This article is your ultimate guide to Walt Disney World Special events! If there’s one thing we love about Walt Disney World, it’s that there’s always something to look forward to. And right now, we are looking forward to all of the Walt Disney World Special Events in 2021 and beyond!
This is such a unique year at Walt Disney World, as we are seeing the return of some of our favorite festivals and special events that we did not see last year. In this guide we’ll break down all of the special events going on at all four Walt Disney World theme parks including the EPCOT special event festivals, the Holiday special events and so much more! It’s never too early to start planning a trip for the future, and planning around events is a great place to start!
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So if you’re ready to learn about all of the 2021 Walt Disney World special events read on!
Updated April 2021: Here at The Park Prodigy we are committed to bringing you the most up to date information when planning your next trip. It’s important to note that based off of the reopen Florida tasks forces guidelines we do expect the park experiences to be different for the foreseeable future.
Be sure to check back with The Park Prodigy to see how Walt Disney World Special Events in 2021 may be altered!
With all of the EPCOT Festivals, RunDisney events and Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary coming up, we already know there will be no shortage of special events to attend at Walt Disney World in 2021. We can’t wait to see all the magic 2021 brings to the Parks. So let’s take a look at what we can expect!
Start off the year in the happiest place on earth with a New Years Eve celebration! Although we are still waiting to receive more information about this years New Years eve celebration Disney has always had a reputation for throwing one of the biggest parties around.
Guests can enjoy Christmas decorations which will remain up through New Years day. There are also special meals available at certain restaurants on New Years day if you are staying at one of the Walt Disney World hotels.
Epcot’s International Festival of the Arts will be entering its fifth year in 2021 and we are excited to see all that it brings. This festival grows a little bit of every year and we look forward to seeing what changes 2021 will bring to this event!
A festival celebrating the arts many forms, visual, performing and culinary, the International Festival of the Arts has quickly become a fan favorite for many Walt Disney World guests. From art galleries to Broadway performances in the America Gardens Theater and some of the prettiest food we’ve ever seen, this festival has something for everyone. Dates for this festival generally run mid January to late February making for cooler weather and lower crowds.
Disney recently announced it will be hosting this years Festival of the Arts at EPCOT! For a complete breakdown, including all of the dates be sure to check out our complete guide to the 2021 Festival of the Arts!
One of the hidden Walt Disney World special events in 2021 is Easter which will be April 4th in 2021. The Magic Kingdom Park has been known to host the Easter Bunny meet and greet in Town Square. EPCOT hosts an Easter egg-stravaganza scavenger hunt the week leading up to Easter.
Many of the Walt Disney World hotels hosts special egg hunts, egg decoration, and Disney characters in Easter attire. The Grand Floridian also displays giant Easter eggs in their main lobby. Guests can also reserve special Easter reservations for breakfast, brunch and dinner.
Related Article: Complete List of EPCOT Special Events
Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival is the perfect way to celebrate the start of spring. With beautifully crafted topiaries and all the colors of spring, this festival usually starts in early March and runs until the beginning of summer. Walt Disney World guests at this festival can also look forward to the Garden Rocks concert series at America Gardens Theater every night of the festival, as well as butterfly gardens and fresh foods from outdoor kitchens around the World Showcase.
This 2021 Disney special event will be held from March 3rd through July 5th, 2021.
Disney also announced it will be hosting the 2021 EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival next year. For a complete breakdown, including dates, menu items, and more be sure to check out our complete 2021 EPCOT International Flower and Garden festival guide!
Are you thinking about celebrating the fourth of July at Walt Disney World? This has always been one of our favorite events at Disney World! Disney has been known to celebrate with amazing firework shows during almost all of the special times of year and the Independence Day celebration is no exception. Here is how the 4th of July is celebrated at each of the Walt Disney World theme parks.
Magic Kingdom: This park offers special 4th of July fireworks on July 3rd and 4th above Cinderellas castle. Guests can also enjoy specially themed treats, as well as dance parties in Tomorrowland and Frontierland during the nighttime fireworks show.
EPCOT: EPCOT has also performed a special version of their nighttime fireworks show on the 4th of July. Guests can also enjoy Disney characters to be dressed in patriotic attire, while the Voices of Liberty, the a cappella group performs in the American Gardens theater.
Hollywood Studios: Although Hollywood Studios does not host specialty themed fireworks for the 4th of July guests can still enjoy the nightly showing of Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular.
Animal Kingdom: Just like Hollywood Studios there are no special fireworks.
It’s important to note that we are still waiting to hear when fireworks will be back at all Walt Disney World theme parks!
A foodie’s dream, EPCOT’s International Food and Wine Festival is one of Epcot’s longest and largest festivals at Walt Disney World and for good reason. With food and drinks from all over the world, there is just so much to experience. Featuring international outdoor kitchens, food demonstrations and the Eat to The Beat concert series, the International Food and Wine Festival always has something going on and is a great reason to visit Walt Disney World in the fall.
The 2021 EPCOPT Food and Wine Festival is set to run from July 15th 2021 to November 20th 2021.
Be sure to check out our complete guide to the 2021 EPCOT Food and Wine festival here!
One of Epcot’s shorter festivals, the International Festival of the Holiday takes place in December. Discover holiday traditions celebrated around the world along with seasonal holiday treats and even the opportunity to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus! Although it’s one of the smaller festivals at Epcot, we think the Festival of the Holidays is a great reason to make a trip over to Epcot during the holiday season.
Disney has been known to hold two special holiday parties at the Magic Kingdom park every fall and they have quickly become fan favorites. Below we will break down everything you need to know about the MNSSHP and the MVMCP special events at Walt Disney World!
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is held on select nights starting in August and goes through October. This Halloween Party is one of the highlights of the fall season at Magic Kingdom. Guests can enjoy the Boo To You Parade, Not So Spooky Spectacular Fireworks Show and the Hocus Pocus Villain Spectacular.
You can also count on Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party specific merchandise and snacks. And don’t forget to wear a costume so you can trick or treat down Main Street, USA and throughout Magic Kingdom; dressing up is half the fun!
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party does require an separate ticket. We recommend buying tickets early as they do tend to sell out.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is also held at Magic Kingdom and can be enjoyed select nights starting in November through the holiday season in December. Guests at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party can enjoy Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks, complimentary cookies and cocoa throughout the Park, Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration castle stage show and snowfall right on Main Street!
It’s one of the most magical events of the year at Walt Disney World! A Party ticket is required for this event and we recommend purchasing in advance since some dates do sell out.
I was lucky enough to attend the D23 expo in 2019, where they unveiled a lot of the new plans for Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary celebration. And I can tell you the excitement is real. If you’re familiar with Disney celebrations, then you’ll know that they like to make them last.
The Walt Disney World 50th anniversary celebration is going to begin on October 1st 2021 and run for 18 months! New rides, new attractions and revamped Park space is in the works for the 50th anniversary.
Remember Mickey’s 90th Birthday recently? In true Disney fashion, that was celebrated that for over a year. And that’s exactly what we are receiving for the Walt Disney World 50th!
RunDisney events have become increasingly popular over the past few years and always draw a crowd. Aside from the races, runners can look forward to expos, unique photo ops and race specific merchandise.
It’s important to note that there is some uncertainty regarding how Run Disney events will be impacted in 2021 by covid-19. This is especially true for those events which are taking place in the first few months of 2021 such as the Walt Disney World marathon weekend. However since these events have not been canceled as of July 2020, we did want to include them in our list of Walt Disney World events for 2021. We will be sure to keep this post updated as we learn more
UPDATE: THIS HAS CHANGED TO A VIRTUAL EVENT
Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World sold out fast this year as Marathon weekends generally tend to; and although we don’t know what future marathon weekends will look like going forward, we do expect them to be just as magical as they always have been. Walt Disney World marathon weekend generally tends to bring in a good number of runners and spectators and makes for a pretty exciting weekend.
With a 5k, 10k, half marathon and marathon races, along with the option of a Disney Castaway Cay challenge makes this the biggest runDisney event of the year! Although this has changed to a virtual event, it’s still a great way to stay in shape and partake in an amazing event! I just ran the virtual food and wine half marathon and although it’s obviously not the same as running in the parks it was still fun to participate and support other runners online.
The Disney Princess Half Marathon generally includes a 5k, 10k and the half marathon as well as races for the kids. Runners can choose to run in one race, two races or all three. Runners participating in the half marathon get the privilege of seeing Epcot and Magic Kingdom during their run. This weekend always promises to be a fun one!
Registration for the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend is on June 11, 2020 for annual passholders, DVC members and golden oak residents. Registration for the general public is June 16, 2020.
UPDATE: THIS HAS CHANGED TO A VIRTUAL EVENT
The Star Wars half marathon weekend also includes a 5k, 10k, kids races and of course the Star Wars half marathon. This runDisney event is a great one to get the whole family involved. Registration for the Star Wars Half Marathon weekend will be Aug. 6, 2020 for annual passholders and golden oak residents and Aug. 11, 2020 to the general public.
UPDATE: THIS HAS CHANGED TO A VIRTUAL EVENT
Disney’s Wine and Dine Marathon weekend coincides perfectly with Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival as it is generally held in November and offers up the same theme.
The Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend includes kids races, a 5k, a 10k and half marathon which takes place at night! Event dates and registration dates have yet to be announced for this race weekend in 2021, but you can find information about all of the runDisney events in 2021 here.
It’s still unclear if Walt Disney World plans to bring back its Disney After Hours events in 2021, although on the outside looking in these events appear to be the perfect party for a reduced capacity theme park. The reason being, these special ticketed events allow a very limited amount of guests to stay and play in one of the four Walt Disney World theme parks.
This special event will grant guests access into the theme park beginning at 7:00 PM, although most events won’t begin until the them park officially closes and last for 2-3 hours per party night. Once the party does start guests will have access to all of the ice cream, popcorn, and sodas/waters included in the cost of their ticket.
Although there are no Disney After Hours special events scheduled in 2021 at this time, be sure to check back with us in the future. The only reason I can see Disney not hosting events next year is if the parks are still operating at a reduced capacity, that very well might take away from the appeal of Disney After Hours.
We don’t know what exactly will be open at this time; but we are counting on lots of festive foods and of course lots of celebratory entertainment. We cant wait to see what kind of magic Walt Disney World brings to its 50th anniversary celebration!
Our Disney Crowd Calendar is the best tool to help you get the most out of your time in the parks. We break down park crowds, park hours of operation, ticket prices, and average temperature. We also break down the best time to visit Disney World based on specific times of the year and special events.
Are you planning a trip to Walt Disney World? Be sure to speak with a Disney World Travel Agent for the most recent deals and promotions. The Park Prodigy will provide a Free Quote for all Disney World Vacation Packages.
The Park Prodigy can also help you save up to $20 per ticket when purchasing your Walt Disney World Tickets, and we offer promotional discounts for special events such as Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Tickets and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Tickets.
Last but not least if you’re also planning a trip to Universal Studios, be sure to check out the best time to visit Universal Studios and our Universal Orlando Tickets! All Park Prodigy Universal Orlando tickets come with Universal Studios Early Park Admission.
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