Orlando, a city in central Florida, is home to more than a dozen theme parks. Chief among its claims to fame is Walt Disney World, comprised of parks like the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, as well as water parks. Another major destination, Universal Orlando, offers Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter straddling both. Orlando is a magical place. And it’s not just because it’s home to Cinderella’s castle at Walt Disney. There’s an incredible mix of fun things to do in this great city that make it an ideal vacationing spot for not only families but young singles, baby boomers, foodies, outdoor adventurous types, luxury shoppers and international visitors.

PHOTO: Islands of Adventure theme park. (Photo courtesy Universal Orlando Resort)

Universal Orlando, Florida

There’s enough to keep you well entertained at Universal Orlando with its myriad of rides and attractions, but throughout the year, the parks go above and beyond with an array of special events—not to mention new openings planned throughout the resort. Here’s a roundup of all the things to be on the lookout for at Universal Orlando this year.

Hagrid’s Animated Figure for Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure at Universal Orlando (Photo via Universal Orlando Resort)

Recap of 2019 Openings

This past year was an exciting one for Universal Orlando. In June alone, the theme park opened a new value hotel— Universal’s Endless summer Resort: surfside Inn & Suites; a new restaurant at CityWalk—Big Fire; and a brand-new ride at Islands of Adventure— Hagrid’s Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure. They also carried on the fan-favorite event of Halloween Horror Nights with new haunted houses. But perhaps their biggest news of the year was the plans for their fourth theme park and what they are planning for 2020.

PHOTO: Music Plaza Stage. (Photo via Universal Orlando Resort)

Rock the Universe (Universal Studios) Jan. 24-25, 2020

Every year, Universal hosts one of the biggest Christian Music festivals— Rock the universe. This year the event will be returning to Universal Studios at the end of January with an impressive lineup featuring Christian music’s top artists including Switchfoot, Chris Tomlin, TobyMac, Unspoken and more.


PHOTO: Jurassic Park, Islands of Adventure in Orlando, FL (Photo by Lauren Bowman)

Running Universal (Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure) – Feb. 1-2, 2020

Have you ever wanted to run through the theme parks and receive a medal for it? Universal is hosting its annual Epic Character Race 5k and in early February. Runners will get a load of swag and get to meet their favorite park characters from Jurassic World, Illumination’s Minions, DreamWorks and more.

PHOTO: Guests catching beads from Mardi Gras parade float. (Photo via Universal Orlando Resort)

Mardi Gras (Universal Studios Florida)-Every Night from Feb.1 – April 2, 2020

Mardi Gras at Universal Studios Florida lasts a lot longer than just a week. This daily event is marked by its iconic nightly parade and Well-known giving live performances on sixteen select nights. There will also be Cajun-style cuisine and even a tasting tent.

PHOTO: Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites. (photo via Universal Orlando Resort Media)

Universal’s Endless Summer Resort: Dockside Inn and Suites – Opening March 17, 2020

The sister resort to Universal’s Endless Summer Resort, Surfside Inn and Suites is scheduled to open mid- march. Bookings are now open for the newest hotel and visitors will be impressed by how much bang for their buck they can get at these two value resorts.

Universal Orlando’s Bourne Stuntacular (photo via Universal Orlando Resort)

The Bourne Stuntacular (Universal Studios Florida) – Spring

Universal Studios is pulling out all the stops for their newest stunt show featuring none other than Jason Bourne. With thrilling feats, live-action stunts and the perfect meddling between on-screen action and live entertainment, your heart is sure to be pumping after witnessing this new show.

PHOTO: Entrance to Universal Studios Florida theme park. (Photo courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort)

Universal Orlando’s Grad Bash (Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure) – Spring

Every year Universal Orlando likes to celebrate high school seniors at their annual Grad Bash. The parks stay open late with live DJs, entertainment and access to all the rides. There’s even a pre-party at CityWalk where participants get access to an unlimited buffet dinner for the price of admission. For those younger students who are graduating Middle School and making the leap to high school, there are also a few Gra adventure events in May where the parks stay open until midnight.

PHOTO: Halloween Horror Nights, Universal Orlando. (photo courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort)

Halloween Horror Nights (Universal Studios Florida) – Select Nights from Sept. 10 – Oct. 31, 2020

Halloween Horror Nights might just be the fan-favorite event of the year. Now in its 30th year running, Universal Studios Florida is transformed to including a whole host of haunted houses, frightening scare zones and live performances. This year there will be 10 all-new haunted houses for visitors to enjoy.

PHOTO: Universal’s Holiday Parade Featuring Macy’s. (Photo courtesy of Emily Krause)

Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort – Nov. 2020 to Dec. 2020

If scary is not your thing, don’t worry—holiday celebrations will liven up the parks through the months of November and December. A special Holiday Parade with well-loved characters from “Despicable Me,” “Shrek” and “Madagascar” make their way through the air in this Macy’s-style parade.

PHOTO: Celebrate the holidays at Universal Orlando Resort. (photo via Universal Orlando Resort Media)

Grinchmas (Universal’s Islands of Adventure)

At Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Seuss Landing turns into Whoville for ‘The Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular’ with festive food offerings and quirky Christmas decorations reminiscent of Whoville. There’s even a live retelling of the classic story featuring The Grinch himself.


PHOTO: EVE at Universal Citywalk. (Photo courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort)

EVE (Universal CityWalk)

Universal Orlando does an epic celebration for the New Year known as EVE. With live DJs, dance parties, VIP lounges, fireworks and a whole host of entertainment, this is the party you’ll want to be at to ring in the New Year.


PHOTO: A rendering of Universal’s Epic Universe. (photo courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort)

A Look Ahead: Universal’s Epic Universe

One of the biggest announcements from this past year was the unveiling of Universal Orlando’s plans for a fourth theme park. As the year unfolds, we can’t wait to get all the details on what this Epic Universe will hold, but for now, all we can do is speculate at the possibilities.

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