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Special events and celebrations at Orlando’s parks

Updated November 20, 2021 by Thiago Khoury

update: November 16, 2017

Orlando Christmas Events and Celebrations

Christmas at Walt Disney World

Happens on select nights at Magic Kingdom, requires special ticket. It has a themed parade, special fireworks and live performances. Attractions operate normally. It’s one of the coolest and most famous (they make it snow in the park!). Hot chocolate and chocolate chip cookies are given away for free.

These are the Epcot countries specially embellished for Christmas. No special ticket required. already the Processional Candlelight is an attraction narrated by celebrities in an Epcot amphitheater. To guarantee a seat you can purchase the Candlelight Dinner Package, but it is not mandatory.

This new Hollywood Studios party takes place with screenings at the Chinease Theater and features Santa Claus and Disney characters. It takes place every night and does not require a special ticket.

Christmas at Universal Orlando Resort

Universal’s masterstroke bringing the famous Macy’s balloon parade to Orlando. I imagine it is well Cool! Every December night at Universal Studios, no special ticket required.

  • Grinchmas (December) (update: now part of Holidays at Universal)

At Islands of Adventure, no special ticket is required. The Grinch, who is Universal’s best-suited character, has his own show for the entire month of December, but it seems to be just for the little ones.

It seems that Universal decided to concentrate its holiday parties in a single event that takes place simultaneously in both parks, but it is in the Harry Potter lands that the magic (literally) happens: Hogsmead is decorated for Christmas and hot chocolate is distributed. and cookies, while Hogwarts receives a projection show in the castle with fireworks.

Christmas at SeaWorld Parks

On select nights, it is part of the day ticket. Shamu appears in a special show, as well as an animal performance showing the birth of Jesus and a closing with floating trees in the pond. It’s pretty cool and I’ve already talked about it here.

New Year’s Events and Celebrations in Orlando

New Year at Walt Disney World

Magic Kingdom and Epcot have fireworks at New Year’s Eve, but only Magic is themed. As there are no special tickets, the secret is to arrive early, as both parks usually close before five in the afternoon.

If you need some straight advice, here it is: Epcot New Year’s is more famous, but Magic Kingdom’s is the prettiest!

New Year at Universal Orlando Resort

Unlike Disney, the turning point itself doesn’t happen in the parks, but in CityWalk. I don’t know about New Year’s at Universal, but I know it includes food and drinks and they say the quality of the food is very good! With a paid ticket, it includes an after party at all the clubs there.

New Year at SeaWorld Park

There’s also a new year in SeaWorld, but there is no official ticket information, or what it includes, or when it starts. Busch Gardens New Year’s Eve is more famous and doesn’t require a special ticket. On the website you have all the information.


Orlando Halloween Events and Celebrations

Halloween at Walt Disney World

On select Magic Kingdom dates, special ticket required. So it’s hard to say, but in my opinion it’s much more interesting than the Very Merry Christmas Party: the characters wearing costumes are priceless and the parade and fireworks are beautiful. Sweets distributed for free.

Halloween at Universal Orlando Resort

You can not lose. Unlike Disney’s Halloween, Universal’s Halloween isn’t “entertainment for the whole family”: it’s really scary! There are lots of themes, movie characters you already know, and not-so-scary presentations. The only event in the complex with a special ticket.

Halloween at SeaWorld Parks

  • Halloween Spooktacular (October)

I don’t know, but I believe it’s for even younger children. Yes, more than the one in Magic Kingdom. Then take a look at the site, it even has “sleep over”.

In Busch Gardens, in the same vein as Universal’s Horror Nights, but I still don’t know. To help, there is no information on the park’s website.


American summer vacation in Orlando

Summer at Walt Disney World

It also takes place at Epcot’s US Amphitheater, just be in the park. There are several performances by cover bands throughout the day at previously announced times.

Summer at Universal Orlando Resort

  • Summer Concert Series (Saturday nights in June and July)

No special ticket required. It takes place on Universal’s open-air stage, with at least a dozen bands. I never was (update: looks like the Summer Concert Series has come to an end!)

Summer at SeaWorld Parks

Very famous there, but I don’t know it either. On the website they don’t say if the ticket is special, but I believe it is. It includes nightly performances full of fireworks and lights from the park’s most famous attractions, such as the Shamu Rocks. It also has farewell fireworks. The same summer nights also happens in Busch Gardens (update: looks like this event has come to an end!)

Spring Break in Orlando

Spring at Walt Disney World

It takes place at Hollywood Studios, no special ticket required. The park is full of fans and followers, sells new products inspired by the brand, receives famous artists for lectures and debates, and there is also a dance performance with characters from the films that became a craze, the Hyperspace Hoopla!. For those who like it, it’s paradise, but those who are noob don’t notice anything different in the park.

In addition to the dozens of topiary sculptures scattered throughout the park (no special ticket required), the World Showcase part hosts dozens of food and drink stalls in the style of Food and Wine.

Spring at Universal Orlando Resort

I’ve never been, but I’ve always been dying to go. The American carnival at Universal Studios (and the after party at CityWalk clubs) has parades, performances by famous bands and free beads. Selected nights, no special ticket required. They emphasize well that it is an event “for the whole family”.

Spring at SeaWorld Parks

I don’t know it either, but it’s already a traditional event, practically a Brazilian party with beer, barbecue and music. It has performances by country and classic rock bands, as well as partnerships with Orlando steakhouses. No special ticket required (update: it seems that this event has given way to the new Seven Seas Food Festival). The same Bands, Brew & BBQ also takes place in Busch Gardens. On the site you can see that the bands are usually pretty cool

Never heard of. Performances by Latin bands at Bayside Stadium from 15:00. It also has Latin food shows and handicraft sales. Also takes place in Busch Gardens (update: it seems that this wind has joined the new Seven Seas Food Festival)


Fall in Orlando

Autumn at Walt Disney World

It’s the most volatile event in the parks, but it usually takes place on very few dates, typically one, two or three nights. Live music with a gospel vibe. In Magic Kingdom, no special ticket is required.

This is one of the most famous: there are several tents with food and wine from all over the world, seminars, shows and special menus in the most famous restaurants in the park.

Autumn at Universal Orlando Resort

Universal’s Christian Rock version of Magic Kingdom. Usually a night or two too. At Universal Studios, no special ticket is required.

disney marathons

Walt Disney World is famous for its annual marathons. Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend takes place in the parks, but since I don’t understand it very well, it’s best not to say too much.

What I do know is that I worked at the Walt Disney World Marathon in Magic Kingdom and it was an inhuman perrengue: I woke up at four, arrived at the park 45 minutes later and before sunrise I was already distributing water. Who can run at five in the morning, folks?

All marathons take place in January and February.

Other blog tips for planning your trip:

Already know where to stay in Orlando? I made a list with the best options around Disney and another in the central region of International Drive, but one that I really like is this complete Holiday Inn.

Have you already purchased travel insurance? Insurance is essential in the United States, especially in times of covid! The Insurance Promo comparator offers at least 10% off for blog readers and even pay on the card!

Can you travel without a cell phone? Do not forget to leave Brazil with your American SIM card with real unlimited internet – and through the blog link you will take at least 15% off and free and unlimited calls to Brazil!

For rent a car in Florida for the lowest price search all rental companies at once on Rentcars. They have an office in Brazil with service in Portuguese!

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