Each year, Central Florida’s theme parks put their scariest foot forward for Halloween with everything from a headless horseman to haunted houses.
Two of the parks present family friendly parties. At two others — call them “scream parks” — it’s never too soon to panic with nightmarish events fit only for the most fearless.
Here’s what’s on tap for 2008:
Horror Nights at Universal Orlando: Universal Orlando warns this event “may be too intense for young children” and rightly (and scarily) so. Now in its 18th year, visitors feel as if their worst nightmares are about to take shape during Horror Nights. No where is safe –in the houses, in the streets, ghastly, ghostly, ghoulish creatures make their presence felt and chilling haunted houses with bizarre themes dare the intrepid to go in.
Halloween Horror Nights are presented on Sept. 26-27; Oct. 2-5, 9-12, 16-19, 22-26, 29-31; and Nov. 1.
Visitors are not allowed to wear costumes or masks.
Single night admission is $69.99 (a variety of other tickets are offered including Frequent Fear Passes for more economical multiple visits; and Stay and Scream tickets, which are upgraded tickets that have Horror Nights added to regular daytime Universal Orlando parks’ admission). Halloween Horror Nights Packages including one or more nights of lodging in Orlando, tickets and other features are priced from $209 for two adults.
Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay: Blood-curdling and spine-tingling scares await the daring at this annual event that is a nightmare of inescapable fear with surprises that border on the psychotic. This year, Howl-O-Scream feat ures new haunted houses, scare zones and thrilling shows, as well as bone-chilling coasters in the dark to keep you screaming into the night.
Intended for adult audiences only, Howl-O-Scream is presented on 17 select nights Oct. 2-Nov. 1 (a Freaky Preview is featured on Sept. 26-27). General admission is $64.95. A variety of Unlimited Fear passes is offered including the Recurring Nightmare: 10 nights for the price of one, $64.95; Freaky Preview tickets are $44.95.
Mickey’s Not-So Scary Halloween Party
: One of the not-to-be-missed attractions of this annual event in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World
is Mickey’s Boo-To-You Halloween Parade featuring a spooky headless horseman and the Disney characters parading around in their costumes –so you can bring your costume too.
The family friendly party also offers opportunities to go trick-or-treating at a variety of locations in the park, and the Magic Kingdom’s most popular attractions are open for the evening. The Happy HalloWishes Fireworks display, where Disney villains go trick-or-treating in the sky, is one of the evening’s highlights.
“My daughters want to go trick-or-treating so I bring them here. I’s fun, it’s safe, and I don’t have to worry,” said Rachel Myers of Lakeland, who visited last year.
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is presented on select evenings from Sept. 5 to Oct. 31. Advance tickets (available some evenings) are $42.95 (ages 3-9) and $48.95 (ages 10 and up). Day of event tickets cost $49.95 (ages 3-9) and $55.95 (ages 10 and up).
Spooktacular at Sea World Orlando
: Halloween meets the sea during this park’s “Spooktacular,” a “Fantasea” that offers fun for the whole family on Oct. 4-5- 11-12, 18-19, 24-26 and 31. This annual event features the opportunity for costumed children to go trick-or-treating among friendly sea witches, mermaids, octopuses and pumpkin fish.
Celebrating Sea World’s new partnership with Sesame Street, The Count joins in the fun with his own character breakfast.
Shamu’s Happy Harbor area is transformed into an autumn festival, adorned with scarecrows and pumpkins. Strolling entertainment includes 35 fanciful sea creatures and at a Frozen Fun Zone an ice witch and DJ entertain with interactive activities. The Halloween festivities begin at 11 a.m. on the selected days and are included in regular admission to the park: $69.95 for adults; $59.95 for children ages 3 to 9.
Sea World Orlando also offers Spooky Spectacular Family Sleepovers. Participants may dress up in their favorite costume, come face to face with stealthy stingrays and those terrors of the deep: sharks. Kids can trick-or-treat around the park’s spooktacular exhibits. Your final resting place is at the Shark Encounter pavilion.
The sleepovers are designed for families with children in kindergarten through the fifth grade and run from 7 p.m. to 9 a.m. the following day. Included are a snack and continental breakfast.
Cost is $78 per person or $113 to include park admission. Sleepover dates are Oct. 19, 20, 26 and 27.
Information courtesy of South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Feel the wind in your hair as you cruise through Florida’s Everglades at speeds up to 45 mph, experience an equine fairy tale come to life or frolic amid a prehistoric playground. With so many exciting options, Orlando is filled with little-known gems sure to dazzle your whole family.
An incredible dinner show like no other, Arabian Nights
blends expert horsemanship, glamorous costumes, 65 horse stars, 35 incredible performers, and a sumptuous meal into an experience unique to Orlando. Highlights of the show include dancing Arabian horses, bareback riding, chariot races, trick riding and even square dancing on horseback — all presented over 20 horse-themed acts woven together with a romantic story that will amaze and entertain.
Boggy Creek Airboat Rides
Located just 35 minutes from Orlando’s attractions, Boggy Creek Airboat Rides
offers breathtaking tours of Lake Tohopekaliga, headwaters to the Florida Everglades. During this adventuresome ride, you’ll explore natural wetlands, cypress trees, and wildlife such as alligators, turtles and exotic birds in their natural habitat.
SeaWorld Orlando’s Educational Tours
Have a close encounter with majestic beluga whales, dive with over 30 sharks, feed playful dolphins, or learn about SeaWorld® Orlando’s animal rescue, rehabilitation and release program. With more than 10 tours and programs to choose from, you can get a behind-the-scenes look at marine life conservation efforts, and turn your vacation into a once-in-a-lifetime learning experience. For more information, call toll-free at 800-327-2424.
Orlando Sharks Professional Soccer
For an action-packed activity found only in Orlando, attend an Orlando Sharks
professional soccer game. Part of the Major Indoor Soccer League, the Sharks play an exciting style of soccer known for high scores and fast-paced play, complete with music, cheerleaders and a fun-filled night of entertainment.
Orange County Regional History Center
Explore Orlando’s fascinating history with the Orange County Regional History Center’s
new permanent exhibit, Destination Florida: Tourism Before Disney. Visitors will see how Orlando has grown from an Indian settlement to a small town surrounded by citrus groves and cattle ranches to today’s tourism wonderland. Step inside a replica tepee from Wigwam Village, an Orlando motel and popular tourist destination in the 1950s, or sit inside a replica Model T modified into a “tin-can camper” for an audiovisual trip on the roads tourists traveled before the advent of interstate highways. General admission is $9 for adults, $7 for seniors ages 60 and over, and $6 for children ages 5–12. For more information, call 407-836-8500.
Orlando Science Center
Using knowledge to entertain through engaging interactive exhibits, giant-screen films and live programming, the Orlando Science Center
will delight and amaze your whole family, no matter their ages. You can discover re-creations of six Florida habitats at the NatureWorks exhibit, uncover “fossils” in the dig pit at the DinoDigs exhibit, experience hurricane-force winds in the TechWorks exhibit’s Hurricane Simulator and so much more. General admission is $21 for adults, $18 for children 13–17 and free for children ages two and under. For more information, call 407-514-2000.
Fantasy of Flight
A stunning art deco aviation museum, Fantasy of Flight
is home to more than 40 rare and vintage aircrafts, a variety of guided tours and the Compass Rose diner. Tour the Tuskegee Airmen exhibit and learn about a compelling piece of American history, witness a daily aerial demonstration of vintage aircraft, and take your vacation to new heights when you fly in a real hot air balloon or ride in an open-cockpit vintage bi-plane.
Information courtesy of Orlando CVB
Soon there will be something new and even more magical at the happiest place on earth. It’s called “Pixie Hollow “, a meet and greet experience that your littlest one has never experienced before. Tinkerbell and her fairy friends, complete with pixie dust, will interact with guests at the Magic Kingdom’s “Mickey’s Toontown Fair.”
“When you’re in their world, you’re able to understand what they speak, which is different, and you remember the movie Peter Pan ? well only peter pan could understand what they said, well when you’re in pixie hollow, you’re like peter pan, and you can understand when they talk,” said Francois Leroux from Walt Disney World EntertainmentPixie Hollow opens October 24th and will become a permanent experience at Disney World . It also ties in with the release of Tinker Bell the movie on DVD October 28.
Information courtesy of My Fox Orlando
Buoyed by surging attendance and other growth markers for its Central Florida theme parks, executives of Walt Disney World Co. outlined several new projects and initiatives Wednesday tailored to sustain momentum during tough economic times.
Not that everything’s sunshine and buttercups – Disney’s Pleasure Island
nightclub venue, part of its Downtown Disney entertainment complex, is shutting down after Saturday night’s performances.
Disney officials remain mum on what will replace the six nightclubs that debuted in 1989, but they insist the closing is more about a fresh change than the economic downturn.
“Guests tell us they’re looking for a different experience,” said Michael Griffin, vice president of communications for Walt Disney World Resort
Disney World’s attendance figures shot up 7 percent and per-guest spending was up a more modest 3 percent during its fiscal second quarter, which ended March 29, the Orlando Sentinel reported in May. The attendance figure was a year-over-year comparison.
Wednesday’s mood was decidedly upbeat as officials enumerated plans for opening a new Magic Kingdom attraction to coincide with the Oct. 28 DVD release of “Tinker Bell.” The attraction, set to open Oct. 24, will target young girls.
Coming sometime in 2010 is a 100-lane bowling alley to attract professional-level tournaments at the popular Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex – soon to be rebranded ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
A recent addition to the complex, the 80,000-square-foot Jostens Center, features six full-size basketball courts.
Already the spring training home of the Atlanta Braves, the complex attracts 250,000 athletes a year, mostly youths, along with 1.2 million spectators, mostly relatives, said Ken Potrock, senior vice president of Disney Sports Enterprises.
Beefing up its sports venues makes sense, Potrock said, given considerable growth in youth sports, “Eighty-five percent of the people that compete would not have come to Disney or Central Florida without this business,” he said.
Information courtesy of Orlando Sentinel
OCTOBER CALENDAR OF EVENTS FOR ORLANDO
• Through November 09, 2008
Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
Disney’s premier fall event held at Epcot. Savor the flavors, sights and sounds from around the world. The daily “Eat to the Beat” concert series includes favorite performers from the 60’s & 70’s. Included with general admission.
• October 02, 2008
Themed happy hour on the first Thursday of each month at the Orlando Museum of Art from 6pm – 9pm. For more info: 407-896-4231 x 260. Admission charge.
• October 03, 2008
Date Night at Leu Gardens
Bring a picnic basket and a blanket to enjoy a family-friendly movie under the stars at beautiful Leu Gardens. Admission charge.
• October 04 – 05, 2008
Town of Celebration Sidewalk Sale
The community of Celebration is having their annual Porch and Yard Sale. Free admission.
• October 04 – 05, 2008
Vintage Venture at Lakeridge Winery
Central Florida’s popular winery features live 50’s & 60’s music along with food, wine and a vintage car show. For more info: 1-800-768-WINE. Admission charge of $2.00.
• October 04, 2008
1st Saturdays at OMA
Creative Programs for children held the first Saturday of every month from 10am till noon at the Orlando Museum of Art. For more info: 407- 896-4231 x 262. Admission charge.
• October 10, 2008
The Mount Dora Art Stroll
A festive evening of art, music and hors d’oeuvres designed to showcase regional art at several walkable venues through out Downtown Mount Dora. For more info: 352-383-2165. Free admission.
• October 10 – 11, 2008
Celebrate Ocktoberfest with the community of Celebration. Free admission.
• October 10 – 12, 2008
Mount Dora Annual Bicycle Festival
Attracting 1,500 cyclists; this is Florida’s oldest and largest bicycling event! With rides of varying lengths and skill levels, cyclists of all ages. For more info: 352-383-2165.
• October 10 – 13, 2008
New Smyrna Beach Food & Wine Festival
• October 11, 2008
Enjoy fun activities, from dancers featuring music from each decade, food vendors, an old-timer athletic event and a classic car show at the St. Cloud Civic Center. For more info: 407-892-3671. Free admission.
• October 11, 2008
At Kissimmee’s Lakefront Park, this Latin festival known for it’s cultural musicians and artists also features a large selection of Spanish cuisine. For more info: 407-847-3174. Free admission.
• October 09 – 12, 2008
Southern Women’s Show
Held at the Orange County Convention Center. Take a day off to recharge and refresh. Tips and ideas for cooking, healthy living, savvy shopping and current fashion. Admission charge.
• October 13, 2008
Taste of Altamonte
Annual event held at Cranes Roost Park in Uptown Altamonte. Samplings from some on Altamonte’s best restaurants. One price includes food, music and entertainment. For more info: 407-262-2773. Admission charge.
• October 16 – 19, 2008
During Biketoberfest, thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts head to Daytona Beach for this international award-winning motorcycle festival. For more info: 386-255-0415.
• October 17, 2008
Ghost Stories at Leu Gardens
Bring a blanket or chair and hear some spooky stories under the start. Food and treats will be available for purchase. For more info: 407-246-2620. Admission charge.
• October 17, 2008
Cinema in the Park
Free family movies on the third Friday of each month at Centennial Park in Sanford. Bring the family and a blanket or chairs for the 7:30pm showing of this month’s movie. For more info: 407-302-5815. Free admission.
• October 17, 2008
Mount Dora At Nite
Celebrate the third Friday of each month with live entertainment, great food and shopping in Downtown Mount Dora. For more info: 352-383-5451. Free admission.
• October 17, 2008
Cocktails & the Cosmos
Enjoy a night of relaxation and entertainment as the Orlando Science Center celebrates the premiere of its newest addition to the Dr. Phillips Cinedome, Grand Canyon. Relax on the SunTrust terrace with specialty drinks, food, and charming company all within a casual and friendly atmosphere. For more info: 407-514-2000. Admission Charge.
• October 20, 2008
Storytelling at Leu Gardens
Stories at 3 times for different aged children on the third Monday of the month. For more info: 407-246-2620. Free admission.
• October 24, 2008
Harbor Nights Wine Tasting & Jazz
Universal Orlando’s Portofino Bay Hotel is host to a wine tasting and jazz event that captures the spirit of the Mediterranean. The event includes select wines, food samples, live jazz and hand-rolled cigars at the hotel’s Harbor Piazza. For more info: 407-503-1200. Admission charge.
• October 25 – 26, 2008
Mount Dora Annual Craft Fair
Nationally ranked juried event attracts over 250,000 visitors and over 350 of the best crafters in the county. For more info: 352-735-1191. Free admission.
• October 30, 2008
Rock & Roll Happy Hour held the last Thursday of the month. Cover charge varies according to the month’s theme.
• October 31, 2008
Universal Orlando Resort is celebrating with Halloween Horror Nights, while Disney World gears activities towards family with Mickey’s Not- So Scary Halloween Party. SeaWorld is hosting Halloween Spooktacular, a family-friendly event combing Halloween and Sea Creatures.
Breakfast is not just the most important meal of the day — now it’s the most fun. Start off your morning at Universal Orlando Resort with a delicious and entertaining breakfast with some of your favorite characters. Bring the whole family and dine with such popular characters as Spider-Man and The Cat in the Hat at Universal’s Islands of Adventure’s Confisco Grille each Thursday through Sunday morning from park opening until 10:30 a.m.
The hearty buffet breakfast features a delicious assortment of items created by Universal’s award-winning chefs, including scrambled eggs, French toast, sausage, biscuits and gravy, potatoes, bacon, fresh fruit and assorted breakfast pastries (items subject to change). The breakfast is $17.95 for adults and $11.95 for children, plus tax and gratuity. Theme park admission is separate. For reservations, call 407-224-4012.
There’s no better way to begin your day of excitement at Universal Orlando than by meeting some of your favorite heroes for breakfast at Islands of Adventure. It’s fun for the whole family. Universal’s Islands of Adventure is just one of two amazing theme parks at Universal Orlando Resort. It’s located right next door to Universal Studios, and adjacent to the Universal CityWalk entertainment complex, which sits between the entrances to both parks.
Information courtesy of Orlando CVB
Halloween is a time when kids can dress as their favorite cartoon character, trick or treat endlessly and stuff themselves with mammoth amounts of candy. But, Halloween is also a time when adults can embrace the scarier side of life, like haunted houses, ghosts and goblins and scream-inducing events. Universal Resort in Orlando, Florida welcomes the holiday of Halloween more so than any other Orlando Theme Park, transforming into a fright-fest of park created for only the bravest of the brave.
From September 26 through November 1, on select nights, Universal Orlando Resort will celebrate its 18th Annual Halloween Horror Nights. This year, the theme for Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights Orlando
is Urban Legends, and Bloody Mary herself is serving as the scare-inducing host of this bone-chilling event. Promising to bring the most frightening urban legends to life, Universal Resort is the place to be for Halloween. There are more scare zones, scare actors, the most haunted houses ever and all new fear-filled live shows.
The transformation of Universal Resort into a horrifying Halloween haunt requires a lot of work on behalf of the park staff, but for Halloween revelers who love nothing more than to be scared out of their mind this time of year, there is no better place to be. From the nightmarish labyrinths of haunted houses to the mutants and monsters crawling the street, this Orlando Theme Park takes the horror of Halloween to an all new level. In fact, the event is so impressive in its scope it was voted “The Country’s Best Halloween Event” by Amusement Today.
Universal Orlando Resort Halloween Horror Night Packages
are available for those who seek the terror of Halloween. With option one, guest can choose to attend just the Halloween Horror Nights
event. Option two offers guests the chance to spend the day at the park enjoying Universal Studios or Universal’s Islands of Adventure while capping of their night admission to the Halloween Horror Night event. Both packages are a great deal, and provide a great way for revelers to enjoy this October holiday.
Universal Orlando Resort will be overtaken by Bloody Mary, Zombies and Monsters for Halloween Horror Nights on these select dates:
October 2-5, 9-12, 16-19, 22-26, 29-31
Prepare yourself for blood-curdling scares, spine-chilling screams and an event you won’t soon forget…because it will haunt your dreams!
Next year everyone will be able to come to a Walt Disney World’s theme parks on their birthdays and get in free.
That’s the cornerstone of the 2009 national promotional campaign, “What will you celebrate?” announced today by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Anyone showing up with a valid ID including proof of birthdate will get a free ticket on that day in 2009 for one of the theme parks at Disney World or at Disneyland in California.
Disney officials announced the promotion as their effort to cash in on what they described as a growing trend called “celebration vacations” — trips to vacation spots that people take to celebrate big birthdays, big anniversaries, honeymoons and other momentous personal occasions.
Disney World probably already gets a lions’ share of such vacations, according to a Ypartnership marketing survey that Disney commissioned. But until now the company has never put together a unified marketing campaign to attract such celebrations on a large scale.
Even though a free ticket — essentially $75 discount — might seem almost insignificant in a family vacation budget that might run several thousand dollars, Disney’s goal is to get more people at least considering bringing their birthdays to Disney World.
The promotion also will give Disney a new tool to help assure that its theme-park turnstiles keep moving in the next year even if the teetering national economy starts dragging down the tourism business.
While the promotion was announced in New York City, with the aim of attracting national and international visitors, Central Floridians may cash in most easily and most often.
“We not only open up the opportunity, we hope they’ll take the opportunity, ” said Jay Rasulo, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “The flip side of that is, nobody celebrates their birthday by themselves. They bring their family, their friends and their kids with them.”
Information courtesy of Orlando Sentinel
From pumpkin fishes to friendly sea witches, Halloween meets the sea this October during SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular, carving an underwater “fantasea” where children can dance with an ice DJ, learn from a school of fish, and play with a sea fairy. Offering more than 2 million pieces of trick-or-treat sweets, SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular uniquely brings children’s “fantaseas” to life with enchanted pathways and charming sea creatures, providing the utmost in family-friendly trick-or-treating.
One of Sesame Street’s favorite residents, The Count, along with his friends from Sesame Street even gets into the Halloween spirit, with Count Von Count’s Spooktacular character breakfast. Little ones will sing, groove and mingle side-by-side with Sesame Street characters, while listening to Halloween-themed music and enjoying a special breakfast “boo”-ffet.
SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular takes place October 4-5, 11-12, 18-19, 24-26 and 31, and is included in a single day’s park admission. The event begins each day at 11 a.m., leaving the littlest of trick-or-treaters wide-eyed for the day’s activities ahead.
Spooktacular Highlights Include:
Trick-or-Treat Sea Sweets – Using their Spooktacular maps, costumed youngsters can search for hidden “fantasea” treasures at more than a dozen different stations, all featuring an array of sweet treats. New for this year is a healthy choice: Chiquita® Mini’s ™ – a sweeter tasting banana that’s just the right size!
Frozen Fun Zone – An ice DJ will melt the ice during a Spooktacular celebration sure to heat up the area with interactive games and activities.
Strolling Entertainment – Gummy Worm Wanda, Salt Water Taffy, and Swedish Fish Suzy are among the 35 fanciful sea creatures that will once again join the “Spook-tastic” fun, welcoming trick-or-treaters as they stroll through colorful, playful schools of pumpkin fish.
Wild Things at Seafire Inn – In this show, guest will gain a new appreciation for nature’s most misunderstood creepy creatures as they take center stage at Seafire Inn.
More SeaWorld Halloween Fun:
SeaWorld’s Spooky Spectacular Sleepover (Oct. 17, 18, 24 and 25, from 7 p.m. – 9 a.m.) Family members and their trick-or-treaters can end their night coming face-to-face with predatory polar bears and stealthy stingrays, before snuggling into a spooky slumber at Shark Encounter – just sleeping bags away from those terrors of the deep, sharks. An evening snack and breakfast also are included. Cost is $78 per person or $113 to include park admission; program is for children in grades K-5 and their families.
is the world’s premier marine adventure park with 200 acres of world-class shows, thrilling rides and unforgettable animal encounters. Millions of visitors have explored the mysteries of the sea with up-close animal interactions and exhilarating experiences. State-of-the-art rides give guests unprecedented thrills, while amazing animal encounters include killer whales, dolphins, sea lions, sharks and more.
Information courtesy of ThrillNetwork
StuntWars, Inc., the original and best sanctioning entertainment company in the sport of stunt riding, announced today that it is moving its annual October event from Lakeland to the Orlando Speed World. The move was made due to the sudden closing of Lakeland’s USA International Speedway, which had been home to the event for the past three years.
“When selecting a new location, it was important to us that we stay as close as possible to our hometown of Lakeland and all of our fans who have supported us over the years,” said Todd Colbert, President of StuntWars. “The Orlando Speed World is the closest venue able to provide the resources we need to put on an exciting show for our fans, and it puts us in the heart of a big sport bike, university and entertainment town.”
More than 100 competitors and over 15,000 spectators are expected for the three-day, extreme sports event being held on October 3 – 5, 2008. Circle Wheelies, 360-degree Stoppies, the Leap of Faith, Tank Insane and the Apehanger are just a few of gravity defying stunts that will be on display.
Other entertainment will include FMX freestyle, car drifting and street bike freestyle, as well as a Bikini Bike Wash, a Custom Bike Show and live music from Underground Sound. Fans will also have the opportunity to meet the riders during activities each and every day.
This year’s StuntWars will feature some of the sport’s highest profile riders, including Bill Dixon, Dan Jackson, Aaron Colton, Nick Apex, and Teach McNeil.
Tickets, ranging in price from $5 for practice rounds to $20 for the main event and entertainment on Sunday, October 5, can be purchased by calling 877-stunt83, or purchased at the gate. Tickets should also be available online at STUNTWARS.COM by midweek. Discounts are available to StuntWars Association members.
The gates open at 9 a.m. daily with practice, qualifying and competition throughout the day until 5 p.m. More than 40 vendors offering the latest in gear, apparel and accessories will be on site daily.
Stunt bike riders from around the world will be competing for over $12,000 in cash and prizes at this event, while providing spectators with adrenaline- charged events that amateurs should not try at home. This event is round four in the StuntWars 2008 point series where the top-three riders compete to win $25,000 at the end of the season.
This StuntWars event is just one of the many initiatives strategically and financially fueled by the new management team at StuntWars. Since StuntWars was purchased by Dorsch Acquisitions in June of 2008, the company has launched a new Web site, created the StuntWars Rider Association, and engaged in active negotiations with several new sponsors and entertainment and sports venues to aggressively expand StuntWars event dates and locations.
Information courtesy of StuntWars