When 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 returned in 2021 — with a few extra screams and scares for its 30th anniversary!).
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!
We wanted to provide you this complete guide to Universal Orlando Events in 2021 and 2022 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. You'll also 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 events, but we'll be adding them to this page as soon as they become available!
Complete Guide to Universal Orlando Resort Events in 2021 and Beyond
SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER
Halloween Horror Nights 30 (Universal Studios Florida) — Select Dates Sept. 3 to Oct. 31, 2021
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 is the movie set-quality haunted houses themed around popular TV shows, classic and current films and sometimes even video games. Halloween Horror Nights returned in 2021 in a big way for its 30th anniversary!
This event is not intended for children and is a separately ticketed event. In fact, you'll probably need our Halloween Horror Nights 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 walkthroughs of some of the haunted houses on our YouTube channel — with more on the way. Check out our favorite house of this year's event below!
Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle — Starting Sept. 18, 2021
The Dark Arts of Hogwarts Castle projection show has been summoned to Universal's Islands of Adventure once again. The show made its first (dark) mark in 2019. As darkness falls, Death Eaters (followers of the dark wizard, Lord Voldemort), infiltrate the streets of Hogsmeade as green light and fog permeate the village, right before the images of dark creatures and Voldemort himself cloak the castle walls. The showtimes run nightly from dusk until the park closes.
NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER
Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort — Nov. 13, 2021 to Jan. 2, 2022
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 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 Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in 2020!
Universal's Holiday Parade featuring Macy's (Universal Studios Florida)
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! While the parade was replaced by Universal’s Holiday Experience Featuring Macy’s Balloons and Universal’s Holiday Character Celebration in 2020, we're hoppy to announce the Holiday Parade — featuring its iconic larger-than-life balloons and your favorite Illumination and DreamWorks Animation characters — will be returning in 2021!
Grinchmas (Universal's Islands of Adventure)
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. While the show did not take place in 2020, performances will be resuming in 2021! Guests can also get up close and personal with the Grinch himself for pictures or autographs at All The Books You Can Read Bookstore.
Rock the Universe (Universal Studios Florida) — Jan. 28 to 29, 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 was 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 2022 Friday lineup includes performances from Matthew West, for KING & COUNTRY, Rhett Walker, Jordan Feliz and Riley Clemmons, and the Saturday lineup includes performances from Casting Crowns, Zach Williams, We the Kingdom, Big Daddy Weave, Cory Asbury of Bethel Music and Social Club Misfits.
FEBRUARY - MAY
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 2022!
Mardi Gras (Universal Studios Florida) — Feb. 5 to April 24, 2022
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 is 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 (if you haven't already hopped there this year!). The 2021 event was extended twice so that the good times could keep rollin'!
Mardi Gras at Universal Studios is included with regular park admission. See all of the partying for yourself!
JUNE - AUGUST
Fourth of July Celebration (Universal Studios Florida) — July 2022
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. Similar Fourth of July festivities didn't hoppen in 2021, but we'll keep an eye out in case this event returns in 2022!
Are you planning on hopping to Universal Orlando Resort this year? Which Universal Orlando events in 2021 and beyond are you most looking forward to attending? Stop by the comments to tell us below!