A year in Orlando

Foodies get an extra special celebration and a major chance to indulge themselves (responsibly, of course) at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (www.disneyworld.com; 407-824-4321; 1675 N. Buena Vista Dr., Lake Buena Vista, 32830). It's one of our favorite excuses for a caloric splurge. On the food front, tapas-size delicacies range from Maine lobster rolls to octopus on purple potato salad. But edibles, usually $3.50-$8, are just part of the fun. There are daily demonstrations by celebrity chefs as well as show and tell from dozens of brewers and winemakers (most tastings are $2.50-$5). The festival runs Sept. 26-Nov. 9 and also has wine-and-dine experiences ($135-$350). And, if music is your thing, the "Eat to the Beat" Concert Series has big-name performers such as past appearances by Little Richard, David Sanborn, The Beach Boys and others. The concerts are included in Epcot's general admission, $71 for adults, $60 for kids 3-9. The meals are extra.


Love spine-chilling fun? If so, Universal's Halloween Horror Nights (www.halloweenhorrornights.com; 407-363-8000; 1000 Universal Studios Plaza, Orlando, 32819) is one of the best ways to satisfy your cravings—but certainly not something meant for kids or the faint of heart. Very realistic ghouls, monsters and haunted rooms scare the skivvies off some adults. You'll run into Jason, Freddy Krueger and Leatherface, be invited into haunted houses and encounter scenes from Friday the 13th and Texas Chainsaw Massacre during your visit to Universal Studios Florida. The 18-year-old event runs on select nights through early November. This is a separate ticket event (about $65). By the way, guests aren't allowed to wear costumes or masks. That's how the costumed scream team (a.k.a., the staff) knows its fellow bad guys and gals from its victims. Note: If you plan to attend, consider buying your tickets in advance on the Internet because some nights sell out.

At the other end of the fright meter, Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (www.disneyworld.com; 407-824-4321; 311 World Drive, Lake Buena Vista, 32820) is a G-rated special event aimed at youngsters and families. Instead of fire-breathing fiends and ax murderers, guests dress up and go trick or treating through the Magic Kingdom. Disney characters are available for autographs and photo ops, there's a big fireworks show and the Boo to You Halloween Parade adds to the fun. This is a three-in-one treat: You can celebrate the holiday, get into the Kingdom at less-than-the-regular admission and enjoy some of the most popular rides with smaller crowds than during normal days. It runs through early November. Admission is $46 for adults, $40 for kids 3-9. Mickey's party also sells out some nights, so think about buying in advance.

If you live for bikes, beaches, blondes and bikinis, you may want to plan your central Florida visit around Daytona's annual Biketoberfest (www.biketoberfest.org; 866-296-8970 or 386-255-0415, Daytona Beach, 32114). The Oct. 16-19 celebration has the expected display of dream bikes and motorcycle processions—but there's more. The lineup includes concerts, beach parties, organized rides and races. Many things have no admission. But a warning: If you're traveling with kids you may want to steer clear of this one. In addition to blondes in sometimes-minimal bikinis, there are tens of thousands of not-always sober bikers. Daytona Beach is about an hour's drive northeast of Orlando.


Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...