So you’ve booked a trip to Disney in October. If you’ve never been to Disney before, you might not know what to expect. Luckily, this article contains everything you need to know about crowd levels at Disney World in October.
What’s the weather like?
October, unlike the summer months, experiences cooler nights. You might even need a sweater if you plan on walking around the parks at night! It can get as cold as the mid-60s, so if you get chilly easily, it’s a good idea to bring a light jacket. If not, then enjoy the chill in the air as you experience everything the parks have to offer.
The daytime doesn’t change much from the summer; the temperatures are still pretty hot. It can get as high as the 80s, so make sure to bring a lot of water. Rain falls less in October, too, so there won’t be much relief from the heat during the day. On the plus side, hurricane season ends in September, so you won’t need to worry about any extreme weather.
This also means that the parks may be more crowded. October used to be a relatively quiet month, but word got out about the cooler temperatures, so it’s experienced a jump in numbers over the last few years. Keep that in mind as you’re traveling through the parks; everyone there has the same idea you did.
Is anything special going on?
October has a few different events you should keep in mind for your trip. You may have booked a trip in October because of these very events. If that’s the case, don’t worry. This will cover the basics of each event and tell you how it impacts crowd levels.
It’s important to know that October is not the best time of year to go to Disney World, but it also isn’t the worst. In part, this is because of the events going on in the parks. There are two events you need to know: Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and the International Food and Wine Festival.
Depending on which event you want to attend, you’ll have different kinds of crowds.
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween at Magic Kingdom
Let’s start with Not-So-Scary Halloween. This is probably one of the biggest events Disney puts on. It’s great for kids if you’re bringing any on your trip. The park puts on a big costume party and lets kids trick-or-treat. Characters hand out candy for them, and it’s all a wonderful experience. You do need to buy a ticket ahead of time if you want to join in at the party, but if you want to have fun in the rest of the park you won’t need any additional ticket. Your admission ticket will still gain you access to the parks. You can also buy your ticket when you arrive at the park, but it’s cheaper to buy before your trip.
It’s also good to know what you are and aren’t allowed to wear as costumes. The rules for children are pretty basic. As long as they aren’t wearing a mask that covers the majority of the face and their eyes are visible, you’re good to go. For adults, it’s a little more complicated. Make sure your costume does not trail on the ground, does not include excessive props or layers, and that you do no wear a mask of any kind. If you keep those things in mind, you’ll be set.
Here are the dates for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween:
- August and September have dates scattered throughout.
- Week 1: October 2nd, 4th, and 5th
- Week 2: October 8th, 9th, 11th, and 12th
- Week 3: October 14th, 16th, 18th, 19th, and 21st
- Week 4: October 23rd, 25th, 26th, 28th, 30th, and 31st
As you can see, the party dates are more concentrated toward the end of the month. If you want to avoid the crowds, but still want to enjoy the Halloween party, plan your trip for the beginning of the month. Any week after that will see big crowds.
These crowds will mostly consist of families with young children and groups of teenagers – all of which will be in costume. If you’re going to the parks with other adults, just be aware that this is a child-centric event and there won’t be many opportunities for adults. This event is for the kids more than anything, which makes sense considering it is Disney.
Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival
The second event in October is the International Food and Wine Festival in Epcot. Unlike Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, this event is catered for adults. It’s an entire festival dedicated to different food and wine pairings from all over the globe, which is why it is held at the World Showcase in Epcot. It’s a good idea to make reservations early; spots fill up quickly. Some dining plans are able to be used at this event, but not all of them. You should check if yours is compatible before banking on the festival’s inclusion in your meal plan.
This festival usually runs from about August 30th to November 12th, meaning you’ll be in the middle of its run if you’re going in October. The festival accounts for a large portion of the crowds in Epcot, but not as much in the other parks. From these crowds, you can expect more adults than children and organized seminars geared towards a deep appreciation of food. You don’t have to partake in the festival if you don’t want to; Epcot is still open for regular admission during the time of the event. However, if you’re looking for things to do at Disney World that aren’t centered around children, this event would definitely meet your expectations.
It’s also important to note that Disney’s website is somewhat vague on the exact way to book a reservation for the Food and Wine Festival. If you’re unsure if the festival is covered in your package, or if you made your reservations correctly, you can consult the Disney Parks Moms Panel or call the help desk on Disney’s website.
The Moms Panel is a forum for you to ask questions about what to expect on your trip, which events are taking place, and how you can get involved in them. If you have any questions about reserving a spot for the International Food and Wine Festival, that’s the place to ask them!
How should I plan my week?
In October, the weeks are all pretty much the same. Except for the dip in attendance the first week, October sees crowds. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. There are, though, certain days that are better to visit each of the parks.
The general flow of Disney traffic tends to follow a specific arc. The weekends are usually the busiest with the majority of people heading to Magic Kingdom. As a general rule, don’t go to Magic Kingdom from Friday through Monday. Sometimes you can squeeze in a Sunday, but why risk it when there are other days in the week when the crowds are guaranteed to be thinner?
Mondays are for Disney’s Hollywood Studios, especially in October. Again, most people visit Magic Kingdom on Monday because it’s most likely the first day of their family’s vacation. Most people want to start at the most iconic park on their first day, but if you can avoid it, definitely do. Hollywood Studios is a great way to start your trip; the shows and rides are sure to keep you entertained for your whole day. Plus, there won’t be as many people.
On Tuesday, go to Magic Kingdom. The weekend crowds will have left, probably to Animal Kingdom, leaving the park nice and spacious for you and your family to enjoy. Unless you’re partaking in the festivities on Halloween, it’s best to avoid Magic Kingdom on the holiday. In 2018, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party falls on a Wednesday, so unless you booked your trip specifically to attend the event on Halloween, try to go on Tuesday instead.
As for all the other Wednesdays in the month, Epcot is a good choice. Epcot takes second place for most occupied during the weekend, so by mid-week it will be nice and clear. Remember that the Food and Wine Festival is going on the whole month of October, so no matter what there will be more crowds than usual. However, if you aren’t too fussed about going to Magic Kingdom on Halloween, then going to Epcot on the holiday will maximize the chance that the park will be relatively free of crowds.
For Animal Kingdom, you get a choice! Thursday and Friday are both good days to visit this park in October. Again, the weekend crowds start Friday, and those are all headed to Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Friday is common as the last full day of vacation for most families, so many want to end on a bang. Thursday is just one of those weird days before the vacation ends where you just want to wind down and relax, and while Animal Kingdom is incredibly exciting, walking through the jungle-like scenery does bring a sense of peace.
When do I travel?
You may think it strange, but plane tickets actually cost less on the weekends. Designating Saturday and Sunday as your travel days means you’ll be missing the busiest days at the parks, and your flight will be cheaper. It’s a win-win!
If you’re driving to Disney, don’t worry, you’re still winning. You’ll be missing the crowds just like the fliers. Plus, driving can be much less expensive depending on where you’re traveling from.
If you’re skeptical about leaving your traveling for the weekend, just think of it this way. You only have a limited number of days at the park and you have to travel for at least one of those days. Why not make those days the busiest days at the parks? And in October, most of the action occurs on weekdays anyway, so why miss out on a great experience by traveling out of the park on a Wednesday instead of Saturday? It just makes more sense.
October: How good is it really?
Overall, if you’re going to Disney World in October, you’re sure to experience some truly memorable events. Between the Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and the International Food and Wine Festival, you’ll have plenty of unique activities to explore. But if you don’t want to face the crowds accompanying those activities, October may not be the month for you. Don’t worry if you’ve already booked your trip, though. You can maneuver through the crowds using the schedule in this article.
October might not be the thinnest month for crowds, but it is a beautiful time to visit Disney World. It’s warm, but Disney manages to bring out the spirit of fall with the foliage and seasonal events. Booking your trip in October may mean facing more crowds than usual, but if you truly love fall and Disney, it’s well worth the visit.
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