If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times – I’d love to take two 6-month long trips to Walt Disney World every year! While this isn’t something I have been able to accomplish (at least not yet), I do enjoy planning trips during the different seasons of the year. Disney is well-known for creating magic, and every season has a series of special events for guests to experience!
Let’s take a look at the different festivities of each season!
My favorite thing about visiting Disney World in the Spring is the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival.
The park grounds are always lovely, especially during this time Epcot truly blooms! Guests visiting during this spring-time festival can feast their eyes on stunning displays and awe-inspiring, vibrant gardens full of fresh plants and flowers. There are also amazing topiaries made to resemble some of Disney’s most beloved characters such as Mickey and Minnie, Anna and Elsa, Beauty and the Beast, Figment, and many more!
Beyond the incredible flora and fauna features, there are outdoor kitchens with menus of scrumptious and savory snacks. The Flower and Garden Festival also has exhibits specifically designed for kids (and kids of all ages), with scavenger hunts, and interactive play spaces and gardens.
There are several different types of exhibits to inspire and enchant park guests. 2019 features bamboo and butterfly gardens, English tea gardens, a bonsai collection, and even a tropical rainforest garden! Those visitors with a green thumb who want to try and replicate the gorgeous displays they’ve seen during their visit can also take advantage of specialty tours and seminars.
During the Flower and Garden Festival, Epcot is home to the Garden Rocks Concert Series! These shows are held at the American Gardens Theatre in World Showcase and feature many acts who have made their way up the Billboard charts over the years. Dining packages are available to guests who would like to attend as well, guaranteeing show seats and a delicious meal making for an epic night out at Epcot!
Guests traveling to Walt Disney World over the Easter holiday in Spring can find a variety of ways to celebrate. Religious services, specialty dining, and events, as well as the chance to meet the Easter Bunny, are just a few of the options spring-time travelers have to ensure they have a hopping-good time on their holiday!
Summer is definitely a popular time to visit Walt Disney World, as so many children and families are enjoying their vacations from school and work alike. It is also a time of year that is known for extreme temperatures!
To help combat the summer heat, Disney has come up with H2O Glow Nights held at Typhoon Lagoon water park! This is a hard-ticketed event and offers guests the chance at a shorter wait for the popular slides and attractions, as well as dance parties, specialty food and beverage options, entertainment, and more. The splashy celebrations run on select nights from May 30-August 24, 2019, and this year will feature friends and experiences from the upcoming Toy Story 4 film!
Guests traveling to WDW in the summer may also get the chance to experience special 4th of July celebrations, as America celebrates its Independence Day! The Magic Kingdom puts on a moving and patriotic 360-degree fireworks display which is truly awe-inspiring. While it can be a busy day to visit, the show is truly spectacular and is definitely worth checking out if you can! Epcot typically offers special entertainment for 4th of July as well. In the past, there have been additional performances at the American Adventure pavilion, as well as characters out for Meet and Greets in special costumes designed just for the occasion!
They say that the early bird gets the worm, and this is especially true for early risers visiting Disney World through the Summer season! On select dates, the Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios will host Early Morning Magic events. Guests with tickets for these events (purchased separately from regular park admission) will be able to enjoy some extra time in Fantasyland or Toy Story Land with limited crowds, as well as have the chance to sample some buffet-style breakfast offerings!
Over the last few years, Fall has become an increasingly popular time to travel, and with all of the awesome autumn-inspired events to experience, I definitely understand why! Fall is my personal favorite time to visit WDW, and features a couple of fantastic special events: Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, and the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is my very favorite seasonal party! As you can tell by its title, this hard-ticketed special event held on select nights at the Magic Kingdom is designed with families in mind. While there are lots of spooky spectacles to enjoy, this isn’t where you’ll find the more intense scares that may be experienced at Halloween haunts put on by other theme parks.
Party guests can enjoy special character Meet and Greet opportunities, dance parties, stage shows, and snacks which are only available during the event. There is also the Boo to You parade which is full of fun frights inspired by attractions such as the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Disney characters (both heroes and villains alike!)
My favorite part of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is the specialty fireworks! This incredible display is sure to give you the creeps and the chills!
Fall is also the perfect time for foodies to visit, as it’s the season of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival! This event full of delectable delights can quench your thirst, and quell all of your culinary cravings! You’ll typically find this event running from late August to mid-November, and it seems to expand more and more each year!
During the International Food & Wine Festival, Epcot’s World Showcase becomes home to a number of outdoor kitchens and booths, each featuring small menus of cultural specialties. Along with the chance to snack and sip the day away, there are also culinary demonstrations, food and beverage seminars, as well as the popular Party for the Senses, and fabulous festival merchandise!
The Eat to the Beat Concert Series takes place at Epcot during the International Food & Wine Festival. Shows are typically held at the America Gardens Theatre in the World Showcase, and 2018 brought a lot of fantastic acts such as Boyz II Men, Hootie and the Blowfish, Kenny G, and many more! Dining packages are also usually offered for these shows, allowing guests guaranteed entry for a specified performance.
As you may expect, Winter is full of fun at Walt Disney World and is another one of my favorite times to visit! Celebrations of the holiday season tend to begin in mid-November, and there are so many different ways for guests to enjoy the festivities!
After a quick break following the International Food & Wine Festival, Epcot becomes home to the International Festival of the Holidays! World Showcase glitters and glows with the sights and sounds of the season, and a wide variety of cultural traditions are celebrated with visitors to the park. Outdoor holiday kitchens, live performances, and special character experiences are just a few of the special offerings available to guests visiting Epcot during the holiday season!
My very favorite winter event at Disney World is also found at Epcot’s World Showcase, and that is the Candlelight Processional. During this presentation, a celebrity narrator tells the story of the first Christmas to the audience, complete with a live orchestra and gospel choirs!
Personally, I find it to be a very moving performance, full of warmth and joy, and as it is a very popular show, I also prefer to purchase a dining package (offered at a variety of Epcot and area restaurants) to ensure I’m able to secure a seat to my preferred performance. Past narrators have included Gary Sinise, Jodi Benson, John Stamos, and Neil Patrick Harris and though there are usually three shows per night, you’ll almost always find a fully-packed house!
Over at Hollywood Studios, you’ll find a Flurry of Fun! Both magic and snow are in the air as guests gather on Sunset Boulevard where the Hollywood Tower Hotel becomes the centerpiece of a winter wonderland. During Sunset Seasons Greetings showings Disney uses projections, lasers, and other special effects to put together a showstopping spectacle of scenes featuring favorite Disney friends.
The Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam show is another holiday extravaganza that guests visiting Hollywood Studios can experience. The front of the Chinese Theater is brought to life with a mix of magical projections, fireworks, and other awesome special effects to tell a lively Christmas tale with lots of holiday hijinks!
On select nights through the holiday season at the Magic Kingdom, Mickey and friends make spirits bright with guests at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party! This is another hard-ticket event that features character celebrations and photo-ops, specialty food and beverage options (including complimentary hot cocoa and cookies), and more! There are dance parties, stage shows, and a special Holiday Wishes fireworks presentation, all accompanied with a fun and festival holiday soundtrack that will truly make you want to rock around the Christmas tree!
The element of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party that warms my heart the most is the Once Upon a Christmastime Parade. Full of cheerful charm, this parade makes for a truly jolly holiday! You’ll find the beloved Disney characters strutting their stuff in their holiday best as well as special seasonal additions such as reindeer, toy soldiers, and event Santa Claus himself! Seeing the parade come down Main Street U.S.A against the backdrop of a shimmering castle and a special Florida snowfall truly brings Christmas magic to life around you!
Outside of the parks, Disney Springs also has a handful of holiday entertainment for visitors to enjoy! Once you’ve made a list and checked it twice, this is a great one-stop shopping destination for all of your gift-giving needs, and Santa is also on-hand to help those who need to pass along their wish-lists. Disney Springs is also home to the incredible Christmas Tree Trail, where you’ll find a collection of truly awe-inspiring trees decorated in a variety of Disney themes. If you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself strolling through the trail taking in the twinkling lights and glittering ornaments, singing along to the holiday tunes, with a giant grin from ear to ear.
Once the Christmas and New Years’ seasons have come to an end, the fun definitely doesn’t! Epcot is now home to the International Festival of the Arts, which this year began mid-January. Guests visiting Epcot during the festival will find special Broadway-inspired performances, outdoor kitchens featuring delectable delights for the palette, and a variety of art projects and displays for the eyes to savor!
There is never a shortage of magic to go around at WDW, and while each season has special events, there is always something to celebrate! With a multitude of year-round offerings such as behind the scenes tours, After Hours/Moonlight Magic Events, RunDisney Races, and more, any time of year is a great time to visit!