For as long as I can remember, people have said that autumn is the magic season at Walt Disney World. People have told others to yank their kids out of school, with promises of lower crowds, perfect weather, free dining, Mickey Ice Cream Bars raining from the sky, and water fountains that spout Dole Whip. I might be exaggerating, but if I am – it’s only a little. We’ve heard it said that you shouldn’t go to Disney World during Holidays or when school’s out so often, that it’s pretty much Disney Bible. Today, we’re here to share what we found on our latest Autumn trip to Walt Disney World (which fell in late September), to let you know what you’ll find, and if the time of year really lives up to the hype.
Unfortunately, while we were there, it wasn’t the promised Autumn weather. I wasn’t sipping Pumpkin Spice Lattes, enjoying crisp air, dreaming of hoodies and sweatpants. No, it was almost 100 degrees, and the humidity was almost as high. I spent most of the time dreaming of water, and feeling sad and sorry for Winnie the Pooh, trapped in his costume. Fall is also rainy season – so PACK YO UMBRELLAS FOLKS. You, and your wallets, will be thanking me later. Now, this might not be the weather on YOUR fall trip – you might get blessed with the kind of weather that makes you want to skip through an apple orchard. That just wasn’t my experience. Florida is a fickle weather beast – so pack for all kinds of weather.
When we were there, the parks were busier than they were in June. This was counter to everything we’ve ever seen, or said about the Disney parks. It’s supposed to be empty in September and busy in the summers. We think the surge of people might have been due to several things. For starters, free dining and the start of Food and Wine Festival brought the crowds. Secondly, for years, people have been saying it’s better to take your kids out of school than to face the parks during the summertime – to us, to seemed like everyone listened. Again, the might have just been our experience for when we were there – maybe you’ll go in October and have the Magic Kingdom to yourself.
THE MAGIC KINGDOM WILL GIVE YOU ALL THE FALL FEELS. I’m not sure if there’s anything quite as magical (until Santa takes control of The Magic Kingdom), as Main Street U.S.A., decked out for Autumn. The Mickey Pumpkins adorning the lampposts softly cast a glow, while elaborate scarecrows smile and autumn colored banners cover surfaces. It truly is something every true Disney fan needs to experience.
There’s plenty of things to do if you decide on a WDW trip in the Fall. One of the best reasons to visit in the Fall, in our opinion, is to have the opportunity to attend a Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. You will be sure that it’s one event you won’t regret attending! Another great reason to attend in the Fall is to go to Epcot’s Gluttony Gala aka Food and Wine Festival, an event near and dear to my food and wine loving heart.
Many people that are attending Disney in the fall, are doing so because of the ‘free dining’ promotion, where you get a free dining plan when you book a full priced Disney hotel room, and tickets for everyone in your room. The dates for free dining this year are as follows.
August 23* through October 1.
November 15 through 21.
November 26 through 28.
December 10 through 21.
We aren’t the biggest believers in free dining, because we think that you don’t always save money. A lot of times, you can save more money (in our opinions) in getting a good deal on a discounted hotel room.
Fall at Disney World for us is a mixed bag. We aren’t in the group of people that think it’s the best time of year to go (that crown belongs to early December, in our world). But we do love it, mainly because we’re such big believers in the merits of The Not So Scary Party and Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival. We know that no matter when you go to Disney you’ll have a great time – but we aren’t sure if the merits of this season are worth yanking your kids out of school (TRUANCY! DETENTION! A GENERATION THAT CAN’T READ!). Instead, save the school pulling out for December.