Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party … Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival … cooling temperatures and lower hotel costs … Disney World in October, November, and the late summer months is one of the best times of the year to visit!
If you’re visiting Disney World in the fall, there are a few things you’ll need to know that make this season different than the rest of the year. This blog post is all about what makes Disney World in the fall unique and wonderful!
[The Basics] Visiting Disney World in October, November, and early Fall
Magic Kingdom is the only Disney World park that decorates for fall and Halloween.
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party closes Magic Kingdom early at 6:00 PM to day guests on many nights from mid-August through Halloween. Even if you aren’t attending the party, be aware of the party dates so you will know the nights when Magic Kingdom is closing early.
The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival begins in late August and runs through late November. You do not need a separate ticket to enter the festival.
Fort Wilderness campers decorate for Halloween. Visit the elaborate decorations.
Fall weather at Disney World begins hot, humid, and rainy in late August and tapers off to more reasonable temperatures and less rain by November.
Disney World experiences some of its lowest crowd levels of the year in September after Labor Day with low hotel rates as well. October, however, is turning into one of the most crowded times of the year.
[Beyond the Basics] Disney World in the Fall
Magic Kingdom in the Fall
Magic Kingdom is the most festive of the four Disney World theme parks in the fall. Autumn leaves and pumpkin decor go up on Main Street U.S.A. to the castle hub by mid-August, but you won’t see much fall decor in the other three parks during this season.
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is an extra ticketed event that takes place at the Magic Kingdom on select nights from mid-August through Halloween. I’ve also written about Disney World Halloween Must Do’s including my family’s Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party favorites.
2020 Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party dates
August 13, 18, 21, 25, 28
September 1, 4, 7, 11, 13, 15, 18, 20, 22, 25, 27, 29
October 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, 31
If you’re visiting Disney World in the fall, this party may have a huge impact on your Magic Kingdom park days, even when you’re not attending the party. On party days, Magic Kingdom closes early to day guests at 6:00 PM, several hours earlier than the usual 9:00 PM closing time.
Happily Ever After fireworks do not happen on party nights. If you want to see Happily Ever After, you need to visit Magic Kingdom on a day when there is not a party.
The afternoon Festival of Fantasy parade continues to run daily, so your parade-watching plans are not affected by the holiday parties.
The party also affects park attendance. Since day guests do not get a full day with their park ticket, many choose non-party days to visit the Magic Kingdom, making those days generally more crowded than party days.
You can use the crowd levels to your advantage if you have park hopper tickets. Enjoy Magic Kingdom during the day on a party day and then “hop” to a different park in the evening when Magic Kingdom closes to day guests. If you don’t have park hopper tickets, simply use the evening for a nice dinner at a Disney hotel or visit Disney Springs. If your family is at the parks early in the morning and wouldn’t be staying late anyway, then spend a party day at Magic Kingdom to enjoy the lower crowds during the day before the party begins!
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party affects Magic Kingdom park times and crowd levels the same way from November through December.
Epcot in the Fall
The International Food and Wine Festival at Epcot runs daily from late August through late November. This festival is an overlay at Epcot and not an extra ticketed event. Your park ticket gets you in!
While all Epcot festivals have food booths, Food and Wine has the most with over thirty. Food prices range from around $4-$9 with beverages spanning a slightly wider price range.
Free activities include the Eat to the Beat concert series which featured singers and bands including Boyz II Men, Kenny G, Sugar Ray and Hanson in previous years.
The festival also includes paid culinary demonstrations, seminars, and appearances by celebrity chefs that require a special ticket.
Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival is very popular with Florida locals who make evenings and weekends more crowded. Enjoy strolling around Epcot’s World Showcase on weekdays and have lunch at the food booths to avoid the most crowded times.
Disney Resorts in the Fall
Most Disney World Resort hotels are clear of fall decor. The notable exception is Fort Wilderness. October through Halloween is one of the most popular times of the year to camp at Fort Wilderness with campsites often selling out one year in advance or more.
Many campers go all out with Halloween and fall decor. Anyone is free to visit Disney World resorts, so stopping by Fort Wilderness, especially in October and November, is highly encouraged. Rent bikes or a golf cart on site to cover more ground quickly. If you already have reservations at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue or Trail’s End restaurant, plan on arriving early to enjoy the campsite decorations!
Fort Wilderness decorations and Halloween activities are a significant part of my Best Disney World Halloween Itinerary.
Weather at Disney World in the Fall
Central Florida is downright hot, humid, and rainy in August and September. Expect highs near or above 90 degrees and downpours almost daily in the afternoon, though these summer thunderstorms don’t stick around for long.
Weather begins to be less predictable by October. High temperatures in the 80’s are common, nights get a little cooler, and the daily rain tapers off.
By November, central Florida starts seeing temperature fluctuations so plan on nearly 90 degrees one day and highs in the 70’s the next!
Fall is also hurricane season in Florida, though these storms are rare and unpredictable that you shouldn’t worry or plan your vacation solely around avoiding hurricane season.
Disney World Crowd Levels in the Fall
As I mentioned in my Best Time To Go To Disney World, summer crowd levels begin dropping off in late August when American kids go back to school.
The month of September after the busy Labor Day weekend is one of the few noticeable “low season” times that remains at Disney World. Hotel pricing reflects this September dip in crowd levels as well, making it one of the most economical times of the year to visit Disney World.
Crowds begin returning by October and this month has turned into one of the busiest of the entire year at Disney World with school and university fall breaks being more common and crowds being lured to Disney World by the popular Food and Wine Festival and Halloween party.
Will you be visiting Disney World in the fall?