A brand-new family raft slide is splashing into Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark in spring 2018. Ray Rush promises to be a fully-loaded water adventure which will combine three unique slide elements, never before seen at Aquatica, into one action-packed attraction the entire family can enjoy together.
Biketoberfest® officially kicks off with a press conference Thursday, October 19, at 10 a.m. at Daytona International Speedway. The event is open to the public. Held on the Harley-Davidson Thunder Alley Stage next to the FPL Solar Pavilion in the Midway, this fan-friendly area is also a major hub of Biketoberfest® activity.
The rally tradition will continue along Main Street, Riverfront Park and Midtown in Daytona Beach, as well as at Destination Daytona and U.S. Hwy 1 in Ormond Beach, and throughout Volusia County in nearby New Smyrna Beach and DeLand.
This fall, Halloween fanatics flock to Orlando as the ultimate Halloween Vacation Capital. The destination, recently named AAA’s top destination for fall travel and known for immersive experiences, brings its creativity to the holiday with a host of highly themed events and attractions; hotel packages; and even the largest horror convention in the nation.
Including both family-friendly frights and extreme adult scares, over 10 weeks of Halloween festivities take place throughout the destination, including at the world-famous theme parks. October kicks off the height of the season, although some of the festivities started as early as August 25 and extend as late as November 4.
Visit Orlando, Orlando’s official visitor resource, has created a special web page to help travelers plan a ghoulish getaway. Find a few haunted highlights below, or the full frightful list at VisitOrlando.com/Halloween, and follow #OrlandoHalloween for real-time updates.
Teens and Adults: Sinister Celebrations
From extreme haunted houses to scenes from famous horror films, there are a full-scale terrifying adult frights in this destination that is traditionally known for family-friendly fun.
- Halloween Horror Nights 27 at Universal Studios Florida brings hordes of horrifying mutants, monsters and maniacs in its streets, nine terrifying haunted houses, five creature-filled scare zones and two outrageous live shows. For horror aficionados, the all-new haunted houses include characters from “The Shining” and TV shows “Ash vs. Evil Dead” and “American Horror Story”, and two of the scare zones are based on celebrated horror films “Trick ‘r Treat” and “The Purge.” Select nights Sept. 15 – Nov. 4.
- Spooky Empire, the largest horror convention in the nation, is taking place Oct. 27–29. This year’s lineup of celebrity guests includes Richard Dreyfuss (“Jaws”), John Cusack (“Better Off Dead”, “Gross Point Blank”), Joan Cusack (“Addams Family Values”, “Toy Story”), Shannon Elizabeth (“Scary Movie”) and more. Other thrills and chills at the convention include a tattoo festival, costume contest, zombie walk and film festival.
- A Petrified Forest features two outdoor scare trails for small groups to venture through a haunted forest at night. For the uber-brave, on Total Eclipse Nights – which require a signed waiver for anyone under 18 – monsters can touch the guests, and each small group is given only one glowstick to light their path, regardless if it is dropped or stolen by a creature. Trails take place on select nights, Sept. 29 – Nov. 4.
- Orlando Museum of Art’s 1st Thursdays: Ghosts & Ghouls will take place on Oct. 5. Artists will create works depicting dark, horror, goth and other Halloween themes including movie and TV icons, eerie and creepy landscapes and architecture, ghostly images, and anything associated with the paranormal and the unexplained.
- Zombie Outbreak challenges guests to see how long they could survive a zombie apocalypse. This Halloween season and all year long, the terrifically terrifying attraction puts guests in the middle of a military base overrun with the undead.
Kids and families can celebrate with monsters and villains, dress in costume and trick-or-treat inside some of the world’s favorite Halloween destinations.
- Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World Resort. On select nights from Aug. 25 to Nov. 11, Magic Kingdom Park comes alive with jack-o-lanterns, special characters and entertainment for the whole family. Encouraged to come dressed for the occasion, visitors can trick-or-treat throughout the park, masquerade with costumed characters at the Boo-to-You Halloween Parade, sing along at the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular and end the night with a “Boo-tacular” fireworks show.
- SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular immerses guests into an underwater “fantasea” with up-close animal encounters, trick-or-treating, playful pumpkin fish, and sea-themed arts and crafts. Guests can also reserve seats for Sesame Street’s Countdown to Halloween. The fun takes place select weekends from Sept. 22 – Oct. 29.
- Brick or Treat at LEGOLAND Florida Resort, select nights from Oct. 14-31, includes trick-or-treating, the world’s largest LEGO jack-o-lantern, LEGO Halloween characters and a bewitching Halloween-themed fireworks show at Pirates’ Cove.
- “Screamin’ Green Hauntoween” at The Crayola Experience, where guests can trick-or-treat while creating “monsterific” crafts and snapping “spooktacular” character photos on select days, Oct. 7–31.
- Zoo Boo Bash at the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens, offers ghoulish fun in the wildest neighborhood in town with trick-or-treating, face painting and costume contests on Oct. 28–29.
Haunting Hotel Packages
Orlando’s hotels scare up some hauntingly good deals and fun packages for the season.
- The Goblins & Giggles Getaway Weekends at the Gaylord Palms Resort includes story time, ghost tours, a night time pool party, trick or treating and a Monster Mash Bash costume contest and movie night under the stars. The Halloween package starts at $189 per night (plus tax, resort fee and parking) and is valid from Sept. 15-Oct. 28.
- Halloween Happenings at Clarion Inn Lake Buena Vista offers spellbinding savings with room rates starting at $69 (plus tax) for a Halloween getaway, with fun packs for kids at check in plus complimentary scheduled shuttles to the theme parks.
- Hyatt Place Orlando Universal is offering trick or treating for all guests checking into the property. Guests can enjoy a sweet treat amenity in their room upon check-in as well as two additional complimentary drinks or treats at the Coffee to Cocktails Bar.
The Orlando Destination
Home to seven of the world’s top theme parks, Orlando is the No. 1 family vacation destination, Theme Park Capital of the World®, and most visited destination in the United States. An unparalleled mix of unique experiences create cherished memories for visitors, including legendary theme parks from Disney, Universal and SeaWorld, an array of world-class water parks, entertainment venues, an award-winning food scene, shopping, sports and nightlife.
Walt Disney World Resort is the place to be this holiday season as theme parks and resort hotels sparkle with jolly decorations that bring the spirit of the season to life. Here’s a sampling of the holiday fun in store for guests:
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Guests can get wrapped up in a Flurry of Fun at Disney’s Hollywood Studios from Nov. 9-Dec. 31, with exciting new holiday happenings around the park and the return of the nighttime projection and fireworks show “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!”
- NEW! Sunset Seasons Greetings – This new holiday experience features spectacular projections of Mickey, Minnie and other beloved Disney characters sharing their favorite Christmas stories as a snowy Sunset Boulevard twinkles with stunning holiday decorations. Holiday magic brings billboards to life and transforms the famous Hollywood Tower Hotel into scenes of the season – a giant pile of Christmas gifts, a gingerbread house and a frozen winter wonderland! A frosty summer-loving snowman might even make an appearance to share his holiday wish! This fantastic and heartwarming experience runs continuously throughout the night.
- NEW! Enhanced holiday décor around Echo Lake – Extra-large ornaments, colorful garlands and a giant Christmas tree centered on the water will make Echo Lake the merriest of places this holiday season. Even Dinosaur Gertie will be dressed for the occasion with a dino-sized Santa hat.
- “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” Returns – The hit holiday show returns Nov. 9 sending beloved Disney animated characters on a spirited yuletide adventure to get Santa back to the North Pole in time for Christmas Eve. “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” combines state-of-the-art projections, fireworks, special effects and Christmas music to create a dazzling, one-of-a-kind holiday experience for guests – capped by a special message from Santa himself.
- “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” Dessert Party – Guests can wrap up their jolly holiday evenings with reserved viewing of the “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” nighttime spectacular. The nightly party includes holiday-inspired snacks, delicious desserts, wine, beer, and specialty alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. A surprise Disney character will also join the fun, posing for pictures and signing autographs. This fun-filled special event is offered Nov. 9-Dec. 30, 2017.
- A new friend joins the cast of ‘For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration’ – Holiday fun continues at the Hyperion Theater as Anna, Elsa and Kristoff welcome Olaf to this popular sing-along celebration. Just for the holidays the show will include all-new songs from Disney’s new animated short “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure.”
- Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood and Vine – Meet Minnie, Mickey, Daisy, Donald and Goofy for lunch and dinner celebrations centered on seasonal deliciousness. From Nov. 6-Jan. 7, the mouse-with-the-mostest will deck the halls for a banquet filled with holiday cheer and the joy of the season!
- Santa Claus returns to the Once Upon a Time shop Nov. 9-Dec. 24 – The beautiful vintage setting of the Once Upon a Time shop recalls bygone days of Santa’s visits to great department stores across the country. Santa will be at the shop daily to greet guests and listen to holiday wishes. Santa Goofy will step in Dec. 25-Dec. 31 after Old Saint Nick returns to the North Pole.
Holidays Around the World is transforming into the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays from Nov. 9-Dec. 30, surrounding guests once again in the wondrous sights, sounds and flavors of the season.
- NEW! Holiday Kitchens – The number of holiday kitchens doubles in size this year to a total of 15, each bringing the flavors of the season to life. New this year, guests can indulge in cookies and desserts at the holiday kitchen located inside the Odyssey complex. Sweet treats include snowflake sugar cookies and a warm apple fritter with cinnamon ice cream and caramel sauce. Over at the Canada pavilion, dazzling delicacies like the Maple Buche de Noel (maple mousse rolled in gingerbread chiffon cake with cranberry sauce and pecan crumble) celebrate holiday traditions from the Great White North.
- NEW! Chip & Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree – Chip and Dale are collecting ornaments for their Christmas tree. Guests can purchase a map and stickers from select merchandise locations and travel around World Showcase looking for the famous chipmunks with their ornaments. Guests can return their completed maps for a festive surprise, courtesy of Chip and Dale.
- NEW! Candlelight Processional Narrators – One of the most popular Epcot traditions returns with new celebrity narrators in 2017. Pat Sajak, Matt Bomer and CCH Pounder will join the lineup of returning favorites like Neil Patrick Harris, Whoopi Goldberg and Jaci Velasquez. The Candlelight Processional is a retelling of the Christmas story as told by a celebrity narrator accompanied by 50-piece orchestra and a mass choir. The show takes place at the America Gardens Theatre each evening at 5:00 p.m., 6:45 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. Nov. 24-Dec. 30.
- NEW! Holiday Entertainment – Enjoy the sights and sounds of the nations of World Showcase, as each country’s holiday heritage comes to life amid joyful music and time-honored traditions. Guests will discover an entertaining celebration of Hanukkah in a new location along World Showcase promenade, where a fun and interactive band interweaves the music of Hanukkah with jazz, Latin, rock and even hip-hop influences. Other returning holiday favorites include JOYFUL! A Gospel Celebration of the Season and Canadian Holiday Voyageurs.
- Fireworks Finale – The nightly fireworks display, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, will feature a special holiday ending.
- A Frozen Holiday Wish – Behold an enchanting performance to melt a frozen heart. Royal sisters Anna and Elsa lead a celebration on the Castle Forecourt Stage nightly Nov. 9-Dec. 31. Featuring special appearances by rugged mountain man Kristoff and lovable snowman Olaf, this merry-and-bright seasonal show culminates in Queen Elsa using her incredible powers to present a gift to everyone in the kingdom – transforming Cinderella Castle into a glimmering, shimmering ice palace for the holidays.
- Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party – It’s a Christmas party like no other, with joyous music, a shimmering Cinderella Castle, characters in their festive finery and the Magic Kingdom decked out and made even more magical for merry-making guests of all ages. Each specially ticketed, limited-attendance event features an exclusive performance of Holiday Wishes fireworks and the earliest performances of other spectaculars like Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, the Frozen Holiday Wish castle-lighting ceremony and Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration stage show. The special party – complete with cookies, cocoa and snow flurries – begins at 7 p.m., after regular park hours. Parties will be held on November 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, 17, 26 and 28, and December 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21 and 22.
- Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade – This enchanting holiday pageant sings and dances its way through the Magic Kingdom park daily Dec. 23-Dec 31. It also makes a special appearance at each Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Brimming with magic and cheer, the parade features Santa Claus, gingerbread men, elves, reindeer, toy soldiers and other friends from the North Pole. They all join Mickey and friends – including Arendelle favorites Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and Olaf – in an over-the-top celebration of the season.
- Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration – From Dec 23-Dec. 31, Mickey and Minnie take to Cinderella Castle Forecourt Stage where they host some of their Disney friends for an unforgettable Christmas soiree filled with classic and contemporary holiday songs. Magical holiday projections on Cinderella Castle build to a sensational, snowy finale. Performances are also featured during each Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
It’s a wild holiday time as decorations around the park frame new day-into-nighttime experiences, including Tree of Life transformations, Kilimanjaro Safaris, Kali Rivers Rapids and Expedition Everest. Guests will be greeted by a dramatic, animal-themed holiday tree, and festive garlands will have the park all a-glow with merriment.
Every corner of Disney Springs is wrapped and ready for the season with holiday décor and special entertainment, making it the most wonderful place to shop. From top name-brands to cozy one-of-a kind retailers and, of course, all things Disney, there’s something for everyone. Busy shoppers can also take a break and enjoy a quick snack on the go or an unforgettable meal at one of Disney Springs many talked-about restaurants.
This fall and winter, there is more to see and do in Orlando than any other time of year. With numerous food and wine feasts, unparalleled Halloween thrills and merry holiday theme park events, the excitement in Orlando is warming up even as the weather cools down. For a full schedule of fall happenings, year-round events, insider attraction tips and vacation planning guides, go to VisitOrlando.com.
Orlando’s Food & Wine Feasts
The destination’s growing reputation for superb dining meets a seasonal surge of events for a food-lover’s dream vacation in the fall. From a month-long affordable fine dining program to theme park and resort smorgasbords, there are flavors for all palates through November.
- Guests can dine on haute cuisine without burning through their budget during the 12th year of Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month (Aug. 25 – Oct. 1), when more than 100 of Central Florida’s top restaurants feature three-course, prix fixe dinner menus for $35. Joining the lineup of this year’s participating venues are six restaurants from Walt Disney World Resort hotels.
- At the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (Aug. 31 – Nov. 13), taking place at the Walt Disney World Resort, guests can sip, sample and savor treasures from some of the world’s most famous wineries and celebrated chefs as they circle World Showcase. New this year, guests can enjoy tastings from the Coastal Eats Booth and Cheese Studio, as well as delicacies from India, Thailand and Spain in the Global Marketplace.
- Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek’s Food & Wine Weekends (Sept. 8 – Nov. 12) celebrate fine wine, spirits and the culinary arts. Now in its seventh year, the event takes place on a series of weekends throughout the fall and features a variety of distinct menus and pairings curated by the executive culinary team. Open to resort guests and the public, the program will include a macaron bar, traditional Royal Tea and Bar du Chocolat with Champagne tasting.
- The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic (Oct. 27 – 28) features wines from around the world and a variety of culinary dishes prepared by award-winning chefs. Educational seminars range from wine-blending to pasta-making from scratch. A special Sunday Bubbles Brunch returns this year on Oct. 29, featuring a variety of cured meats, imported cheeses, an array of sushi and of course, Champagne.
Halloween Capital of the World
The Theme Park Capital of the World® transforms into the Halloween Capital of the World during the six weeks leading up to Oct. 31, where the celebrations are mild, wild and wonderfully themed to capture the fun and thrills of the Halloween season.
- At Walt Disney World Resort during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (Aug. 25 – Nov. 1), guests have an extra week to enjoy trick-or-treating throughout the Magic Kingdom, catch the “Boo-to-You” Halloween parade or Hocus Pocus Villain Spectacular and stay for the bewitching “Happy HalloWishes” fireworks.
- SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular (Sept. 23 – Oct. 29) at SeaWorld Orlando invites youngsters to trick-or-treat among friendly sea witches, octopuses, mermaids and pumpkin fish in an underwater fantasia. Cookie decorating and candy galore make this a sweet Halloween event for families to splash into.
- Universal Orlando Halloween Horror Nights (Sept. 15 – Nov. 4) at Universal Studios Florida allows guests to face their deepest fears in themed haunted houses, “scare zones” and mazes inspired by critically-acclaimed movies and television series. This year’s terrors are inspired by the hit television show American Horror Story, horror movie classic, The Shining, and much more.
- Brick or Treat (Oct. 14-15, 21-22, 28-29, 31) at LEGOLAND Florida Resort promises the spookiest and kookiest Halloween event. Celebrate weekends in October with larger-than-life LEGO models, a costume parade, trick-or-treating, a Halloween-themed fireworks show and much more.
Holidays at Orlando’s Theme Parks
Orlando celebrates the most magical time of year with balmy weather, special events and spirited live entertainment, creating an unforgettable and festive setting for a winter getaway that trades snow for sunshine.
- Walt Disney World Resort offers an array of holiday fun (Nov. 9 – Dec. 22), including the transformation of Cinderella Castle into a glistening ice palace at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party; the Candlelight Processional at Epcot features an exciting line-up of new celebrity narrators including Neil Patrick Harris, Pat Sajak, CCH Pounder and Trace Adkins; and a free-entry holiday wonderland at Disney Springs showcases carolers, performances and a meet-and-greet with Santa.
- Universal Orlando Resort invites guests (Nov. 18 – Jan. 6) to the Macy’s Holiday Parade at Universal Studios, where the streets are filled every evening with the same larger-than-life balloons seen in Macy’s famous Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. Meanwhile, at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, families will light up with holiday cheer as Grinchmas comes to life throughout Seuss Landing. New to this year, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be transformed with wondrous, holiday spirit.
- Waves of holiday spirit splash over the park during SeaWorld Orlando’s Christmas Celebration (Nov. 24 – Dec. 31). In a wintery, watery wonderland, guests of all ages will enjoy stunning live shows inspired by the natural world, a glittering sea of lit Christmas trees and beloved Christmas character Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and friends.
- LEGOLAND Florida Resort offers families one-of-a-kind photo opportunities with a life-sized LEGO Model Santa Claus and 30-foot-tall LEGO Christmas tree during Christmas Bricktacular, taking place select dates in December.
The Orlando Destination
Home to seven of the world’s top theme parks, Orlando is the No. 1 family vacation destination, Theme Park Capital of the World®, and most visited destination in the United States. An unparalleled mix of unique experiences create cherished memories for visitors, including legendary theme parks from Disney, Universal and SeaWorld, an array of world-class water parks, entertainment venues, an award-winning food scene, shopping, sports and nightlife. And, with 450 hotels, Orlando offers more lodging options than nearly any other destination in the world, from expansive resorts to uniquely themed hotels.