Fall is one of my favorite times to visit Walt Disney World. I love Halloween and seeing all the pumpkins, leaves, and other fall decorations around the parks put me in a super festive spirit! Aside from the atmosphere, I also love the events that take place during the fall season- there’s a lot to see and do in Disney from September to December, and the best part is, you can usually experience everything with more pleasant weather and slightly fewer crowds. Here are the top things to keep in mind when visiting Disney World in the fall.
Editor’s Note: We understand that with the phased reopening of Walt Disney World, some of the advice in this article may not apply if you visit while park hours are reduced, capacity limits and physical distancing are in place, and some of our favorite experiences—fireworks, parades, and character greetings—are temporarily suspended. (You can read everything you need to know about the phased reopening by clicking here). We will continue to share articles that give guidance on a “normal” vacation to Walt Disney World, along with any special changes or instructions you may need to be aware of during the phased reopening to provide the best tips we can regardless of when you are visiting. ~ Chad & Cindy
7 – Nicer Weather in Late Fall
While Orlando can still get pretty hot in the fall, even going into December, you can generally expect milder temperatures. In the summer, Orlando is known to get unbearably hot. In September, you can expect temperatures to still be in the lower 90s through the end of the month. October is a month of transition, beginning with hotter temperatures and ending with generally, much more comfortable temperatures. During late October through early December, you can usually expect temperatures between 75-85 degrees during the day, with cooler temperatures at night. Of course, predicting the weather is always tricky, so monitor the forecast for Orlando in the few weeks leading up to your vacation. Be prepared for cooler weather, but don’t leave behind those hats, sunglasses, and bottles of sunscreen just yet.
6 – Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
Editor’s Note: During the phased reopening of Walt Disney World, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party was canceled in 2020. No announcement has been made for 2021.
One of the best things about planning a fall trip to Disney World is the option of attending Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Starting in mid-August and lasting until November 1st, the Halloween Party is a separately ticketed event in the Magic Kingdom. At the party, you can celebrate Halloween in costume while most rides and quick-service food locations remain open. There are trick-or-treat stations set up around the park where you can load up on candy, as well as unique character meet-and-greets. There is a Halloween-themed parade, stage show, and fireworks celebration, as well as fun photo opportunities and merchandise. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is a great way to get into the fall spirit, but even if you don’t attend, there are Halloween decorations situated throughout all parks and resorts during this time of year.
5 – Epcot International Food and Wine Festival
Another fun event that occurs during the fall is the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. The festival usually runs from late-August to Mid-November, so you’ll have plenty of chances to visit if your vacation falls during one of those months. The Food and Wine Festival is included with park admission to Epcot, and consists of plentiful booths set up around the World Showcase. Each booth represents a different country or ingredient/cooking style, and serves food in snack-size portions. Along with trying different foods and specialty drinks, you can also attend cooking demonstrations, seminars, see celebrity chefs, and rock out to Epcot’s Eat to the Beat concert series. This festival is definitely something to check out if you’re in Disney during the fall season!
4 – Wine and Dine Half-Marathon
Editor’s Note: Because of the phased reopening of Walt Disney World, the 2020 Wine and Dine Half-Marathon was a virtual race. No decision has been made for 2021.
For those who feel like working out after indulging at the Food and Wine Festival, there is the Wine and Dine 10K and Half Marathon that takes place in November. This event is a popular weekend for runners, as the races provide not only courses through the parks, but also interactions with Disney characters, special entertainment, and an after-hours Post-Race Party just for runners and their guests (with access to Epcot’s attractions and Food and Wine Festival). Families of runners can cheer them on, and kids can even sign up for their own dashes. Disney also offers a Fall Feast 5K and a Two-Course Challenge. Sign-ups start in March, so if you’re interested in participating, make sure to keep an eye on the Disney website!
3 – Walt Disney World’s Anniversary
Magic Kingdom and Epcot both opened on October 1st (Magic Kingdom in 1971, and Epcot in 1982). Both parks usually hold small celebrations to commemorate the occasion, but in the meantime, the whole resort is gearing up for the big 50thAnniversary taking place in 2021. It’s going to be an amazing celebration and we can’t wait!
2- Lower Crowds
Editor’s Note: During the phased reopening of Walt Disney World, capacity limits are in place to keep the crowds low to promote physical distancing.
While it’s true that there really is no “slow” season anymore at Disney World, early fall generally brings lighter crowd levels. Historically, September has shown to be the best month to visit Disney World, since kids will have gone back to school. It gets busier as Halloween approaches, and then slows down again (slightly) in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, as most families plan their trips during the holiday season. If you visit during the fall, you can’t expect the parks to be empty, but you also won’t have to deal with the number of people that the summer months typically bring.
1- September is Rainy Season
In my opinion, this is one of the most important things to keep in mind if you visit Disney World in the fall. A lot of guests who live out of state expect rain in the summer, but don’t realize that storms can be just as prevalent in the fall. September is actually the height of Orlando’s rainy season, and guests should prepare themselves for the chance of daily afternoon thunderstorms. Hurricane season also lasts until late November, so you’ll want to check the weather forecasts before your trip. However, don’t let the chance of thunderstorms put a damper on your visit! Rain tends to drive away crowds and gives the weather a chance to cool down. I always have a blast visiting the parks during September – it truly is one of the best months to visit, rain or shine.
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