Festivals. Concerts. Food. Events are some of the biggest reasons to visit the Walt Disney World Resort. While Disney World's special events traditionally have been held during off-peak times in spring and fall, many of them have become very popular. Disney World events in 2018 are a reason to visit in and of themselves!
We created our Guide to Disney World events in 2018 to help you plan when to visit. For those of you who have already picked your dates, this post also serves as a guide of what will be happening while you're there. You'll find all of the Disney World events in 2018, as well as some of the smaller events on our Crowd Calendar. You can also see crowd levels and park recommendations on the days events are taking place.
We update this post throughout the year as new event details are released and dates are added. Be sure to bookmark this page if you've got a trip coming up!
Guide to Disney World Events in 2018
Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend—Jan. 9 - 13, 2019
The Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend features Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge, Dopey Challenge, Kids Races, Walt Disney World 5K & 10K, Walt Disney World Half Marathon and the headlining race, the Walt Disney World Marathon. Disney's Health & Fitness Expo also takes places throughout the weekend. The courses of the longer races take runners through all four Walt Disney World Resort theme parks.
Disney races are some of the Disney World events in 2018 that bring in heavy crowds. Crowd levels are strongly affected by the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. The event brings in thousands and thousands of runners each year. Traffic around the theme park area is also affected by the Walt Disney World Marathon. If you visit during this special event, expect travel time between the Disney parks to take longer. We have a separate post on What to Expect at the Disney World Marathon if you want to start planning.
Epcot International Festival of the Arts—Jan. 12-Feb. 19, 2018
This festival debuted in 2017 at Epcot. The festival celebrates visual, performing and culinary arts. For 2018, the event will take place each day of the week! There are gallery exhibits, living statues, artist appearances and much more going on. The Disney on Broadway Concert Series visited the America Gardens Theatre with iconic Disney songs during 2017.
Epcot International Festival of the Arts is included with admission to the park, but there are separately ticketed events within the festival.
Get taste of the Epcot International Festival of the Arts in this video:
Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend—Feb. 21 - 24, 2018
Inspired by the Disney Princesses, this event is designed with women in mind. Weekend events include the Disney Royal Family 5K, Disney Enchanted 10K, Disney's Fit for a Princess Expo, and the headlining event, Disney's Princess Half Marathon. The half marathon takes runners through Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Traffic around the parks is affected by this race. This race usually sells out pretty quickly, so register here!
Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival—Feb. 28 - May 28, 2018
Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is an annual event at Epcot each spring. This event features more than 100 topiaries spread throughout the park. In 2017, guests saw new topiaries of Belle from "Beauty and the Beast"! Guests also saw a "Cars"-themed area and a 6-foot-tall Figment from Epcot's Imagination Pavilion. There are an abundance of food offerings at the outdoor kitchens scattered around World Showcase. Two new Outdoor Kitchens were added to the festival's already flavorful outdoor food and beverage marketplaces. Popular kitchens include the Urban Farm Eats, the locally grown Florida Fresh, Japan's Hanami, the Smokehouse: Barbecue and Brews, and Bauernmarkt: Farmer's Market featuring organic samplings with a German and Bavarian flare. Check out what delighted diners last year in this recap.
Guests can also delight in the hundreds of butterfly species residing at the festival's screened butterfly house. This is one of the most colorful Disney World events in 2018! The festival's concerts take place at America Gardens Theater usually every Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the event. Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is included with regular admission to Epcot.
Check out the sights and sounds of Epcot's Flower & Garden Festival below!
Garden Rocks Concert Series 2018 Full Lineup
- March 2-5: Night Ranger "Sister Christian"
- March 9-12: STARSHIP starring Mickey Thomas "We Built This City"
- March 16-19: Simple Plan "Welcome to My Life"
- March 23-26: Little River Band "Reminiscing"
- March 30-April 2: The Orchestra starring former members of ELO "Evil Woman"
- April 6-7: Foghat "Slow Ride"
- April 8-9: Survivor "Eye of the Tiger"
- April 13-14: Smash Mouth "All Star"
- April 15-16: Rick Springfield "Jessie's Girl"
- April 20-21: Jo Dee Messina "Stand Beside Me"
- April 22-23: Lonestar "Amazed"
- April 27-30: Blood, Sweat and Tears featuring Bo Bice "Spinning Wheel"
- May 4-7: Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone "I'm Henry VIII I Am"
- May 11-12: Village People "Y.M.C.A."
- May 13-14: Don Felder, formerly of The Eagles "Hotel California"
- May 18-21: The Guess Who "American Woman"
- May 25-28: The Spinners "Working My Way Back to You"
Star Wars: Galactic Nights— 2018 Dates TBD
Grab your lightsaber and wash your Jedi robes! New for Disney World events in 2017, Star Wars: Galactic Nights, a one-night-only special ticket event takes place at Disney's Hollywood Studios from 7:00 p.m. until midnight. Mix with your fellow Star Wars fans and enjoy shows, celebrity appearances and photo ops. You can also enjoy Star Tours - The Adventures Continue, a viewing of Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular and much more. These separate admission tickets can be purchased here.
Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend - The Dark Side— April 19 - 22, 2018
You don't know the power of the dark side. Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend is inspired by Darth Vader, Stormtroopers and Sith Lord. Weekend events include the Star Wars 10K, Star Wars 5K, Star Wars Dark Side Challenge and the runDisney Kids Races, as well as the half marathon. Start perfecting your powers of the force along with your running training.
August - September
Night of Joy— Not returning for 2018
This contemporary Christian music festival takes place each September. Concerts are held at indoor and outdoor venues at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Last year admission to Saturday's concerts included a day at one of the four theme parks. Night of Joy is a separately ticketed event.
August - November
Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (Magic Kingdom)— Aug. 17, 24, 28 and 31; Sept. 3, 7, 9, 11, 14, 16, 18, 19, 21, 23, 25, 26, 28 and 30; Oct. 2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 19, 21, 23, 25, 26, 28, 30 and 31
Another favorite of Disney World events in 2018, Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party takes place at Magic Kingdom on select nights each fall. The party's biggest highlights are watching Mickey's Boo-to-You Halloween Parade, Happy HalloWishes Fireworks and Hocus Pocus Villain Spectacular. The party features trick-or-treating in the park and Disney characters dressed in Halloween costumes. The party is not included with regular admission to Magic Kingdom and requires a separate ticket. We recommend purchasing tickets in advance since these parties do sell out. Purchase your tickets from your favorite frogs here! If you're thinking about going, check out our Guide to Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
September - November
Epcot International Food & Wine Festival— Aug. 30 - Nov. 12
The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival takes place every fall at Epcot. If you're looking for Disney World events in 2018 with plenty of food & drink, this is one of them! The festival features more than 25 international marketplace kiosks, which offer tapas-sized portions of regional specialties as well as recommended wine and beer pairings. Guests can also spend time sharpening their culinary and beverage skills in seminars. There are also opportunities to partake in special dining experiences with celebrity chefs for an additional charge. This a major event and proper planning can help you make the most of it.
Eat to the Beat! Concert Series is included with admission to the park. The concerts feature many acclaimed artists. Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is included with regular theme park admission.
Get a taste of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival with our Sights & Sounds video.
Eat to the Beat 2018 Lineup has not yet been announced.
Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend— Nov 1 - 4
The Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend is one of the Disney World events in 2018 where you can experience the delights of two events. It combines the magic of a runDisney race with the festivities of the Food & Wine Festival. Races include the Disney Fall Feast 5K, Kids Races and the Half Marathon. The half marathon takes place at nighttime! Registration is not yet available, but you may sign up for a reminder.
November - December
Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party (Magic Kingdom)— Nov. 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 25, 27, 29 and 30; Dec. 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20 and 21
One of our favorites of Disney World events in 2018 (and every year), Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is a special event held on select nights each winter at Magic Kingdom. The party runs from 7 p.m. until midnight. The big highlights from this event are Mickey's Once Upon A Christmastime Parade, Holiday Wishes fireworks, Mickey's Most Merriest Celebration Castle Stage Show and a magical snowfall over Main Street, U.S.A.
There are also plenty of opportunities to meet your favorite Disney characters, some of whom are decked out in their holiday finest. Cookies and hot cocoa are included with admission to this separately ticketed event. It is recommended you purchase tickets in advance; it is common for nights to sell out. Purchase your ticket to the party here! Check out our Guide to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.
While Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is a separate admission event, there are still many festive holiday Disney World events in 2018. Each one brings merriment with the right touch of Disney. Let our Complete Guide to Disney World Holiday Events be your holiday planner.
Epcot International Festival of the Holidays - Candlelight Processional (Epcot)—2018 Dates TBD
Epcot International Festival of the Holidays - Candlelight Processional takes place each winter in Epcot's World Showcase. Storytellers from many of the countries, such as Father Christmas at the United Kingdom pavilion, recount holiday customs from their respective countries. Guests can also have their picture made with Santa and Mrs. Claus at the American Adventure Pavilion.
The Candlelight Processional is performed three times nightly. The show tells the story of Christmas with a celebrity narrator accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra and mass choir. Epcot International Festival of the Holidays - Candlelight Processional is included with regular admission to Epcot. We have tips on all of these festivities here.
Sunset Season's Greetings (Disney's Hollywood Studios)— 2018 Dates TBD
Debuting in 2017, Sunset Season's Greetings lights up Tinseltown as snow falls. Sunset Boulevard twinkles as favorite faces come to life. Look above as the billboards begin to move into motion and tell a tale — brought to you by iconic characters sharing their love for the season. Look down to see the Hollywood Tower Hotel come to "light" as it tells the stories of these characters.
Holidays at Disney Springs— 2018 Dates TBD
Holidays at Disney Springs is a special event that replaced Festival of the Seasons at Downtown Disney (the previous name for the entertainment area). It offers live entertainment, festive decor and fun photo ops. You also have the opportunity to meet Santa at a new location across from Ghiradelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop. There are holiday carolers, Toy Soldier stilt walkers and street performers. Dance the night away at a holiday dance party.
Last year's holiday decorations included the Disney Springs' Christmas Trail, a trail of trees decorated and themed as Disney characters. Disney Springs Marketplace was transformed into a winter wonderland with snow fall, toy soldiers and more. Holidays at Disney Springs is one of the free Disney World events in 2018.
The Frog Family is proud to provide you with this Guide to Disney World events in 2018. By now you've realized that the parties, festivals and events are some of the best reasons to visit! If you are looking for more tips, check out the When to Visit Orlando page on our Orlando Planning Timeline!