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Schedule of Universal Orlando Resort Events in 2020 and 2021

Schedule of Universal Studios Florida Events - PinterestWhen it comes to putting on spectacular events, Universal Orlando Resort doesn't hold back. Universal Studios Florida has long been home to one of the nation's premier events — Halloween Horror Nights (which unfortunately has been canceled this year).

If scary isn't your style, you'll find other year-round, family-friendly Universal Orlando events such as Mardi Gras and Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Our frog family leaps at the chance to experience as many of the annual events as we can, and we know yours will too!

You'll find all of the Universal Orlando events listed on our Crowd Calendar, which is the easiest way to see the best times to visit. Note: These Universal Orlando Resort events appear in the order that they are held throughout the year. We don't yet have confirmed dates for all of the 2020 and 2021 events, but we'll be adding them to this page as soon as they become available!

Complete Guide to Universal Orlando Resort Events in 2020 and 2021


Rock the Universe (Universal Studios Florida) — Postponed Until January 2022

A separately ticketed special event, Rock the Universe is Florida's biggest Christian music festival. Universal moved the dates of this event from September to February for 2019, and it will once again return January 2022 (the 2021 event has been canceled). Universal Studios Florida closes at 6 p.m. for the event, but guests with concert tickets are able to enter the park starting at 4 p.m. The 2020 Friday lineup included performances from Switchfoot, Newsboys United, Tenth Avenue North, Tauren Wells and Tedashii and The Afters, and the Saturday lineup included performances from Chris Tomlin, TobyMac, Bethel Music, We Are Messengers, Unspoken and I Am They.


Running Universal (Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure) 

Universal Orlando Resort hosted its first-ever Epic Character Race 5K and 10K weekend in 2020. We ran through the theme parks, met our favorite characters along the way and earned a toadally awesome medal! Check out our review of the first race weekend at Universal Orlando. No future races have been announced quite yet, but we're hopful there are more to come in 2021!

Mardi Gras (Universal Studios Florida) — February to April 2021

Universal Orlando Events - Dance Party at Mardi Gras

This Universal Orlando rite of passage takes place each spring on select dates at Universal Studios. Highlights of this family-friendly event include the Mardi Gras parade through the park and live concerts. With flashy floats created by Kern Studios, the company that has created Mardi Gras floats in New Orleans since 1947, this event is as authentic as it gets (while still remaining kid-friendly)! You can check out authentic New Orleans bands. Plus, there are Universal Studios concerts from big names in rock, pop, country and more! There are always plenty of Cajun food and drinks to fill you up too. Check out our tips for Mardi Gras at Universal Studios so you can start planning for next year's event. Note that event dates and hoppenings are subject to change as Universal continues to monitor the current health environment.

Mardi Gras 2020 Lineup

Details about the 2021 concert lineup have not been released yet. But below is the list of performers from the most recent Mardi Gras event:

  • Feb. 1: The Roots
  • Feb. 8: Karol G
  • Feb. 15: Bell Biv DeVoe
  • Feb. 16: +Live+
  • Feb. 22: Kool & the Gang
  • Feb. 29: TLC
  • March 7: REO Speedwagon
  • March 8: Dustin Lynch
  • March 13: Luis Fonsi
  • March 14: Flo Rida
  • March 15: Sugar Ray

Canceled due to COVID-19:

  • March 20: Chris Young
  • March 21: Earth, Wind & Fire
  • March 22: Marshmello
  • March 28: Why Don't We
  • March 29: Gavin DeGraw

Mardi Gras at Universal Studios is included with regular park admission. After the fun in the park is done, head over to Universal CityWalk, where the party continues at seven venues, including Pat O’Brien's, CityWalk’s Mardi Gras headquarters.

See all of the partying for yourself!


Fourth of July Celebration (Universal Studios Florida) — July 2021

Universal Orlando Events - Fourth of July Celebration

We celebrated Fourth of July at Universal Studios Florida with our favorite Universal characters in 2019. Festivities kicked off at the Music Plaza at 5 p.m. with DJ M-Squared spinning top tunes and live music from Raydio. Characters and stilt walkers joined the dance party and showed off their moves. The pyrotechnics display took place over the Music Plaza once the sun went down. We even got food and drinks delivered right to us on the lawn from the Classic Monster Cafe across the way! We ended the night by watching Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration in Central Park.

Universal Orlando has not announced its return for 2021 yet (and it did not take place in 2020).


Leap's Note: Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood have made the difficult decision to cancel Halloween Horror Nights for 2020. We are hopful that the event will return in 2021. 

Halloween Horror Nights 30 (Universal Studios Florida) — Select Nights in September, October and November

The biggest Universal Studios Florida event of the year is held on select nights every fall. For horror fans, and those of you who just like to be scared, Halloween Horror Nights is not to be missed! The park is transformed from a bubbly theme park into a place of terror. "Scare zones" are set up while creatures roam about. Think you're safe? Ha! You might just find a zombie breathing down your neck. The big lure of the night are the movie set-quality haunted houses themed around popular TV shows, classic and current films and sometimes even video games.

This event is not intended for children and is a separately ticketed event. In fact, you'll probably need our Halloween Horror Nights survival guide just to make it through the night. Tickets go on sale a few months before the event begins, and we highly recommend buying tickets in advance!

Prepare yourself for Halloween Horror Nights with this video of the 2019 event.

Universal Halloween Activities — Select Nights in September, October and November

While the full Halloween Horror Nights experience may not be available for 2020, Universal gave us something to haunt our nightmares until the full event returns. At Universal Studios Florida, guests can experience two brand-new, socially distanced haunted houses using the Virtual Line Experience ... and it's included in your admission! Over at Universal's Islands of Adventure, tadpoles can trick or treat at select retailers. Plus, spooky season merchandise and food is available for everyone to enjoy all around the resort. This limited-time experience will take place Sept. 21 to 22, Sept. 26 to 27 and Oct. 3 to Nov. 1.


Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort — Nov. 14, 2020, through Jan. 3, 2021

Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure)

Universal Orlando Events - Hogsmeade Decorations

Holiday wishes do come true! Muggles are able to experience Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley trimmed with festive holiday decorations. Even the shops of the Wizarding World are trimmed! There are holiday-themed food and drinks, as well as entertainment.

The highlight of Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a holiday show taking place on Hogwarts Castle. This incredible experience uses mapped-projection technology to "cast a spell" onto the castle and features iconic moments from the films. Check out our video of the magical show!

Universal's Holiday Parade featuring Macy's (Universal Studios Florida)

Universal Studios Florida Events - Minion Float in Universal’s Holiday Parade Featuring Macy’s

Universal's Holiday Parade featuring Macy's debuted at Universal Studios Florida in 2017. A re-imagining of the park's long-running Macy's Holiday Parade, this extravaganza features Dreamworks favorites. During the parade, guests see the Minions, Shrek, "Madagascar" characters and more. Santa also attends so he can light up the New York Christmas tree!

Grinchmas (Universal's Islands of Adventure) 

Universal Studios Florida Events - Who-liday Spectacular

For those of you Who love the Grinch, there is no finer time to visit Universal's Islands of Adventure than during Grinchmas. Seuss Landing is transformed into the wonderful world of Grinchmas with the heartwarming live show, "Grinchmas Wholiday Spectacular." The show features some of your favorite Grinch characters. It's also set to music recorded by Mannheim Steamroller.

Guests can get up close and personal with the Grinch himself for pictures or autographs. You can even have breakfast with him! The Grinch & Friends Character Breakfast occurs on select mornings and is a dining experience that requires a reservation booked in advance. Grinchmas, however, is included with regular park admission.

We wanted to provide you this complete guide to Universal Orlando Events in 2020 and 2021 because the Universal Studios concerts, parties, festivals and events are some of the best reasons to visit! You will find more resources and tips for planning your Universal Orlando Resort trip inside our Orlando Planning Guide.

Are you planning on hopping to Universal Orlando Resort this year? Which Universal Orlando events in 2020 and 2021 are you most looking forward to attending? Be sure to stop by the comments to tell us below!

Related: Halloween Horror Nights Orlando Survival Guide

Related: A ~Froggy~ Festive Guide to Christmas at Universal Orlando Resort

Hoppy planning!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
View Comments
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1–50 of 1513 comments
Jul 27, 2020 at 5:31 p.m. Sharon Coulton Says...

My family and I had to reschedue our holiday and coming to Orlando 19th April 2021 for 21 days and have Universal 3 park Explorer tickets. Do we need to pre book the dates we wish to visit the parks like we have had to do with Disney.

Jul 27, 2020 at 12:46 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sharon!

No reservation is necessary to enter Universal Orlando at this time. Have a great trip!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Feb 18, 2020 at 11:05 p.m. Chris Halle Says...

We’ll be coming to Universal for the 1st time Tuesday March 2nd. Is any thing good happening on that date also we would like to see 2 parks there. Pricing please? Not sure to buy online or at the gate.

Feb 23, 2020 at 10:18 p.m. Angela Steward Says...

Awesome! Universal is Me and My sons FAVORITE theme park! You will not be disappointed! We have been going almost every year for the past 15 years and it never gets old! We will actually be there the first week in March too!!! Have an awesome time!!!

Feb 21, 2020 at 12:18 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Chris!

Mardi Gras will be going on at that time! You can find all of our Universal Orlando Resort tickets and pricing here; we'd recommend a 2-day park-to-park ticket so that you're able to hop back and forth between the parks :) Have a great trip!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Jan 9, 2020 at 4:15 a.m. Ryan Salter Says...

Have you heard anything if they have a celebration planned for the 10th anniversary of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter?

Jan 13, 2020 at 9:17 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Ryan!

We haven't just yet, unfortunately ... we definitely have our fingers and toes crossed! If we hear anything, we'll be sure to update you!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Dec 28, 2019 at 8:45 p.m. Sara Smith Says...

Why are early 2019 events posted still? You had my hopes up that Steve Miller Band would be performing while I was going to be vacationing. Very disappointing.

Dec 30, 2019 at 8:04 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sara!

Since 2020's Mardi Gras lineup hasn't been announced just yet, we left 2019's lineup up under "2019 Lineup" so that others who haven't attended before might get a sense for the artists available at Mardi Gras in previous years. We'll be sure to update accordingly once 2020's lineup is announced!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Aug 26, 2019 at 12:32 a.m. Andrea Says...

Have you heard any rumblings about the Harry Potter Celebration for 2020?

Aug 26, 2019 at 11:46 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Andrea,

As far as official confirmation goes, we have not heard one way or the other (haven't heard any rumblings either). But unfortunately, its return seems unlikely — Rock the Universe is confirmed for the last weekend of January, which is when A Celebration of Harry Potter usually takes place. However, if we hear anything different, we'll update here!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Aug 23, 2019 at 6:06 p.m. Anthony Says...

We will be there from November 8th through November 11th. It looks like this is in between Halloween and Christmas shows. Will there be any nighttime shows on our visit?

Aug 27, 2019 at 10:46 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Anthony!

That's correct. However, Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration runs on select nights. Right now, it’s not showing dates in Nov. but keep checking the schedule of events to see if any dates pop up during your trip!

Keep hopping!


Jul 8, 2019 at 4:53 a.m. ev mabrouk Says...

love universal

Jul 8, 2019 at 4:30 a.m. Manthark Says...

We would love to check out universal, minions are a big hit in our house!

Jul 8, 2019 at 3:48 a.m. RLK Says...

I can't wait to bring my grand kids back to a park.

Jul 8, 2019 at 3:31 a.m. AS Says...

I would so love to visit any of these parks!

Jul 8, 2019 at 3:12 a.m. Cassandra D Says...

I really like the different events.

Jul 8, 2019 at 3:03 a.m. KC Says...

My little sister passed away in Feb. She loved theme parks so much. I wish I had brought her to Universal for the Harry Potter Christmas celebration.

Jul 8, 2019 at 2:44 a.m. Newbie@47 Says...

Thanks for the info

Jul 8, 2019 at 2:39 a.m. Lawrence Alworth Says...

Universal has alot of good activities

Jul 8, 2019 at 2:34 a.m. Virginia Alworth Says...

So great to know what's going on at Universal

Jul 8, 2019 at 2:25 a.m. Vanessa Garza Says...

Can’t wait to finally take my kids. Enter to win

Jul 8, 2019 at 2:20 a.m. Jen W Says...

My kids and I are dying to go to Universal! We really hope to someday soon. ????Thank you for the tips!

Jul 8, 2019 at 2:12 a.m. Sokha Nop Says...

The best one out there

Jul 8, 2019 at 1:31 a.m. Deanna Says...

Grateful for the information!

Jul 8, 2019 at 12:55 a.m. Jocelyn C. Says...

Thanks for the info!

Jul 8, 2019 at 12:12 a.m. Megan h Says...

Universal has so many events planned out. I would love to see it for Christmas ????

Jul 8, 2019 at 12:04 a.m. Bridget Says...

Can’t wait to visit again!! Favorite place on earth ????

Jul 8, 2019 at 12:03 a.m. Elizabeth Miller Says...

What I would not give to be at pretty much any of the events but the Christmas looks amazing. My daughter has been wanting to go to Universal for 3 years now and we keep trying but something has got in the way each year. At turning 14 the end of this month, I have to make it happen soon so she can have all the memories of it.

Jul 7, 2019 at 11:49 p.m. brandy trover Says...

I would love to do all three parks! Wow amazing

Jul 7, 2019 at 11:39 p.m. Delores Harris Says...

So much info to wade through, you have it laid out for ease of use. thanks

Jul 7, 2019 at 11:28 p.m. Jose Vasquez Says...

Ive been wanting to go to universal for a long time now, I cant wait to visit!

Jul 7, 2019 at 11:25 p.m. Latosha Foreman Says...

I love undercover tourist

Jul 7, 2019 at 11:03 p.m. Katie Greve Says...

So much fun! Can’t wait to go!

Jul 7, 2019 at 10:55 p.m. Elizabeth Parks Scott Says...

Thanks! Wondering if a 4 and 6 year old boy can accomplish a park hopper at Universal and Islands of adventure. Im also thinking they are too young for Volcano Bay?

Jul 10, 2019 at 8:27 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Elizabeth!

It really depends on what you're going for (hitting all attractions? Just the big ticket attractions?) and the time of year (you can see more about crowd expectations here). If it’s slow season or you have Express Passes, you could probably get all your high priority attractions done. But if you want to see and do everything and it’s busy (without Express Passes), it might be tougher. We'd instead recommend doing one park one day and the other the next if that's the case. Most attractions at Volcano Bay have height requirements of 42 or 48 inches, so that’s something to keep in mind if your tadpole is not tall enough.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Jul 7, 2019 at 10:37 p.m. Elizabeth Guillen Says...

I hope to visit one day!

Jul 7, 2019 at 10:04 p.m. donna porter Says...

I have not been to Orlando in over 20 years. I had so much fun but I must say that Universal Studios and Sea World were the best that I visited. I would love to take my hubby on a wonderful vacation to Orlando. He is 58 and never been to Orlando and I know he would love all the attractions!

Jul 7, 2019 at 8:36 p.m. Kelly Says...

Great things to add to our to do list for our honeymoon vacay!

Jul 7, 2019 at 8:07 p.m. Sarah Says...

We just went to universal for my 30th birthday! We loved it and hope to take the kids soon!

Jul 7, 2019 at 7:57 p.m. Lisa Haye Says...

Wow...I LOVE the information about Mardi Gras in Universal Studios!! Sounds like fun! :)

Jul 7, 2019 at 7:21 p.m. Lanell Says...

Would love to take a family vacation to Universal!

Jul 7, 2019 at 6:50 p.m. Tiffany M Says...

Fingers crossed! I’ve been dying to go!

Jul 7, 2019 at 6:48 p.m. Andrew Logan Says...

Travelling March next year. What’s the best thing to do with a 6 year old

Jul 7, 2019 at 6:27 p.m. Jen Morgans Says...

I love Undercover Tourist. We are planning our 3rd trip to Disneyworld and 1st trip to Universal in April 2020. I'm ordering all our tickets through you and possibly a couple nights at Royal Pacific!

Jul 7, 2019 at 6:04 p.m. Sarah Mayer Says...

Wow, there is so much to see and do here! I'd love to check out the Wizarding World of HP.

Jul 7, 2019 at 5:57 p.m. Laura Barker Says...

Amazing prize!

Jul 7, 2019 at 5:57 p.m. DorieSue Walker Says...

I can't wait to go-to Harry Potter world

Jul 7, 2019 at 5:30 p.m. StephanieB Says...

My daughter and I read the Harry Potter series to each other every night! The Wizarding World of Harry Potter would be such a magical experience for us during our Christmas festivities. And my youngest daughter would really get a kick out of breakfast with the Grinch!

Jul 7, 2019 at 5:13 p.m. Katherine Minthorne Says...

Christmas at universal would be great!!!!

Jul 7, 2019 at 5:08 p.m. Lisa Carr Says...

Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter sounds perfect!

Jul 7, 2019 at 4:42 p.m. Teri Says...

Excited to take my son for the first time to Disney and Universal!!!

Jul 7, 2019 at 4:02 p.m. Deb Says...

Would love to go at Christmas!! Or anytime!

Jul 7, 2019 at 3:59 p.m. Sarah Hodges Says...

Universal is the best! Thanks undercover tourist!

Jul 7, 2019 at 3:40 p.m. Kelly Skibbe Says...

This trip looks awesome! I can't wait to take my kids.

Jul 7, 2019 at 3:29 p.m. Heather Covert Says...

Going in October for my daughters birthdays

Jul 7, 2019 at 3:25 p.m. Jill Dykes Says...

Lots of helpful information for a mom trying to plan a first time trip to Universal Orlando.

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