Disney World, Universal & SeaWorld Planning for September

by Leap on August 29, 2013
6 Video

Disney World planning September

September is hands down, unequivocally the very best month to visit the Orlando theme parks. At least, we sure think so. With the tadpoles back in school and the summer crowds long gone, touring the theme parks takes on a less harried pace and you can truly savor the experience. Plus, the two biggest and best events at the Walt Disney World Resort -- Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival -- kick off in September.

Those of you who are already planning next year's trip to Disney World may be wrestling with the question of whether to pull the children out of school, and with the lower crowd levels in the off-season, it's definitely worth consideration. We know this is a personal decision, and we won't judge you either way :)

Even in September, there are extended theme park hours for many of the parks, so there is plenty of touring time to take advantage of. If you are bringing the children, we recommend touring early, taking a break in the afternoon (to dodge potential downpours) and then coming back to the parks in the evening for as long as your little ones can handle it.

What's new in the parks

Springfield U.S.A. at Universal Orlando

Seemingly overnight, Universal Orlando opened up a whole new land around The Simpsons Ride in Universal Studios. Yes, you can now visit Springfield U.S.A., perhaps kicking back with a Duff Beer and enjoying a Krusty Burger. It's likely that you'll rub elbows with the Simpson clan on your visit, and you might even run into Krusty the Clown or Sideshow Bob. After you've ridden Springfield's signature attraction, be sure to go for a spin on Kang & Kodos' Twirl 'n' Hurl.

In addition to Springfield U.S.A., Universal officially opened TRANSFORMERS: The Ride 3D in June. This attraction features amazing effects and will have you battling alongside Bumblebee and Optimus Prime to take on the Decepticons. We've added wait times for this attraction (as well as Kang & Kodos) to our app -- make sure you download it before you leave home! We still recommend making Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem your first stop in Universal because of its lower loading capacity.

Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin

Over at SeaWorld Orlando, Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin is still getting brisk attention! This combination attraction, exhibit and area is one of the most immersive and authentic experiences we’ve ever encountered in a theme park. Still, no one likes a 2-hour wait for a ride. Thankfully, with the lower crowds in September, we expect waits for Empire of the Penguin to drop significantly. We recommend following the suggestions outlined for reducing your wait time at SeaWorld's Antarctica. Also, don't forget to check out Tad's video of the new areathe ride, the restaurant Expedition Cafe (which is like three restaurants in one!) and Glacial Collections, the shop which sells the cute-as-a-penguin, customizable Cup That Cares.

Princess Fairytale Hall

Some time this fall, perhaps as early as Sept. 18, Princess Fairytale Hall will open inside Magic Kingdom® Park. Cinderella, Rapunzel and other Disney princesses will hold court in the royal digs, greeting guests, signing autographs and posing for pictures. Princess Fairytale Hall is tucked behind Cinderella Castle in New Fantasyland, where you'll also find a number of new Magic Kingdom attractions, including Enchanted Tales With Belle, and Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid and the now-under construction Seven Dwarfs Mine Train roller coaster (scheduled to open in 2014).

Want to know what else is new? Look no further than Tad’s exhaustive list of what's coming to the parks in 2013 (which just keeps growing and growing). And if you're planning a trip for next year, be sure to check out the 2014 list.


Crowd Calendar SeptemberThe very lowest crowds of the year can be found in September, with the majority of the month seeing low crowds and the rest of the month seeing medium crowds. We still recommend reading our post on the SECRET to Avoiding Disney World CROWDS and downloading our wait-time apps, which now includes Fastpass return times, before you head to the parks.

Predicted best days of the month to visit (and recommended parks)

  • September 10 (Magic Kingdom® Park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios®)
  • September 12 (Epcot®, Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park, Islands of Adventure)
  • September 25 (Disney’s Hollywood Studios®, Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure)

Check the crowd calendar to see recommended days for the whole month and beyond.

Closings and Refurbishments

This month, there are a number of closures at Magic Kingdom® Park, including Jungle Cruise, Space Mountain, the Walt Disney World Railroad and Peter Pan. At Disney's Hollywood Studios, the Honey I Shrunk the Kids Playground will be closed most of the month starting Sept. 3. At Universal Studios, Fear Factor Live is closed for seasonal maintenance. For more details and a list of all refurbishments, check our closings page.


If there is one drawback to September, it's the weather. While temperatures are on the decline, the average high remains 90, with high rainfall chances. And it is hurricane season. Yes, it's quite likely you will encounter an afternoon shower in September, but the good news is that it generally clears up after an hour or two. Here is the packing list for this time of year.

September Events

There are a ton of events happening in September, and quite a few major events. Here's the rundown of what's happening this month. Be sure to check out special events pages for Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando for full details.

Will you be visiting in September? What questions do you have for us?

Related: How Much Planning Should You Do for a Disney World Vacation?

Hoppy September!

– Leap

Keep hopping, Leap!
View Comments


Sep 3, 2013 at 4 p.m.
Arianne Says...

can someone tell me if the first week of october will be crowded for the busch gardens parks and sea world. thank you!!

Sep 3, 2013 at 4:12 p.m.
FrogBlog Says...

Weekends will be slightly more crowded, but the 1st week of October should be absolutely lovely. Enjoy your trip!


-- Mommy Frog

Aug 29, 2013 at 10:09 p.m.
Amanda Says...

We will be in MK on September 22 and Epcot on September 24. We are so excited for our 6yo daughter's first trip! When will we know what the Limited Time Magic will be? Also, since we will be in Epcot right before Food & Wine, will Epcot look different with buildings closed up? Love your site, have the app and we look forward to using it I September. Thanks for the info!

Aug 30, 2013 at 1:43 p.m.
FrogBlog Says...

Hi Amanda,

This is a terrific time of year to visit. Typically, the Limited Time Magic is announced the week before the coming week, but there have been some bigger promotions announced earlier than that. You can check the Limited Time Magic website. As far as Epcot goes, there will be some some special signage and displays for the Food & Wine Festival, but the buildings will not be closed up.

Let us know how your trip goes!

--Mommy Frog

Aug 29, 2013 at 1:45 p.m.
Grover Says...

Can anyone give me more details about how things work at the Food & Wine festival? Do you just walk around and buy food from vendors? Do I need to do any pre-planning? Walk me through a typical visit to the festival.

Thanks very much.

Aug 29, 2013 at 2:11 p.m.
FrogBlog Says...

Hi Grover,

Here is a post that touches a bit on the planning aspect.


The heart of the festival are the food booths from the different worlds, and you might want to look at the menus in advance so you have an idea of which ones you want to stop at. The more fearless among us might just figure it out spontaneously!

We recommend buying a Food & Wine gift card for eating around the world. Because it's wearable, you don't have to open a wallet every time you stop somewhere and you can budget in advance on how much you want to spend.

Let us know if you end up going!

-- Mommy Frog


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