One of the most commonly asked questions from people who are planning a Disney vacation is, “When is the best time of year to visit WDW?” Everyone who visits the parks frequently has their own opinion on this topic. For us, the best answer we can give to that question is, “It depends”. There are arguments to be made for various times of the year, all of which are valid. The reason it’s hard to say one specific time of the year is better than others is due to the fact that it varies a little bit from year to year.
While we aren’t going to go as far as saying that the absolute best time of year to visit Walt Disney World is in the fall (it may or may not be true, depending on the year), we would like to share with you some of the many reasons why we love visiting the parks this time of year.
First of all, Halloween is quickly approaching. While it is still only mid-September, Halloween will be here before we know it. Halloween decorations have already been up in Magic Kingdom for a month now, and Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party has been taking place on select nights every week for the past month, as well.
Some people get really excited about the Halloween party and look forward to it, while others don’t care to pay for the additional ticket for the party. Since the party is only on select nights, guests can look at the event schedule and plan ahead when making arrangements for their trip. We believe that the Happily Ever After fireworks show is a must-see. This show is only available on non-party nights, so we recommend planning two nights at Magic Kingdom during you trip, if possible, and if you plan to attend the Halloween party, also.
The Halloween decorations are Halie’s favorite, so this is her favorite time of year to visit Magic Kingdom. Danny loves the decorations, too. They add a little something extra special to the already magical atmosphere of the park.
Epcot International Food & Wine Festival gives park guests even more reasons to visit Epcot throughout the fall season. In addition to all of the great things Epcot has to offer throughout the year, the Food & Wine Festival offers expanded options for food and beverages (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic), as well as nightly concerts and several other awesome options for entertainment. Although the dates change slightly from year to year, the 2019 festival began on August 29th and continues through November 23rd.
The weather, specifically the temperature outside, may have an impact on your enjoyment of this festival and some of the food options at some of the kiosks. Some people aren’t bothered by the heat and won’t let it stop them from trying the hot foods that are served. If you are somebody who doesn’t handle the heat well, or if you just don’t like the heat, you will want to wait until later in the festival to attend. November in Florida can still get pretty hot, but it will be much more comfortable than August or September, for example.
Now that we are well into September and kids across the nation are back in school, there are a lot less families on vacation. Because of this, crowd levels in the parks have diminished significantly in recent weeks. Stand-by wait times for attractions tend to be shorter in mid-September than they were in mid-August. If you are able to do so, planning your WDW vacation for September could help you beat the crowds and enjoy shorter lines in the parks.
This past Wednesday night, we were able to do something that even surprised us. We visited Disney’s Hollywood Studios and checked out Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge for the first time. We rode Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run with only a 45 minute wait. Immediately after we got off the ride, we made our way out of the park and drove over to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We headed straight to Pandora-The World of Avatar and rode Flight of Passage, which also only had a 45 minute wait. Including travel time, we got to ride arguably the two most popular rides at Walt Disney World in a period of less than two hours. During busier times of the year, it is quite common for Flight of Passage alone to have a wait time of more than two hours. We will go into more detail about that night in a future post, so stay tuned for that.
As we mentioned already, once we get farther into the fall season, the temperatures here in Orlando will eventually start to cool off. Another great reason to visit WDW in the fall is the weather. From October through December, the temperatures start to cool down and become more comfortable. It can even get downright chilly at night sometimes. Along with the temperatures dropping, we transition from our rainy season (hurricane season) into our dry season. Our sudden afternoon downpours that we have nearly every day during the summer start to become less frequent. The humidity also starts to decrease in the fall. All of these factors make fall a very desirable time of year for people to visit WDW. You can experience the parks and not be completely drenched in sweat all day, every day.
Lastly, Disney doesn’t waste any time transitioning from Halloween to Christmas. As soon as Magic Kingdom closes following the last Halloween party of the year, WDW undergoes its magical Christmas transition overnight.
Just days after Halloween, the first Christmas party at Magic Kingdom is held. If you plan it right and stay long enough, you can enjoy a Halloween party and Halloween decorations, and a Christmas party and Christmas decorations in the same trip.
There is always a lot to see and do at WDW regardless of the time of year you visit, but fall is especially jam packed with special events, decorations, parties, entertainment, foods, and beverages. There is absolutely something for everyone in the parks this time of year. Your personal preferences and interests will help you to determine when your ideal time to visit may be.
We hope this helps as you go through the process of planning your next Disney vacation and trying to decide when to visit. Do you plan to visit WDW this fall, or during the fall in a future year? What are you looking forward to experiencing the most? Let us know in the comments.
XOXO, Halie and Danny