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I need to get picklist values for some Event fields (namely Subject and a few custom fields) in my external application but only for a specific record type.

It seems the appropriate way to do this is to use the UI API (/ui-api/object-info/{objectApiName}/picklist-values/{recordTypeId}): https://developer.salesforce.com/docs/atlas.en-us.uiapi.meta/uiapi/ui_api_resources_picklist_values_collection.htm

But Event is not listed as a supported object and when attempting to use it, I get an INVALID_FIELD error code.

I've found I can get this information through the metadata API, but the requests take way too long, always 2+ seconds at a minimum.

What is the best way to get this information?

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Currently facing the same problem... Unfortunately, a year and half later, there still does not appear to be an out-of-box "UI API" solution.

Your solution utilizing Apex and Metadata appears to be the best/only solution.

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