Is Disney World Crowded in October?

Photographed by Michael of Countdown to Magic

Finding the best time to take a Disney World vacation can be a big challenge. There are so many factors to consider, such as getting time off of work and school, Florida weather conditions, special events, and crowd size. 

Any of those things have the potential to make or break your Disney trip, so it is incredibly important that you are aware of the reality you are likely to face by traveling to Disney World in October. All of the other factors mentioned have an impact on crowd size. How crowded the parks are will have a direct impact on what you are able to enjoy on your vacation. 

October is an interesting time to take a Disney World vacation, because logic would tell you that crowds should be small. It is not quite the holiday season that can bring big crowds, and kids are still months away from their school vacations. Unfortunately, crowd size is not that predictable at Disney World. 

Spending your vacation In Disney World during the month of October Is not a terrible idea, but some weeks in October will allow you to get more accomplished without having to fight crowds and waste time in waiting in long lines. 

Is Disney World Crowded in October?

Let’s begin by discussing expected crowd sizes in Disney World, especially in October.

Average Crowd Size

Each week in October will provide you with a different vacation experience. Crowd levels at Disney World can be hard to navigate if you are not prepared for what you are likely to run into. Being prepared will lessen the blow of any crowds you do run into, but will also help you avoid times that tend to be too crowded. 

Crowd levels at the beginning of the month tend to be similar to those at the end of September. September is a great month to visit Disney World if crowds are your main concern. Kids have gone back to school, and it is unlikely parents will take them out of class early on in the school year. October tends to follow that same trend. School is in full-swing, and it is unlikely that schools will have vacation scheduled for the month. 

The first week of October is an opportunity for you to expect moderately low crowds, especially if you plan to be at the parks before the weekend. Weekends are generally busier times for Disney parks, because local guests are more likely to take day trips. Ranking parts crowd size can be tricky, and it is far from an exact science. Looking at reservations and yearly trends is a good start. 

Crowd predictions take a lot of different things into account, but for the average guest, your main concern is how crowded it will be, not why it will be crowded. So, generally speaking, crowds vary, and it is a good idea to go when they are expected to be low.

For the first week of October, crowds are expected to be moderate. This is averaging all of the parks, not taking one into account over the others. What does a moderate crowd size mean for you? It actually means you have chosen an excellent time to visit Disney World. 

There will be lines, and there will be other people, but that is to be expected no matter what time of year you visit Disney parks. By going to Disney World for the first week of October, you will be able to get on more rides and visit more attractions without having to fight the overwhelming crowds you would if you went at a busier time of the year. 

Waiting until later in the month will leave you with larger crowds. There are many reasons for this. By the time you get to the second weekend in October, people are likely to be taking advantage of the long weekend for Columbus Day. Although it is not a long vacation, having a built-in day off at the end of a weekend makes parents more willing to take kids away from school. 

It is easier to think kids won’t be missing much it is a short week. Plus, the long weekend makes it easy to take a short trip to Disney World, rather than spending an entire week, or more, at the parks. For Columbus Day weekend, the crowds are expected to be high, and if there is an option, it is not a recommended time to visit the parks. Between Friday and Monday, lines are likely to be longer, making it harder for you to get to everything you hope to see at Disney World. 

The rest of the month is likely to be more crowded than the first week, but is still manageable if you are prepared to wait in some lines. Crowds will be moderate most days. The other day that is predictably busy is Halloween. Disney is great for all holidays, and having the chance to be at Disney World park for a fun day in costume is something many people don’t want to pass up. 

There is a Halloween party that night, that requires the purchase a separate ticket. This means crowds at Magic Kingdom are likely even bigger than at other parks, although they are all expected to be heavy. 

Holiday Crowds

Typically, holiday crowds are linked to bigger holidays, like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. The reality is that even the smallest holiday gives people an added excuse to head to Disney World. Disney World is always popular, regardless of what else is on the calendar. When a trip to Disney World is made simpler because of time off of work and school with a holiday, people take full advantage. 

out the year, but Disney takes it a step further and throws many special events to draw even larger crowds. It is important that you are aware of the special events so you can plan accordingly. 

Special Events

Halloween is a busy day in general, but Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party requires guests to consider different crowd expectations. This party, that requires the purchase of a ticket separate from your park admission, is often sold out in advance, so it is key that if this is something on your Disney to-do list, that you are aware of the best times to go. 

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party gives party-goers the opportunity to spend the evening in the Magic Kingdom, trick-or-treating, watching special performances, experience a parade that features the headless horseman, and wear costumes of their own, regardless of their age.

Disney World generally feels like a place where everyone gets to be a kid again, but the Halloween party takes it to a new level. Adults can wear costumes, and go trick-or-treating while fully embracing their inner child. 

Crowds at the party are smaller than an average day at the park, as there are fewer tickets available. This gives guests the chance to ride their favorite Magic Kingdom attractions with shorter wait times. This doesn’t mean there will be no waits. It is unlikely that you will walk right on to every attraction you visit, but it is also likely that wait times will be shorter for you. 

This is also because people are enjoying the special performances, the interesting meet and greets with characters who are not often seen in the parks, and collecting bags full of candy. Each guest is given a bag for trick-or-treating, but you are welcome to bring your own, as well. 

Disney lovers tend to be creative and want to add a personal touch to their experience. If that’s you, feel free to make your own personalized trick-or-treat bag. It is sure to get some attention from the cast members and characters you meet during the party.

No matter which party you choose to attend, you will have a great experience, but crowd levels will have a huge impact on just how much fun you get out of the extra money you spent on the tickets to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Tickets are upwards of $100, and crowds can have an impact on how much you get to experience for that price. 

Crowds tend to be bigger the closer to Halloween you get. People are becoming more excited and in the Halloween spirit. Tickets to the party on Halloween typically sell out very quickly, so if you are planning to attend that party, make sure you double check the availability beforehand. It is always a good idea to buy your tickets in advance, just to be on the safe side. 

If you are concerned about crowds at the party, Halloween is a night to avoid, as are the nights right before Columbus Day. With more people going to the parks that weekend, more people are likely to attend the party. 

It is a great “extra” event to attend if you plan well. If you are going to be at Disney World at the beginning of October, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is a good idea. There are moderate crowds, and that will be the case for the party, as well. If crowds are low to moderate at the party, it will feel more intimate, and you will leave feeling as if you got your money’s worth. 

If the party is crowded and you spend all of your time waiting in line to meet Jack Skellington, you might leave disappointed. Planning around the crowds, in advance, can help you have a more satisfying night. 

Another special event that takes place in October is the Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival. This event does not require an extra ticket purchase, and is available to all guests who visit Epcot and walk around the World Showcase. There are kiosks set up in each country, giving guests the opportunity to try different foods from around the world. 

The small portions allow you to try several different offerings from different countries. Having the chance to try enough food to fill you up, rather than having to sit down for a meal, or settle for a, sometimes lackluster, quick service meal, makes Epcot a popular destination for locals on the weekends.

If you are visiting Disney World in October, the Food and Wine Festival is something you will definitely want to experience, as it does not take you out of the park, or make it more difficult to experience everything Epcot has to offer. It is a nice addition for park-goers. Problems can pop up when it starts to have an adverse effect on crowd size. 

There are famous musicians playing free concerts, daily, and that is an added draw for some people. This is the “Eat to the Beat” concert series, and can be an unexpected bonus for guests who are unaware of who is playing, and when. Of course, when people are aware of the concert schedule, that can increase crowd size.  

Some of the most popular “Eat to the Beat” concert series artists are sources of nostalgia for park guests. These artists are numerous and include (but are not limited to):

  1. Plain White T’s
  2. Jimmie Allen
  3. Everclear
  4. India
  5. STARSHIP featuring Mickey Thomas 
  6. Sugar Ray
  7. Kenny G
  8. High Valley
  9. Hanson
  10. Billy Ocean

A big draw for crowds at the International Food and Wine Festival, is the inclusion of celebrity chefs. Food Network chefs are increasingly popular, and adding presentations from them to the Food and Wine Festival draws a crowd. People love having the chance to get an up-close look at the chefs they see on television. 

Seeing them work in an unusual kitchen setting is hard for guests to turn down. If that is on your list of things to do, be prepared to be surrounded by bigger crowds, but if you have no interest, and you are just trying to enjoy what Disney World has to offer, it is a good idea to be aware of the chef schedule, and avoid the area in Epcot when there is a popular chef presentation. That is not to say you should avoid the park altogether. Just check a map and make sure you avoid the general vicinity of the presentation. 

Aside from that, people are eager to test out the food and beverage options at different kiosks. As a result, the International Food and Wine Festival has an effect on crowd size. Luckily the festival runs longer than just October, and long running events like the Food and Wine Festival tend to only have a noticeable effect on weekend crowds. 

That last few days of October lead into another special event that can bring heavier crowds to the parks. Marathon Weekend is at the beginning of November, but people start arriving before then and there will be an increase in crowd levels.

It might not be an extreme influx of park goers, but it will be noticeable, as people will travel to the marathon with their families and enjoy a vacation before or after the race. It will be more noticeable as you get into November, b it will start to change the crowd levels at the end of October as well. 

Middle of the Week

It is clear that there are some days that are better than others to visit the parks. And if you keep that in mind, you are more likely to avoid situations that leave you feeling like you are crammed in like a sardine while you are at the park. 

The place to start is at the beginning of the month. At that point, it does not matter too much what day of the week you are planning to visit the parks. The moderate crowd size will stretch to every park. If you are aware of when there are Extra Magic Hours at a certain park, that can help extend your time in the parks, and increase the likelihood of you being able to experience all of the magic Disney has to offer while on your vacation. 

The general trend at Disney World is that the middle of the week will not be as crowded as the weekends. Weekends see more local guests, and an increase in crowd size. People don’t have to take an entire week off of school or work to enjoy a little bit of Disney magic.

It works well for them, but not so well for you if you are trying to make the most of your vacation. Luckily, if your vacation extends beyond a weekend, you will have the chance to go to the parks on days when lower crowds are expected. 

Crowd size fluctuates from park to park, but there is a much better chance that you will be at a park with a lower crowd size if you go during the middle of the week. Lower crowd days will really help you make sure you get to see and do everything you hoped to do during your vacation. There is no reason to waste time if you can avoid It. The middle of the week will help you maximize your time at Disney World, and will help make up for crazier weekend days you may have spent in longer than desired lines. 

Should You Go in October?

October is an interesting time to travel to Disney World. It was thought of as the ideal vacation time for people able to get away from work and school, because there did not seem to be huge crowds. There are a lot of factors that go into the smaller crowd size.

Yes, the crowd is sometimes smaller because people have to work and attend school. However, people are willing to find a way to get the time off when they realize that October is a great time to visit Disney World. 

One reason more people seem to be heading to Disney World in October is because of the weather. Walt Disney World Weather has an effect on crowd size, because no one wants to be uncomfortable. October is a turning point for weather in Florida. Temperatures in the summer months are hot and humid. 

In October there are lower average temperatures and the rainy season has started to shift away. The more comfortable weather is a big draw for crowds, and makes having really low crowds unlikely. 

Special events and nice weather are all big reasons people tend to visit Disney World in October. However, that does not mean that the parks are overly crowded. There are a lot of people who love visiting Disney World, and as a result, there are very rare occasions when there are small crowds at the parks.

Going at the time with moderate crowd size predictions seems like your best bet. With that in mind, October Is a great time to visit Disney World. There are special events to keep you entertained beyond the usual DIsney magic, and the lines and crowds are absolutely manageable.

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