters and on home video, Universal stands to benefit significantly from exploiting the potential family franchise in its theme parks and merchandising businesses. The studio’s new 110-acre Islands of Adventure theme park attraction in Orlando, Fla., opening next summer will feature “Seuss Landing” as one of its five themed islands.

And so the Grinch, the Cat in the Hat and Sam and his Green Eggs belong to Universal and not Disney or Six Flags or any other massive theme park at least in the United States.

Canada has its own Grinch deal.

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Seuss Landing at Universal
Inside Seuss Landing at Islands of Adventure in Universal’s Orlando Resort (photo by Morgan Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

Is the Grinch at Disney or Universal?

So, the Grinch is not at Disney. You can’t find the Grinch in Walt Disney World Resort or at Universal Studios Hollywood.

But you can find him at Seuss Landing at Islands of Adventure in Universal’s Orlando Resort in the Themepark. It is where the hit Christmas movie brings the source material to life.

The classic story of the Grinch and the human-like creatures who taunt his very existence is at the top of the Christmas movies list for many families. In fact, in our house, on Christmas Eve, it’s even more popular than Home Alone or other popular movies of the season.

My family has a love and fascination with … with … with “The Grinch,” (said in Jim Carrey’s voice when he’s talking to Cindy Lou). 

Therefore, I am a little surprised Universal doesn’t keep the green curmudgeon and his Whobilation celebration, Grinch musical, around for the whole year instead of just the Christmas season.

Seems like an opportunity lost to have the Christmas trees and the Christmas lights and celebrate the festive season year-round.

Instead, the curmudgeonly Grinch and the town of Whoville’s Christmas shows are a holiday season attraction. It traditionally appears after Thanksgiving and goes back to the snowy mountain sometime in the new year.

But the good news is, even without the Who-pudding or the Who-roast beast, you can have fun year-round on Seuss Landing.

There are four kid-friendly rides including The Cat and the Hat and the Caro-Seuss-el. It’s a shame Ted died before he could help with the naming of some of this stuff. Caro-Seuss-el? That’s as bad as something I’d come up with.

There are also restaurants, including the Green Eggs and Ham Café and the Hop on Pop Ice Cream Shop (I told you).

There are also two character meet and greet locations. So you can catch up with your favorite Seuss fictional character or two including The Cat in the Hat, Sam I Am, Thing One and Thing Two, and The Grinch.

Have you been to Seuss Landing? Let us know in the comments.

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