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Universal Orlando Special Events for 2015-2016

by Leap on October 27, 2015

We're continuing our look at the special events coming to the theme parks this year. From Mardi Gras to Halloween Horror Nights®, we're taking a look at the Universal Orlando® Resort special events for 2015. You'll find the Universal Orlando special events for 2015 listed on our Crowd Calendar, a great tool for planning when to visit. You can find more resource to help you plan your trip in our Orlando Planning Guide.

These special events appear in the order that they are held throughout the year. We don't have dates yet for all of the 2015 events, but we'll be adding them to this page as soon as they become available.

Universal Orlando Special Events for 2015


A Celebration of Harry Potter (Universal Studios Florida®)

Universal Orlando special events for 2015 - A Celebration of Harry Potter

A Celebration of Harry Potter™ takes place at the end of January. The 2016 dates are  Jan. 29- 31. Attendees have the chance to join in interview and autograph sessions with film talent, learn the art of dueling, visit a Harry Potter expo and more! The event has something for Harry Potter fans of all ages. Some of the 2015 film talent in attendance included Michael Gambon (Albus Dumbledore), Robbie Coltrane (Rubeus Hagrid), Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood) and more! A Celebration of Harry Potter is included with regular park admission, although guests who have purchased the specific A Celebration of Harry Potter™ Vacation Package are admitted ahead of regular park guests and are invited to the Exclusive Evening Event in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™.


Mardi Gras (Universal Studios Florida®)

Universal Orlando special events for 2015 - Universal Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras takes place each spring on select nights at Universal Studios starting in February and going through April. Highlights of this family-friendly event include the Mardi Gras parade through the park and 16 live concerts, plus authentic New Orleans bands. Major acts of 2015 included Jessie J, Heart, Kelly Clarkson, Barenaked Ladies and The Band Perry. Make sure to come hungry, because there is plenty of Cajun food and drinks to fill you up! 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’Briens®, CityWalk’s Mardi Gras headquarters.

Mardi Gras 2016 Concert Lineup has not yet been announced.

Universal Orlando special events for 2015 - Universal Mardi Gras

French Quarter 2016 Concert Lineup has not yet been announced.

(Read more about Mardi Gras at Universal Studios here.)

(Watch a video of the Mardi Gras 2014 sights and sounds.)


Rock the Universe (Universal Studios Florida)

Some of Christian rock's biggest performers take to the stage at Universal Studios. This year it will be held on Sept. 11 and 12. Switchfoot and Kari Jobe are some of the artists performing at this separately ticketed event that is not included with regular theme park admission.

Rock the Universe 2015 Full Lineup

Sept. 11




Sept. 12

Casting Crowns

Jesus Culture


September – October

Halloween Horror Nights® (Universal Studios)*

Universal Orlando special events for 2015 - Halloween Horror Nights

Universal Orlando's biggest event of the year is held on select nights every fall at Universal Studios. This year the event starts on Sept. 18 and goes through Nov. 1. For horror fans and those of you who just like to be scared, this event is not to be missed. The park is transformed from bubbly theme park into a place of terror, with "scare zones" set up and creatures roaming 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 that are themed around popular TV shows, classic films and some of your favorite video games. This event is not intended for children and is not included with regular theme park admission. Tickets go on sale a month or so before the event begins, and we do recommend buying tickets in advance as some nights do sell out.

(Scenes from our night at Halloween Horror Nights 2014)

(Tips for attending Halloween Horror Nights)

(Watch a video of the Halloween Horror Nights Sights & Sounds.)

November - December

25th Anniversary Concert Series

Universal Orlando's 25th Anniversary Concert Series is returning to the Music Plaza Stage at Universal Studios Florida. The concerts are held on weekends, November 14-28. This event is included with your regular park admission.

25th Anniversary Concert Series 2015 Lineup

Nov. 14 - Jason Derulo

Nov. 21 - Colbie Caillat

Nov. 22 - Flo Rida

Nov. 27 - Carly Rae Jepsen

Nov. 28 - Daughtry

Macy’s Holiday Parade (Universal Studios)

Universal Orlando special events for 2015 - Macy's Holiday Parade

Floats and balloons direct from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City head south for the winter during the Macy's Holiday Parade, which also features the big man himself — Santa! Holidays at Universal Studios Florida® goes from Dec. 5, 2015 through Jan. 2, 2016. Macy’s Holiday Parade is included with regular park admission.

Tips for celebrating Universal's holiday fun

December – January

Grinchmas (Universal's Islands of Adventure®)

Universal Orlando special events for 2015 - Grinch at Islands of Adventure

For those of you who love the Grinch, there is no finer time to visit Islands of Adventure than December. Seuss Landing is transformed into the wonderful world of Grinchmas with the heartwarming live show, the Grinchmas Wholiday Spectacular, featuring some of your favorite Grinch characters and set to music recorded by Mannheim Steamroller. Guests can get up close and personal with the Grinch himself for pictures or autographs. Holidays at Universal's Islands of Adventures® goes from Dec. 5, 2015- Jan. 2, 2016. Grinchmas is included with regular park admission.

Mannheim Steamroller (Universal Studios)

This is a concert of modern Christmas music that takes place during Holidays at Universal Studios. Mannheim Steamroller performs this year on the Music Plaza Stage on Dec. 5, 6, 12, 13, 19 and 20.

Tips for celebrating Universal's holiday fun

Related: Special Events at the Walt Disney World Resort

We wanted to provide you this overview of the Universal Orlando Special Events for 2015, because the parties, festivals and events are some of the best reasons to visit! You will find more resources and tips for planning your Universal Orlando trip inside our Orlando Planning Guide


Separately ticketed event. Event occurs rain or shine. Dates, times, attractions and entertainment are subject to availability and may change without notice. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade & Related Characters © 2015 Macy’s Inc. All rights reserved. Dr. Seuss properties TM & © 2015 Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. All rights reserved. Universal elements and all related indicia TM & © 2015 Universal Studios. All rights reserved.

Keep hopping, Leap!
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William Bulawan Jul 7, 2014 at 6:10 a.m.

Will undercover be selling tickets for universal's halloween horror nites...

FrogBlog Jul 14, 2014 at 4:03 p.m.

Hi William,

We expect to have these tickets available by the end of this week!



Melissa P May 11, 2015 at 4:25 p.m.

Do you need to buy a special ticket for the upcoming Universal's 25th Anniversary Concert Series? or is it included with park admission? or is it free on city walk?

FrogBlog May 11, 2015 at 12:36 p.m.

Hi Melissa,

These concerts are included with regular admission to Universal Studios Florida!

Keep hopping!


Lola Jun 17, 2015 at 1:16 p.m.

Hello there,

WOuld you know what is planned at Universal Studios on 4th July? We'll be there on this day with my husband (from France), and we would love to enjoy a special celebration night :)

Many thanks!

FrogBlog Jun 17, 2015 at 8:51 a.m.

Hi Lola,

Universal Studios does not typically do anything special to celebrate the holiday, although the usual festivities will be in place. The parks will be very busy, though, so keep that in mind.

Keep hopping!


Steph Jun 21, 2015 at 6:38 p.m.


I'm wondering if Universal Express passes are usually needed during Columbus Day weekend. We will be staying 10/8 - 10/11 for my birthday and want to stay onsite. I like Cabana Bay's look and price better than Royal Pacific, but RP comes with Express passes. Any suggestions? Thank you.

FrogBlog Jun 23, 2015 at 6:39 a.m.

Hi Steph,

Columbus Day isn't a huge draw for crowds unlike many of the other holidays, so I think you would be OK staying at Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort and not having Universal Express. You will have access to Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World, and I would highly recommend you attend and ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts during these times. Once the hour is up, or even just before the park officially opens, head to the most popular rides in the park. At Universal's Islands of Adventure, these are the Amazing Adventures of Spider Man and the Incredible Hulk Coaster. At Universal Studios Florida, the most popular rides are Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, TRANSFORMERS: The Ride 3D an Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit.

Keep hopping!


DT51 Jul 7, 2015 at 1:23 a.m.

We will be visiting Dec 3-9,2015. I'm on the fence about staying at Cabana Bay because its cheaper or staying at a deluxe for the Express Pass. In this time frame do I really need the express pass?

FrogBlog Jul 7, 2015 at 11:14 a.m.

Hi there,

Having Unlimited Express is ALWAYS nice no matter when you visit, but you shouldn't really need it during this time. Cabana Bay is a terrific resort and you get the early entry to The Wizarding World.

Keep hopping!


Paul Jul 28, 2015 at 6:39 a.m.

Hello there! just wondering if it is possible to purchase discounted Halloween Horror Nights tickets with our Universal tickets from your site? Thanks!

FrogBlog Aug 3, 2015 at 2:34 p.m.

Hi Paul,

We expect to have these available in the next couple of weeks! Stay tuned!


Tara Aug 26, 2015 at 1:52 p.m.

Is anything special going on for Halloween in Diagon Alley, Hogsmead, and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter?


FrogBlog Aug 27, 2015 at 1:22 p.m.

Hi Tara,

There isn't an official special event for Halloween in The Wizarding World, but that's a great idea ;)

Keep hopping!


Lori Oct 4, 2015 at 2:27 a.m.

Is there a Macy's parade everyday from December 5 to January 2?

FrogBlog Oct 6, 2015 at 10:45 a.m.

Hi Lori,

Yes, the parade is daily from that time period.

Keep hopping!


LoveHolidays Oct 12, 2015 at 12:57 p.m.


My family and I will be in Orlando from December 26 to 2nd January. Our kids are 10 and 13. What events are there for New Years Eve besides Dsiney? Does Universal have fireworks at 12.00?

Thanks in advance

FrogBlog Oct 28, 2015 at 10:25 a.m.

Hi there,

We'll have more details on the blog soon about New Year's Eve options. Generally the parks don't announce plans this far in advance, but LEGOLAND Florida will offer its Kids' New Year's Eve event again this year. The festivities are earlier in the evening, so the kids and parents don't have to stay up too late. Universal had a New Year's Eve event last year at CityWalk, but it was limited to those 21 and up. We don't yet know what Universal has in store this year.

Keep hopping!


Jessica Oct 17, 2015 at 5:09 a.m.

Is Grinchmas a production and if so what time does it happen at?

FrogBlog Oct 30, 2015 at 9:46 a.m.

Hi Jessica,

The Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular and Grinch character breakfasts happen at select times, which have not yet been published. The actual Grinchmas decor and fun does not!

Keep hopping!


barn Nov 9, 2015 at 5:05 p.m.

Plan to come for Thanksgiving week Nov 23 - 26. Should I get an express pass?

FrogBlog Nov 16, 2015 at 1:45 p.m.

Hi there,

It will be busy, but I would expect Thanksgiving to be the busiest day of your trip. You could wait to buy and then see how it goes Monday and purchase accordingly.

Keep hopping!


Kim Nov 9, 2015 at 8:49 p.m.

We will be there is thanksgiving for one day u suggest the two park pass and also the express tickets ( we have older kids)

FrogBlog Nov 18, 2015 at 8:52 a.m.

Hi Kim,

Yes, I would. You can learn more about Universal Express and when to use it here.

Keep hopping!


Susan Nov 20, 2015 at 5:43 p.m.

Two questions:

What is Grinchmas?

And do I need a special ticket for Mannheim Steamroller?

FrogBlog Nov 24, 2015 at 8:07 a.m.

Hi Susan,

We have more information about Grinchmas here. Mannheim Steamroller is included with regular park admission.

Keep hopping!


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