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Complete Guide to Universal Orlando Events in 2018

by Mommy Frog on August 1, 2018 20   Video

When it comes to putting on spectacular events, the Universal Orlando Resort doesn't hold back. The resort is home to one of the nation's premier events with Halloween Horror Nights. But don't fear if you're not into fear (like Lily). Year-round, you'll find family-friendly Universal Orlando events from Mardi Gras to the magical Christmas at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

The Complete Guide to Universal Orlando Events - Macys Parade

Just as we've done for Disney World, Busch Gardens Tampa and Sea World Orlando, we have put together our Complete Guide to Universal Orlando Events. You can easily see what's going on when you visit. Who knows, maybe you'll decide to visit just so you can attend one of the events! 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. Remember that staying on-site at one the hotels is your best way for convenient access to the theme parks.

Note: The Universal Orlando events appear in the order that they are held throughout the year. We don't have dates yet for all of the 2018 events, but we'll be adding them to this page as soon as they become available.

Complete Guide To Universal Orlando Events in 2018


A Celebration of Harry Potter (Universal Studios Florida® and Universal's Islands of Adventure®) — 2019 Dates TBD

Taking place one weekend every January at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure , Universal Orlando’s A Celebration of Harry Potter elevates the fan's experience by hosting panels of celebrity guests, special events and demonstrations.

During the event, guests can learn the learn the art of dueling in Paul Harris’s Wand Masterclass and demonstrate their knowledge of Harry Potter film trivia.  Guests can dance like Beauxbatons and battle like Durmstrang. This year’s exhibitions included the MinaLima and their 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) will be in attendance for the “Behind the Scenes: Harry Potter Film Talent Q&A Session.” There are plenty of magical happenings during the event!

A Celebration of Harry Potter is included with regular park admission.

The Complete Guide to Universal Orlando Events - A Celebration of Harry Potter

February - May

Mardi Gras (Universal Studios) 2019 — Every Night Feb. 9-April 4, 2019

Universal Orlando events even include Mardi Gras! Mardi Gras takes place each spring (usually February through March) on select nights at Universal Studios. Universal announced that the 2018 event will extend into April. Highlights of this family-friendly event include the Mardi Gras parade through the park and 12 live concerts. You can check out authentic New Orleans bands. Make sure to come hungry, because there is plenty of Cajun food and drinks to fill you up! Check out our tips for Mardi Gras at Universal Studios!

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.

See all of the partying for yourself!

Mardi Gras & French Quarter 2019 full lineup not yet announced

September - October

Rock the Universe (Universal Studios) 2018  — Sept. 7-8

Many of the Universal Orlando events include concerts, such as Rock the Universe. Some of Christian rock's biggest performers take to the stage at Universal Studios. Rock with national acts and performers. Guests also have access  to rides such as Revenge of the Mummy and Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit. This is a separately ticketed event that is not included with regular theme park admission.

Halloween Horror Nights 28 (Universal Studios) — Sept. 14, 16, 20, 21, 23, 28, 30; Oct. 3-5, 7, 10-12, 14, 17-19, 21, 24-26, 28 and 31; Nov. 1-2

One of the biggest Universal Orlando events 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 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 films and video games. The Shining was a debuting maze for Halloween Horror Nights 27.

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 month or so before the event begins, and we do recommend buying tickets in advance as some nights do sell out.

Prepare yourself for Halloween Horror Nights with this video.

November - January

Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort — Nov. 17-Jan. 6, 2019

Christmastime at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter - ( Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure) 


Your holiday wishes do come true! New for Universal Orlando events 2017, 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 Christmastime at 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 feature iconic moments from the films. Check out our video of the magical show!

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


Also new for Universal Orlando events 2017, Universal's Holiday Parade featuring Macy's debuted at Universal Studios Florida. A re-imagining of the park's long-running Macy's Holiday Parade, this extravaganza featured Dreamworks favorites. During the parade, guests see the Minions, Shrek, Madagascar and more. Yes, Santa is there as well. Brand new balloons also premiered during the 2017 event.

Mannheim Steamroller (Universal Studios)  2018 Dates TBD

This is a concert of modern Christmas music by one of the best-selling holiday artists of all time! The concert typically takes place on weekends during Holidays at Universal Studios Florida.

Get a sneak peak of Mannheim Steamroller.

Grinchmas (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, 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 is on select mornings guests can purchase. Grinchmas is included with regular park admission.

The Complete Guide to Universal Orlando Events - Grinchmas

We wanted to provide you this Complete Guide to Universal Orlando Events in 2018 because of 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 Resort trip inside our Orlando Planning Guide.

Keep hopping!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
View Comments
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Nov 22, 2017 at 1:02 a.m. Julie Dinkins-Borkowski Says...

I was trying to find out more about when Mannheim Steamroller is going to be at Universal. I went to the MS website and their touring schedule indicates they will not be anywhere near Florida on those dates. I am curious as to how this is going to work. Are they just broadcasting the concert from a separate location?

Dec 7, 2017 at 8 p.m. Dave Says...

Manheim Steamroller has several touring arms composed of different groups of musicians who perform under that name. They will be at Universal and a few other places. Think of it like Santa's "helpers" in the Malls. ;)

Nov 16, 2017 at 4:04 a.m. Carol Says...

We are wanting to go to do a Park-to-Park hop from Universal Studios to Islands of Adventure. Is it possible to see both parks in one day, what are your tips? We only have a couple of things we want to do in Islands of Adventure (Grinchmas show, and Hogsmeade lit up) so we would leave that park for last. The day we go parks open at 9:00a.m. and close at 8:00p.m.

Nov 17, 2017 at 2:16 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Carol,

Prioritize what you want to experience in both parks and make a plan. You can hop over to our 1-day park plans for Universal Orlando. If you're only wanting to see the two shows in Universal's Islands of Adventure, we think it's possible for you to see both parks in one day.

Keep hopping!


Nov 7, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. Janelle Says...

We are headed to Universal Studios on Christmas Day as a present for the kids. I have looked on the crowd calendar and it's going to be busy. Is there a plan that includes shows and rides? I'll be getting the 1 day park to park and adding on the fast pass. Kids ages are 17, 5 & 2. Please advise trying to plan this is overwhelming there is so much to see and do.

Nov 14, 2017 at 1:27 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Janelle,

You can check out our guide to holidays at Universal Orlando. Also, be sure to hop over and see our quick start planning guide for Universal Orlando!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Nov 2, 2017 at 12:05 a.m. Terry Says...

Will the new Macy's Christmas parade happen each night during the holidays. We are going to Universal Florida during Christmas week. Any suggestions for Christmas dinner for five? We are ataying at the Sapphire Falls.

Nov 2, 2017 at 8:29 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Terry,

We expect that Universal's Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s will run daily. As for Christmas dinner, look into Toothsome's Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Oct 18, 2017 at 4:29 p.m. jen Says...

Are the Universal Christmas Parade and Mannhein Steamroller concert times (not dates) published yet? Trying to plan our day by times. Thanks!

Oct 19, 2017 at 8:15 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jen,

Normally, Universal does not post showtimes online. We're heading to Universal during opening weekend and will update our Universal Orlando Holidays post with the times.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Oct 17, 2017 at 2:20 a.m. Bridgett Hernandez Says...

I plan on visiting the week before Christmas. It will be my first time experiencing Grinchmas which I am so excited for! Can you tell me if the Universal Macy's holiday parade goes through Islands of Adventures as well? Or do you have to be in Universal Studios to see the parade?

Oct 17, 2017 at 8:21 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Bridgett,

Universal's Holiday Parade Featuring Macy's is only at Universal Studios Florida. We hope you enjoy Grinchmas!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Oct 4, 2017 at 6:40 p.m. Cassidi Townsend Says...

I plan on visiting the day after Christmas through January 4th. Will there still be holiday festivities?

Oct 5, 2017 at 8:18 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Cassidi,

Holidays at Universal Studios will end Jan 6.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Oct 1, 2017 at 1:52 a.m. melissa Says...

Any restaurants in the parks serving Thanksgiving lunch/dinner? Thanks!

Oct 2, 2017 at 8:19 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Melissa,

In the past, the parks have not offered traditional Thanksgiving meals. Each of the hotels at Universal Orlando Resort offers various Thanksgiving meals.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Sep 26, 2017 at 6:55 a.m. Therese Says...

We're planning on visiting Monday-Friday after Thanksgiving. Will attractions be closed for Christmas preparations/decorating?

Sep 26, 2017 at 8:18 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Therese,

Typically, theme parks will do their Christmas preparations the first two weeks of November. Usually, everything is finished by Thanksgiving week.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Sep 20, 2017 at 3:05 p.m. Katherine Stevenson Says...

I've never done Universal for Christmas is this a seperate ticket with limited hours like Disney or regular hours and normal tickets? Thanks!

Sep 20, 2017 at 10:51 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Katherine,

The Universal Holiday events come with standard daily admission.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

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