This article is your ultimate guide to 2023 Walt Disney World Special events! While Disney World offers a plethora of special events throughout the year, certain ones stand out as the most popular and highly anticipated. From the enchanting Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and the joyous Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party to the diverse array of EPCOT festivals and the exhilarating runDisney events, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Each event has its own unique charm and operates during specific times of the year, ensuring that you’ll find the perfect experience for your next Walt Disney World vacation. As Annual Passholders, we love attending each of the four festivals at EPCOT, as they tend to be our favorite events all year! We also go to the Halloween Disney Party AND the Disney Christmas party each year too.
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So if you’re ready to learn about all of the 2023 Disney World events read on!
SPECIAL NOTE: If you need help picking the best time to visit Disney World for your next vacation be sure to check out our Disney crowd calendar!
Let’s start this guide with the most popular question on this topic which is, what are the Walt Disney World events in 2023? And from start to finish guests can experience New Years Eve at Disney World in January, the EPCOT Festival of the Arts from January through February, EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival from March through May, the opening of Tron at Magic Kingdom in April, the return of the very popular Disney fireworks show Happily Ever After in April, the EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival in July through November, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party August through October, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party November through December, and EPCOTs Festival of the Holidays November through December as well. That doesn’t even include the four RunDisney holiday weekends spread-out through 2023 which make for a jam packed year of fun at Walt Disney World!
Here is a Walt Disney World Special Event list for 2023:
Related post: Complete List of EPCOT Events
Before we dive in a breakdown every 2023 special event let’s break down what we believe to be the best Disney World special events throughout the year! For that reason we say that Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party are the best! And as a general rule of thumb, we always try to break these down into free Disney World special events and special event tickets when making this comparison. And from our experience we do find the special event tickets to have more added benefits that can add value to your Disney World vacation.
Specifically the events at Magic Kingdom Park will allow guests extra hours to enjoy the most popular rides and attractions. This can be a huge game changer for families who might only have 2-3 days to enjoy Disney World and are trying to figure out how to get the most out of their vacation. And from our experience it is possible to get a large majority of the rides at Magic Kingdom done during these 3-5 hour events. Not only that but Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party will include specially themed parades and fireworks. These are parades and fireworks that guests can not experience anytime else throughout the year.
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The first special event at Disney World might be one of our favorites as we always love to start the year off at the most Magical Place on Earth! One of our favorite things that Walt Disney World does for New Year’s Eve is the Fantasy in the Sky nighttime spectacular at the Magic Kingdom Park. This fireworks display is only offered on December 30th and 31st and starts at 11:50 PM each night. Guests can also enjoy all of the amazing Christmas decorations, specially parades, fireworks, character meet and greets, and so much more during the New Years celebration. On the flip side we must also warn you these are two of the busiest days of the year at Magic Kingdom park, but luckily guests can also enjoy special events at the other three Disney World theme parks as well!
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Epcot’s International Festival of the Arts will be entering its seventh year in 2023 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 2023 will bring to this event! This year we even saw the Figment popcorn bucket, which was one of the biggest hits of the festival.
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.
Related post: Complete Guide to Epcot Attractions and Rides
One of the hidden Walt Disney World special events in 2023 is Easter. 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. This is one of our favorite Disney World events in April 2023 because the Disney Culinary team is so talented that we love seeing all the treats!
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Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival is the perfect way to celebrate the start of spring. As one of our favorite 2023 Disney World events, we are happy to hear that Walt Disney World will be extending the dates to this festival! 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.
Related post: Epcot 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 Cinderella 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.
One of the mega events at Disney World 2023 is the fan favorite Food and Wine Festival that comes to EPCOT every year. 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 2023 EPCOT Food and Wine Festival is anticipated to run from July 15th to November 20th based on last year.
Be sure to check out our complete guide to the 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. The World Showcase is full of Disney Holiday special magic as there are cultural aspects of the holidays that guests can learn about around the world!
At this festival is another one of Disney World events 2023, which is the Candlelight Processional. Many guest travel far to view this celebrity hosted retelling of the traditional Christmas story.
Related post: Complete Guide to Disney World During Christmas Time
Disney has been known to throw After Hours events, and the holiday parties tend to be the most popular Magic Kingdom events. Disney has been known to hold two special holiday parties at the Magic Kingdom park every fall and they have quickly become fan favorites. It’s important to note that Disney did not bring the two events below back in 2021 however they replaced them with Disney after hour events.
For 2023, Disney did announce that Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party would be making a return as well as Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
These special ticket events at Disney World 2023, are 3-4 hour events with exclusive character meets, free select food items and other specially scheduled events.
The newest Disney special event added for 2023 is Disney Jollywood Nights, which sounds like an incredibly swanky time for the holidays! This brand new night time party will by coming to Hollywood Studios park on select nights from November 11th – December 20th, 2023. This is a separately ticketed event that will go from 8:30PM to 12:30AM for guests to enjoy on ten different nights.
The event will feature a special singalong at the Hyperion Theater, led by Jack Skellington from “The Nightmare Before Christmas”. Other characters from the movie, like Oogie Boogie and Sandy Claws, will also make appearances.
The Animation Courtyard will be filled with characters including Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, and Pluto. Other characters like Powerline Max, Chip ‘n’ Dale, and Phineas and Ferb will be found at Echo Lake. Over at Pixar Place, guests can meet Edna Mode with a 1950s theme and enjoy Frozone’s Snow Zone.
The Hollywood Tower Hotel Courtyard will host an “otherworldly soiree” with a ghostly band, and the Hollywood Brown Derby will be home to a swingin’ good time. A marquee on Hollywood Boulevard will provide a special photo opportunity in the “Welcome to Tinseltown” area. There will also be specialty food and beverages available, along with a DJ spinning holiday, classic, and pop music.
Related post: Complete Guide to Hollywood Studios Rope Drop
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.
There was some uncertainty with the runDisney events surrounding COVID-19, but we were so excited that they have returned for 2023. As one of the most popular Disney events, coming back in 2023 meant that Disney runners would be making it back to the finish line. Now with the runDisney Disney World events 2023 being back in person and virtually, make sure to secure your spot before they all sell out!
The 2023 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend sold out very quickly with all of the events with a popular 90’s retro theme. Runners can enjoy a healthy competition with a dose of iconic characters and a glimpse into the runDisney past as runDisney fans celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Marathon Weekend. The Walt Disney World Marathon weekend will have the Walt Disney World 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, and Marathon. In 2023, guests can enjoy virtual runDisney races that you can do at home!
The Disney Princess Half Marathon includes a 5k, 10k, half marathon and Disney Fairytale Challenge. 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!
This is the newest half marathon weekend which also includes a 5k, 10k, kids races and of course the Springtime half marathon. This runDisney event is a great one to get the whole family involved. Run familiar courses inspired by fan-favorite races, including Disney Pixar Cars 5K, Disney Pixar Monsters 10K and Disney Pixar Toy Story 10-Miler.
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 2023, but you can find information about all of the runDisney events in 2022 here.
Disney’s After Hours events have made their way back for 2023, although we do not know in what capacity or for which seasons. The Typhoon Lagoon H20 Glow After Hours party debuted this summer and is the first of what we can see is going to come for After Hours!
This special event will grant guests access into the theme park beginning at 7:00 PM, although most events won’t begin until the 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.
Related post: Disney After Hours: Everything You Need to Know
A: The Walt Disney World events in 2023 include New Year’s Eve at Disney World, EPCOT Festival of the Arts (January-February), EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival (March-May), the opening of Tron at Magic Kingdom (April), Happily Ever After fireworks show (April), EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival (July-November), Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (August-October), Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (November-December), EPCOT Festival of the Holidays (November-December), and RunDisney events spread throughout the year.
A: The best Disney World events in 2023 are Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. These events offer unique experiences, including special parades, fireworks, and extended park hours. They provide added benefits for guests, allowing them to enjoy popular rides and attractions with shorter wait times.
Our Disney World 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. If you’re brand new to Disney vacation planning we recommend our Walt Disney World Planning Page! Learn more about Disney hotels by reading our Walt Disney World Hotels Review page.
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