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Orlando Events and Festivals Attract Fall & Winter Travelers

ORLANDO, Fla. – Fall and winter travelers flock to Orlando to enjoy the perfect temperatures and exciting lineup of events and festivals. The following list highlights some of the best of what Central Florida has to offer this fall and winter.* Information about additional events is available on Orlando's online calendar at

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party     Sept. 5 – Oct. 31

Each fall, guests are invited to dress in costumes and trick-or-treat through the Magic Kingdom from 7 p.m. to midnight (after regular park closing).

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival     Sept. 26 – Nov. 9

From the seasoned connoisseur to the knowledge-seeking amateur, this popular event attracts a diverse audience to sip, sample and savor treasures from some of the world’s most famous wineries and celebrated chefs. Guests can boost their wine IQ at any of the hundreds of wine and beer seminars and polish their culinary skills at the numerous demonstrations and tastings. Admission: Included in regular park admission. Adults $75, Children ages 3-9 $63, Children ages 2 and under free. 407-824-4321

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando  Sept. 26-27, Oct. 2-5, 9-12, 16-19, 22-26, 29-31, Nov. 1

In its 18th year, the event is considered one of the world’s largest, most elaborate Halloween celebrations. Universal enlists a “scream team” of designers to research the human psyche and its deepest fears so that Halloween Horror Nights’ guests can confront their most terrifying nightmares.  Admission: $69.99 407-363-8000

Howl-O-Scream Sept. 26-27, Oct. 2-4, 9-11, 16-18, 23-25, 30-21, Nov. 1

For 17 select nights, Howl-O-Scream transforms Busch Gardens Africa into a nightmare of inescapable fear that will overwhelm the senses with a new spin of horror. The devious creatures that infest six haunted houses, five scare zones and three thrilling shows have plenty of psychotic surprises in store and bone-chilling roller coasters to keep the screams coming all night long. Admission: $64.95. 813-987-5280


35th Annual Winter Park Autumn Art Festival  Oct. 11-12

A juried art show with a 30-year tradition. More than 40,000 people attend this free event held in Central Park that features work by outstanding Florida artists. The event features live entertainment and food provided by local restaurants. Children’s art workshops are also offered.  Admission: Free. 407-644-8281

Biketoberfest  Oct. 16-19

Biketoberfest in Daytona Beach is a rousing, fun-filled weekend that attracts more than 125,000 motorcycle enthusiasts from near and far.  Activities include rides, concerts, food and much more.  Admission: Free. 386-255-0415

2008 AST Dew Tour     Oct. 16-19

The AST Dew Tour is the season-long professional multi-sport tour featuring top professional athletes competing in skateboarding, BMX and freestyle motocross. The season culminates in Orlando with the PlayStationProŽ at the Amway Arena. Concerts, new product demonstrations and prize giveaways round out the event. Admission: Adults $15, Children ages 12 and under $7.50. 407-849-2020

Oktoberfest at Silver Springs Oct. 17-19, 24-26

This three-weekend event features live Bavarian and polka music, dancing, authentic German food and a wide selection of imported and domestic beers. Menu items will include a choice of bratwurst, knackwurst, sliced roast pork or foot-long hot dogs, plus sauerkraut, German potato salad and red cabbage. Admission: Included in regular park admission. Adults $33.99, Children ages 3-10 $24.99, Children ages 2 and under free. 352-236-2121

Zoo Boo Bash      Oct. 18-19, 25-26

Trick-or-treat in the wildest neighborhood in town at the Central Florida Zoo. This event is a fun and not-too-scary event for young and old alike. Children can wear costumes for trick-or-treat stations and face painting. Visitors can take a haunted hayride, visit the pumpkin patch for a fun photo and learn about the myths and realities of some misunderstood animals. Admission: Included in regular park admission. Adults $10.95, Children ages 3-12 $6.95, Children ages 2 and under free. 407-323-4450


SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular  Oct. 19-20, 26-27

SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular is a swashbuckling good time for kids of all ages.  Friendly pirates haunt the park as little goblins trick-or-treat for troves of treasures, participate in ghostly activities and enjoy Halloween-themed entertainment. Admission:  Included in daily park admission. Adults $69.95, Children ages 3-9 $59.95, Children ages 2 and under free. 407-363-2259

Mount Dora Craft Fair
               Oct. 25-26

This nationally ranked, juried event continues to attract more than 250,000 visitors and more than 350 of the best crafters in the country. Admission: Free. 352-735-1191

Orlando Calle Orange Festival Latino
    Oct. 26

Central Florida’s largest Hispanic festival brings together people of many nationalities, religions and backgrounds to enjoy food, music and dancing in the streets of downtown Orlando. The 10th annual festival began as a primarily Puerto Rican gathering but now encompasses a myriad of Latin cultures – from Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. Admission: Adults $15, Children ages 12 and under free. 407-381-5310


Fall Fiesta in the Park         Nov. 1-2

This two-day event held at Lake Eola Park in downtown Orlando features more than 600 juried artisans in all media, including ceramics, glassware, jewelry, photography, wood and clothing to name a few. In addition to a fabulous lineup of art and live entertainment, the fiesta offers an array of tasty fare. Admission: Free. 407-649-3152

22nd Annual Lake Mary-Heathrow Festival of the Arts         Nov. 1-2

This popular outdoor event features live entertainment, fine food and outstanding art exhibits.  It is designed to inspire an appreciation for quality art forms as well as to award scholarships to local students desiring higher education. The festival is situated in lovely Colonial Town Park, just a short drive from downtown Orlando.  Admission: Free. 407-444-0484

7th Annual Winter Park Concours d’Elegance            Nov. 2

More than 200 exotic and rare automobiles representing numerous international marques are on display on elegant Park Avenue. Guests won’t want to miss the Tour d’Elegance, an exotic car parade. Automobiles will compete for class awards and 10 major awards including “Best in Show.” Admission: Free. 352-383-1181

Children’s Miracle Network Classic      Nov. 6-9

Formerly the Disney Golf Classic, this newly renamed tournament brings together nearly 150 top PGA Tour players in a quest for a multi-million dollar purse. The 72-hole event is played on Disney's Magnolia and Palm courses. Admission: $20 general admission, $30 weekly badge.                      407-824-4321

Jack Hanna Weekend at SeaWorld Orlando         Nov. 7-8

Jack Hanna, renowned animal expert and host of TV's “Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures," showcases some of his furry and feathered animal friends from all parts of the world. Hanna introduces unique and exotic animals, shares amazing animal stories and shows hilarious bloopers. Admission: Included in regular park admission. Adults $69.95, Children ages 3-9 $59.95, Children ages 2 and under free. 407-363-2259

10th Annual Folk Art Festival         Nov. 7-9

The House of Blues at Downtown Disney West Side really rocks as it showcases a wide variety of local and regional folk artists and their works. Guests can enjoy live music, hands-on kids activities, guided tours of the House of Blues folk art collection and Southern-inspired cuisine.  Admission: Free. 407-934-2583

33rd Annual Festival of the Masters         Nov. 7-9

Held at Downtown Disney West Side, the event is a nationally recognized art show that year after year ranks among the top 50 outdoor art festivals in the world. More than 200 award-winning artists display their diverse creations for all to see. Live entertainment, hands-on children’s activities, pin trading and chalk art displays are also on tap at the three-day event.  Admission: Free. 407-824-4321

Park Avenue Fashion Week       Nov. 8-13

Park Avenue's Second Annual Fashion Week will kick-off on Nov. 8 with a luxurious evening of runway shows and a swanky VIP Lounge on Lyman Avenue in front of the Winter Park Welcome Center. Stores will host trunk shows and welcome the designers for meet-and-greets throughout the week. Admission for Fashion Show: $45 general admission, $100 VIP and $200 Exclusive Platinum VIP.; 843-478-0396


Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party     Nov. 10 - Dec. 19

The Magic Kingdom plays host to this series of nighttime holiday fun events for the little ones including holiday shows, fireworks and magic treats with Minnie and Mickey. Admission: Adults $55.95, Children ages 3-9 $49.95, Children ages 2 and under free. 407-824-4321

Native American Festival at Silver Springs     Nov. 13-16

Members of tribes from North and South America will perform ancient ceremonial dances in traditional regalia, tell century-old stories and demonstrate their ancient arts and crafts.  Other activities include a Seminole hunting camp, geo dig, art contest, displays of Native American artifacts and war paddles and more. Admission: Included in regular park admission. Adults $33.99, Children ages 3-10 $24.99. Children ages 2 and under free. 352-236-2121


Festival of Trees at Orlando Museum of Art    Nov. 14-23

For nine magical days, the Orlando Museum of Art is transformed into a glittering holiday wonderland where trees, wreaths and gingerbread houses ignite holiday spirit. The Winter Bark Village also allows dogs to enjoy a special pet-friendly village. Admission: Adults $10, Children $8. 407-896-4231, ext. 254


ABC Super Soap Weekend     Nov. 15-16

A bevy of stars from the most celebrated daytime soap operas visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the world’s biggest soap fan event. Parades, autographs and photo opportunities allow guests to get up-close-and-personal with their favorite characters. Admission: Included in regular park admission. Adults $75, Children ages 3-9 $63, Children 2 and under free. 407-824-4321


Fall Jazz Stroll     Nov. 15

With a full moon as a backdrop, guests enjoy a leisurely evening of live jazz music in a beautiful garden setting at Harry P. Leu Gardens in Orlando. Visitors can bring their own dinner picnic basket or purchase beverages and pastries on-site. Lawn seating only. Admission: $17, $13 for members of the gardens. 407-246-2620


The Chocolate Nutcracker     Nov. 21-23

A modern spin will be incorporated in the production as a variety of dance genres—including ballet, tap, modern, swing, jazz, African, American pop and hip hop—are highlighted in the performance.  Admission: $47 VIP, $37 Orchestra, $27 Balcony. 407-522-9230


Christmas at SeaWorld Orlando    Nov. 24 – Jan. 1

Create yuletide memories and celebrate the season during “Christmas at SeaWorld.” This holiday event features festive decorations, snowfalls at The Waterfront and live holiday music from classical musicians and carolers. Admission: Included in daily admission. Adult $69.95, Children ages 3-9 $59.95, Children ages 2 and under free. 407-363-225


Leu’s Holiday House      Nov. 27 - Jan. 1

The beautifully restored late 19th century Leu House Museum is decked out for the holidays by some of Orlando’s best interior designers. Guests can stroll along the garden’s meandering paths shaded by ancient oaks, forests of camellias and giant camphor trees. Admission: Adults $7, Children K-12th grades $2. 407-246-2620


The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights   Nov. 28 – Jan. 4

This dazzling holiday extravaganza electrifies Disney’s Hollywood Studios with millions of sparkling lights. With Jennings Osborne’s lights and a little Disney magic, the big city comes alive in glowing color as snow falls overhead. Admission: Included in regular park admission.  Adults $75, Children ages 3-9 $63, Children ages 2 and under free.       407-824-4321


16th Annual Festival of Lights at Silver Springs   Nov. 28-29 and Dec. 5-6, 12-23, 26-30

Silver Springs’ biggest special event of the year, the Festival of Lights, will feature more than 1 million twinkling lights and dozens of neon displays throughout the park from dusk until 8:30 p.m. Nightly activities will include local choirs singing songs of the season, strolling carolers and musicians, a lighted boat parade, shopping in Silver Springs’ specialty stores, special stage shows on Fridays and Saturdays, plus visits from Santa Claus (through December 24). Admission: Included in regular park admission. Adults $33.99, Children ages 3-10 $24.99. Children ages 2 and under free. 352-236-2121


Holidays Around the World    Nov. 28  – Dec. 30

This Epcot tradition features storytellers, a daily character tree-lighting ceremony and a stunning display of snow-white lights. The moving Candlelight Processional, a favorite of all ages, includes celebrity guest narrators, accompanied by a massed choir and orchestra for a retelling of the Christmas story. Admission: Included in regular park admission. Adults $75, Children ages 3-9 $63, Children ages 2 and under free. 407-824-4321




2008 Del Webb Father/Son Challenge         Dec. 4-7

A golf tournament to benefit Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children & Women, the event features an impressive list of golf stars paired with their sons and provides a forum to determine the best father/son team in golf. Held at ChampionsGate Golf Club, the nationally televised tournament is a family affair and is sure to entertain golf enthusiasts of all ages. Admission: TBD 407-787-4653


The OUC Half Marathon and 5K       Dec. 6

One of the Southeast’s top road race events, the OUC Half Marathon and 5K winds through scenic downtown Orlando and around beautiful Lake Eola alongside live local entertainment. Participants join more than 3,000 runners for this charitable Orlando tradition and enjoy sunny Florida skies, moderate temperatures and the Finish Line Fiesta for post-race festivities. Admission: $30 for 5K, $50 for Half Marathon. 407-423-2476

Macy’s Holiday Parade at Universal Studios   Dec. 7 – Jan. 1

The world’s most famous parade has become a holiday experience for park guests at Universal Studios, featuring some of the most popular balloons and floats from the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.  The excitement and pageantry of the parade, complete with a festive tree lighting ceremony by Santa Claus himself, is exhibited each day of the holiday season through the New Year. Admission: Included in regular park admission. Adults $75, Children ages 3-9 $63, Children ages 2 and under free. 407-363-8000


Grinchmas at Universal’s Islands of Adventure   Dec. 7 – Jan. 1

This annual holiday celebration is based on the beloved Dr. Seuss tale and Universal Pictures’ and Imagine Entertainment’s Academy Award-winning blockbuster hit, “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”  Seuss Landing at Islands of Adventure is transformed into a bah-humbug haven by the Grinch. The entire Seussian-themed island is colorfully decorated for the season and guests are invited to meet the Grinch in his lair, which is outfitted with authentic movie props and gadgets.  Grinch fans enjoy a live, musical stage show that re-tells the world-famous story of the grumpy Grinch. Admission: Included in regular park admission. Adult $75, Children ages 3-9 $63, Children ages 2 and under free. 407-363-8000


Pop Warner Super Bowl      Dec. 7-13

Now in its 79th year of providing an organizational structure for youth football, Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc. brings its Pop Warner Super Bowl and National Cheer & Dance Championships to Walt Disney World Resort. Sixty-four teams from across the country compete in four age groups from 8 to 14 on the fields of the 220-acre (80-hectare) Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex. Admission: TBD. 407-824-4321


Orlando Christmas Parade  Dec. 14

Thousands of spectators start their holiday season each year in the historic district of downtown Orlando to the sounds of prancing ponies, motors rumbling and southern breezes teasing the tinsels shimmering from the festive floats. Admission: Free. 407-898-3130


Bowl-a-Palooza                  Dec. 26-31

All eyes will be on Orlando during the last week of December as Florida Citrus Sports presents its annual bowl week festival. Incorporating the Champs Sports Bowl and the Capital One Bowl on New Year’s Day, this week will feature more than 100,000 fans flocking to Central Florida for football, festivities and fun. In addition to outstanding action on the field, the festival includes the Orlando Citrus Parade, a concert in Lake Eola Park and more than 20 events in seven days. 407-423-2476


Champs Sports Bowl      Dec. 27

The Champs Sports Bowl, featuring teams from the ACC & Big Ten conferences, has existed in name since 2004, but the game's history extends for more than 15 years. Attendance to the game has increased steadily every year since, hitting 40,168 last year. It is played in the Citrus Bowl in downtown Orlando. Admission: $60. 407-423-2476



Spherion Orlando Citrus Parade presented by Delta Airlines                                     Dec. 30

The Orlando Citrus Parade, held in downtown Orlando, features signature citrus floats made from more than 100,000 grapefruit, oranges and tangerines. There are more than 50 entries, including marching bands from across the country. The parade attracts more than 60,000 spectators and an international audience of millions through its television syndication in the United States and Canada in 150 markets. Admission: $25 general admission, $50 VIP admission, curb seating free. 407-423-2476


New Year’s Eve at SeaWorld Orlando    Dec. 31

SeaWorld Orlando is throwing a big New Year’s Eve party complete with live music and fireworks.  Dance to the beat of a live DJ as the countdown to 2009 begins at The Waterfront, where guests can also enjoy shopping, dining and entertainment venues.  At the stroke of midnight, witness the Orlando sky radiate during a brilliant fireworks show that will light up the night. Admission: Included in daily admission. Adults $69.95, Children ages 3-9 $59.95, Children ages 2 and under free. 407-363-2259


New Year’s Eve 2008 at Universal CityWalk          Dec. 31

CityWalk, a 30-acre entertainment complex with themed restaurants, nightclubs and shops, will host one of Orlando’s hottest New Year’s Eve parties. The evening will feature live performances by national acts, an expansive gourmet buffet, a champagne toast and live entertainment at its nightclubs, including the groove, an electrifying dance club, CityWalk’s Rising Star, featuring karaoke with a live band, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, and others. Admission: TBD. 407-363-8000


New Year’s Eve at the Walt Disney World Resort     Dec. 31

The parks come alive to say farewell to 2008. Epcot celebrates the New Year "around the world" with DJs and evening dance parties located throughout World Showcase and lasting late into the evening, as well as a special presentation of the "Illuminations: Reflections of Earth" lights, lasers and fireworks display. Disney’s Hollywood Studios celebrates New Year's Eve not only with multiple presentations of "Fantasmic!" a spectacular of Disney movies and music, but also with a special "Lights! Camera! Happy New Year!" fireworks spectacular, as well as a DJ dance party around the Sorcerer Hat Stage. Magic Kingdom features special presentations of the "SpectroMagic" parade and multiple nighttime fireworks displays. "Holiday Wishes" lights up the sky early in the evening and guests who make it to midnight can see "Fantasy in the Sky" fireworks, which begins just before the New Year kicks off. Admission: Theme park events are included in regular park admission. Adults $75, Children ages 3-9 $63, Children ages 2 and under free. 407-824-4321


Grande Masque          Dec. 31

Orlando rings in the New Year in the midst of a winter fantasy at the Grande Masque, a black-tie masked ball held at the Gaylord Palms Resort to support Orlando’s arts community. Grande Masque offers gourmet dining; performances by the Orlando Ballet, Orlando Opera and Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra; and a silent and live auction offering unique prizes. Admission: $400-500 per person or $4,000-5,000 for a table of 10. 407-426-1700

*Details related to festivals and special events are subject to change.


For more information about vacation experiences in Orlando, to order a complimentary vacation planning kit that includes a comprehensive Official Vacation Guide and Orlando Preferred Visitor Magicard™ or to purchase discount attraction tickets, visitors can log onto Orlando’s official Web site at or call an Official Travel Counselor at 1-800-551-0181 (United States and Canada) or 407-363-5872.  While in Orlando, visitors may stop by the Official Visitor Center located at 8723 International Drive, at the southeast corner of International Drive and Austrian Row. The Official Visitor Center is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (closes at 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving, Dec. 24 and Dec. 31 and is closed Dec. 25).


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