Halloween is a great time to visit Orlando – you’ll be rewarded with lots of fun events at the parks.
European visitors are often surprised at the extent of Halloween celebrations stateside, especially on a first visit to the USA at this time of year. But, if you are lucky enough to be here during Halloween and the period running up to it, you can be sure of having a lot of fun.
Halloween events range from kid-friendly fun to the seriously bone-chilling, so check on the age appropriateness first!
LITTLE KIDS: Younger children will enjoy the special shows and character events at Disney World and Legoland.
ADULTS: If you’re after some serious scares then Universal is the place to go. Or, if you’re willing to travel a bit further afield, Busch Gardens also caters to a more adult audience with its fearsome frights.
GREAT FOR CHILDREN
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, Magic Kingdom
A few nights each week in September and October, Magic Kingdom closes early so that Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party can be held from 7pm to midnight (though people with party tickets can enter as early as 4pm).
The tone of Disney’s event is “not-so-scary” – so children of all ages can enjoy all the fun. Children, especially younger ones, are encouraged to dress up – so do wear costumes if you can (make sure you read Disney’s guidance on costumes first).
Children will love the “Trick or Treat” themed fun as Disney encourages you to explore Magic Kingdom park to collect candies, sweets and all kinds of frightfully delightful treats.
In 2016, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party will take place on the following dates:
September 2016: 2, 8, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 23, 25, 29 and 30.
October 2016: 2, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28, 30 and 31.
This year at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party the grim grandmaster of the parade has literally lost his head! A hair-raising ride by the Headless Horseman himself begins the festivities, followed by a collection of frightening floats featuring Disney Characters in Halloween costumes. Prepare for a cauldron of grave-digging delights as the stars of the Haunted Mansion steal the spotlight in this family-friendly parade.
Then sing along to wicked remixes of Disney Villain theme songs as fright-night fireworks over the Cinderella Castle light the night sky on a street festooned with Mickey Mouse-themed lanterns.
Enjoy a spooktacular time, starting at $72.00 per event ticket and ranging up to $105, depending on the date. (Before you buy: remember that our ticket partners, Kissimmee Guest Services, can give you great advice about and discounts on tickets).
Please be aware that regular tickets used to enter the park earlier in the day on the day of a party do not give you access to the party – you need to have the special party ticket.
This means that, if you don’t fancy the party, party days can be good days to visit earlier in the day as the park is often emptier on those days. However, remember that you won’t be allowed to stay in the park once the party starts (unless you buy a party ticket too).
Operating hours are shorter and evening parades and fireworks are rarer this time of year, so going to one of the parties is also a great way to guarantee you get to enjoy a Disney parade and fireworks during October.
Brick or Treat, Legoland Florida
My sons are huge Lego fans, so we love this park. Generally, the special events at Legoland are designed especially for little kids and the Halloween celebrations here are no exception.
Like Disney, Legoland’s Brick or Treat events are of the friendly-not-frightening category.
In 2016, Legoland’s Brick or Treat will run over weekends in October, dates are:
October 2016: 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, 29, 30 and 31 (although there will be no fireworks on Halloween itself, October 31).
This year Legoland is promising the event will be back with more spooky, kooky Halloween fun for kids. The event has been expanded in 2016 and will this year feature trick-or-treating along the Brick or Treat Trail, larger-than-life LEGO® models, LEGO build activities, the world’s largest LEGO jack-o-lantern, a scavenger hunt with prizes, and an exclusive, Halloween-themed fireworks show in Pirates’ Cove.
GREAT FOR ADULTS
Halloween Horror Nights, Universal Studios Florida
When Universal tells you that nobody creates a more nightmarish Halloween event filled with truly original scares and authentic horror movie moments they aren’t joking.
Universal’s Halloween Horror nights are seriously scary… and an awful lot of fun. On select nights from September 16th through October 31st, 2016, the streets of the Universal Studios Florida theme park come alive with hordes of horrifying mutants, monsters and maniacs.
The 2016 dates are:
September 2016: 29 and 30.
October 2016: 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31.
You can explore terrifying haunted houses, make your way through multiple scare zones where creatures lurk around every turn, enjoy outrageous live shows, and experience many of the park’s most exciting rides and attractions.
Halloween Horror Nights Add-On Ticket prices range from $55.99 mid-week up to $105 + tax for a weekend Flex Ticket.
Howl-O-Scream, Busch Gardens
Marketing itself as Tampa Bay’s premier Halloween event, Busch Garden’s Halloween party Howl-O-Scream is back this year with tormenting surprises around every corner and unexpected scares.
The streets will be swarmed with hundreds of roaming creatures and a chilling live show and the chance to challenge Florida’s top thrill rides in the dark will keep the screams coming all night.
Howl-O-Scream starts at 7:30 p.m. each event night. Arrive early to experience the thrill rides by night, including the all-new Cobra’s Curse, North America’s tallest freestanding drop tower Falcon’s Fury and Florida’s first triple-launch coaster Cheetah Hunt.
The event runs on select nights from September 23 through October 30, 2016:
September 2016: 23, 24, 29 and 30.
October 2016: 1, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, 23, 27, 28, 29 and 30.
This fall, Howl-O-Scream 2016 is promising to unleash a new type of terror with seven horrifying haunted houses and sinister surprises around every corner, including – new this year – inescapable roaming hordes (and no we don’t mean the Howl-O-Scream Shot Team, who roam the park dispensing test tube shots and syringe Jell-O shooters). We mean the roaming hordes that screech an eerie welcome at the front gates and maraud around setting terrifying traps in the depths of the park… perhaps you can escape to enjoy the deranged dance party of the Fiends Show!
Single-Night Tickets start at $45.99 but if you buy as a group you can secure some great discounts.