- Sports and Recreation
Autumn Events Fun at Central Florida Theme Parks!
Travel experts and frequent visitors to theme parks in the Orlando and Tampa areas (which both comprise Central Florida) agree that the fall is the best time of year to visit. It's less crowded because a lot of kids are in school and many people stay in their states for that reason. Thant means that you can ride your favorite rides - from roller coasters to boat rides with repetitive songs - with mainly little to nary wait times. (This is especially true on weekdays, not counting Fridays or when school is closed for holidays and professional planning days.) The weather is mainly bearable for the season. Although there are days when thunderstorms stop you from riding outdoor rides, storms mainly breeze by. For the main part, the heat is not as bearable as a turismo-filled July.
Well, that season is not all that calm - it has some events that will make people head out to those hotbeds of fun. Thus, many people scratch their heads and ask themselves:
What autumn events do those parks have in store?
Horror - Live at Universal Studios!
If you want something that will allow you to push yourself out of your comfort zone in terms of terror, head down to Universal Orlando Resort, come on over to Universal Studios Florida, and experience Halloween Horror Nights on select nights! There are plenty of haunted houses with all the zombies, monsters, and ghosts that jump right at you and scare zones that will leave you terrified yet thrilled enough to want more horrific fun. Oh, and the park leaves select attractions open for you to enhance this bone-chilling experience! Better save your money, though - it requires separate admission (not recommended for children under 13)!
Howl-O-Screaming At Busch Gardens
Like Universal Studios' other event, Howl-O-Scream delivers the best scares to you at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay on select nights. It offers haunted houses filled with the right amounts of fright, scare zones guaranteed to make you too afraid to pass through, and shows destined to make you squirm in fear. Like its equally scary cousin, it's a separate ticket event and it opens up select rides to make many a scary night more enjoyable (not recommended for children under 13).
Halloween - a la Disney!
If you either think the above two events are not for your kids or pushes your buttons a bit too much, save your money for separate admission to the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort on select nights. Dress up in costume or come as you are (regardless of age) and head on over to Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Just try dressing up at the above two events at the other parks - they won't let you do that! (Have a group who wants to go to that event? Dress up in matching T-shirts or wear matching backpacks and have someone carry a pendant-like flag and dress up as a turismo! I dare you!) Go trick-or-treating with your little ones, ride select rides (I recommend that you ride rides in costumes that are not too baggy or billowy), or just pose with your Disney friends (even the villains). Speaking of the latter, you can watch Mickey's Boo to You Parade and see the spookiest fireworks display around, HalloWishes. As a Disneyphile, I strongly recommend that you check this event out.
Spooktactular Times at SeaWorld
Love all the Halloween hoopla without the extra fee for a ticket - come on down to SeaWorld Orlando for the SeaWorld's Halloween Spooktactular. On special nights, have your kids dress up in costume and have them go trick-or-treating, watch spooky shows, see marine life as they always do there or participate in fun Halloween activities. Best of all, it's all included in your admission to the park, so you won't pay extra for spooky fun!
Tastes Around the World (Showcase) at Epcot
If your religion prevents you from participating in the above events (because they are Halloween-related) or if you think you're too old for them, the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is the right place for you. Savor foods, wines, and other beverages from many nations - even the ones that don't have a pavilion on the event location: World Showcase. Here's a helpful hint for you who are going to the event - do the eating after riding the thrill rides at Future World (Test Track, Soarin', and Mission: SPACE) or do it in reverse but leave at least a half-hour gap. The sampling of cuisines from other nations is complimentary with admission, so even those with Walt Disney World Annual Passes can savor it too without paying extra for separate tickets. You have to pay for the food samples and wine, so save your money for that! Even better, share the samples with a friend to save even more! (This technique helps you cut calories too!)
Fall, like many other low seasons, is a less-crowded and quieter time to visit the Central Florida theme parks. But don't just marvel at the spaces open for dining reservations or shorter lines during that time - take the time to experience the best events of the season either with your family, your group, your spouse, or yourself. You will be surprised with all the great things they have to offer - from the best scares of your life to the many new foods of the world you've ever tasted!
For more information on crowd levels during the fall months at Walt Disney World, read my Hub, The Many Months of Disney Crowds.