Theme parks’ summer simmers with revived events – Orlando Sentinel

The summer of 2022 will be sprinkled with new and returning events at Orlando’s theme parks. The phased rollout of entertainment that was suspended during pandemic makes busier than traditional summer season, back when most fresh attractions were available by Memorial Day.

The announcements have sputtered out, so here’s a roundup, arranged chronologically, of what’s coming up. There are question marks a far as timing goes (Revived “Fantasmic”? Tron ride? Pirate River Quest?) in the parks, so this recap deals only with events with official opening dates.

A scary realization: Halloween season starts in Central Florida in two months. But there will be plenty of fireworks to go around first.

The celebration runs all summer, June 4 through August 7, and is all included with regular park admission!
– Original Credit: Legoland Florida (Legoland Florida / Courtesy photo)

· SeaWorld Orlando is hosting its Electric Ocean event with rescued-animal presentations, dance parties, “Elmo Rocks” and the new “Ignite 360″ fireworks show. It runs select dates through Sept. 5.

· Legoland Florida holds Lego Friends Weekends on Saturdays and Sundays through June 26 (and the Red, White & Boom events July 2-4).

· Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival runs daily through July 4. This weekend’s Garden Rocks performances are by Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone.

“Finding Nemo: The Big Blue … and Beyond” debuts at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The stage show is a re-imagined fish tale, replacing “Finding Nemo: The Musical.” Some songs, scenes and puppets are back, along with new projections and staging in a more compact run time of 25 minutes.

Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex opens at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The newly constructed attraction, adjacent to the Rocket Garden, features flight-flown commercial spacecraft as well as models of proposed vehicles with an emphasis on space travel. On the upper level is KSC Spaceport, a big-screen simulator experience tailored to four outer-space scenarios.

Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue reopens at Fort Wilderness at Walt Disney World. The folksy, Wild West dinner show returns after being dark for more than two years. There are tweaks to the experience, Disney says, but, fear not, strawberry shortcake again makes an appearance.

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival cranks up 10 days after the park’s Flower & Garden Fest ends. This event, which historically launched in late August or September, moved into a July slot in an abbreviated form two years ago as Disney World reopened from its pandemic shutdown. The full-blown festival now has expanded into the meat of the summer. A complete lineup for the Eat to the Beat concert series hasn’t been announced, but Baba Men (July 14-15) and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (July 16-18) are first up.

Theme Park Rangers

Theme Park Rangers


The latest happenings at Disney, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld and other Central Florida attractions.

“The Festival of the Lion King” expands at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. A less populated version of the popular musical returned months ago, but more acts are back, including aerialists and acrobats. (Be prepared: There’s no “Lion King” show at all July 5-15.)

Craft Beer Festival overlaps with Electric Ocean at SeaWorld through Sept. 5. On tap, so to speak, are more than 100 options from Florida breweries. It runs Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Sept. 4 plus Sept. 5, Labor Day.

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party kicks off at Magic Kingdom. The after-hours, extra-ticket event includes a parade, fireworks display, “Hocus Pocus Villain Spectacular” stage show, dressed-up characters and trick-or-treating. As a 50th anniversary extra, Disney World says the party will include new 3-D photo backdrops across the park. Not-So-Scary is held on select nights through Oct. 31.

The Music After Dark event debuts at Universal Orlando, including a performance by Maroon 5 labeled a “boutique concert” on the Music Plaza Stage at Universal Studios on Aug. 26.

Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights rolls out again at Universal Studios. The resort says there again will be 10 houses, five scare zones and two shows at the after-hours, extra-ticket event, set to be held on select nights through Oct. 31.

SeaWorld Orlando brings back Howl-O-Scream, an intense, after-hours ticketed event, for a second year, followed by the kid-friendly Spooktacular, which is included in regular park admission, Sept. 10.

Email me at [email protected]. Want more theme park news? Subscribe to the Theme Park Rangers newsletter at or the Theme Park Rangers podcast at