Happy 2013! We wanted to give you an overview of the major special events coming to the Universal Orlando resort this year to help as you plan “When to Visit.” These special events (as well as some of the smaller events) are listed on our crowd calendar, which is another great tool for planning your vacation.
Special events are listed in the order that they begin throughout the year. Dates have not been announced for all of these events, but rest assured, we’ll add them here as soon as they are!
February – April
Mardi Gras (Universal Studios)
Mardi Gras takes place each spring on select nights at Universal Studios. In 2013, Mardi Gras is held the following dates: Feb. 9, 16, 17 and 23; March 2, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23 and 30; April 6, 13 and 20. Highlights of the special event include the Mardi Gras parade through the park and live concerts: This year’s big performance is Matchbox 20 on March 16. There is also musical entertainment by bands direct from New Orleans as well as plenty of authentic Cajun food. Mardi Gras at Universal Studios is included with regular theme park admission.
Mardi Gras 2013 Concert Lineup
Feb. 9 Lifehouse
Feb. 16 Steve Miller Band
Feb. 17 Boys Like Girls
Feb. 23 Trey Songz
March 2 Demi Lovato
March 9 Montgomery Gentry
March 15 Sean Kingston
March 16 Matchbox Twenty
March 22 Austin Mahone
March 23 Phillip Phillips
March 30 Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo
April 6 Kool & The Gang
April 13 Pitbull
April 20 The All-American Rejects
Feb. 9 John Lisi & Delta Funk!
Feb. 16 The Dirty Bourbon River Show
Feb. 17 The Dirty Bourbon River Show
Feb. 23 Colin Lake
March 2 Beth McKee
March 9 Gravy
March 15 Lil Brian and the Zydeco Travelers
March 16 Lil Brian and the Zydeco Travelers
March 22 Soul Project Nola
March 23 Soul Project Nola
March 30 Big Al & the Heavyweights
April 6 Mississippi Rail Company
April 13 The Rockin’ Jake Band
April 20 Daddy Mack Blues Band
June – July
Summer Concert Series (Universal Studios)
Universal Studios’ Summer Concert Series takes place on select Saturday nights every summer. Last year, musical guests such as Al Green, Lupe Fiasco, Miranda Cosgrove, ZZ Top and 3 Doors Down performed live on the Music Plaza Stage. Concerts during the series are included with regular admission to Universal Studios.
Rock the Universe (Universal Studios)
Rock the Universe is a special event held in the evenings one weekend in September at Universal Studios. The event brings some of the biggest names in Christian rock to the park for the festival. In 2013, it will take place on Sept. 6 and 7. It is a separately ticketed event and is not included with regular theme park admission.
Friday, September 6
Tenth Avenue North
Family Force 5
Love & The Outcome
Saturday, September 7
Love & The Outcome
September – October
Halloween Horror Nights (Universal Studios)
Halloween Horror Nights is a special event held on select nights every fall at Universal Studios. The event features “scare zones,” haunted houses and live entertainment in addition to the regular park attractions. It is not intended for children and is an intense experience. Halloween Horror Nights is not included with regular theme park admission. Tickets go on sale a month or so before the event begins.
December – January
Macy’s Holiday Parade (Universal Studios)
Macy’s Holiday Parade takes place each winter at Universal Studios. The event usually begins the first week of December and ends on Dec. 31. Macy’s Holiday Parade features floats and balloons direct from Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. There are also live concerts by award-winning Christmas artist Mannheim Steamroller on weekend nights during Holidays at Universal Studios. Macy’s Holiday Parade is included with regular admission to Universal Studios.
December – January
Grinchmas (Islands of Adventure)
Grinchmas at Islands of Adventure takes place each winter at Islands of Adventure. Seuss Landing is transformed into the wonderful world of Grinchmas with the heartwarming live version of the How the Grinch Stole Christmas and even visits by The Grinch himself. Grinchmas is included with regular admission to Islands of Adventure.
Related: Special Events at Walt Disney World
For more help in deciding when to visit, check out our crowd calendar, refurbishments and closings page, and seasonal packing lists. You’ll find more resources for when to visit inside our Planning Page!