It can be tough narrowing down when to plan your Walt Disney World Resort vacation. After all, there are many factors to consider such as crowd levels, weather, special events and more. While you can't go wrong with whatever time of year you choose, we have a few reasons why fall is our favorite time of year to visit the Most Magical Place on Earth. And we expect this fall to be an especially good time to visit Walt Disney World — thanks to expected lower crowd levels, fun events and frogtastic seasonal food and merchandise. Hop along with us as we explore all of the fall fun waiting for you at Walt Disney World!
Our Favorite Reasons to Visit Walt Disney World This Fall
Lower Crowd Levels
With the Disney Park Pass reservation system in place, capacity is limited at all of the parks — which means lower crowds no matter which day you plan to attend. With 2020 being a more unusual year, our general rule of thumb in terms of crowd prediction is to anticipate that 2020 (and early 2021) will be considerably less busy than usual but will follow the crowd patterns from previous years. For example, we do expect that historically busier times, such as Halloween or Thanksgiving week, will continue to draw more guests than a weekday in the off season; but even those "busier" times will be less crowded than past years. For a deeper dive into the best times to visit Walt Disney World in 2020 and 2021, hop over to our full post.
Additionally, with many frog families planning Walt Disney World trips around summer vacation, spring break and the holidays, fewer frog squads aim for the fall following Labor Day weekend since tadpoles are hopping back to school. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t any crowds, but wait times typically shrink when compared to the crowd levels during peak seasons.
Generally, September is one of the best months to go because the only holiday is Labor Day and the back-to-school season kicks off. (In Florida, public schools are already in session by late August). Crowd levels in the past have remained low until the end of the month when the Halloween crowds start creeping in. Last year, October saw higher crowds, especially around Columbus Day weekend. However, without Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties hoppening this year, and lower crowds heading to the parks overall, we anticipate that things will remain manageable all through 2020.
Crowds usually start to calm back down from early to mid-November. Even with Veterans Day weekend, this timeframe works great if you wish to catch the holiday festivities with the least amount of crowds.
Low Wait Times
Low crowd levels translate to ... (drumroll please!) LOW RIDE WAIT TIMES! If you are an attraction-hoppin' type of family, get ready for a day where you can likely get it all done — and maybe even ride a few favorites multiple times.
Enjoyable Weather (Particularly October and November)
There’s no escaping the hot and humid weather during the summer. So, when the fall season rolls around, we always welcome the cooler temperatures with open arms. (Hellooo, spirit jerseys!) September remains fairly hot with an average high of 89 degrees Fahrenheit. While the daily afternoon thunderstorms start to decline this month, it’s still important to pack a poncho or umbrella and have a Plan B for inclement weather.
October brings warm days and cooler nights with much less rainfall than the months before. You can still wear T-shirts and shorts during the day, but we recommend packing a light sweatshirt or jacket for the evenings. November continues this trend, but keep a close eye on the weather forecast leading up to your trip. The first cold front of the season (OK, cool front, this is Florida after all) usually hoppens this month!
Hoppin’ Good Hotel Rates
Because fall is typically a slower season, you can often score a ribbeting deal at the Walt Disney World Resort hotels. And if you book through us, you’ll gain even more savings! In fact, there's a special deal going on right now just for Southern U.S. residents — hop over to our Hotel page and select "Unlock Special Location-Based Offers for Walt Disney World Resort" to take advantage if this applies to you!
On property, you have many hotels to choose from, ranging from budget-friendly value hotels to luxurious deluxes (or, get a mix of both at the moderates). Expect immersive theming no matter which hotel you choose. Currently, there is still availability in September and October at the majority of the Disney hotels. Hop on it if you’re already thinking of booking a reservation!
Toadally Fun Special Events
Some of our favorite events hoppen during the fall! Over at EPCOT, the A Taste of EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival will be taking place through the fall. This modified experience allows guests to wine and dine around World Showcase and Future World, sampling special food and beverage items from a hodgepodge of cultures. I’m not joking when I say that Leap trains for this event each year — who knew eating around the world can be taken as seriously as a sport?
While Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party won't be taking place this year, Walt Disney World is still keeping the seasonal resort-wide fun that makes fall so special! For the first time ever, grown-up frogs can wear full costumes at the park while not attending a special event (and you better believe that Leap and I are planning to take advantage of it!). That's right, while you can't dress up to hop to a party, you can dress up and hop to the parks.
At Magic Kingdom Park, get ready for all-new character cavalcades just for the spooky season! From a cavalcade of Disney Villains, to Mickey and his pals in their very own costumes, to the Pumpkin King himself, the Halloween spirit will still be in the air. Plus, guests can catch Halloween favorites, the Cadaver Dans (aka the Dapper Dans in ghoulish costumes), as they perform spooky hits. We've got the full scoop on the Halloween hoppenings at Walt Disney World here so that you don't miss anything! (Now that would be scary.)
The best part? It's all included with your Disney World admission!
All-New Character Experiences
And speaking of characters, the Walt Disney World theme parks have created some brand-new ways to visit with your favorite characters from a safe distance. Whether characters are elevated, or a short distance away, there are spontaneous interactions all throughout the day. Some of these experiences are short character cavalcades, where Disney friends will head by on parade floats, horses, boats, carriages or cars. And others take place intermittently at landmarks around the parks, such as Cinderella Castle, the Main Street Train Station, or the TIE Echelon Fighter in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. While the interactions are different, we've actually found these new interactions to be more personal ... and no less magical! (We had no idea we needed Winnie the Pooh catching butterflies in our lives!) We can't wait to see what's in store for Halloween.
Spectacular Seasonal Decor
Even if you’re not attending any of the special events, you can still revel at the holiday decor spread throughout the theme parks and resorts. Fall leaf Mickey wreaths, jack-o-lanterns and pumpkin-head scarecrows pop up everywhere along Main Street, U.S.A.
As soon as Jack Skellington bids farewell, Magic Kingdom transforms into a winter wonderland overnight. The rest of the theme parks and the resorts join in with towering Christmas trees and gorgeous garlands. Star-shaped wreaths along Sunset Boulevard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios are usually the first decorations to pop up (as early as mid-October!). Most Christmas decor is in place by the week of Thanksgiving, and this year, guests can expect special holiday-themed projections illuminated on Cinderella Castle.
Tasty Fall Flavors
Is that the smell of pumpkin or peppermint in the air? Walt Disney World serves up seasonal, sweet and savory flavors across all of its properties. (Like the delish treats pictured above ... drool!) Themed offerings are available at all of the Disney theme parks, as well as Disney Springs. You can find a full list of the goodies heading your way, and more importantly, where to find them, in our full fall guide here. And keep an eye out! As we get closer to winter, Disney usually gifts us a festive foodie guide to the holiday goodies heading to the parks. We're making a list, and checking it twice ...
And in even more hoppy news, Minnie's Seasonal Dining at Hollywood & Vine is back at Disney's Hollywood Studios! Minnie's Halloween Dine will start serving up a monster feast Sept. 25, and happy witch Minnie Mouse, spooky cowboy Goofy, vampire Mickey and his pal Pluto will all be there.
Toadally Cute Merchandise
And speaking of lists, boy do we have a shopping list ready for our next trip to Walt Disney World! Whether its masks, backpacks, Mickey ears, spirit jerseys, T-shirts or pins, super cute seasonal merchandise can be found all across Walt Disney World Resort. It's only around for a limited time and generally goes scary-fast, so be sure to grab it while you can! If you're more of a holly-jolly froggy, Christmas offers an equally tempting array of themed merchandise to stuff your stocking.
Exciting new rides, restaurants and more are set to open in 2020! A number of openings also hoppened right before Walt Disney World closed due to COVID-19. Those will still be brand-new to some frog families who haven’t had a chance to experience them yet!
The highly anticipated Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and France Pavilion expansion at EPCOT is scheduled to open in 2020. We can’t wait to scurry alongside Chef Remy on the 4D ride, and try a crepe at the new restaurant, La Creperie de Paris.
Meanwhile, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway debuted at Disney’s Hollywood Studios only a week before Disney announced the theme parks were closing. At EPCOT, Regal Eagle Smokehouse, Canada: Far and Wide, the Beauty and the Beast singalong show and Awesome Planet are all recent additions. Over at Magic Kingdom Park, Cinderella Castle just underwent a gorgeous makeover — don't froget to snap a selfie! (And yes, you can toadally tell whether or not you're smiling under your mask, so say "Mickey!")
Are you planning a trip to Walt Disney World in the fall? Let us know what you are looking most forward to in the comments below!