Throughout the year, Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida hosts special annual and seasonal events that draw not only park goers but guests who come specifically to enjoy the event. From holiday parties for the whole family to international events and marathons, Disney World‘s calendar is filled with exciting special events.
Walt Disney World Marathon
This full marathon takes place in January and spans all four theme parks. Participants can choose the 26.2 mile run or opt for a half marathon, 10K or 5K. There are even special kids’ races so the whole family can enjoy the fun.
Epcot International Flower Garden Festival
Opening in March and running through mid-May, this event blooms each year and features more than 30 million flowers plus themed topiaries, live entertainment, activities for kids and workshops with gardening experts. It’s open to the public but requires a theme park ticket to attend.
Star Wars Weekends
The force is strong at Walt Disney World each spring during Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The annual event runs on weekends from mid-May through mid-June and includes a variety of activities, parades, live entertainment and the chance to meet some of your favorite characters from the Star Wars universe. Actors from the various Star Wars movies also are in attendance.
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
Don your Halloween costume as early as mid-September for the Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party held on select nights in the Magic Kingdom. The annual event runs through November 1 and requires a special ticket for attendance. Adults and children can wear their Halloween costumes and trick-or-treat through the Magic Kingdom park. The event features special themed parades, fireworks and all your favorite Disney characters.
Epcot International Food and Wine Festival
Each year beginning in late September and running through mid-November, guests to Epcot can experience the unique Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. It’s open to the public with theme park admission required. However, some events within the Festival do require their own separate tickets. Guests to the Festival have the opportunity to enjoy culinary delights from around the world at specialty food booths and take in culinary demonstrations and live entertainment.
Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights
From early November through the first week in January, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights takes place in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Admission is free with your theme park admission to Hollywood Studios. It’s a spectacle light display on the Streets of America designed by Jennings Osborne as a gift to his family and the guests at Walt Disney World. It’s an annual event.
Held in Epcot from late November through the end of December, the Candlelight Processional is a special retelling of the Christmas story that features a 50-piece orchestra and celebrity guest narrator. It’s open to the public with their theme park admission but a special ticketed dinner package can be purchased that includes reserved seating.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
Celebrate the Christmas holiday with Mickey and Friends in the Magic Kingdom on select nights from November through mid-December. It’s a special ticketed event perfect for any age. The Magic Kingdom is transformed into a winter wonderland and there’s even snow on Main Street U.S.A. There’s live entertainment, a parade and a special holiday firework display.
What has been the most popular shopping, dining and entertainment option for WDW (Walt Disney World) visitors, now becomes an impressively massive and even more inspiring commercial hub to look for. In fact the entire WDW owned area turns into an even bigger, better and ever exciting fun and relaxing alternative for fans from across the globe. The fusion of The Landing, the Town Center, the Marketplace and West Side with such an ever-refreshing story-line is beyond imaginations. And I think each of these independent areas now become the keepers of the world’s finest entertainment, dining and retail offerings that one should not miss while visiting Disney Springs.
Disney Springs is indeed the biggest ever transition in the history of Downtown Disney. And the new additions and venues here are the real heroes in this regard, taking the experience to the next level. They bring to life the fun and excitements that was never felt before. Whether it’s the ever-glittering dockside Boathouse at the Landing or the latest aviation-themed lounge at Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, the exotic flavors of Morimoto Asia or any other venues, including the upcoming and more exciting venues for that matter, I think it’s a whole new world of enticing opportunities for sure. Not to mention the two new multi-level parking garages with the capacity to house around 6000 vehicles.
Inspired by the turn of the century waterfront town and natural beauty of Florida, Disney Springs truly reflects the cool and beautiful imaginations of a time so irresistible and tempting. While the entire Disney Springs Complex flaunts its own ageless story, the venues and attractions within the Complex have their own unique tales to tell. And what is more exciting to know is that most of them comes with the rare storytelling feature which is so unique to the Disney Imagineers.
Just take a walk inside the new aviation themed lounge of Jock Lindsey’s Hanger Bar and you are right into the world of Indiana Jones. The entire decor inside, including the rare sights of old engine propellers, vintage travel posters, ancient idols and more, all carry out the impression of a perfect hangout of Indiana Jones frequent pilot. Even the foods are inspired from the movie and the popular Dr. Elsa’s She-Deviled Eggs is worth mentioning in this regard.
The Morimoto Asia on the other hand brings to life an all new dining experience for all those passionate about flavors from across the Continent. It features the best of what the famous Japanese Chef from Iron Chef America – Masaharu Morimoto has to offer. With offerings such as Peking duck carving and dim sum as the menu and with seating options such as waterside seating or the grand hall and cocktail lounge it definitely deserves the best of attention from the crowd.
A Walt Disney World vacation in the sunny state of Florida is a chance to experience some of the most innovative, thrilling and magical rides and attractions available at any theme park. Several years ago, Disney World introduced the FastPass system as a way to help guests experience more of the magic without having to wait in lengthy wait lines. FastPass tickets were free with park admission and obtained at kiosks near the ride or attraction.
Recently, Disney revamped the system. Upgraded to FastPass+, this new system allows guests with Walt Disney World resort reservations to make FastPass+ reservations for specific rides, attractions and even character meet-and-greets up to 60 days before your check-in date. That means you can choose the time you’d like to ride The Pirates of the Caribbean two months before you even arrive at the Magic Kingdom.
Check out our list of the top Disney World FastPass+ attractions, listed by park.
The Magic Kingdom has six different lands each filled with iconic Disney rides and attractions that are not to be missed. Some have long wait lines even when the park doesn’t seem crowded. Peter Pan’s Flight in Fantasyland always has long waits and if you’re riding with kids who get restless in line, this is one to FastPass+. Other Magic Kingdom FastPass+ recommendations include:
To keep wait times to a minimum for meeting Cinderella, Rapunzel , Anna or Elsa, definitely use a FastPass+.
Without a FastPass+, the best time to ride Expedition Everest in the Animal Kingdom is to head straight to the ride first thing when the park opens. As the newest thrill ride in the park, it’s a favorite and draws huge crowds as the day progresses. Plan to FastPass+ Expedition Everest, Kali River Rapids and the Kilimanjaro Safaris to avoid long wait lines. Another good FastPass+ in the Animal Kingdom is for the meet-and-greet experience of Mickey and Minnie at Adventurer’s Outpost.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Toy Story Midway Mania! is the number one ride/attraction to FastPass+ when spending the day at Hollywood Studios. It’s an entertaining ride for all ages and quickly develops long lines fairly soon after the park opens. Wait times can be as long as 90 minutes or more. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror also is recommended as a top FastPass+ choice as is The Great Movie Ride.
The Future World of Epcot is home to Soarin’, located in The Land. It attracts many guests and long lines form shortly after the opening of the park each day. A FastPass+ is recommended for Soarin’ as well as the thrilling Mission: SPACE, also located in Future World. Test Track and the meet-and-greet with Mickey at the Character Spot are also recommended for FastPass+ reservations.
Florida is home to the largest collection of beloved characters and you can find each one at the parks of Walt Disney World. Throughout the four theme parks, guests can meet, interact and take pictures with their favorite Disney characters from movies and television. From Cinderella and her evil stepsisters to Buzz Lightyear, the Disney Junior Pals and Mickey Mouse with Minnie and his best pals.
We’ve put together a list of places to meet your favorite Disney characters by park. Meet-and-greet locations and character interactions are subject to change and it’s always best to contact the Disney parks before making plans. Meet-and-greets have scheduled times and for many, a FastPass is available.
Meet Aladdin and the Princess Jasmine under a colorful canopy in Adventureland before heading into the Enchanted Tiki Room or climbing aboard the Magic Carpets of Aladdin ride. Also in Adventureland is Captain Jack Sparrow’s Pirate Tutorial where kids can learn the art of being a pirate — aargh!
Fantasyland is home to several beloved Disney characters including Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh and Ariel who loves hanging out at her Grotto. Gaston is near his tavern and Merida’s in the Fairytale Garden. The Princess Fairytale Hall is where you can meet-and-greet Anna, Elsa, Cinderella and Rapunzel. Look for Alice and her Wonderland friends in Fantasyland and don’t forget to visit Mickey, Minnie, Donald and friends at Pete’s Silly Sideshow.
Frontierland is home to the Toy Story characters, they hang out near Splash Mountain. The hilarious Chip and Dale also are in Frontierland near The Diamond Horseshoe.
Make time to visit with beautiful Princess Tiana in Liberty Square on your way to Main Street U.S.A. where you can find Mickey and Friends at the Town Square.
The Animal Kingdom is teeming with fun characters from some of the most loved Disney films including Baloo and King Louie from The Jungle Book. Find them at Upcountry Landing. Tarzan is at Discovery Island Trail and you can take a picture with Pocohontas at Character Landing. Give a hug to Dug and Russell who are at Discovery Island and make time to see Mickey and all his pals at the Adventurers Outpost. If you’re planning time to take in Rafiki’s Planet Watch attraction, you’ll be able to Rafiki himself; he’s there throughout the day.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
The Disney Junior Pals are at the Animation Courtyard and you can find Mickey and friends at Center Stage on Hollywood Boulevard. Buzz Lightyear and Woody hang out near Toy Story Midway Mannia!. They’re waiting for Andy to home but they always have time to meet new friends and pose for pictures. The most lovable monsters in the park are Mike and Sulley of course and they’re waiting for you near the Streets of America. Phineas and Ferb are near the Streets of America as well.
Epcot’s list of character meet and greet locations is almost a vast as the Magic Kingdom‘s. In Future World you can find Mickey and friends as well as Chip, Dale and other classic Disney characters. Throughout the World Showcase you can find Mary Poppins or Alice in the gardens at the England pavilion. Winnie the Pooh and friends also appear in England. Princes Aurora is in France, Mulan in China, Snow White in Germany, Donald Duck in Mexico and Duffy the Bear is in the American pavilion.
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