Home » Blog » Crowd Calendar & When to Visit » Annual Special Events at Walt Disney World

Annual Special Events at Walt Disney World

by FrogBlog on January 20, 2012 · 5 Comments · in Crowd Calendar & When to Visit

Special events occur throughout the year Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festivalat the Walt Disney World Resort. Here is an overview of the major ones to help as you plan ‘When to Visit.’ (The events are listed in the order that they begin throughout the year.)

January
Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend usually takes place the first weekend in January. In 2012, the dates were January 5 – January 8. It is a full weekend of races including Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge, Disney Family Fiesta 5K, Walt Disney World Half Marathon and the headlining race, the Walt Disney World Marathon. Disney’s Health & Fitness Expo also takes places throughout the weekend. The courses of the longer races take runners through all four Walt Disney World theme parks. Traffic around the theme park area is affected by the Walt Disney World Marathon. If you visit during this special event, expect travel time between the Disney parks to take longer.

February
Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend
Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend usually takes place the last weekend of February each year. It will take place on February 26 – 28, 2012. Inspired by the Disney Princesses, this event is designed with women in mind. Weekend events include the Disney Family Royal 5K, Disney Royal Family Kids’ Races, Disney’s Fit for a Princess Expo, and the headlining event, Disney’s Princess Half Marathon. The half marathon takes place in Magic Kingdom® Park and Epcot®. Traffic around these parks is affected by this race.

March – May
Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival
Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival is an annual event at Epcot® each spring. In 2012, Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival takes place March 7 – May 20. Highlights of this special event include more than 100 topiaries throughout Epcot® (more than 75 are Disney character topiaries), Flower Power Concert Series every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and designer presentations from HGTV stars and Epcot® gardening experts. Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival is included with regular admission to Epcot®.
(Click here for complete information including 2012 concert line-up.)
(See pictures of the 2012 Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival.)

May – June
Star Wars Weekends (Disney’s Hollywood Studios®)
For four weekends in May and June, Disney’s Hollywood Studios® hosts Star Wars Weekends. The 2012 dates are May 18 – 20, May 25 – 27, June 1 – 3 and June 8 – 10. The event celebrates the legendary Star Wars WeekendsStar Wars Saga and the animated television series, The Clone Wars. Highlights include a Character Processional through the park, Star Wars character meet and greets, Disney Characters in Star Wars themed outfits, autograph opportunities from Star Wars celebrities and much more. This special event strongly effects the crowd levels at Disney’s Hollywood Studios®. Stars Wars Weekends is included with regular theme park admission.
(See pictures from Star Wars Weekends 2011 here.)
(Watch a video of the opening Character Processional here.)
(Read helpful tips for attending Star Wars Weekends (blog) here.)

June – July
Sounds Like Summer Concert Series (Epcot®)
Sounds Like Summer Concert Series takes place every summer at Epcot®. In 2012, the event will be held June 10 – July 28. Every night at the America Gardens Theatre, guests can sit back and listen to some of the world’s greatest tribute bands. In 2011, artists included Karin Lawson – A Tribute to Janet Jackson, Slippery When Wet – The Ultimate Bon Jovi Tribute, Stayin’ Alive – A Tribute to the Bee Gees and Hotel California – A Tribute to the Eagles. There are typically three performances on each night the event takes place. Sounds Like Summer Concert Series is included with regular admission to Epcot®.

September
Night of Joy (Magic Kingdom® Park)
Night of Joy is a contemporary Christian music festival that takes place each September at Magic Kingdom® Park. This year, the event is September 8 and 9. During the event, there are live performances by music superstars across a variety of genres included rock, pop and gospel. Featured artists in 2012 include Casting Crows, Chris Tomlin, Brandon Heath, Disciple, MercyMe, Third Day, Lecrae and Chris August. Night of Joy is a separately ticketed event and is not included with regular admission to Magic Kingdom® Park.

September – October
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (Magic Kingdom® Park)
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party takes place at Magic Kingdom® ParkMickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party on select nights each fall. Event highlights include Mickey’s Boo-to-You Halloween Parade, Happy HalloWishes Fireworks, Villains Dance Mix & Mingle Castle Stage Show, trick-or-treating throughout the park and Disney characters dressed in Halloween costumes. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is not included with regular admission to Magic Kingdom® Park; it is a separately ticketed event. It is recommended you purchase tickets in advance; it is common for nights to sell out.
2012 Dates:
September 11, 14, 18, 21, 25, 28; October 4, 5, 8, 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 26, 28, 30, 31; November 2
(See pictures from Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2011 here.)
(Watch a video of Mickey’s Boo-to-You Halloween Parade here.)
(Watch a video of Happy HalloWishes Fireworks show here.)
(Read tips for attending Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (blog) here.)

September – November
Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival
Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival takes place every fall at Epcot®. In 2012, the festival will be held September 28 – November 11. Epcot® International Food & Wine FestivalEpcot® International Food & Wine Festival features more than 25 international marketplace kiosks which will offer tapas-sized portions of regional specialties as well as recommended wine and beer pairings. Another event highlight is the Eat to the Beat! Concert Series which will feature internationally-acclaimed artists. In 2011, artists including Jon Secada, Billy Ocean, Hanson, The Pointer Sisters and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy performed in the Eat to the Beat! Concert Series. Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival is included with regular theme park admission.
(See pictures from the 2011 Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival here.)
(Take a virtual tour of the festival here.)
(Read Frog Family tips for making it fun for the whole family (blog) here.)

November
Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend
The Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend usually takes place over the last weekend of Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival. In 2012, Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend will be held November 9-10. The event combines the magic of a runDisney race with the festivities of the Food & Wine Festival.

November – December
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (Magic Kingdom® Park)
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a special event held on select nights each winter at Magic Kingdom® Park. Event highlights include Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade (watch the video),Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Holiday Wishes fireworks (watch the video), Celebrate the Season Castle stage show (watch the video), and a magical snowfall over Main Street, U.S.A.® There are also plenty of opportunities to meet your favorite Disney Character decked out in their holiday finest as well as complimentary cookies and hot cocoa. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is not included with regular admission to Magic Kingdom® Park; it is a separately ticketed event. It is recommended you purchase tickets in advance; it is common for nights to sell out.
2012 Dates:
November 9, 12, 15, 16, 27, 29, 30; December 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21
(See pictures of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2011 here.)
(Read the Frog Family Guide to Mickey’s Very Christmas Party (blog) here.)
(Experience the Sights & Sounds of the Christmas Party here.)

November – January
The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights
(Disney’s Hollywood Studios®)
The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights is a special event held each winter at The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing LightsDisney’s Hollywood Studios®. In 2011, the event was held from Nov. 10 – Jan. 8. This massive seasonal display features millions of lights perfectly synchronized to music. The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights is included with regular admission to Disney’s Hollywood Studios®.
(See pictures from the 2011 display here.)
(Experience the Sights & Sounds of The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights here.)
(Watch the lights “dance” to holiday music here.)

November
Festival of the Masters (Downtown Disney)
Festival of the Masters is held one weekend each November at Downtown Disney. In 2012, the event will take place November 9-11. Festival of the Masters is an open-air art festival featuring more than 150 award-winning artists. There are a number of activities for children and families throughout the weekend. Festival of the Masters is free to attend.
(Watch a video of the 2011 Festival of the Masters here.)

November – January
Festival of the Seasons (Downtown Disney)
Festival of the Seasons is a special event held each winter at Downtown Disney. This year, it is November 16 – December 27, 2012 with special visits from Santa Claus on November 16-December 24 and Santa Goofy on December 25-27. Festival of the Seasons offers live entertainment, festive decor, fun photo ops and much more. There are holiday carolers, costumed stilt walkers and street performers and a holiday dance party with a deejay. Festival of the Seasons at Downtown Disney is free to attend.

November – December
Holidays Around The World – Candlelight Processional (Epcot®)
Holidays Around The World – Candlelight Processional is a special event that takes place each winter at Epcot®. In 2012,Holidays Around The World at Epcot® the event will run from November 23 through December 30. Holidays Around The World features Storytellers such as The Monkey King in the China Pavilion and Father Christmas in the United Kingdom Pavilion who recount holiday customs from their countries. Candlelight Processional is performed three times nightly and retells the story of Christmas with a celebrity narrator accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra and mass choir. Holidays Around The World – Candlelight Processional is included with regular admission to Epcot®.

Here are this year’s narrators (subject to change without notice):

November 23 to November 25, 2012 — Geena Davis
November 26 to November 29, 2012 — Neil Patrick Harris
November 30 to December 1, 2012 — Whoopi Goldberg
December 2 to December 4, 2012 — Andy Garcia
December 5 to December 7, 2012 — Blair Underwood
December 8 to December 9, 2012 — James Denton
December 10 to December 13, 2012 — Jodi Benson
December 14 to December 16, 2012 — Lea Salonga
December 17 to December 19, 2012 — Alfre Woodard
December 20 to December 22, 2012 — Trace Adkins
December 23 to December 25, 2012 — Gary Sinise
December 26 to December 28, 2012 — Amy Grant
December 29 to December 30, 2012 — Marlee Matlin / Jack Jason
(See pictures from 2011 Holidays Around The World – Candlelight Processional here.)
(Read more about the Storytellers at Holidays Around The World (blog) here.)
(Watch highlights of Holidays Around The World here.)
(Watch the Candlelight Processional here.)

Click here to see Special Events at Universal Orlando.

Click here to see Special Events at SeaWorld & Busch Gardens.


  • RSS
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • Add to favorites

5 Responses to “Annual Special Events at Walt Disney World”

  1. [...] Nov. 16, the Festival of the Seasons begins at Downtown Disney. It runs through December 27 and features live entertainment, holiday [...]

  2. [...] as well as the re-imagined Test Track! We can’t wait to share our lists with Santa Santa at the Festival of the Seasons and experience Christmas all over the world at Epcot. And we’re staying at our very favorite [...]

  3. [...] Special 
lunch and dinner packages are available for an
 additional charge and include preferred seating 
for the processional (call 407-WDW-DINE 
for reservations). If you don’t want to spring 
for one of the packages, I recommend lining
 up at least 60 minutes prior to the show of
 your choice. Guests with preferred seating are 
well advised not to come at the last minute either and instead should arrive at the reserved seating 
entrance 30 minutes before the beginning of the show. Seats within this section are available on a first-come, first-served basis and are opened to general admission 15 minutes before the beginning of the show. Here is the schedule of narrators. [...]

  4. [...] can visit the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios through Dec. 6. This crazy-big light display originally started [...]

Leave a Reply


Pinterest
Print
Email
WP Socializer Aakash Web