Special Events in a Calendar Year at Disneyworld
Florida Guide > Planning your Trip
A marathon comes to town at Walt Disney World where runners travel 26. 2 miles through all four Disney Parks. The race starts in Epcot, moving to Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios before finishing back in Epcot. For all those that finish, there’s a Mickey Mouse medal to remember such a fantastic, unusual marathon experience.
St Patricks Day
If you find yourself at Disneyworld on St Patrick’s Day take time to visit Downtown Disney and head for Raglan Road, the Irish pub/restaurant. Here you’ll see a ceilidh, a traditional Irish social gathering with folk music and dance. They’ll be face painting, stilt walkers, competitions and giveaways of St Patrick’s memorabilia. You can also try out traditional Irish cuisine in the pub itself!
If you enjoy baseball or want to try out a game there’s an opportunity to watch the Atlanta Braves during their spring training. It’s a great way to spend a few hours with the family enjoying an ‘all American’ sport. Dates are usually mid February and runs through to the end of March prior to the start of the new season.
Teams that have visited the Braves at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex include the Yankees, Nationals, Phillies and Tigers. You can see the current players, veterans and up and coming players at Champion Stadium.
4th July Celebrations
Very popular - this day of celebration is topped off with a firework extravaganza over Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Its highly very colourful and loud!
Night of Joy – September
Although it is titled 'Night of Joy' it is in fact two nights of celebration highlighting contemporary Christian music. This originally started in Magic Kingdom and moved to Animal Kingdom. However being popular it has moved back to Magic Kingdom. Popular with teenagers and groups of young adults check out the Disney website for yearly up to date information.
Epcot Food and Wine Festival - End Sept – November
The EPCOT world showcases and celebrates foods and flavours of different countries. No additional ticket is required for this festival. Try tastings, demos from top chefs and wine and cooking seminars – great way to walk around World Showcase. (Some may involve a small charge to sample. )
Children’s Miracle Network Golf Classic – November
Top PGA tour players compete alongside amateurs on the Palm and Magnolia golf courses. As well as watching golf there’s an opportunity to sample foods from a variety of Central Florida’s food trucks. Top names have included Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Payne Stewart and Davis Love III, and Luke Donald.
Halloween – mid September - October
Magic Kingdom hosts Mickey’s very popular ‘Not So Scary Party’. Guest numbers are controlled to be a comfortable experience so a ticket is required starting at 7pm. Magic Kingdom is beautifully dressed with cast members is Halloween uniforms. There are contests for best dressed, trick or treating stalls so kids don’t miss the fun. Great, safe atmosphere and featuring a ‘Special Boo to You’ Halloween parade.
Additionally around other Disney attractions there are feature window displays and and storytellers in Epcot. Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground has a pumpkin carving competition, children’s costume competition followed by a showing of a scary movie. Downtown Disney hosts kids costume competitions and trick or treating – adults can join in too!
Festival of the Masters - November
Festival of the Masters is '3 day weekend' in November exhibiting more than 150 artisans by the lake at Downtown Disney. To qualify artists must have won an award in a juried art festival within the past 3 years. Exhibits vary from sculpture, photography digital art, jewellery as well as paintings. Work is exhibited from 9. 30am – 5. 30pm. Check out the Disney site for this year’s dates as they become available.
Disney’s Magical Christmas Holidays - Mid Nov – December
Decorations and festivities are synonymous with Disney in the lead up to a very busy time of year. Magic Kingdom hosts ‘Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party’. Held on specified nights there are snow flurries on Main Street and hot cocoa. There’s a special Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas parade, entertainment as well as a special edition of the Wishes firework show. Additional event tickets are required for entry.
Animal Kingdom holds ‘Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade’ at 3pm in the afternoon. Epcot has ‘Holidays Around the World’ featuring The Lights of Winter and a Christmas Candlelight processional. This is a choral concert, telling the Christmas story, with a celebrity narrator, taking place in the America Gardens Theatre.
Hollywood Studios has the Osborne family Spectacle of Dancing lights. This runs through to January and displays millions of lights synchronised to music in the Streets of America back lot area.
Downtown Disney is alive with season décor, entertainment, food and a photo opportunity with Santa Claus…. and there’s always the Christmas shop to help the spirit along.
New Year Celebrations
New Year sees extra fireworks over Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Disney Hollywood studios. The parks (except Animal Kingdom) are usually open until 1am (check near the time as this can vary year on year). Alcohol is available in all parks except Magic Kingdom. This is a popular time of year and the parks can ‘close’ so early entrance is advisable. This means numbers are limited for safety.
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