Top 10 Special Events at Walt Disney World

Any day at Walt Disney World is a special one. But there are certain events throughout the year that are extra special! Some require tickets, some are just additions to the parks. All are amazing. Whether it’s a themed night, a celebration, or a basketball game, Disney knows how to party!


1. Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

This is the best in my book. Every fall Epcot hosts the Food and Wine Festival. This is where the different pavilions go all out in promoting the best foods their country has to offer. Each country (plus some extras brought in just for the Festival) has a kiosk with three or four small plate options and beers and wine to go along with. The plates are small and (relatively) inexpensive so that you can eat your way around the whole world!

2. Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

The spring is just as magical as the fall in Epcot. When the weather starts to warm up, the flowers pop up! Epcot’s annual Flower and Garden Festival is a flora lover’s dream come true and a feast for the senses. Throughout this Festival, Epcot is adorned in thousands of flowers and plants. Topiaries of your favorite Disney characters hang around the Park in beautiful displays. Plus there are food booths, garden demonstrations, and wonderful artists!

3. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

This was such a highlight for me as a kid. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is a ticketed event after Magic Kingdom park closing. Everyone gets dressed up in their Halloween costume and can trick or treat all over the park! Plus you get to go on certain rides in your costume! This mostly eliminates lines and the craziness of park hours. There’s also a special parade and show! Not to mention all your favorite characters all spooked up!

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4. Candlelight Processional

Epcot loves Christmas and celebrations. This is a giant one. Every year for a few weeks around Christmastime, Epcot puts on the Candlelight Processional, which is a nightly reading of the original Christmas story with a full choir and orchestra. Disney also brings in celebrity guests to do the reading. This event is perfect for getting into the Christmas spirit with your friends and family. There are also cool dining packages to along with it, plus IllumiNations right after!

5. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a lot like MNSSHP in that it’s an after hours ticketed event in Magic Kingdom. In this special party, families get to go on rides without lines and see the special parade and fireworks show! There are yummy holiday treats to go around and I’m pretty sure snow is always in the forecast! You’ll get to see some familiar faces, too, like the Disney gang and maybe even a guy in a big red coat!

6. Star Wars Galactic Nights

This is an out of this world event at Hollywood Studios! Not only do you get to go on rides throughout the night, but you also get some exclusive access to behind-the-scenes aspects of the amazing franchise. There are some brilliant character meet and greet opportunities too! Don’t forget Jedi Training or Star Wars themed food! Perhaps the coolest part of Galactic Nights are the movie projections on Tower of Terror, or the all-new version of Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular on the Chinese Theater.

7. Epcot Festival of the Arts

Here’s another Epcot specialty. The Festival of the Arts is a relatively new festival that focuses on and honors the arts. This covers all aspects of artistry, from food to art to entertainment. Within this festival there are opportunities to test different culinary experiences or try your hand at painting or listen to some amazing music. There are artists and cooks on site to interact with. Disney even brings in some of their Broadway stars to entertain you!

8. RunDisney

Honesty time: running is not my thing. But so many people love it that Disney has just the thing for them. RunDisney is a part of Disney dedicated to 5K’s, half, and full marathons in the Disney Parks. This year there will be Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend presented by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend presented by MISFIT™, Star Wars™ Rival Run Weekend presented by OtterBox, and Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna. Get training!

9. Epcot International Festival of the Holidays

In case there was any doubt that Epcot loved the holidays, Disney rolled out the International Festival of the Holidays. This is a festival that runs all holiday season long and celebrates the holiday traditions of all of the different countries in World Showcase. There are special holiday foods and drinks throughout the pavilions and holiday performers to demonstrate the unique traditions of that culture. This is such a great way to experience something new and unite us through traditions.

10. AdvoCare Invitational

The AdvoCare Invitational is a college basketball weekend event at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. In this sports-filled weekend, 8 top college basketball teams are invited to Disney to compete in one game a day. At the end of the weekend is the championship game. The invitational takes place on Thanksgiving weekend and is a super fun way to do something different in Disney and still have a great time!

About Molly Elias

Molly Elias has been a dedicated Disney fan since she was 18-months old. She has grown up with and learned from Disney her whole life. As her family's main vacation spot, Disney World is a place of love and laughter and magic for her. Her family also prides themselves on their Disney Cruise Line knowledge and would rather be on the high seas with Mickey than anywhere else in the world. Molly plans to keep Disney in her life forever, while also pursuing a writing career. She recently completed a master's program in creative writing in the hopes that someday she will be able to be a writer for the Happiest Company on Earth. Molly keeps Walt's famous quote at the forefront of her life: "Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we're curious...and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."