Orlando Events and Festivals Attract Fall & Winter Travelers
ORLANDO, Fla. – Fall and winter travelers flock to Orlando to enjoy the
perfect temperatures and exciting lineup of events and festivals. The
following list highlights some of the best of what Central Florida has to
offer this fall and winter.* Information about additional events is
available on Orlando's online calendar at
Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
Sept. 5 – Oct. 31
Each fall, guests are invited to dress in costumes and
trick-or-treat through the Magic Kingdom from 7 p.m. to midnight (after
regular park closing).
Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
Sept. 26 – Nov. 9
From the seasoned connoisseur to the
knowledge-seeking amateur, this popular event attracts a diverse audience
to sip, sample and savor treasures from some of the world’s most famous
wineries and celebrated chefs. Guests can boost their wine IQ at any of
the hundreds of wine and beer seminars and polish their culinary skills at
the numerous demonstrations and tastings. Admission: Included in regular
park admission. Adults $75, Children ages 3-9 $63, Children ages 2 and
Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando Sept.
26-27, Oct. 2-5, 9-12, 16-19, 22-26, 29-31, Nov. 1
In its 18th year, the event is considered one of the world’s
largest, most elaborate Halloween celebrations. Universal enlists a
“scream team” of designers to research the human psyche and its deepest
fears so that Halloween Horror Nights’ guests can confront their most
terrifying nightmares. Admission: $69.99
Sept. 26-27, Oct. 2-4, 9-11, 16-18, 23-25, 30-21, Nov. 1
For 17 select nights, Howl-O-Scream transforms Busch Gardens Africa
into a nightmare of inescapable fear that will overwhelm the senses with a
new spin of horror. The devious creatures that infest six haunted houses,
five scare zones and three thrilling shows have plenty of psychotic
surprises in store and bone-chilling roller coasters to keep the screams
coming all night long. Admission: $64.95.
35th Annual Winter Park Autumn Art Festival Oct. 11-12
A juried art show with a 30-year tradition. More than 40,000 people
attend this free event held in Central Park that features work by
outstanding Florida artists. The event features live entertainment and
food provided by local restaurants. Children’s art workshops are also
offered. Admission: Free.
Biketoberfest Oct. 16-19
Biketoberfest in Daytona Beach is a rousing, fun-filled weekend that
attracts more than 125,000 motorcycle enthusiasts from near and far.
Activities include rides, concerts, food and much more. Admission:
2008 AST Dew Tour Oct. 16-19
The AST Dew Tour is the season-long professional multi-sport tour
featuring top professional athletes competing in skateboarding, BMX and
freestyle motocross. The season culminates in Orlando with the
PlayStationPro® at the Amway Arena. Concerts, new product demonstrations
and prize giveaways round out the event. Admission: Adults $15, Children
ages 12 and under $7.50.
Oktoberfest at Silver Springs Oct. 17-19, 24-26
This three-weekend event features live Bavarian and polka music,
dancing, authentic German food and a wide selection of imported and
domestic beers. Menu items will include a choice of bratwurst, knackwurst,
sliced roast pork or foot-long hot dogs, plus sauerkraut, German potato
salad and red cabbage. Admission: Included in regular park admission.
Adults $33.99, Children ages 3-10 $24.99, Children ages 2 and under free.
Zoo Boo Bash Oct. 18-19, 25-26
Trick-or-treat in the wildest neighborhood in town at the Central
Florida Zoo. This event is a fun and not-too-scary event for young and old
alike. Children can wear costumes for trick-or-treat stations and face
painting. Visitors can take a haunted hayride, visit the pumpkin patch for
a fun photo and learn about the myths and realities of some misunderstood
animals. Admission: Included in regular park admission. Adults $10.95,
Children ages 3-12 $6.95, Children ages 2 and under free.
SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular Oct. 19-20, 26-27
SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular is a swashbuckling good time for
kids of all ages. Friendly pirates haunt the park as little goblins
trick-or-treat for troves of treasures, participate in ghostly activities
and enjoy Halloween-themed entertainment. Admission: Included in
daily park admission. Adults $69.95, Children ages 3-9 $59.95, Children
ages 2 and under free.
Mount Dora Craft Fair Oct. 25-26
This nationally ranked, juried event continues to attract more than
250,000 visitors and more than 350 of the best crafters in the country.
Orlando Calle Orange Festival Latino Oct. 26
Central Florida’s largest Hispanic festival brings together people
of many nationalities, religions and backgrounds to enjoy food, music and
dancing in the streets of downtown Orlando. The 10th annual festival began
as a primarily Puerto Rican gathering but now encompasses a myriad of
Latin cultures – from Mexico, Central America, South America and the
Caribbean. Admission: Adults $15, Children ages 12 and under free.
Fall Fiesta in the Park
This two-day event held at Lake Eola Park in downtown Orlando
features more than 600 juried artisans in all media, including ceramics,
glassware, jewelry, photography, wood and clothing to name a few. In
addition to a fabulous lineup of art and live entertainment, the fiesta
offers an array of tasty fare. Admission: Free.
22nd Annual Lake Mary-Heathrow Festival of the Arts
This popular outdoor event features live entertainment, fine food
and outstanding art exhibits. It is designed to inspire an
appreciation for quality art forms as well as to award scholarships to
local students desiring higher education. The festival is situated in
lovely Colonial Town Park, just a short drive from downtown Orlando.
7th Annual Winter Park Concours d’Elegance
More than 200 exotic and rare automobiles representing numerous
international marques are on display on elegant Park Avenue. Guests won’t
want to miss the Tour d’Elegance, an exotic car parade. Automobiles will
compete for class awards and 10 major awards including “Best in Show.”
Children’s Miracle Network Classic
Formerly the Disney Golf Classic, this newly renamed tournament
brings together nearly 150 top PGA Tour players in a quest for a
multi-million dollar purse. The 72-hole event is played on Disney's
Magnolia and Palm courses. Admission: $20 general admission, $30 weekly
Jack Hanna Weekend at SeaWorld Orlando
Jack Hanna, renowned animal expert and host of TV's “Jack Hanna's
Animal Adventures," showcases some of his furry and feathered animal
friends from all parts of the world. Hanna introduces unique and exotic
animals, shares amazing animal stories and shows hilarious bloopers.
Admission: Included in regular park admission. Adults $69.95, Children
ages 3-9 $59.95, Children ages 2 and under free.
10th Annual Folk Art Festival
The House of Blues at Downtown Disney West Side really rocks as it
showcases a wide variety of local and regional folk artists and their
works. Guests can enjoy live music, hands-on kids activities, guided tours
of the House of Blues folk art collection and Southern-inspired cuisine.
Admission: Free. hob.com/orlando
33rd Annual Festival of the Masters
Held at Downtown Disney West Side, the event is a nationally
recognized art show that year after year ranks among the top 50 outdoor
art festivals in the world. More than 200 award-winning artists display
their diverse creations for all to see. Live entertainment, hands-on
children’s activities, pin trading and chalk art displays are also on tap
at the three-day event. Admission: Free.
Park Avenue Fashion Week Nov.
Park Avenue's Second Annual Fashion Week will kick-off on Nov. 8
with a luxurious evening of runway shows and a swanky VIP Lounge on Lyman
Avenue in front of the Winter Park Welcome Center. Stores will host trunk
shows and welcome the designers for meet-and-greets throughout the week.
Admission for Fashion Show: $45 general admission, $100 VIP and $200
Exclusive Platinum VIP.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
Nov. 10 - Dec. 19
The Magic Kingdom plays host to this series of nighttime holiday fun
events for the little ones including holiday shows, fireworks and magic
treats with Minnie and Mickey. Admission: Adults $55.95, Children ages 3-9
$49.95, Children ages 2 and under free.
Native American Festival at Silver Springs
Members of tribes from North and South America will perform ancient
ceremonial dances in traditional regalia, tell century-old stories and
demonstrate their ancient arts and crafts. Other activities include
a Seminole hunting camp, geo dig, art contest, displays of Native American
artifacts and war paddles and more. Admission: Included in regular park
admission. Adults $33.99, Children ages 3-10 $24.99. Children ages 2 and
under free. silversprings.com
Festival of Trees at Orlando Museum of Art
For nine magical days, the Orlando Museum of Art is transformed into
a glittering holiday wonderland where trees, wreaths and gingerbread
houses ignite holiday spirit. The Winter Bark Village also allows dogs to
enjoy a special pet-friendly village. Admission: Adults $10, Children $8.
407-896-4231, ext. 254
ABC Super Soap Weekend Nov. 15-16
A bevy of stars from the most celebrated daytime soap operas visit
Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the world’s biggest soap fan event.
Parades, autographs and photo opportunities allow guests to get
up-close-and-personal with their favorite characters. Admission: Included
in regular park admission. Adults $75, Children ages 3-9 $63, Children 2
and under free.
Fall Jazz Stroll Nov. 15
With a full moon as a backdrop, guests enjoy a leisurely evening of
live jazz music in a beautiful garden setting at Harry P. Leu Gardens in
Orlando. Visitors can bring their own dinner picnic basket or purchase
beverages and pastries on-site. Lawn seating only. Admission: $17, $13 for
members of the gardens.
The Chocolate Nutcracker Nov. 21-23
A modern spin will be incorporated in the production as a variety of
dance genres—including ballet, tap, modern, swing, jazz, African, American
pop and hip hop—are highlighted in the performance. Admission: $47
VIP, $37 Orchestra, $27 Balcony.
Christmas at SeaWorld Orlando Nov. 24 –
Create yuletide memories and celebrate the season during “Christmas
at SeaWorld.” This holiday event features festive decorations, snowfalls
at The Waterfront and live holiday music from classical musicians and
carolers. Admission: Included in daily admission. Adult $69.95, Children
ages 3-9 $59.95, Children ages 2 and under free. SeaWorld.com
Leu’s Holiday House Nov. 27 -
The beautifully restored late 19th century Leu House Museum is
decked out for the holidays by some of Orlando’s best interior designers.
Guests can stroll along the garden’s meandering paths shaded by ancient
oaks, forests of camellias and giant camphor trees. Admission: Adults $7,
Children K-12th grades $2.
The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights
Nov. 28 – Jan. 4
This dazzling holiday extravaganza electrifies Disney’s Hollywood
Studios with millions of sparkling lights. With Jennings Osborne’s lights
and a little Disney magic, the big city comes alive in glowing color as
snow falls overhead. Admission: Included in regular park admission.
Adults $75, Children ages 3-9 $63, Children ages 2 and under free.
16th Annual Festival of Lights at Silver Springs Nov.
28-29 and Dec. 5-6, 12-23, 26-30
Silver Springs’ biggest special event of the year, the Festival of
Lights, will feature more than 1 million twinkling lights and dozens of
neon displays throughout the park from dusk until 8:30 p.m. Nightly
activities will include local choirs singing songs of the season,
strolling carolers and musicians, a lighted boat parade, shopping in
Silver Springs’ specialty stores, special stage shows on Fridays and
Saturdays, plus visits from Santa Claus (through December 24). Admission:
Included in regular park admission. Adults $33.99, Children ages 3-10
$24.99. Children ages 2 and under free.
Holidays Around the World Nov. 28 – Dec. 30
This Epcot tradition features storytellers, a daily character
tree-lighting ceremony and a stunning display of snow-white lights. The
moving Candlelight Processional, a favorite of all ages, includes
celebrity guest narrators, accompanied by a massed choir and orchestra for
a retelling of the Christmas story. Admission: Included in regular park
admission. Adults $75, Children ages 3-9 $63, Children ages 2 and under
2008 Del Webb Father/Son Challenge
A golf tournament to benefit Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children &
Women, the event features an impressive list of golf stars paired with
their sons and provides a forum to determine the best father/son team in
golf. Held at ChampionsGate Golf Club, the nationally televised tournament
is a family affair and is sure to entertain golf enthusiasts of all ages.
The OUC Half Marathon and 5K Dec. 6
One of the Southeast’s top road race events, the OUC Half Marathon
and 5K winds through scenic downtown Orlando and around beautiful Lake
Eola alongside live local entertainment. Participants join more than 3,000
runners for this charitable Orlando tradition and enjoy sunny Florida
skies, moderate temperatures and the Finish Line Fiesta for post-race
festivities. Admission: $30 for 5K, $50 for Half Marathon.
Macy’s Holiday Parade at Universal Studios Dec. 7 –
The world’s most famous parade has become a holiday experience for
park guests at Universal Studios, featuring some of the most popular
balloons and floats from the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New
York City. The excitement and pageantry of the parade, complete with
a festive tree lighting ceremony by Santa Claus himself, is exhibited each
day of the holiday season through the New Year. Admission: Included in
regular park admission. Adults $75, Children ages 3-9 $63, Children ages 2
and under free.
Grinchmas at Universal’s Islands of Adventure Dec. 7 – Jan.
This annual holiday celebration is based on the beloved Dr. Seuss
tale and Universal Pictures’ and Imagine Entertainment’s Academy
Award-winning blockbuster hit, “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole
Christmas.” Seuss Landing at Islands of Adventure is transformed
into a bah-humbug haven by the Grinch. The entire Seussian-themed island
is colorfully decorated for the season and guests are invited to meet the
Grinch in his lair, which is outfitted with authentic movie props and
gadgets. Grinch fans enjoy a live, musical stage show that re-tells
the world-famous story of the grumpy Grinch. Admission: Included in
regular park admission. Adult $75, Children ages 3-9 $63, Children ages 2
and under free.
Pop Warner Super Bowl Dec. 7-13
Now in its 79th year of providing an organizational structure for
youth football, Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc. brings its Pop Warner
Super Bowl and National Cheer & Dance Championships to Walt Disney World
Resort. Sixty-four teams from across the country compete in four age
groups from 8 to 14 on the fields of the 220-acre (80-hectare) Disney's
Wide World of Sports Complex. Admission: TBD.
Orlando Christmas Parade Dec. 14
Thousands of spectators start their holiday season each year in the
historic district of downtown Orlando to the sounds of prancing ponies,
motors rumbling and southern breezes teasing the tinsels shimmering from
the festive floats. Admission: Free.
Bowl-a-Palooza Dec. 26-31
All eyes will be on Orlando during the last week of December as
Florida Citrus Sports presents its annual bowl week festival.
Incorporating the Champs Sports Bowl and the Capital One Bowl on New
Year’s Day, this week will feature more than 100,000 fans flocking to
Central Florida for football, festivities and fun. In addition to
outstanding action on the field, the festival includes the Orlando Citrus
Parade, a concert in Lake Eola Park and more than 20 events in seven days.
Champs Sports Bowl
The Champs Sports Bowl, featuring teams from the ACC & Big Ten
conferences, has existed in name since 2004, but the game's history
extends for more than 15 years. Attendance to the game has increased
steadily every year since, hitting 40,168 last year. It is played in the
Citrus Bowl in downtown Orlando. Admission: $60.
Spherion Orlando Citrus Parade presented by Delta Airlines
The Orlando Citrus Parade, held in downtown Orlando, features
signature citrus floats made from more than 100,000 grapefruit, oranges
and tangerines. There are more than 50 entries, including marching bands
from across the country. The parade attracts more than 60,000 spectators
and an international audience of millions through its television
syndication in the United States and Canada in 150 markets. Admission: $25
general admission, $50 VIP admission, curb seating free. fcsports.com
New Year’s Eve at SeaWorld Orlando Dec. 31
SeaWorld Orlando is throwing a big New Year’s Eve party complete
with live music and fireworks. Dance to the beat of a live DJ as the
countdown to 2009 begins at The Waterfront, where guests can also enjoy
shopping, dining and entertainment venues. At the stroke of
midnight, witness the Orlando sky radiate during a brilliant fireworks
show that will light up the night. Admission: Included in daily admission.
Adults $69.95, Children ages 3-9 $59.95, Children ages 2 and under free.
New Year’s Eve 2008 at Universal CityWalk
CityWalk, a 30-acre entertainment complex with themed restaurants,
nightclubs and shops, will host one of Orlando’s hottest New Year’s Eve
parties. The evening will feature live performances by national acts, an
expansive gourmet buffet, a champagne toast and live entertainment at its
nightclubs, including the groove, an electrifying dance club, CityWalk’s
Rising Star, featuring karaoke with a live band, Jimmy Buffett’s
Margaritaville, and others. Admission: TBD.
New Year’s Eve at the Walt Disney World Resort
The parks come alive to say farewell to 2008. Epcot celebrates the
New Year "around the world" with DJs and evening dance parties located
throughout World Showcase and lasting late into the evening, as well as a
special presentation of the "Illuminations: Reflections of Earth" lights,
lasers and fireworks display. Disney’s Hollywood Studios celebrates New
Year's Eve not only with multiple presentations of "Fantasmic!" a
spectacular of Disney movies and music, but also with a special "Lights!
Camera! Happy New Year!" fireworks spectacular, as well as a DJ dance
party around the Sorcerer Hat Stage. Magic Kingdom features special
presentations of the "SpectroMagic" parade and multiple nighttime
fireworks displays. "Holiday Wishes" lights up the sky early in the
evening and guests who make it to midnight can see "Fantasy in the Sky"
fireworks, which begins just before the New Year kicks off. Admission:
Theme park events are included in regular park admission. Adults $75,
Children ages 3-9 $63, Children ages 2 and under free.
Orlando rings in the New Year in the midst of a winter fantasy at
the Grande Masque, a black-tie masked ball held at the Gaylord Palms
Resort to support Orlando’s arts community. Grande Masque offers gourmet
dining; performances by the Orlando Ballet, Orlando Opera and Orlando
Philharmonic Orchestra; and a silent and live auction offering unique
prizes. Admission: $400-500 per person or $4,000-5,000 for a table of 10.
*Details related to festivals and special events are subject to
For more information about vacation experiences in Orlando, to order
a complimentary vacation planning kit that includes a comprehensive
Official Vacation Guide and Orlando Preferred Visitor Magicard™ or to
purchase discount attraction tickets, visitors can log onto Orlando’s
official Web site at
orlandoinfo.com or call an Official Travel Counselor at 1-800-551-0181
(United States and Canada) or 407-363-5872. While in Orlando,
visitors may stop by the Official Visitor Center located at 8723
International Drive, at the southeast corner of International Drive and
Austrian Row. The Official Visitor Center is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to
6:30 p.m. (closes at 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving, Dec. 24 and Dec. 31 and is
closed Dec. 25).