Visiting Disney World in October 2014 (+GIVEAWAY)


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, Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival (scoring an Epcot Resort Area DVC room at the 7 month mark is a serious achievement!), and the runDisney Tower of Terror 10-Miler. 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!), we can’t really argue with those who favor it–October is a great month to visit. This post will take a look at why October is such a great month to visit, and will wrap up with our latest Downtown Disney Resort Area Hotel Stay Giveaway at the end!

As for crowds, they dropped off after Labor Day and remain incredibly light for the first half of the month before trending slightly upwards for the Columbus Day holiday in the middle of the month, and remaining slightly elevated thereafter. It’s still a very good month in terms of crowds (check out our When To Visit Walt Disney World post for the best and worst months of the year), 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! (more…)

When To Visit Disney World

People often ask, “when is the best time to visit Disney World?” Some days and times of year are better to plan your trip to Walt Disney World. The least crowded times of the year are typically after Labor Day until the week before Thanksgiving, early December, the entire month of January and early February, and late April. That said, nowadays especially in 2014 now that New Fantasyland is complete and ‘Frozen Frenzy’ is at its peak, there really is no “slow season” at Walt Disney World.

Crowds should not be your only consideration when planning when to visit Walt Disney World. There are some great seasonal events, such as the Halloween and Christmas seasons, Food & Wine Festival, runDisney, and other fun events. You may also be constrained as to when you can visit by school schedules, vacation time, and other factors. Add to that weather and various other considerations, and when to visit Walt Disney World isn’t as cut and dry as visiting in late September, early December, or February when crowds are low.

Of course, choosing which days to visit Walt Disney World is just one aspect of planning a trip. To make sure you tackle everything, make sure you read our Guide to Planning a Walt Disney World Trip, which covers all of the essentials.

With that said, let’s take a look at when you should and shouldn’t visit Walt Disney World… (more…)

Frozen at Walt Disney World

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Any parent taking their kids on vacation probably wants to know where to find Anna, Elsa, and the rest of the Frozen characters at Walt Disney World. Currently, Frozen Summer Fun Live! is the main offering being held at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and consisting of a variety of things, with the Princess Anna & Elsa Meet & Greet taking place in the Magic Kingdom. Oh, and you practically cannot turn around in a gift shop without seeing something Frozen. 

What is looming on the horizon remains to be seen, current popular speculation suggests that Frozen will replace Maelstrom in Norway at Epcot, perhaps with Imagineering going as far as taking out Norway and adding Arendelle. Beyond that, it’s almost certain that the Frozen Summer Fun Live! special entertainment that’s running at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and is slated to conclude on September 28, 2014 will be extended at least until the beginning of 2015. Walt Disney World frequently extends popular offerings “by guest demand” (see Main Street Electrical Parade, which was slated to run only for Summer Nightastic…that was 4 years ago) and the Frozen Celebration has redefined popular, giving Disney’s Hollywood Studios an incredible shot in the arm in the process.

With the American Idol Experience having closed on August 30, 2014 and located on prime real estate, there’s heavy speculation that the Frozen Sing-Along Celebration will be relocated from its current soundstage to a less-temporary set-up in the former home of the American Idol Experience, “Superstar Television Theater.” There’s also new speculation that Anna & Elsa are having their meet & greet return to Norway in Epcot’s World Showcase. There are rumors of an Olaf meet & greet during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. About the only park that doesn’t have any strong rumors concerning Frozen is Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and we want to remedy that by starting the (fake) rumor of Sven the Reindeer’s Wild Ride (featuring real reindeer!) coming soon to that park. It’s like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, except different every time you ride…and you’ll have to sign a waiver!

The flurry of rumor activity concerning Frozen should come as no surprise. Disney likely wants to strike while the iron is hot, and there’s nothing hotter than Frozen. It’s so popular that in July analysts were already predicting one of the “it” Christmas toys would be a Frozen Snow Glow Singing Elsa Doll. There are about a zillion covers of “Let It Go” on YouTube. You can’t visit Tumblr without seeing Frozen fan art. Frozen has its own popular subreddit. It’s a cultural phenomenon, just about every child in the country is absolutely entranced by it. Even more impressive, it’s showing no signs of slowing down. I didn’t realize just how big of a deal it was until attending the Frozen Sing-Along Celebration, and hearing a chorus of children singing the words to every song, even when the words weren’t displayed on the screen! It was like a cult chant…except cheerful children singing upbeat music.

Let’s not fixate on what might happen with Frozen at Walt Disney World, let’s take a look at what is happening, along with our tips and advice for how to approach it… (more…)

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 2014 Tips

The 2014 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Parties at Walt Disney World will occur in September and October. This post covers our tips and tricks for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 2014, which is scheduled for the following dates: September 1, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 21, 23, 26, and 28; October 2, 3, 5, 9, 10, 13, 16, 17, 19, 21, 23, 24, 26, 28, 30, and 31. You can purchase tickets (ranging from $57-77 per person) on Walt Disney World’s event page.

On these nights, the Magic Kingdom closes at 7 p.m. to guests who haven’t not purchased tickets for the Halloween Party. So you can prepare for the Halloween Party now, here is our analysis based upon the last several years (we go to it yearly) to help you determine whether this expensive hard ticket event is worth it to you, and if so, what your “Plan of Attack” should be to efficiently conquer the various offerings. Between this party and Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival, plus improving weather, the fall months at Walt Disney World are one of our favorite times of year to visit!

Note that this guide covers Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, not Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland. For info about the latter, read our comprehensive Guide to Halloween Time at Disneyland!

Should You Attend?

So at over $60 a pop for tickets to the 2014 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, you might be trying to determine, “is Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party worth it?” Our opinion, as Disney-biased tourists, is that it most definitely is worth the price at least once. Once you’ve experienced the party once (it doesn’t change much year-to-year), you might determine that it’s simply too expensive to experience again. For a one time event, it’s definitely worth it if your budget allows. While we prefer Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, we do attend both every year.

There’s a lot of special entertainment including one of Disney’s best parades and a great fireworks show, a great ambiance to the party including special decorations and lighting, lots of unique character meet & greets, and even seeing other guests in Halloween costumes makes for a fun experience.

If you do decide to do the Halloween Party, make sure to buy your tickets in advance, and use any available discounts (Disney Vacation Club member, Annual Passholder, etc.). Tickets are more expensive on the day of the party, and several nights each year sell out completely. It would stink to wait until the last minute and have your dates sell out!

If you’re a potentially returning guest to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, here’s what’s new for 2014. The big news is that there is actually a hard ticket event within this hard ticket event. Called Villains’ Sinister Soiree (we still wish they went with “Mickey’s Halloween Inception”), it’s essentially a dessert party in Cinderella’s Royal Table with reserved seating for the Boo to You Parade and HalloWishes fireworks. This costs $99 per person on top of the ~$60 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party ticket. So, if you’ve been thinking that the Halloween party is just too darn cheap, this option is for you!

Seriously though, we have absolutely no intention of doing this party. The reserved viewing area is not a good spot for viewing the fireworks, as it’s too close to Cinderella Castle (for the best spots, check out our Magic Kingdom Fireworks Viewing Locations Guide), and there are just too many other great things to do at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (it’s unlikely you can do all of the regular entertainment in a single night) to justify attending a dessert party, especially at the $99 price point. In fact, we wouldn’t do this dessert party even if it were “only” $25 per person. It’s just not worth taking the time from the regular awesome entertainment of the Halloween party to do this. Plus, the idea of another upcharge event within an upcharge event just makes us cringe.

Fortunately, the other “significant” new thing (besides some minor changes to the Boo To You Parade and a couple of different meet & greet characters) is the Club Villain dance party in Frontierland, and it offers guests the opportunity to ‘mingle’ with some villains without paying the upcharge price. Beyond that, it looks to be mostly the same entertainment as last year.

As for what you should do during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, here’s our guide, fully updated for the 2014 parties! (more…)

Visiting Disney World in September 2014

September is a great month to visit Walt Disney World thanks to improved weather, lower crowds, and fun seasonal events. It’s the first full month of school being back in session, and crowds essentially drop off a cliff after the Labor Day holiday and stay low the duration of the month. In our experience, it’s arguably the best month of the year in terms of crowds (check out our When To Visit Walt Disney World post for the best and worst months of the year) and while every park isn’t going to be “dead” every day of the week, if you plan well, you can really avoid crowds during a September Walt Disney World visit. That also means shorter September park hours, but you can’t really argue with accomplishing more in less time.

In terms of weather, September is better than the July and August, but early in the month it can still be pretty hot and humid. It’s also the height of hurricane and storm season, so you may want to consult our Visiting Walt Disney World During Storm Season article to navigate the afternoon showers (or worse) without them putting too much of a damper on your trip. Things get better towards the end of the month both in terms of humidity and storms, so your best bet is definitely to hold off on visiting until later in the month if you can. Just remember to pack accordingly, bringing the Frogg Toggs for the humidity…and ponchos for the rain so you don’t spend $179 on them at Walt Disney World. You can view day-by-day temperature and weather forecasts plus historical averages for Walt Disney World weather in September here.

September is also great for special events. To answer a common question: yes, you will see Halloween decorations if you visit Walt Disney World in September. Any day in September (this year decorations started going up August 24). Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is offered throughout September, and most of the best dates for attending Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party are in September. It’s a really fun hard-ticketed event that we fully believe is worth doing at least once. If you’re considering attending and want to know whether it’s worth it or you’ve already decided to attend and want some tips and strategy for the party, read our Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Guide.

The end of the month also brings with it Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival, which is a great way to graze and sample different cuisines, or attend instructive seminars, or other foodie special events. It’s also a great way to lighten your wallet, as it is very easy to spend a lot of money at Food & Wine Festival on these small samples. Especially if you buy booze: not only can you spend a lot on the drinks, but the drinks might cause you to relax your credit card swiping hand and use it more freely on snacks. Not that we know from experience or anything. Check out our Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival Guide for more tips and tricks for this event.

But wait, that’s not all! (more…)