When it comes to putting on spectacular events, Universal Orlando Resort doesn't hold back. The resort has long been home to one of the nation's premier events — Halloween Horror Nights — which returns for its 29th 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 time to visit. Note: The Universal Orlando events appear in the order that they are held throughout the year. We don't yet have confirmed dates for all of the 2020 events, but we'll be adding them to this page as soon as they become available!
Complete Guide to Universal Orlando Events in 2019 and 2020
A Celebration of Harry Potter (Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure) — Didn't return for 2019; TBD for 2020
Taking place one weekend every January at Universal Orlando Resort since 2014, Universal Orlando’s A Celebration of Harry Potter elevated the fan's experience by hosting panels of celebrity guests, special events and demonstrations. Unfortunately, the Celebration did not take place in 2019.
During the 2018 event, guests learned the art of dueling in Paul Harris’ Wand Masterclass and demonstrated their knowledge of "Harry Potter" film trivia. Guests danced like Beauxbatons and battled like Durmstrang. Exhibitions from 2018 included MinaLima and its graphic props used in the films, Harry Potter: The Exhibition and Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter exhibit. Natalia Tena (Nymphadora Tonks), Stanislav Yanevski (Viktor Krum), Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley), Oliver Phelps (George Weasley) and James Phelps (Fred Weasley) were in attendance for the “Behind the Scenes: Harry Potter Film Talent Q&A Session.” There were plenty of magical hoppenings during this event, and we do hope it returns in 2020!
Rock the Universe (Universal Studios) — Jan. 24-25, 2020
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 brought another great lineup of popular Christian artists. The festival will once again return at the beginning of the year in 2020. Universal Studios Florida closed at 6 p.m. for the concerts, but guests with concert tickets were able to enter the park starting at 4 p.m. and saw performances on three stages. The 2019 lineup included Skillet, Lecrae, Bethel Music, Matthew West and more!
February - May
Mardi Gras (Universal Studios) — Select Spring Nights in 2020
This Universal Orlando rite of passage takes place each spring (usually February through March) on select dates at Universal Studios. Highlights of this family-friendly event include the Mardi Gras parade through the park and live concerts. With 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 is always plenty of Cajun food and drinks to fill you up. Check out our tips for Mardi Gras at Universal Studios so you can start planning for next year's event.
Mardi Gras 2019 Lineup
Feb. 9: Bush
Feb. 16: Gavin DeGraw
Feb. 17: Dan + Shay
Feb. 23: Macklemore
March 2: Sabrina Carpenter
March 9: Becky G
March 10: Sean Paul
March 16: Steve Miller Band
March 17: Ziggy Marley
March 23: NF
March 24: Pitbull
March 30: Bazzi
March 31: Prince Royce
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) — July 4-6, 2019
Celebrate Fourth of July at Universal Studios this year with your favorite Universal characters. Festivities kick 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 will join the dance party starting at 6:15 p.m. You won't even have to leave your spot, as the pyrotechnics display will take place over the Music Plaza starting at 9 p.m. Also for this event only, you can get food and drinks delivered right to you from the Classic Monster Cafe across the way. End the night by watching Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration at 9:45 p.m in Central Park.
September - November
Halloween Horror Nights 29 (Universal Studios) — Select Nights from Sept. 6 - Nov. 2, 2019
The biggest Universal Orlando event of the year is held on select nights every fall at Universal Studios. 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 do recommend buying tickets in advance!
Prepare yourself for Halloween Horror Nights with this video.
November - January
Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort — Nov. 16, 2019 - Jan. 5, 2020
Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure)
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 also 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)
Universal's Holiday Parade featuring Macy's debuted at Universal Studios Florida in 2017 and will return once more in 2019. 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 and more. Santa also attends so he can light up the New York Christmas tree!
Grinchmas (Islands of Adventure)
For those of you Who love the Grinch, there is no finer time to visit 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.
This separately ticketed event is designed for the adult froggies, specifically 21 and up. If you're looking to ring in 2020 with some dining, drinking and dancing, celebrate New Year's Eve at Universal CityWalk. It includes gourmet cuisine, live bands and DJs, along with access to six clubs and an outdoor dance floor. When the clock strikes midnight, the party shortly pauses for a champagne toast and fireworks.
We wanted to provide you this complete guide to Universal Orlando Events in 2019 and 2020 because of 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.
Related: Guide to Halloween Horror Nights