Tips for Orlando Theme Park Halloween Festivals

Halloween Scream

Seasonal activities await at nearly every attraction, so here are some helpful tips for Orlando theme park Halloween festivals. Though Orlando may not experience the typical telltale signs of fall, that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy Halloween and fall festivities, we just get to enjoy them in our shorts and flip flops! So our first tip is to pack some summer clothes. It can get very hot wearing a costume. Which theme parks allow costumes? Which attractions are kid-friendly? Which event is the most frightening? Here’s a quick rundown of the Orlando Theme Park Halloween Festivals and some tips to help you enjoy them!

If your child wants to trick-or-treat while vacationing in Orlando, you have 3 great alternatives:

  1. Walt Disney World’s “Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party” at Magic Kingdom
  2. SeaWorld Orlando’s Halloween Spooktacular
  3. LegoLand’s Brick-or-Treat

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom

Disney's Halloween EventIn true Disney fashion, “Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party” at the Magic Kingdom is a great Orlando theme park Halloween festival. It is great for families with kids of all ages, especially if they don’t care to be scared. The park is filled with spooky (enough) characters and decorations, and children are encouraged to dress up and trick-or-treat at the many candy locations set up throughout the park. This is the one time of year guests can count on meeting their favorite villains and some less commonly seen characters, with Scar, Tarzan, Abu, and the seven dwarfs all on the list of characters that have been seen at this year’s Halloween party.

Hallowishes, Disney’s fireworks show, is a big draw for guests; the sky is lit up with fireworks as spooky tunes and villain anthems are broadcast throughout the park in a spectacle much unlike Magic Kingdom’s normal firework show. The “Boo-to-You” Halloween parade that runs twice during the event is also unique and entertaining to all ages, with gravediggers, ghost dancers, and fun fall-themed floats bringing something to the table for all ages to enjoy. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary runs on select dates between September 15th and November 1st. It is a separate ticketed event and is not included in regular park admission.

ORLANDO TOURIST TIPS: If your child is under 9 years of age, they are welcome to wear their own costume. Some restrictions apply, so make sure to read all of the details on their web site. Be sure and check out Cinderella’s Castle during the evening show. Special merchandise and food items are available only during this special event. Plan on spending extra money, because they are irresistible!

Sea World’s Halloween Spooktacular

SeaWorld Halloween eventSeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular is a family-friendly Orlando theme park Halloween celebration. It too offers children the chance to dress up in their favorite costumes, trick-or-treat throughout the park and do many other Halloween themed activities. This event is definitely geared toward young children, with one of the main events titled “Sesame Street’s Countdown to Halloween,” which is hosted by characters like the Count Von Count and Elmo.

Other key events include “Penelope’s Party Zone,” where children can dance to the Halloween themed music broadcasted by a live DJ, listen to scary Halloween stories and do other fun activities. This event is great for families with younger children, with its range of activities, child-friendly spooks, and fun characters. Sea World’s Halloween Spooktacular is included with your admission and runs on select weekends throughout the month of October.

ORLANDO TOURIST TIPS: Enjoy a Spooktacular breakfast (additional fee) at a special Dine with Shamu Spooktacular Brunch. This is a very fun and memorable meal for the entire family.

LegoLand’s Brick-or-Treat

halloween legoland floridaThe third alternative for trick-or-treating at Orlando theme park Halloween festivals is at LegoLand Florida. The annual Brick-or-Treat takes place only on weekends in October. Your children can enjoy trick-or-treating and super brick build activities. Who wouldn’t want to see a 12-foot long LEGO Hearse? Halloween entertainment and an all-kids costume contest with brick-tastic prizes are also offered. During this time of the year, the water park is still open on weekends, so tickets are a great value.

ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: LegoLand is not open every day during October, so be sure to check their site prior to planning your trip. The world’s largest LEGO Jack-O-Lantern will be there, which makes a great backdrop for a memorable family photo. This Halloween event is perfect for children 12 years and under, especially if they like to build things.

Orlando Theme Park Halloween Events for Older Kids & Adults that LIKE to be Scared

For older children, teens and adults that like to have the living daylights scared out of them, there are two alternatives at Orlando theme park Halloween festivals – Tampa’s Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream and Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights. If staying in Orlando, HHN is your best scare. If you aren’t spooked by the sometimes “terrifying” drive on I-4 to Tampa, then Howl-O-Scream offers a pretty frightening experience.

Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream

Howl-o-Scream

Starting September 25 and running through the end of October, Busch Gardens features their annual Howl-O-Scream event on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 7:30 pm to 1:00 am. This year’s event features “Unearthed,” a mysterious buried house which has been opened to the public (one of 7 haunted houses). Tickets at this Central Florida theme park Halloween event vary, as there are many “evil” upgrades.

ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: Download an event map before you get to the park, so you will know where the haunted houses are and can attend the frights high on your list. Expect long lines at Falcon’s Fury. Thursdays and Sundays are less crowded. This event is not recommended for children.

Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights

Halloween Horror Nights

This event is not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure! In fact, this Orlando theme park Halloween festival is not recommended for anyone under 13. There are also no costumes or masks allowed. They are not needed; it certainly will be a night filled with horrors for anyone brave enough to attend. Guests at Universal Orlando HHN should be prepared to be chased by blood-covered doctors with chain saws or clowns that will make even the bravest of people shudder. This event boasts nine haunted houses, five scare zones, and two Halloween themed shows, making the terror pretty hard to avoid. If you love scary movies and haunted houses, this is definitely the Orlando Halloween event for you. Halloween Horror Nights runs on select nights between September first and November first.

ORLANDO TOURIST TIPS: Be sure to attend Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure. It is great FUN. Ticket prices vary with several upgrade options. Be sure to look for special passes on sponsoring products and at many local fast food restaurants.

Tips for any of the Orlando Theme Park Halloween Events:

  • If you have little ones, a daytime visit to any theme park is fun, however, if you want the scary screams and thrills, night-time is the best time at some parks, without the kids. Not all of the rides will be open, but it is still a good value.
  • While the weekends are still rather busy, you can find some of the best theme park ticket deals during the week. Open hours may be shorter, but so are the lines for the rides. Instead of spending a good portion of your day standing in line, you can enjoy the entire theme park in less time. You will not need the extended hours – unless you want to add in the frights!
  • Be sure to plan your Halloween visit to the theme parks based upon the level of fright that you can withstand. If you do not care for the frights, go during the day and enjoy the smaller crowds and Halloween decorations. It is a great time to visit the theme parks.
  • If you want to avoid Halloween altogether, consider spending the evening enjoying an Orlando dinner show such as Capone’s Dinner & Show. They offer a special treat without any tricks. If you want to dress-the-part and wear a fedora or boa, they sell cheap costume accessories which can really make the evening fun.

This is a great time of the year to visit the parks and attractions. Special event tickets can extend a fun day into a frightful night you’re sure to remember. Each park has something unique to offer. Whatever Orlando theme park Halloween event you may attend, be safe and enjoy.

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