If there is one thing Disney is good at (and there are, of course MANY things Disney is good at!), it’s knowing how to keep us wanting to come back. There’s always something new to see or do: new rides, new attractions, new shows, new promotions, new events….you really can never say that you’ve seen or done it all.The special events that are scheduled year-round at Walt Disney World are a perfect example of this. For nearly every month of the year, there is some special event that is above and beyond your basic theme-park vacation. Some are quite well-known, like the Food and Wine Festival. But others are just as much fun, yet not as well-known. And as I have found in working with my travel clients, many people don’t know about any of these events.
So with that in mind, here is a run-down on additional Disney fun throughout the year. When you check them all out, you just might find that you will want to plan your next vacation to take advantage of one of them!
Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend: Takes place this coming weekend. Consisting of the Walt Disney World Marathon, Disney Marathon Relay, Walt Disney World Half Marathon, a 5 K, special kids races, and an expo, this weekend is hugely popular with runners, families, and those who just want to cheer. Learn more at www.runDisney.com.
Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend, takes place in mid-late February at Walt Disney World. To run in the Half Marathon, you must be 14 years of age or older. Other events that weekend include the all-ages Disney Royal Family 5K, Disney Royal Family Kids’ Races, and Disney’s Fit for a Princess Expo
March, April, May:
Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival, typically runs from March through May. This Festival presented by HGTV celebrates spring and gardening as only Disney can do it, with whimsical topiaries, colorful flowers and gardens, presentations from gardening experts, and the Flower Power Concert Series.
Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios celebrates all things Star Wars. During these special weekends, you can meet Star Wars celebrities and get the autographs of your favorites. Guests under 12 can enroll in the Jedi Training Academy or take the Padawan Mind Challenge. And each day ends with Hyperspace Hoopla, where guests, Wookies, Jedis, and stormtroopers sing, dance, and just have fun.
Sounds Like Summer Concert Series of tribute bands at America Gardens Theatre in World Showcase at Epcot. You’ll hear bands playing tribute to classic music from U2, The Bee Gees, Janet Jackson, Bon Jovi and many more. It’s a summer fun dance party that is perfect for all ages.
Fourth of July fireworks and patriotic festivities.
Night of Joy is an after-hour evenings of contemporary Christian music. While artists are performing at several stages, many popular Magic Kingdom attractions also are available for Night of Joy guests.
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is a special event that takes place on certain nights in the Magic Kingdom. From 7 p.m. to midnight, guests can trick-or-treat, see Mickey’s “Boo-to-You” Halloween Parade; and the special Happy HalloWishes fireworks.
September, October, November:
Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, held every year from late September through early November. Call 407-WDW-FEST (939-3378) or visit www.disneyworld.com/foodandwine for information. In addition, Epcot also offers the Eat to the Beat concert series, which runs during the Festival.
Special Olympics Florida Fall Classic at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. This is the second largest Special Olympics event held in Florida each year and is the state championships in the sports of softball, bowling, power lifting, roller skating, target bowling and gymnastics for more than 1,300 Special Olympics athletes from throughout Florida.
Festival of the Masters at Downtown Disney: Nearly 150 award-winning artists exhibit their paintings, jewelry, sculptures and photographs, held on select dates in early-mid November. The Festival also features live entertainment and family-friendly activities each day.
Holidays Around the World in Epcot – The Candlelight Processional, is a moving presentation of the Christmas story in readings by a celebrity narrator and music by a Mass choir and 50-piece orchestra. This event takes place in the America Gardens Theatre in World Showcase in Epcot. The Candlelight Processional typically begins the day after Thanksgiving, and runs every evening until December 30.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom- These special parties, which run from 7 p.m. to midnight, allow guests to enjoy special holiday festivities including the nightly lighting of the Castle Dream Lights; Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade featuring Santa Claus; special Holiday Wishes Fireworks; Celebrate the Season Castle Stage Show; snow on Main Street, U.S.A.; and free hot cocoa and cookies.
The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, generally held each year from early November through the first week of January. With 5 million individual lights, more than 40 hidden Mickeys, a 70-ft tall Christmas tree displaying 58,000 shimmering lights and a 30-ft tall tree with 27,300 lights, this free display will truly take your breath away.
Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade at Animal Kingdom celebrates the holidays like the animals do, typically from November thru early January.
The Festival of the Seasons in Downtown Disney begins in mid November and runs through December 24. Here Santa Claus will meet with children and pose for pictures daily at the Marketplace.
So, what’s happening during your next Disney World vacation?
- Special Events at Walt Disney World: Tasty Education, Fear and Mickey!
- Special Events at Walt Disney World: Lights, Singing, and Santa!
- Walt Disney World for Grown-Ups: Special Events
- Special Events at Walt Disney World: Mickey, Flowers, and Easter Eggs ~ Oh My!
- Top Ten Tuesdays: Top Ten Magical Disney Events!