Last updated on 07/08/2023
October at Walt Disney World used to be a relatively slower time of the year, but now many schools have fall breaks, which means it can get kind of busy.
Here’s what you need to know:
We used to love recommending October to people. The crowds didn’t use to be that bad, and the fall decorations at Magic Kingdom were always fun. And then a few years ago the crowd trends changed and suddenly, October took on an entirely different feel.
We know that there are lots and lots of people who can only visit during October. And we don’t want to say anything to scare anybody or to make them think their trip will be ruined because the parks are crowded.
Our goal is to prepare you. There are still lots of reasons to love Walt Disney World in October – and if you go into it knowing that you’ll need to plan for the crowds, you’ll still have a magical trip.
There are all kinds of reasons to love Disney World during October. Here are some of our favorites:
But while there is lots to enjoy about October at Disney World, there are a few other things you should know:
Yes. Over the past 5-10 years, October at Walt Disney World has increasingly grown busier and busier, to the point where now nearly the entire month of October is busy.
The main reason we’ve found for this is the increasing number of schools that now offer extended Fall Breaks much like the traditional Spring Breaks.
That, paired with a holiday, the runDisney Wine and Dine 1/2 Marathon, and “Jersey Week,” makes Disney World a popular place for families to vacation during the fall.
Even though most of the month will be busy, there are still a few days that will be busier than others.
During busier times of the year, Disney does try to improve guest experiences by doing a few things to help keep the lines down. Although they never officially announce anything, these are the things that we’ve noticed that do help:
Although Disney can make adjustments to keep the lines manageable, they can’t control just how busy the parks look and feel. During busier times of the year like October, walkways and paths in the parks may be full, Quick Service locations remain busy for longer, and the crowds for nighttime shows will be heavier.
We don’t tell you that to scare you, but to prepare you. October is not the time of year to just wing it. Spending even just a few minutes on a plan for your Disney World trip will make all the difference.
To avoid the heaviest crowds in October, skip these dates:
Disney publishes its park hours about 75 days in advance, but those hours can (and very often do) change.
Note: This used to be about 180 days in advance, but since the reopening, they have transitioned to a roughly 75-day window.
As the dates get closer, it isn’t unusual for Disney to tweak either the opening or closing times. And during especially busy times of the year, they may change both.
That means to avoid having your plans sidetracked, you’ll definitely want to keep checking the park hours – including while on your trip.
When it comes to park hours – in general – the heavier the crowds, the longer the parks will be open during the day. Of course, that also means that the parks will be open fewer hours of the day during less busy times of the years.
It isn’t unusual to see park hours extended in October to accommodate the busy crowds.
The busier that October gets, the fewer the discounts that have been offered – but they are still around, there just may not be as many rooms available to be booked at a discounted rate.
But remember: Disney doesn’t offer discounts to be nice, they do it to fill hotel rooms. For the best chances of snagging a good deal, keep your travel dates and preferred resort flexible.
Probably the most famous of all the Epcot festivals is the International Food and Wine Festival.
Held every year in the fall, if you are a fan of good food and fun drinks, you’ll definitely want to plan to spend some time at Epcot during your trip.
Halloween has always been an extremely popular time to visit Walt Disney World, with specially ticketed events at Magic Kingdom a highlight for many guests.
One of the hottest parties around, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is a specially ticketed event (translation: it costs extra) at Magic Kingdom. During the party you’ll find special character meet and greet opportunities, dance parties, the popular Boo to You parade, fireworks, and of course, trick-or-treating.
While October at Disney World remains hot, there are some glimpses of cooler temps, especially in the mornings and after the sun goes down.
During October, the temperatures will range from lows in the upper 60’s to highs in the low 80s.
The rain chances also decrease, with October only seeing around 3 inches of rain per year.
But even though the rain chances aren’t as high, we still recommend that you come prepared with ponchos, multiple pairs of shoes (in case one pair gets wet), and umbrellas just in case. Remember, October is still hurricane season in Florida – so the chance for extended rains is there.
The heat of the midday sun means that the pools are still a good option for those looking to take a swim.
In addition to the pools at the resorts, at least 1 of Disney’s 2 water parks will remain open.
If swimming is a must-do, and you are worried about the crowds, consider starting your day at the pool and head to the parks later in the day. Most people reverse that plan, which means the pools can get quite busy by the end of the day.
Traveling in October? Summer clothes are still likely going to be your best bet.
Shorts, Capri pants, and moisture wicking socks are all good options.
One place where you might get cold, however, is inside some restaurants and attractions.
And in fact, even during the hottest months we keep a light jacket in our park bag because coming out of the sun into an air-conditioned space is sometimes too cold for our liking.
If you’re the kind of person that finds sitting under the AC to be too much, you might want to consider tossing in a light jacket, too.
While routine refurbishments aren’t typically scheduled in October, you’ll likely still run into a few attractions that are closed.
Mid to late October is often when 1 of the 2 water parks will close (one at a time) for refurbishment. Which one closes first often changes from year-to-year, so be sure to check the calendar if you have plans to go to one on your trip.
At this time, no major new attraction, restaurant, or show is scheduled to open in October.
Depending on the length of your trip, here’s how many days we recommend for each park:
When it comes time to decide which days are best for each park, here are some general things to keep in mind:
1. For each day of the month, we tell you on a scale of 1-10 how busy the entire Walt Disney World Resort is when compared to other days of the year.
2. Then, for each park you’ll see the park hours and any special events that are planned.
3. We also track refurbishments and closings (which you can toggle on and off).
4. We have a handy feature that allows you to automatically add your Advanced Dining Reservation date to your calendar.
5. And, one of the most useful features is the ability to be able to print the calendar so that you can have a paper copy for planning (or to just use as a backup).
Official park hours are usually released around 75 days in advance.
The "crowd level" compares each day to the rest of the year; it indicates how crowded the entire WDW Resort area is on a scale of 1-10.
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