Whenever I think of the perfect time to experience Fall at Disney, I think of October. The weather is hot and humid, but it’s also starting to get a bit cooler and more comfortable since winter is right around the corner.
Fall is definitely in the air at Disney’s Magic Kingdom, with tons of decorations and special events. And that means that there’s no shortage of fun things to do in October. But, is October really good time to visit Disney, especially when it comes to things like crowd levels and weather?
Well, we’re going to examine that in today’s article. We’ll break down everything you can expect in October—from what days and weeks have the biggest and smallest crowd levels to how to pack appropriately for the Fall weather in Orlando to discovering all of the fun and unique things that happen in the parks during this month.
The Weather in October
While not as hot and humid as the summer months in Central Florida, October can still be pretty brutal if you’re not used to this typical Florida Fall weather. Humidity is usually still present, so staying hydrated and wearing cooler clothing will help.
The average temperatures in October are in the high-80s during the day with temperatures in the mid-60s during the evenings and mornings.
So, it’s not quite as hot as September, but it’s still pretty warm.
Hurricane season is active until the first of November. So, while there’s not as high of a chance that a hurricane will impact Central Florida, it can happen. Do expect some occasional rain and possible thunderstorms, though the chance for daily rain showers is much lower than in the summer.
Disney Resort Promotions
When it comes to promotions for resort stays and vacation packages, October is a pretty good month for them. Most of the month is under Regular and Fall Season rates, which means they won’t be as good as January or September prices, but they won’t be terrible either.
Chances are you’ll also be able to take advantage of the free Disney dining plan packages, along with room only discounts. You’ll see rates get a bit higher during the Columbus Day holiday weekend, which is typically the busiest weekend of the month. Your best bets for the lowest rates of the month are during the last two weeks, when October is under Fall Season rates.
October Special Events and Holidays
If you are a foodie, you’ll love all of the special events in October that celebrate Disney World Food. In addition, there are seasonal fall events, like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party throughout the month and a holiday weekend too.
All of these will affect crowds and wait times. So, you’ll want to consider your own park touring plans before you go during one of these events. Here are a few special events and holidays that take place in October.
Columbus Day: This national holiday is celebrated in many countries and marks the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival to America in 1492. With this in mind, most U.S. schools are closed during the holiday which is typically in early October. This means that most schools will have a long weekend, making it an ideal time for local Florida and Central Florida residents to enjoy a long weekend at the Disney Parks and Resorts. And, some guests outside of Florida may choose to take their Disney vacation during this time too. Crowds during Columbus Day can get fairly high, especially with events like Food and Wine Festival taking place at the same time.
International Food and Wine Festival at Epcot: This is a huge favorite for Disney guests, featuring foods and drinks from around the world. Guests can sample food, while enjoying well-known bands during the Eat to the Beat concert series, and even check out special dining experiences and tours. This is typically held from late August until mid-November. It’s very popular with locals and vacationers. This means there will be significantly increased crowds at the park, especially on the weekends. October is the busiest month for the Food and Wine Festival, making the weekends very difficult to visit Epcot without major crowds.
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom: Get into the Halloween spirit with Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party held at the Magic Kingdom. The Halloween party is the perfect way to enjoy seasonal fall events and even go trick or treating. This ticketed special event is available at Disney’s Magic Kingdom on select nights. Prices are around $70-$80 per person depending on the date attending and discounts for annual passholders and Disney Vacation Club members.
Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic: If you are a foodie and enjoy the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, you won’t want to miss out on the Food and Wine Classic at Disney’s Swan and Dolphin Resorts. This multi-day event takes place over the course of several days at the end of October. Like the Food and Wine Festival, it features food and beverage samples along with culinary demonstrations and workshops led by chefs. Tickets are around $100-$150 for food and beverage samples throughout the event. Or, you can purchase a smaller $50 ticket that includes 25 food and beverage samples. Workshops range from $50 to $300.
Disney Cross Country Classic: Though the Disney Cross Country Classic isn’t a hugely popular event for most Disney guests, it will bring in a lot of additional guests to the Disney Parks and Resorts who are participating in this cross country running event. It includes runners from colleges, high schools, and middle schools from around the country, which means you’ll see increased guests at the resorts and teenagers in the parks during the evening and afternoon when events at the Cross Country Classic are done.
These special events and holidays can affect crowds, wait times, advanced dining reservations, and Fastpass+ availability. So do make sure you plan ahead if you’re going to go during some of the busier times of the month.
Now, let’s take a look at crowds and crowd calendars in October and which times are the busiest and least crowded.
October Crowd Calendars
Disney in October can be fairly crowded. With so many special events and Food and Wine Festival taking center stage, it’s no wonder that October is such a popular month. Historic crowd calendars from Easy WDW and Touring Plans give us a pretty good idea of the busiest times and the times that might be least crowded. Of course, no one website can predict the crowds or wait times exactly each year, but they do help us get a pretty good feel for what you can expect crowd-wise in the parks.
Typically, the busiest times (aka the most crowded) in October include:
- Columbus Day: Most U.S. schools are closed on Columbus Day. This means many families choose to visit Disney World on a long weekend, since they won’t have to take their children out of school while it is in session. Because of this, crowds will take a dramatic increase from the very low crowds in September and start October off with moderate crowds. Columbus Day often coincides with Canada’s Thanksgiving, which can bring in additional crowds.
- Canada Thanksgiving: Canada celebrates their Thanksgiving festivities on the second Monday of October. As mentioned above, this may coincide with Columbus Day, which is an already busy holiday weekend at Disney World.
- Halloween: October 31st, the date for Halloween, can be really busy at the Magic Kingdom. This is the last date for the party, and it typically sells out. Unless you have purchased tickets to Disney’s Not So Scary Halloween Party well in advance, plan on avoiding the Magic Kingdom this date.
The least crowded times in October include:
- Third and fourth weeks of October: If you plan on visiting Disney World in October, consider going at the end of October. Some of the crowds for Food and Wine Festival will lower and there are no major holidays taking place. You’ll still see some increase in crowds, especially on the weekends if you go to Epcot during the Food and Wine Festival, but they will be more manageable than early October.
What Days of the Week Are Best?
October is a pretty busy month, with so many special events and holidays taking place. Because of this, the weekends will be busier. Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival will make Epcot extremely busy on the weekends. This means if you are going to Epcot, plan on visiting during the weekdays or earlier in the day on weekends, if you can.
This is going to be your best bet for avoiding crowds. The same is true for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Parties. Try to go on Tuesdays or Sundays when the crowds are just a bit better.
I recommend going to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot on weekdays. Visit Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios on the weekends. To maximize your time, park-hop if you can. This will help you get lots of park time in and get a chance to use Extra Magic Hours, too.
Below, please take a moment to view someone’s trip to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in October that they uploaded to YouTube:
If you want to visit Disney with lots of special events and holidays taking place, October is a great month to go. You’ll be able to get good deals for an affordable and budget-friendly vacation.
The weather will still be hot, but will be a lot better than in the summer. For your best vacation dates, visit Disney during the last two weeks of October for the best promotions, weather, and lowest crowds.
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