Not a fan of large crowds? Wondering if Disney is too busy in September? 

Visiting Walt Disney World can be one of the most magical experiences, and going on a day that  is isn’t too overcrowded makes all the difference. There are so many calendars and forums that can be really confusing when trying to figure out how busy it may be during this time of year. 

Is it Packed: Disney World in September
Disney World Florida: Magic Kingdom” by Matt Clare licensed under CC BY 2.0

Hopefully, this article can help ease your mind and let you know if attending a Disney World theme park in September is a good idea or not.

Is Disney World Packed in September?

Let’s cut to the chase: Is Disney super busy in September or not?

If you haven’t been to Disney World in September, then I am here to let you know that it is hands down one of the best times of the year to go to  — based on both Disney World facts and personal experience! With the least amount of crowds and some of the most exciting events going on, September could not be a more perfect time to visit! 

Whether you are going with a group of friends, traveling with your family or just trekking the parks yourself, you will really get the most out of your time spent going to Disney on a day in September. Here’s why:

The Crowds

September is by far the least crowded month to attend. Typically, there are less people in the parks during the month of September than any other month in the year. You could choose pretty much any day — a week day or weekend — and have a really great time at the parks, without getting too overcrowded!

At this time, most schools are back in session and families are done traveling for the summer season. You can expect less foot traffic in the parks during this month because of that.

With several events happening in September — including the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge — there may be heightened crowd levels. Some of the parks may be more busy than usual on certain days due to the start or peak of an event going on, but there are ways to avoid the foot traffic by knowing what to expect.

The Weather

Florida doesn’t really have a fall season, so the weather at Disney World in September can really be a hit or miss. Some days it’s still very hot, while on others, it’s surprisingly breezy. This doesn’t really change the amount of people in the parks, so I wouldn’t plan around that.

Rainy weather can be considered a downfall of visiting Disney World in September. But as a Florida native, this is actually something I suggest taking advantage of. Rain can definitely affect how busy the parks will be, so keep up to date on the weather. The risk might be worth it!

Rain can be expected anytime in the month of September. If you don’t mind a little drizzle, have your ponchos ready and head on over! So you get a little wet — but the lines will be shorter and you’ll definitely still have fun.

Disney usually doesn’t do anything in regards to rain, unless there is lightning in the area. If this occurs, some of the attractions can be shut down for a shot period until the storm has passed. This shouldn’t have a huge affect on your day, as you can do something else such as eat, see a show or check out the shops throughout the park instead. 

The Attractions

The majority of the lines for rides in September will be much shorter than the summer months.  I recommend getting there as soon as the park opens to be ahead of any small crowds and getting on anything you desire to ride first. Don’t spend your entire morning browsing around, as the normal attendance will start to pick up as the day goes on. 

The wait times average around 30 minutes long, but are always subject to change. The weather can put a delay on rides as well as special events going on during the month, but shouldn’t turn you away from deciding to get on. 

The best park to go to during the month of September for shortest wait lines will be Disney’s Animal Kingdom as there aren’t any major events happening. This would be a good chance to ride a few of the park’s most popular attractions like Expedition Everest and Avatar Flight of Passage

The Events

There are a bunch of exciting events going on at some of the parks during the entire month of September. If you’re visiting for the first time and are looking for more things to do in Disney World, I’d absolutely recommend attending any one of these events. While they do bring in more foot traffic, you’ll still be able to enjoy your day if you decide to go during an event that’s happening in September. 

EPCOT’s International Food and Wine Festival

You had me at food! The Food and Wine festival hosted at Disney’s EPCOT is a family friendly event that offers so many incredible dishes and beverages from around the world. This yearly festival runs through the entire month of September, so if you’d like to visit EPCOT during this time, you will be indulged in all the wonderful sights, smells and tastes this event has to offer. 

The attendance should be fairly moderate on weekends during the Food and Wine Festival and less crowded on a weekday such as Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. The worst day to go to EPCOT during this event would be on a Friday, as people will start their weekends a little early, thinking they will avoid the crowds. 

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

Every year, Magic Kingdom celebrates Halloween with Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. This holiday event only occurs on specific days in September, which can really help you determine what days are best to go, whether you plan on attending the event or not.

While you don’t have to go to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, it can really affect your day at the park if you aren’t aware of the event going on. Magic Kingdom closes the gates early at approximately 7 p.m. for 1-day ticket attendees, so if you planned on staying the whole day here, this wouldn’t be a good time to go. 

The gates for the party ticket holders open at 4 p.m., almost three hours before the festivities even begin. New crowds of people will be coming into the park and because this is a very popular event, it’s going to get a little busier during this time. You can easily avoid getting too crammed by going to Magic Kingdom as soon as they open and leaving earlier than 7 p.m. This may actually be more of an advantage if you’re traveling to Disney World with toddlers, who don’t need to stay as long as kids who are much older.

If you want to get all of your hours in, though, you can either join in on the celebration — at a separate cost — or choose to go on a day that the event isn’t on. The dates for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party for this month are September 2, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 17, 20, 22, 24, 27 and 29.

You can go to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party without having to spend the entire day in the park, too. In fact, you might be even able to enjoy some cooler weather during the last few hours of sunlight. Tickets are available for purchase now on Disney’s website! 

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge 

On August 29th, Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ new land, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will be opening to the public. Fans have been waiting anxiously for this day and and will officially be able to explore the planet of Batuu, which features all-new attractions, dining experiences and merchandise! 

If you’ve also been anticipating the debut, but want to avoid the crowds, I would highly suggest waiting until the end of September to attend the park, because you’ll be able to get to the attractions a smidge faster, since the diehards will have already been and gone.

I definitely wouldn’t try to get in line for any of the attractions in this area for the first few weeks of the month. Expect the wait times for the rides here to be way longer — I mean hours longer — than any others in the park, but if this is a must-see for you, then just go and brave the crowds!

If you’re not that big of a Star Wars fan, I would take complete advantage of this event by going to the other theme parks because you’ll be almost guaranteed to endure less people.

Hollywood Studios will also be offering Extra, Extra Magic Hours throughout the month that gives Disney Resort guests the chance to enter before the park’s regular operating hours. The gates will be opening as early as 6 a.m., so you can have more time to spend in the park and have the ability to see and do more of what you want. Whether you plan to walk this area or not, I would absolutely go early and get the most out of your visit.

Beyond The Parks

Since this is the off-season for Disney World, there are a lot of great deals and promotions being held during the fall, making this an even better time to plan your next visit. 

Hotel room discounts of up to 20% are offered throughout the fall season at participating Walt Disney World Hotels and Resorts. These rates vary by hotel and some exclusions may apply. In order to get the best deal, be sure to call ahead to get the exact rates before your visit. Some of the hotels and resorts that will be offering discounts during the month of September include:

Some of these resorts may fill up faster due to these promotions. This will also mean that you can expect the pools, restaurants and overall facilities to be a little busier than normal. Not everyone staying at the hotels are attending the theme parks and may just want to take advantage of these great deals. 

The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort will be undoubtably crowded during this time of the year. September is usually set for great camping weather and since the resort hosts a yearly Halloween event — Return to Sleepy Hollow — people will be scrambling to find availability. This event is so popular that campsites and tickets at the resort go on sale over a year in advance and often sell out very quickly. If you can get an in to the event, the experience will be unlike any other! 

September also happens to be the off-season for traveling as well. This month comes before any major holidays (other than Labor Day weekend) which can make getting to and from your destination a much smoother ride. Orlando traffic should be easier to navigate through during this month, especially on a weekday. I would still avoid driving during the afternoon hours, though, especially because school lets out on these days now. Take the buses when necessary and enjoy the free ride!

Overall

Without question, September is one of the best times to take a trip to Disney World. Your experience will be magical more than ever during this month! You absolutely can’t go wrong with shorter lines, lower prices and awesome bonuses in and out of the parks. If you haven’t convinced yourself yet, your post-Disney self will be thanking you later!

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