When it comes to visiting Disney World on a budget, one of the months I get asked about the most is September. September in Central Florida can be a good time to plan Disney travel, with affordable rates and lower crowds. It also is the month when a good amount of special events and holidays take place for guests to enjoy.
But, is visiting the Disney Parks & Resorts in September a good idea for you and your family—especially when it comes to trying to beat large crowds? We’re going to answer that question by examining the special events in September you won’t want to miss, crowd calendars, and other noteworthy information to help you decide if you want to visit Disney World in September.
The Weather in September
Although not quite as hot as August, September can be an extremely hot and humid month. Unlike other states in the U.S., September is not the beginning of cooler weather and falling leaves in Florida.
Average temperatures in Orlando range from the low-90s to high-80’s depending on what week you visit. Usually, the closer the month gets to the end of October, the “cooler” it will be. The mornings and evenings are in the mid-70’s, so it’s usually pretty warm 24/7.
Because of the high humidity and warm temperatures, expect rain showers and brief thunderstorms on a pretty regular basis. It usually rains between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. daily in Central Florida during this time. Plus, like August, it’s also peak hurricane season, which could potentially impact your travel to Florida.
Generally, weather in September is hot and humid, so you’ll want to make sure you bring shorts, tank tops, t-shirts, bathing suits, and other clothes for warmer weather. It may not be a bad idea to bring a rain poncho or umbrella along too, if you plan on park touring during the rain.
Disney Resort Promotions
Great deals are pretty common for September travel to Disney World. If you’re looking to stay on Disney property, you’ll be able to find discounts on room rates.
The first few weeks of September are listed as Fall Season, with rates slightly higher than Value Season. The last half of September is listed as Regular Season, so the rates will be a bit higher the closer you get to October.
One of the most popular promotions typically offered in September is the free dining package. This means that your family can get free dining for the entire length of their trip. If I had to choose between August and September for free dining packages, I would have to choose September when the parks are less crowded.
September Special Events and Holidays
September marks the increase of special events and holidays at the Disney Parks and Resorts. The middle of September is when many special events begin taking place, like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.
All of these can affect the crowds and wait times at Disney. Here’s a bit more about the special events and holidays that take place in September.
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. If you do want to visit the festival with lower crowds, September is your best bet.
Labor Day: This U.S. public holiday is held on the first Monday of September. For many in the U.S., this means they will have a long weekend. And, it’s the last weekend typically before school is back in session at many U.S. schools. Labor Day will see increased crowds, but visiting after the Labor Day weekend is over will bring some of the lowest crowds of the year.
Night of Joy: This is a multi-day Christian concert series that usually takes place at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Though there aren’t any major events that happen in the park during Night of Joy, it will increase crowds a bit shortly before and after the concert series. This event is usually held in the first few weeks of September.
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.
Rosh Hashanah: This is the holiest of days in Judaism and is known as the Jewish New Year. Though this generally won’t impact crowds, there may be a slight increase in crowds due to some school closures that take place for the holiday.
Though September is typically a month with lower crowds, you’ll want to make sure that you take these special events and holidays into consideration when you plan. Do make sure you have Fastpass+, Advance Dining Reservations (ADRs), and other reservations before you go to Disney during any of these special events or holidays.
Check out someone’s recent video uploaded to YouTube that showcases what a day at Epcot in September looks like:
September Crowd Calendars
Even though Disney is known for lower crowds during September, there may still be some busier times. Sites like Easy WDW and Touring Plans help break down some of the crowds and wait times with historic crowd calendars. Of course, we can’t necessarily know exactly how busy and crowded a park or time frame will be, but we can get a pretty good idea of times that are generally better to visit during than others.
Here is the most crowded date in September to note for your Disney World crowd calendar.
- Labor Day: Because some U.S. schools are still on summer vacation until after Labor Day, expect this weekend to see an increase in crowds. This will include last minute vacations and, for those who are Florida residents or local Central Florida residents, it may include a long weekend before school is back in session. Wait times will be fairly long and crowds will be moderate. Generally, this is still less busy than the busiest times during the year, but will still have some impact on your park touring. Make sure to plan Fastpass+ and make ADRs before you visit.
The least crowded times in September include:
- The Last Three Weeks of the Month: After Labor Day, the crowds at Disney decrease dramatically. The second week may be your best and least crowded week. But, in general, if you go to Disney World in September, you’ll find the last three weeks of September to be some of the lowest crowds of the entire year.
What Days of the Week Are Best?
Because there are a lot of special events and holidays in September, weekends will be busier than weekdays. This is especially true during the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.
If you’re attending the Food and Wine Festival, plan on visiting on weekdays. This is your best chance to avoid any crowds, and especially the crowds on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Many local Central Florida residents visit the festival on the weekends, making it even more crowded. Mondays and Tuesdays are your best days to go to the Food and Wine Festival.
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Parties are held on select dates throughout September. The Magic Kingdom, where this special ticketed event is held, closes early on party nights at around 7 p.m. If you’re not going to the party, it’s not a bad idea to visit the Magic Kingdom in the morning and then park-hop to another park later in the day. For those attending the party, do look at the different dates. I always prefer going on Tuesdays or Sunday nights as many locals will choose to go to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party on weekend days, like Fridays, meaning the crowds will be higher on those evenings.
As a general rule, do look to go to parks like the Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios on weekends to maximize your time in the parks and avoid any potential crowds.
Overall, September is a great month to visit Disney World. With a lot of different resort and package promotions available and special events and holidays, September has a lot to offer. In addition, September continues to be one of the least crowded times to visit the Disney Parks — another good reason to visit.
The weather is usually the main reason to not visit in September because it can be so hot and humid. But, if you prepare with the right kind of clothes, take breaks, and spend some time at the pool, you can enjoy the Disney Parks and Resorts in September with ease.
Of course, like any other month you might want to visit, you’ll need to consider your own park touring style, along with your Disney “must-do” list, to help you decide. But just know that, no matter what month in the year you decide to visit Disney World, you’re likely to have a great time.
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