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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.

All New Terror at This Orlando Theme Park

Halloween is quickly approaching, and Universal Studios has announced a few more details for this year’s Halloween Horror Nights. This special event taking place within the Orlando theme park is very popular. Seems there are a lot of people who love to have the bejeezus scared out of them!

From September 19 through November 1, you may purchase a separate theme park ticket to Universal Studios that will allow entry into Halloween Horror Nights. At full price it is $95.99. ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: If you are a Florida resident, you will be able to find discounts as the event gets nearer. If you are going to Universal during the day, there is also a less expensive ticket option to add HHN to your daytime ticket. Be sure to ask when purchasing your tickets, and shop around. You may find separate tickets to be a better deal than add-on tickets.

If you are really into traumatizing yourself, purchase a Halloween Horror Nights Express Pass. It allows you to bypass the regular lines at all haunted houses, some of the rides, as well as early admission. The passes are limited, so don’t procrastinate.

So far, the new lineup for this year’s theme park event includes The Purge: Anarchy zone. If you missed the movie, the Purge is an annual 12-hour period where crime is legal without punishment or retribution. The result is total chaos, and now park-goers can experience the horror and attempt to survive the purge themselves.

The Purge zone is going to be larger than most street experiences in the past. It will take up most of the New York back lot. When you hear the emergency broadcast, good luck. Average employees and park guest will be transformed into sadistic felons. It is sure to bring that gut-wrenching terror to everyone attending this Orlando attraction.

In addition to this street experience, HHN features 8 haunted houses. “From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series” and “The Walking Dead” are two that have been announced. Zombies from The Walking Dead have been featured for the past two years. If you’ve watched either of these series on television, you’ll know that these haunted houses are sure to get your heart pounding. A new haunting in the scare zone for this year will be “Face Off: In the Flesh.” Expect to see some awesome award-winning makeup!

For more information, go to halloweenhorrornights.com/Orlando. You may also purchase tickets directly from Universal at this website, but do shop around. In years past, Coca-Cola has issued discounts on their products. Perhaps attraction coupons will be available again this year too. Halloween is just around the corner, and so are the traumatizing experiences at the 24th Halloween Horror Nights event.

Halloween Events in Orlando

Orlando theme parks and nearby attractions have already started their Halloween events. Seasonal activities await your children at nearly every theme park. 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.

If your child wants to trick-or-treat 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

On September 10, Walt Disney World’s “Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party” at the Magic Kingdom started. It will run on select days/nights through November 1. This Orlando theme park event lets children trick-or-treat in costume at various locations within the park. Nightly Halloween special events are scheduled, such as the “Boo-to-You” Halloween parade, the nightly Happy HalloWishes fireworks display and other events  just for children (and their parents). ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: Check out Cinderella’s Castle during the evening show. Is it a spell? Special merchandise and food items are available only during this special event too. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is perfect for children. It provides a wholesome fun activity that the entire family will enjoy. Tickets are required and are only available on certain nights. Visit Disney’s website for more information.

Counts Breakfast at SeaWorld

Every weekend now through the end of October, SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular takes place and is included with your admission. This Halloween event allows children to trick-or-treat and take part in other Fall-like activities within the Orlando theme park. Check out Penelope’s Party Zone and let your kids have fun dancing with sea fairies and pumpkin fish, as well as create sea-themed art and crafts. ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: Enjoy a Spooktacular breakfast (additional fee) with Count von Count. This is a very fun and memorable meal for the entire family.

Brick-or-Treat

Children can trick-or-treat at LegoLand’s Brick-or-Treat event every Saturday and Sunday in October. Let your children wear their costumes and participate in fun activities such as a scavenger hunt with ghouls, ghosts and goblins. ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: 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.

Howl-O-Scream

September 27 through October 26, Busch Gardens features their annual Howl-O-Scream event on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 7:30 pm to 1:00 am. 2013’s event features thirteen evils, such as “The Possessed” or “The Torturer,” where you’ll experience thrilling haunted houses and scare zones. Tickets at this Central Florida theme park Halloween event vary, as there are many “evil” upgrades. ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: Check out the dinner & show fright feast for an additional $26 and receive other perks too. This event is not recommended for children.

Halloween Horror Nights

It wouldn’t be Halloween at the Orlando theme parks without Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando. This annual event started September 20th and runs through November 2 on select nights. This event is for adults. Visit all eight haunted houses in between spine-chilling street experiences and outrageous live shows. This year’s haunted houses include:

  • Afterlife: Death’s Vengeance
  • An American Werewolf in London
  • Evil Dead
  • Havoc 2: Derailed
  • Resident Evil: Escape from Raccoon City
  • The Cabin in the Woods
  • The Walking Dead: No Safe Haven
  • Urban Legends: La Llorona

The shows include:

  • Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure
  • Rocky Horror Picture Show: A Tribute

Ticket prices vary with several upgrade options. You might even find special passes on sponsoring products.

ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: If you are looking for something fun to do on Halloween night, but prefer less-ghastly events, how about enjoying a chilling beverage at Capone’s Dinner & Show? This fantastic Orlando dinner show will host a costume contest on October 31, and their tickets are half price. Dress up for the fun and join Al and the gang. The cast will pick three winners from the crowd after the show and award them treats (without the tricks), such as cash prizes and Capone’s gift cards.  This event is suitable for children, so choose your costume with care or the wise guys might deny your entry into the joint.

Whatever Orlando theme park or Halloween event you attend, be safe and enjoy.

Halloween at Orlando’s Theme Parks…BOO!

Orlando sure knows how to celebrate holidays and Halloween is no different!  Universal Orlando will surely frighten  you with their famous Halloween Horror Nights (even the website is cool, complete with scary sounds).  This year is the 20th anniversary, called A New Age of Darkness, so they’ve got even more scary fun.  There will be live entertainment including the popular Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure,  all-new haunted houses such as Hades, the Gates of Ruin, and frightening scare zones including Zombie Gras and Saws n’ Steam.  Check out some bizarre magic by illusionist Brian Brushwood in his show Menace and Malice.  Halloween Horror Nights is a separately ticketed event. This year’s event nights are September 24, 25 & 30; October 1-3, 7-10, 14-17, 20-24, 27-31. They are posted on our calendar. Select rides will be open during the event.  You can’t come in costume, just come prepared to be scared.  This event is not suitable for small children (under 13), however, there is an alternative fun-filled event for the little ones.

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is an all-ages event where you can see your favorite Disney characters in costumes while you trick-or-treat around the Magic Kingdom.  Highlights include Mickey’s “Boo-to-You” Halloween Parade, which begins with a spook-tacular ride by the Headless Horseman and includes the stars of the Haunted Mansion attraction as well as other Disney characters.  Don’t miss Happy HalloWishes, the fireworks show where Disney villains go trick-or-treating in the sky!  Guests are encouraged to come in costume to this separately ticketed event, and select rides are open.  Dates (shown on our calendar) are September 14, 18, 21, 23, 25, 28, 30; October 1, 3, 7, 8, 11, 12, 14, 17, 19, 21, 22, 24, 26, 28, 29, 31; November 1st.

Another great Halloween adventure,  about 80 miles from the Orlando area, in Tampa, is Busch Garden’s Howl-O-Scream.  This 18 and older horror spectacular is sure to give you a fright.  The theme this year is My X, based on an underground band whose lead singer, Sylvie, seems to be the main suspect after her longtime boyfriend comes up missing.  There are several scare houses, such as My X:  Revenge Rocks, where fans get to go backstage to meet Sylvie, but it turns into a life or death race to get out.  Scare zones include Road Trip, Light of Doom, Spiders and Snakes, Crazed Love, and Xtreme Fanatics.  There are also several shows including nightly concerts by the My X band.  If you’d like to dance after your scary night, hit the 21 & over dance club, Club X.   This is also a separately ticketed event, on select nights.

Some other great Halloween attractions include SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular, a kid-friendly event complete with trick-or-treating, silly and spooky shows, and amazing sea creaturesSilver Spring’s Fright Nights will hold their 38th annual haunted house where you cross the bridge to Terror Island to visit the Spirit of the Swamp Cemetery, the Voodoo Bayou, Pirates Port Tavern, and more!  Check out Howling Halloween at Forever Florida for a Haunted Zipline Adventure!  They also have family friendly hay rides, a Haunted Coach Safari, entertainment, and more! Weeki Wachee Springs State Park will be holding their 20th annual Halloween festival, Wild ‘n’ Wicked Nights, which will showcase a Haunted Forest, Haunted Boat Ride, their famous mermaid show, and more.  The Central Florida Zoo is hosting Zoo Boo Bash, a kid-friendly trick-or-treating event through the zoo with face painting, a haunted hay ride and more.  If checking out real paranormal activities is your thing, then the nightFlight experience at Fantasy of Flight is for you.  Investigative team Apollo Paranormal Investigations (API) has conducted a series of scientific explorations of the apparitions, voices, and moving objects that have been reported at Fantasy of Flight.  They have rated the paranormal activity here an “11” on a scale of 1-10.  Spooky……check it out and decide for yourself if this attraction is indeed haunted.   (Check individual websites for specific dates and information.)

Orlando Tourist Tips:

For Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween:

  • This is an event that is fun for all ages, kids through adult, so don’t get turned off because of the ‘not scary’ name.
  • If you are not a parade type of person, then head over to your favorite rides during the parade, much shorter lines.

For Halloween Horror Nights:

  • Go on an off peak night, Thursday or Sunday, for it to be a bit quieter.
  • Best advice for getting the houses done is to get there as they re-open the park gates and just hit house after house. Any house in a studio won’t be affected by the sun still being up, but the houses located in the JAWS queue, and behind the “Disaster” queue would be better visited when the sun is completely down.
  • The later in the “Season” you go, the better it gets, More Scare-ators and a little more fear. Also, the Bill & Ted show (A MUST) gets better day after day.
  • Be prepared most of the haunts have 1 – 1½ long waits, or more. If getting to everything is important to you, then you may want to purchase one of the expensive R.I.P. Tours or the cheaper express pass. The R.I.P. tour gives you behind the scenes info and front of line access to all the haunts and shows. The express pass gives you one-time access to the front of the line.

Have a safe and Happy Halloween!