Plan Your Vacation Around these Walt Disney World Special Events + $250 Disney Giveaway

Plan Your Vacation Around these Walt Disney World Special Events

There’s so much to do and so many places to explore at Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida that you might not think you have time for anything else that if you plan your vacation around some of the special event you be treated to unique Disney experience.

The Holiday Season

The holidays offer a special opportunity for Walt Disney World events. You can participate in the holiday tradition candlelight celebration. It’s an event that held nightly at the American Gardens Theater in Epcot.

You get to hear the story of Christmas told by celebrity narrator accompanies by a 50 piece orchestra and a mass choir. It’s something to be remembered.

The Christmas holiday season also brings Festival of the Seasons to downtown Disney. This holiday is geared specifically towards the children with live entertainment and photo opportunities with Santa. There’s lights, a twinkling tree and special events.

St. Patrick’s Day and Halloween are two other special events that Disney does well. Mickey’s not so scary Halloween Party is held at the Magic Kingdom. Kids can dress up in their favorite costume and go trick-or-treating throughout the Magic Kingdom Park.

Plan Your Vacation Around these Walt Disney World Special Events

Sporting Events

Sporting events also provide an opportunity for a special Disney experience. The Car Masters Weekend at downtown Disney is a Father’s Day weekend celebration. Events are dedicated to all things automotive, including Disney Pixar Cars, a car show with 150 vehicles, and an awards parade and ceremony.

If cars aren’t your thing, perhaps you prefer men’s basketball. The Old Spice Classic Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament is held at the Disney’s ESPN Worldwide of Sports Complex. It’s a 12 game early-season Division I college tournament that takes place over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Finally, let’s not forget the many marathons that are held on the Disney property throughout the year. The Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend allows runners to race through three theme parks and enjoy a private after hours party at Epcot. There is also the half marathon, a 5K and kid’s races to enjoy at this event. It’s held in early November.

You can also enjoy the Disney Princess half marathon weekend and the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend presented by CIGNA. The Walt Disney Marathon weekend is actually a winter special event that runs from January 2 to January 14. They’re a series of races that people can participate in.

Plan Your Vacation Around these Walt Disney World Special Events

Food, Wine and HGTV

The International Food and Wine Festival is held in the Epcot theme park between September 27 and November 11. It’s a food and wine lover’s paradise that includes entertainment international food and beverage marketplace and dining extremes of a celebrity chefs. And let’s not forget the HGTV International Flower and Garden Festival that is held at the Epcot theme park. It features topiary display and an HGTV designer stage.

Walt Disney World has an abundance of festivals and celebrations. Find the one that interests you and schedule your vacation around that holiday or festival. Make the most of what Disney has to offer.

Walt Disney World Special Events Giveaway

Giveaway open to Worldwide. Must be 18+ or have parents permission to enter. Only one entry per household allowed. Giveaway ends January 31, 2020. Visit Giveaway Terms & Conditions for additional details and rules.

About the author
Mrs. Hatland is a 30-something married, mom of 7 and the face behind the popular online publication, Motherhood Defined. Known as the Iowa Mom blogger by her local peers and “The Fairy Blogmother” worldwide. She has professional experience in working closely with clients on brand ambassadorships, client outreach services, content creation and creative social media advertising exposure.

298 Comments

  1. I went to Disney Land as a toddler but don’t remember it. I would love to go to either Disney Land or World now that I would be able to remember it.

  2. I’ve been to Disney World many times mostly when I was young and my parents took us. We actually went the first year it was in operation and consisted of only the Magic Kingdom. I remember for a while they had ticket booklets and you needed a ticket to get on the rides. Things have come a long way since if first open. I can’t believe how huge it is now with the 4 main theme parks and all the extra attractions like the water parks. My favourite memory is my sister’s wedding there. Disney sure knows how to put on a party.

  3. I haven’t been to Disney World, but I visited Disneyland when I was younger. I regret not getting on the Alice in Wonderland ride occasionally! My favorite Disney memory is watching Hercules when I was younger on rainy days.

  4. I’ve been going to Disney world every year for the past 25 years. My favorite part was the Osborne lights. It was the first time we did Christmas at Disney.

  5. We visited Disney for my college graduation in 2006, and hope to go again for my son’s high school graduation this year!

  6. My fave part was all of it lol but to pick one moment, i’d say taking my pic with the Walt Disney statue and the light festival at the castle itself

  7. I haven’t been to Disney world in 22 years, but hope to go this year or next! My favorite was splash mountain, space mountain and the tea cups!

  8. My parents took us to Disneyland when I was 8. We didn’t have a lot of money, and it was the only big trip we ever went on as a family. I have special memories of it, especially as my mom later passed away. I can’t wait to take my kids, but the oldest is only two, so I’d like to wait a few years still! 🙂

  9. We went so long ago, I can’t remember that much about my experience. I was just glad that my kids had a great time!!

  10. I visited Disney World once as a child and I will never forget the It’s A Small World attraction. My favorite Disney movie is Cinderella.

  11. I have never been to Disney World but growing up my favorite Disney movie was the Little Mermaid and I would watch it over and over

  12. We have never been to Disney World, but have gone to Disneyland twice! The whole experience both times was so fun, they really know how to make you feel happy and like you have no worries. My favorite was just seeing the joy and happiness on my sons face. Our favorite movie was Cars, but now that he is older it is all about Marvel and Star Wars!

  13. One of my favourite memories was of Donald Duck playing peekaboo with my son. He laughed and laughed.

  14. Visiting Hollywood Studios with our kids dressed as Rey and Leia we had amazing experiences, ushered through the back doors at Launch Bay, Rey and Chewie stopping for a photo op, amazing interactions with storm troopers.

  15. I love Disney during the holidays. I’ve never been to the food and wine and would love to go this year!

  16. We took my son years ago to disney and honestly, I was hurting and miserable as I got rear ended at 50 mph by a drunk driver the night before we left. I did love it but was in so much pain I really sis not get to enjoy it. We keep trying to plan to take my daughter and hopefully it works out soon.

  17. My favorite thing about Disney World is time spent with my family! All of the rides and shows are fun, but it’s also a great way to make memories with loved ones!

  18. The last time I was at Disney was for a conference and I didn’t go inside any of the parks. I spent my free time at Downtown Disney, looking through shops and eating some pretty yummy food. My favorite memories as a kid though include It’s a Small World, The Peter Pan Ride, and the Haunted Mansion. We rode a ride that was a submarine (maybe 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea) and I remember getting scared because our window was leaking. I didn’t know that we weren’t actually all the way under water!!!

  19. I have never been to Disney World, as a child I wanted, I longed to go and play with Micky Mouse and his friends and get on all the attractions. The Disney movie I always liked is “THE BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.”

  20. I have never been to Disney World, as a child I wanted, I longed to go and play with Micky Mouse and his friends and get on all the attractions. The Disney movie I always liked is “THE BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.”

  21. Just moved to FL where I have six grandchildren ages 2-18 and the GC would sure come in handy!

  22. My favourite Disney movie as a child was Cinderella, my favourite now is the new Lion King movie, in 3D.

  23. I went to Disney Land when I was like 2 years old but I honestly barely remember it so my favorite Disney movie is The Lion King.

  24. My grandsons have never been to the greatest place on earth. This would be so amazing to share with them.

  25. Our dad decided to take us girls and some of our cousins to Disney World by himself. Six kids by himself! We were all hungry so he went and got us each an ice cream cone. He started passing them out and when he was done he realized the seventh cone was missing, his cone. He looked around at us and watches as some random kid walked away with his ice cream cone! The kid though he was just handing out free ice cream!

  26. It has been a few years since we have been there. We took the kids Disneyland 3 times and Disneyworld 4 times. I always liked Disneyland the best. I found it so much easier to get in and out of the place.

  27. My absolute favorite time of year at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort is Halloween! We visit at least once per year and have since my now 16 year old was just a toddler.

  28. It’s been about 30 years since we took the kids to Disneyland….just about time to take the grandson!

  29. One of my favorite memories was when Mickey and my then-preschooler pretended to be choo-choo trains as they paraded around the room.

  30. When I was a little girl my family went to Disneyland & it was magical, but I don’t remember a lot about it. The few things I remembered were Small World & getting stuck on the Haunted Mansion ride. When I had the opportunity for a short visit to Disney World last summer I wanted to make sure I rode those two things, & I even got stuck in the Haunted Mansion again! I was only able to be there a few hours, so I’d love to go back & take my little girls with me who are obsessed with Disney princesses now so we can make some new memories!

  31. I’ve never been to either of the Disney parks but would love to go someday. There’s so many memorable Disney movies. Of course, I loved Bambi as a kid, and Cinderella. As an adult my favorite Disney movie that I’ve seen so far is The Little Mermaid. I love the animal characters and especially the music.

  32. I’ve never been to Walt Disney World, but I really want to go and my favorite movie is The Incredibles.

  33. The last time I was at Disney World was many years ago. My older kids were 6 at the time (they are 28 now). My favorite memory was the looks on their faces the first time they saw the castle.

  34. One of my favourite memories is our first dinner at the Polynesian. The kids had slushies out of sand buckets.

  35. My favorite thing in memory from Disney was the Pirates of the Caribbean ride from when I was 8. My first trip to Disney and my mom bought me the coolest glow in the dark tiny skull from the pirate shop after we rode the ridge.

  36. We go to Disney every 12-18 months and we love the shows – Fantasmic is our absolute favorite because Sorcerer Mickey is his favorite character

  37. I have never been to Disney World, but grew up going to Disneyland. It holds special sentimental value for me, so I love going with friends and family! Favorite ride is the Haunted Mansion!

  38. we went when i was a teenager, i remember being in awe of everything when we got there. hoping to go this or next year with my daughter

  39. I haven’t been in decades but the thing I remember the most was the roller coaster inside the big silver ball/globe at Epcot center and the It’s a Small World ride!

  40. My favorite Disney memory was riding the Indiana Jones Ride at Disneyland when I was 13. We waited in line forever to get on the ride and then my dad got to sit in the driver’s seat. We had to share the ‘car’ with another family and their dad was sitting behind us and backseat driving the entire time (note: this was a roller coaster so my dad wasn’t really driving). It was hilarious. We were all laughing so hard.

  41. I went to Walt Disney in Florida when I was 14. I really don’t remember much at all, except some of rides weren’t running. Love to take my two teen boys and husband for their first time.

  42. My favorite memory is being stuck on the Small World ride for an hour with divers rescuing us off the floating boats

  43. My favorite memory is going for my honeymoon. We had so much fun. We are taking my son on his first trip soon and I can’t wait!

  44. I’ve never gone to Disney but it’s always been a dream of mine to be able to go one day. My 7 yr old talks about wanting to go all the time lol My favorite disney movie would probably have to be Aladdin

  45. We use to have annual passes and made lots of memories like my sons first visit.

    We also just visited last month and we enjoyed Galaxy Edge since our son is older and in to Star Wars, he loved it too.

  46. I’ve never been to Disney World, only Disneyland, and the last time I went I was a child, so well over 25 years ago! My favorite was It’s a Small World. I made my mom buy the record album (yes, the black disc, really telling my age there, lol!).

  47. A long time ago I went to far, far away Walt Disney World and went on the original Star Tours ride many times. It was such incredible fun. Back then Artist Point at Disney World’s Wilderness Lodge had served breakfast and my sister and I had the most delicious cheese blintzes we’ve ever had.

  48. i have not been to disney since i was a little girl but i remember the ball pit so well, i actually took one home.

  49. We were able to be grand marshall in the parade many years ago. My son who is grown still mentions this awesome trip

  50. I have not been to Disney since the late 1980’s I’d sure love to go back. I did love epcot and all the different countries.

  51. Sadly I haven’t been to Disney World, but I went to Disneyland as a teen. My favorite movie is Maleficent.

  52. I’ve been to Disney World so many times – last month to see Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. My favorite memory was years ago staying at the Wilderness Lodge and Tigger my favorite, Pluto, Goofy and Max arrived on a boat with their swim gear on and actually went swimming in the pools with the kids and went down the slide. We’ve never seen that happen again. So fun!

  53. I remember my youngest son was a late talker. We were going on a trip to Disney and we practiced for weeks, saying hi to Mickey and Minnie. When we got to the park we were standing in line for another character and out walks Minnie mouse. My son started waving and saying Hi Minnie. He went right up to her and gave her a big hug. It was priceless.

  54. We went to Disney World years ago on a rainy day and were delighted that there were no long lines for any of the rides.

  55. My parents took me to Disney when I was a kid and I thought it was the most magical place, but my favorite memory was getting to take my daughter to Disney for the first time. I will never forget getting to watch the fireworks at Magic Kingdom with her. It is a memory I will always cherish.

  56. My favorite memory of Disney World was the ride SOARIN’. We had to wait in line a long time, but it was worth it.

  57. we were enjoying the firework show when a large lightening storm lit up the sky and chased everyone to take cover immediately – it was spooky but all turned out okay.

  58. I have been to Disney Land. Went there once I can remember as a kid and once I got to bring my kids.

  59. Our favorite is It’s A Small World Ride that we went on back in the 70’s, don’t know if they still have it or not!

  60. We took the kids to Disney when they were 1, 4 and 5..It is def time to go again, now that they are 18, 17 and 14. Thank you

  61. I’ve been to Disney world many times but my favorite memory was when my kids were old enough to go & I finally took them. They LOVED it !!

  62. We have been to the parks at least a dozen times. One of my favorite visits was taking my granddaughters to the castle to see Cinderella and have a meal there. We also has gone to the Wine & Food celebrations which we enjoy immensely. Thanks for the chance to win.

  63. I’ve been to Disneyland. My favourite memory is my then toddler meeting Minnie Mouse and saying “Hubba hubba lady!”

  64. I have been to the parks many times! As a child and now, I love to explore the different countries in Epcot and learn about their cultures and eat their foods!

  65. We had taken our two sons to Disney World a few years ago and we all had such a great time. We stayed at a Disney property hotel which we loved. Would love to go back again in the near future.

  66. My Grandparents lived in Lakeland, Florida so I was fortunate to visit Disney many times throughout my life. My favorite rides were The Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean. I also loved Disney’s Mardi Gras Celebration and visiting Epicot. It truly is a magical feeling approaching the entrance of Disney World….no matter how old you are it instantly takes to back to being a child.

  67. I had a great time going with the niece and we really enjoyed doing the Pirates of the Caribbean treasure hunt. Sometimes it’s the simple things that are the most fun.

  68. The magical feeling of Disneyland theme park. See the faces of my two daughters who loved the whole experience is out of this world. Frozen is the best movie!

  69. I visited the park as a kid and I absolutely loved the It’s a Small World ride. I can’t wait to take my daughter to experience it!

  70. My favorite memory is last year at Disney World and my granddaughter’s amazement at meeting her hero, Doc McStuffins.

  71. I remember having a blast at River Country as a kid in the early ’80s at Disney World. So sad to see it closed and in ruins. Great memories!

  72. I have never been but my favourite memory is every Sunday night I couldn’t wait for the Walt disney movie of the week, Sundays were spent at my grandparents and we would watch Tiny Talent time, the Looney Toones, Wild Kingdom, and then Walt Disney, those were the good old days!!

  73. We were there for a one day visit over 15 years ago and it poured rain all day. It was not enjoyable.

  74. Sadly, I haven’t been to a Disney park yet, but we plan to go when our daughter gets a bit older. But my favorite Disney movie is definitely The Little Mermaid.

  75. My all time favourite Disney movie would have to be The Lion King or Finding Nemo! Never been to Disneyland, I wish!!

  76. My favorite thing about Walt Disney World was getting to spend it with my mom enjoying the food and rides. We haven’t been there in 17 years.

  77. Lots of great things about the Disney parks. My favourite thing are the Mickey vanilla ice cream dipped in chocolate. Best treat ever!

  78. I’ve never been to Disney World or Disneyland! 😭 It’s my dream to visit some day! My favorite Disney Movie is Moana.

  79. We went to Disney World a few years ago for the kids. This is kind of macabre but one of my memories was finding a pile of ashes outside the haunted house before they were cleaned up.

  80. My favorite memory was when we ate in the castle and my daughter got to meet so many beautiful princesses while dining. She was so excited!

  81. i went when i was a little girl. Now, I’m taking my kids in october! My favorite memory was getting to hug my favorite character

  82. We enjoyed the Halloween party on our first visit and my favorite memory was dressing up in costumes as a theme with my kids. We did a Toy story theme. 🙂

  83. I loved visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park many years ago, especially the Kilimanjaro safari experience.

  84. One of our favorite memories is being there during a very heavy rainstorm. We were wet but happy because the crowds thinned out and we had very few lines.

  85. When our son was small, we went to Disneyworld and had a blast on Mr Toad’s Wild Ride, sadly not there anymore. Also, really enjoyed flight to Mars – not sure if that one is there anymore, either.

  86. Disneyland was my honeymoon destination, and the last trip I took with my husband before our son was born! I have such great memories of the park and getting to enjoy it with family. I can’t wait to take my kids when they are old enough!

  87. Never been always wanted to go. However, i love the lion king the old cartoon animated and the realistic one.

  88. I LOVED taking the boat ride around to the resorts like the Grand Floridian. It was so relaxing and my kids loved it. We also loved the fireworks shows.

  89. We went on our honeymoon! It was a surprise and a most welcomed one! On the third night we were so exhausted! My husband surprised me by having room service bring in a picnic that we had on the beach at our Wilderness Lodge Resort. The staff even brought out marshmallows to make s’mores. It was so romantic and fun.

  90. My favorite Disney movie is Up! I love how the madcap adventures are healing for both Carl and Russell, and I love how Dug gets the home he wanted.

  91. I went to Disney Land once with my dad when I was around 10, we went in the fall so the park was not nearly as full and the lines were not so bad at all and I have so many great memories from that time.

  92. Ive oddly enough never been to Disney World. My kids ask all the time, but never had the money. This year is going to be the year. Thanks for the info

  93. I am embarrassed to tell you this! It really happened though. I wanted to go on a roller coaster and we went to one that was inside. The attendant told us to strap in. It was a wild ride. When we stopped, I told my husband that I lost my scrunchie on the ride. A few people that was still there and my husband were cracking up!! He looked at me and said, ‘Sue, we never left the room!’ It was a simulation!! Boy, did I feel stupid!!! This was 25 years ago, but stupid, just the same!

  94. Flight of Passage & Slinky Dog Dash are favorited. Shula’s at The Dolphin (favorite restaurant). Just went back in November. Will be back in May. Thanks for this great opportunity!!

  95. It’s been many years since I went to Disney World, but I think my favorite thing was the princesses. I loved watching my daughter interact with them!

  96. Our first time going to the Mickey’s not so scary halloween party was the BEST !!! The parade is awesome !!

  97. My husband and I went to DisneyWorld for our honeymoon almost 30 years ago. I loved everything…the characters, the rides especially the Haunted Mansion. I’d love to go again.

  98. I went to Disney World about 9 years ago. My favorite memory was seeing my daughter dance with the Princess’s!

  99. I have never been to a Disney park before! My favorite Disney movie has always been Beauty and the Beast.

  100. My favorite memory was riding Slinky Dog Dash at Disney World with my grandson! We both had so much fun together and I loved seeing his face light up with excitement!

  101. The Magic Kingdom is my favorite part of Disney World. You can’t help feeling like a kid. My family and I had so much fun and laughed a lot.

  102. I love it all can’t get enough of Disney ever! My favorite Disney movie is The Lion King’ to’Aladdin,’

  103. My family loves the character meetings at the parks! My favorite meet and greet was my hubby’s first meet and greet with Gaston- so funny!

  104. I’m a night owl – so my favorite thing is late nights in Magic Kingdom during extra magic hours. It feels extra magical.

  105. My family loves the character meetings at the parks! My favorite meet and greet was my hubby’s first meet and greet with Gaston- so funny!

  106. The magic Kingdom at Disneyworld is my favorite! I also love Epcot. So much magic and fun to be had! I hope to visit galaxy’s edge at Hollywood Studios someday soon!

  107. My favorite thing about Disney World is the little moments. You need to plan so much but it’s the little moments: drinking around the world in the rain, seeing your daughter meet Anna for the first time, or just showing a new person the magic. I’d deal with the crowds and random Florida weather for the little moments.

  108. Yes, I have been to Disney World. I always loved getting my picture with the characters and going on the rides.

  109. I went to Disney as a young kid with my grandparents and cousins, I just remember having so much fun and I look forward to taking my kids once they are a bit older.

  110. I’ve only been to disney land about 12 years ago.
    I loved every minute of it as I took my girlfriend there and we were able to go to 2 days in a row.

  111. I’ve always wanted to take a family vacation to Disney but just never happened…I went when I was a kid and my kids went with their grandma and Aunt. It would be really nice to go as a family especially before they get too old.

  112. I have been twice and we are going again in January and taking the kids for the first time. My fave memory is on my honeymoon and seeing the giant castle for the first time – it brought tears to my eyes.

  113. I have never been to Disney World, but I did go to Disney Land and I remember riding on the Dumbo ride. Dumbo is my favorite movie.

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