With many kids heading back to school, September sees lower crowds than August or October. But, while the crowds may be lower, the temps and chances for rain aren't.
Here's what you need to know:
How our Crowd Calendars Work
Ready to dive in? Jump down to the September Crowd Calendar
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).
What order should you visit the parks?
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:
- Hollywood Studios is consistently the first park to reach capacity. If you are interested in riding Rise of the Resistance, you might want to consider putting it at the beginning of your trip in case you need to try a couple of times to get a Boarding Group.
- Magic Kingdom is the most popular park overall. It is also the park most first-time visitors think of when they think "Disney World". Saturdays are the busiest, with mid-week typically the least busy.
- Epcot hosts nearly year-round festivals, and those festivals are popular with both out-of-state visitors as well as with locals. And, since a lot of what the festivals are famous for are alcohol and food, the areas around the Festival Booths can be a lot busier (and a bit rowdier) than what you'd find during the daytime hours on the weekdays. If that isn't the vibe you are looking for, you may want to skip Epcot during the nighttime on Friday and Saturdays.
- Even with the new Park Pass system, Animal Kingdom remains one of the "easiest" parks to fit into a trip. You should be able to plug it in wherever it makes the most sense for you.
We go into a lot more detail in our guide on The Best Days to Visit Each Park.
Planning for Disney World in September
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.
Since September is typically a slower time of the year, outside of the Labor Day holiday you may see the parks not open as late as what you see over the summer.
- Guide to Magic Kingdom Park Hours
- Guide to Epcot Park Hours
- Guide to Hollywood Studios Park Hours
- Guide to Animal Kingdom Park Hours
PRICES AND DISCOUNTS
The low crowds of September means that Disney frequently offers good discounts for this time of the year.
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.
International Food and Wine Festival
Probably the most famous of all the Epcot festivals is the International Food and Wine Festival.
Held every year in the fall, for 2021 we will see the dates extend from July 15 all the way until November 20.
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.
After Hours Boo Bash
We are happy to report that in 2021, Magic Kingdom will see the spooky season return with the new After Hours Boo Bash. And, while we are a bit sad it won't be the full Mickey's Not-So-Scary-Halloween Party, we are excited to see that some popular features (like trick-or-treating) will be included in the ticket price.
Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
(Note: MNSSHP is not being held in 2021)
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.
September at Disney World remains hot. And steamy. Maybe not as hot and steamy as July or August, but it is still really hot.
During September, the temperatures will range from lows in the mid 70s to highs in the upper 80s.
The rain chances decrease slightly, but September still sees on average over 6 inches of rain per year.
We recommend that you come prepared with ponchos, multiple pairs of shoes (in case one pair gets wet), and umbrellas just in case.
Swimming in September
The pools are a popular place to be in September as people search for ways to cool off after a busy day in the parks.
In addition to the pools at the resorts, Disney's 2 water parks will also remain popular.
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.
WHAT TO WEAR
Traveling in September? You'll definitely want to prepare for the hot weather and pack accordingly.
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.
REFURBISHMENTS AND CLOSURES
While routine refurbishments aren't typically scheduled in September, you'll likely still run into a few attractions that are closed.
We keep track of those on the calendar below.
To see what will be closed on your trip, toggle the "attraction closings" tab.
At this time, no major new attraction, restaurant, or show is scheduled to open in September.
TIPS FOR DISNEY WORLD IN SEPTEMBER
- If you can travel after Labor Day you'll have the best chances for lower than average crowds.
- Keep checking for discounts. Even if you've already booked discounts can still be applied.
- The pools can get quite busy. For the lowest crowds consider visiting in the morning.
- If you plan to visit the Food & Wine Festival, consider going on a weekday when the crowds are less intense.