Many people view October as the best month of the year to visit Walt Disney World due to temperate weather, low crowds, and its seasonal events. If you ask Disney Vacation Club members, it’s often their favorite month of the year for the reasons above plus Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival (scoring an Epcot Resort Area DVC room at the 7 month mark is a serious achievement!). While we don’t agree that October is the best month of the year (sorry, but you cannot beat the Christmas season at Walt Disney World!), it’s in the top 3. This post will take a look at why October is such a great month to visit.
As for crowds, they dropped off after Labor Day and remain incredibly light for the beginning of the month before trending slightly upwards for the Columbus Day holiday in the middle of the month, and remaining slightly elevated thereafter. Summer crowds were lower than normal followed by a spike in October crowds during 2016, and we expect the same for October 2017.
It’s still a very good month in terms of crowds, and the #3 month overall (check out our Best and Worst Months at Walt Disney World post for the other rankings), although weekends at Epcot will be packed for the Food & Wine Festival and the Magic Kingdom’s Halloween Parties will get busier closer to Halloween. Still, with a little planning, you can easily avoid crowds during October in Walt Disney World. Keep in mind that lower crowds also means park hours are short in October, but that’s a small sacrifice given considerably shorter wait times and better weather than those unbearable summer months.
Weather at Walt Disney World continues to improve in October, with temperatures cooling even further from September, humidity dropping, and the tail end of hurricane and storm season concluding. Afternoon showers and torrential downpours are still possible, as is really hot and really cool weather, so remember to pack for a wide range of weather conditions. You can view day-by-day temperature and weather forecasts plus historical averages for Walt Disney World weather in October here. As you can see, average highs are still in the 80s every day of the month, so it’s not that much cooler…although those 60 degree lows can make a big difference.
That’s the crowd and weather forecast in Walt Disney World’s neck of the woods, now let’s take a look at the events going on around the Resort!
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is offered many nights in October, which can be a good or bad thing depending upon how you look at it. In the “good” camp, this means more opportunities to get in the Halloween spirit and attend. In the “bad” camp, this means more 7 pm closings, which have to be carefully planned around on the days of your vacation that you aren’t attending the Halloween Party.
As for when to attend, we highly recommend attending as early in the month as possible, on a school night. If you’re unfamiliar with the event, read our Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Guide to learn more. It’s a fun hard-ticket event (that means it costs extra) with a special Halloween parade, Halloween fireworks, special character meet & greets, trick or treating, and more.
Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival is also in high gear during the month of October. This event has expanded significantly in recent years, both in terms of popularity and what’s offered. There’s no two ways about it: Food & Wine Festival is expensive. Yes, there are some free and low cost events, but just about everything at the event is costly, and at an elevated price even by Disney standards. Most people stick to the kiosks around World Showcase offering small snacks that are about $4-7 each, on average. That doesn’t seem like much, but costs add up quickly. Read our Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival Guide for what’s offered this year at the event, plus tips and tricks, and what we recommend doing (and not doing).
October is actually one of the bigger months of the year for special events at Walt Disney World. After the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler race was cancelled a couple of years ago, runDisney no longer does October events. Uhh…an “alternative” is the Disney Cross Country Classic, but if you don’t know what this is…it’s probably actually an alternative, since it’s a cross country event for student athletes. There are actually a few other events on the ESPN Wide World of Sports October Calendar, but again, these are only going to appeal to those with kids participating in them.
At the very end of the month, you’ve also got the Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic, which is their own weekend food and wine festival that compliments the one in Epcot (but is a standalone event). Back in the parks, naturally, there are some refurbishments, too. Instead of following the prevailing sentiment that “my vacation is ruined!” when you read of a favorite attraction being down during your vacation, think optimistically, and be happy that it’s getting some TLC. Walt Disney World’s refurbishments for October are listed here.
Besides the events, October is a great month to visit in terms of what you’ll pay to visit. Right now there is a great 30% off room-only offer, and we typically prefer this discount to the uber-popular Free Disney Dining Plan promotion (which is no longer available for booking). You can see why in our Walt Disney World Discount Comparisons post. If you’re booking a room-only discount, you can decide for yourself which hotel might be best by reading our Walt Disney World Hotel Reviews.
If Free Dining is more your taste, and you are considering an October Walt Disney World trip, you should know that your options are typically limited in the Free Disney Dining Plan promotion. Basically, none at all. Walt Disney World uses promotions to entice guests to visit during certain low-season periods to redistribute crowd patterns, and October this year is strong on bookings. Hopefully there will be more availability next year, because this is still a low season for travel and tourism in general. If you’re looking to save money on airfare, visit ITA Software to search for the best prices. We have more tips for traveling frugally that might be worth reading if you’re trying to do Disney on a Dime.
Overall, like we said at the beginning, October is often cited as the single-best month to visit Walt Disney World. There are great events, the weather is nice, crowds are low, and pricing is attractive. What more could you want?! As we shared in our September at Walt Disney World post, the last weekend in September into the beginning of October is one of our favorite weeks of the year for our personal trips to Walt Disney World, so we’re not just feeding you a line to try to convince you to visit in October for some nefarious motive. Heck, it would be in our own best interests if we encouraged you to visit some other month so the parks are less crowded for us. Actually…forget everything you read in this post…July is BY FAR THE BEST MONTH TO VISIT!!! 😉
If you’re planning a Walt Disney World vacation and need to know about more than just the month of October, make sure to read our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide and related articles.
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Are you a fan of visiting Walt Disney World in October? Which month do you like? Hearing from you is half the fun, so please share your thoughts on these questions, or anything else, in the comments!