As you plan your Walt Disney World vacation, you are probably debating when is the best time visit. And if that’s the case, then I’m sure you’re wondering just how busy is Disney World in September? Well, in this article, we’re going to walk you through exactly what you should expect in terms of crowd levels during the month of September!
How Busy is Disney World in September
The crowds in Disney are smaller and much more manageable in September when compared to other times of the year. The month of September marks the start of back to school for most students, and majority of families do not want to take their kids out of school at the start of the school year. Many of the guests that visit during this time are annual passholders and are only there for the day or a quick weekend trip.
Even though it sounds like September is not a busy month to visit Walt Disney World, you may be wondering if that is the case even over Labor Day. The truth is, even though it is a holiday weekend, the crowds and wait times are still way below average. Things do not start to pick up until the end of the month when students are on fall break and as it gets closer to Halloween.
Even though the crowds are significantly smaller in September, keep in mind every park will not be “dead” every day of the week. However, it is a lot easier to plan your days in the parks in September to avoid the busier wait times and crowds and successfully do everything it is you want to do on your trip!
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Notable Events In September
Aside from the below average crowd numbers, Disney also begins the kickoff to all their seasonal events! When you visit Magic Kingdom in September, Main Street is fully decorated in fall décor and you really feel the change in seasons, even in the stifling Florida heat.
First up in the fall season is Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. This party is one of Disney’s most popular events of the year and tickets often sell out quickly. The upside to visiting Disney in September is that getting tickets to this event is a lot easier than in October closer to Halloween.
During this event, your favorite characters will be dressed up in costumes of their own and you will have exclusive access to parades and your own trick or treating adventure. Even though this event will cost you extra, tickets are limited, making wait times incredibly low which allows you to ride absolutely everything in Magic Kingdom in one night!
Another event that takes place throughout September, and is personally my favorite, is the Food and Wine Festival in Epcot. This is the perfect opportunity to enjoy food and drinks from all around the world without having to travel all around the world. During this festival, you will have the opportunity to snack on foods from all different cultures. The best part about it is that the food is portioned as a sample size, that way you can try absolutely everything! I do have to say, be sure to pace yourself on the drinks because they can quickly catch up to you, especially in the heat!
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Weather In Walt Disney World In September
Even though it starts to cool down in Disney World in September, you can still have those really hot days that make everything uncomfortable, especially at the beginning of the month. The temperature in September is a lot like the temperature in May. At the beginning of September, you can still expect those 90-to-100-degree days, but the nights do tend to cool down a lot more compared to the summer months.
Later in the month, you can expect temps to only reach the mid 80’s. If you are lucky, however, you may have a day where the high is in the mid 70’s. If this happens, take in every second of it, because these days are quite rare!
The biggest thing to take into consideration when planning your trip is that the beginning of September marks the start of hurricane season. First and foremost, if you plan your trip for September, pack your own ponchos so you are not left paying an exponential amount for one from a Disney store. If you do decide to book your trip for this time, keep in mind that if a hurricane hits and is close to Disney, they do have the ability to close the parks. They will obviously refund you for your tickets, but if you do not have the luxury of adding another day to your trip, be sure to keep this in mind when making your reservations!
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Best Time to Visit Disney World In September
Unfortunately, there is no “crowd calendar” that Disney offers to really know what the crowds are going to look like during your trip in September. This is because Disney constantly manipulates attendance patterns, staffing, and ride capacity. So, if you do decide to research the days you will be visiting Disney, the numbers you find are not all that reliable.
Even though there is never a guarantee on how busy Disney will be during a given week, as a former cast member I can give you my best advice on when the perfect time is to plan your trip in September to avoid those incredibly busy days.
The best week to plan your trip to Disney is during the second and third weeks of September. Even though Labor Day is not nearly as busy as other holidays, you will see a lot of annual passholders that weekend. If you want to avoid them, I highly recommend visiting Walt Disney World from Tuesday through Friday the week after Labor Day! This week is probably the slowest and least crowded in Walt Disney World.
Aside from that week, any day during the business week is hardly ever busy. If you have vacation time available, I strongly recommend booking a trip from Monday to Friday. I can confidently say your wait times and experience will be completely worth the money because you will be able to ride all your favorite rides without wasting your days in line for the rides!
There really is not a bad time to visit Disney World in September. However, if you want to limit the chances of experiencing a very busy day this month even more, I recommend avoiding the parks on the Saturday before Labor Day and the last week of the month.
Typically, some schools begin their fall break the last week of September, so you may see crowd numbers increasing during this time. This is also the time when people are over the back-to-school excitement and are looking forward to the holidays. Many families see this week as an opportunity to squeeze in a last-minute Disney trip to experience the Food and Wine Festival and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party!
Visiting Disney During A Busy Week In September
Again, there really are no busy weeks in Disney in the month of September. You may experience larger crowds at the end of the month, but even then, they will not compare to Disney’s busiest times of the year.
If you do have a trip planned for September, and see that it is expected to be a crowded week, here are a few tips on how to navigate the crowds:
Do NOT visit Magic Kingdom on Wednesday or Saturday. These days are the busiest for Magic Kingdom, especially when the holiday season is in full swing. If you plan to visit Magic Kingdom on your trip, I highly recommend visiting the park on a Tuesday or Thursday. Your wait times will be significantly shorter! The nice part about a September trip is that you can plan for a night at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and avoid the busyness of Magic Kingdom at all costs!
Plan to visit Epcot on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday. Epcot is more adult-friendly, but the lines for a small beer on a Saturday during Food and Wine can make the day completely miserable. Food and Wine is one of Disney’s most notable festivals and people will wait for hours at a time for a lobster roll on a Saturday afternoon. Whatever you do, do not go to Epcot on Saturday during this time of the year.
You cannot go wrong visiting Animal Kingdom any day of the week. This is the least busy of all four parks, but plan for a day that is not as hot. The animals tend to be out and about a lot more in the cooler temps, so it will make your experience that much better.
In terms of Hollywood Studios, I would recommend planning your visit on a Tuesday or Friday. This park is probably the most unpredictable out of all the Disney Parks. My biggest advice for Hollywood Studios is, no matter what day you visit, to be there at park open. If you are there on a busier day in September, you will want to be ready to run to Star Wars to ensure you do not have a long wait!
Overall, if you are planning a trip to Disney World in September and find that it is a busier week, here is what I would do:
- Tuesday: Magic Kingdom
- Wednesday: Epcot
- Thursday: Animal Kingdom
- Friday: Hollywood Studios
- Wednesday: Epcot
- Thursday: Animal Kingdom
- Friday: Hollywood Studios and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
September is probably one of, if not the best months to plan your trip to Walt Disney World. Even over Labor Day weekend, the crowds are significantly smaller than when compared the other months out of the year. Not to mention, you may get a break from the stifling heat that Florida never fails to provide. If you are still wondering how busy is Disney World in September, well, I can assure you it is one of the best times of the year to visit!
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