With cooler temperatures and an array of special events, there is no better time to visit Orlando than fall. Destination visitors and locals alike will enjoy our lineup of fine-dining festivals, along with spooky thrills, cultural events and immersive and interactive art performances.
Orlando has increasingly become known for its growing dining reputation, and fall offers a seasonal explosion of events for a food lover’s dream vacation. From a month-long and affordable fine-dining program to theme park and resort smorgasbords, there are flavors for all palates from August through November.
Destination visitors can dine on haute cuisine for less during the 12th year of Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month sponsored by American Express. More than 115 of Central Florida’s top restaurants will feature three-course, prix fixe dinner menus for $35, from Aug. 25 through Oct. 1. Joining the lineup of this year’s participating venues are over 30 new venues, including six restaurants from Walt Disney World Resort hotels.
– At the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (Aug. 31–Nov. 13), guests can sip and savor treasures from some of the world’s most famous wineries and celebrated chefs, as they circle the World Showcase. New eating stations this year include a Coastal Eats booth and a Cheese Studio.
– This year’s Food & Wine Weekends at Waldorf Astoria (Sept. 8–Nov. 13) celebrates fine wine and the culinary arts. Taking place over six weekends, the events include a variety of chef-created menus and pairings.
– During the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic (Oct. 27–28), visitors can taste wines from around the world and culinary dishes prepared by award-winning chefs. The event also features educational seminars from wine-blending to pasta-making led by Chef Robert Ciborowski. Returning to the event this year is a special Sunday Bubbles Brunch on Oct. 29, featuring cured meats, imported cheeses, sushi, and champagne.
Halloween celebrations in Orlando are like nowhere else in the world. Here’s a summary of this year’s key events.
– At Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (Aug. 25–Nov. 1), visitors can trick-or-treat throughout Magic Kingdom, catch the “Boo-to-You” Halloween parade or the Hocus Pocus Villain Spectacular, and stay for the bewitching “Happy HalloWishes” fireworks.
– SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular (Sept. 23–Oct. 29) at SeaWorld Orlando invites youngsters to trick-or-treat among friendly sea witches, octopuses, mermaids and pumpkin fish in an underwater “fantasia.” Cookie decorating and candy galore make this a sweet Halloween event for families to splash into.
– For those looking for a truly scary experience, Halloween Horror Nights (Sept. 15–Nov. 4) at Universal Orlando Resort will have guests facing their deepest fears in themed haunted houses, “scare zones” and mazes inspired by critically acclaimed movies and television series. This year’s terrors include American Horror Story, The Shining and more.
– If you wish to venture further south of Orlando, Brick or Treat (Oct. 14–15, 21–22, 28–29 and 31) at LEGOLAND Florida Resort promises the spookiest and kookiest event. Celebrate in October with larger-than-life LEGO models, a costume parade, trick-or-treating, a Halloween-themed fireworks show and much more.
– Artists extend beyond earthly boundaries at Orlando Museum of Art’s 1st Thursdays: Ghosts & Ghouls (Oct. 5) to create works depicting dark/horror/goth and other Halloween themes: Hollywood inspired movies or TV icons, eerie/creepy landscapes and architecture, ghostly or ghoulish images, spooky or spoofy, anything associated with the paranormal, the uncanny and the unexplained.
Food festivals and spooky thrills are not the only activities you’ll enjoy in Orlando this season. From joyful music to beautiful art, Orlando has a plethora of events for guests to get a taste of the destination’s cultural scene.
– Celebrate Irish culture at the 6th Annual Great Irish Hooley (Sept. 1–4). Central Florida’s only boutique Irish festival takes place at Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant in Disney Springs. Spend your Labor Day weekend listening to high-voltage music accompanied by the Raglan Road Irish Dancers. Enjoy contemporary Irish cuisine with Irish craft beers and hand-crafted cocktails.
– Jam out to joyful music at Orlando’s Faith and Fun Weekend (Sept. 8–9). This year’s events – Night of Joy at Walt Disney World Resort and Rock the Universe at Universal Studios Florida – feature some of the top Christian music stars from across the nation.
– Artlando (Sept. 30) is an all-day art festival featuring music, dance, visual arts, film, and food. More than 100 artists cover the lawn, displaying, selling and creating art. The Kid’s Zone features activities throughout The Cave of Art, ArtReach, Orlando Science Center and Splat exhibits. More than 20 food trucks line up, while Orlando’s prominent performing arts organizations showcase throughout the day.
– Take a stroll and admire beautiful art at the 43rd Annual Winter Park Autumn Art Festival (Oct. 14–15). This free juried art show held in downtown Winter Park (about 20 minutes from Orlando) features work by outstanding Florida artists. The event also includes live entertainment and food provided by local restaurants, and art workshops for the young ones.
– At The Orlando Film Festival (Oct. 19–26), visitors can attend events in and around the heart of Orlando, where patrons can enjoy great films in exciting venues and experience Orlando’s downtown lifestyle. The festival seeks to inspire students, as well as future and current filmmakers in the art of filmmaking and ways to enhance the movie-viewing experience.
– Experience a world where artists break past the stage and invite you into their performances at IMMERSE (Oct. 21). More than 1,000 artists and performers bring the heart of the city to life in downtown Orlando. Discover a diversity of artists with amazing talents, while experiencing interactive shows, art installations and inspiring live performances from Cirque du Soleil, the Orlando Philharmonic orchestra and the Orlando Ballet.
There’s no shortage of activities taking place this fall in Orlando, from food festivals and Halloween events to incredible films and artistic performances. Mark your calendar now and get ready to enjoy one of the destination’s best fall seasons yet.
Article and Photos via Visit Orlando