This guide to October 2022 at Walt Disney World offers a free crowd calendar covering when to visit & avoid, best weather, new attraction openings & closures, info about the 50th Anniversary, Halloween, Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival, and more. We also cover what’s happening at Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios.
October 2022 is when fall crowds start accelerating due to it being the main month of Halloween, school fall breaks, plus conventions and other group events. This makes it a stark contrast to September. Despite this, it’s still a good time to visit thanks to the weather, festivities, and new attractions, entertainment, and nighttime spectaculars all debuting.
In the not-too-distant past, October was a “best kept secret” when it came to the best months to visit Walt Disney World. Temperate weather, low crowds, value season pricing, and seasonal events all made it a good time to visit. This ceased to be the case about a decade ago, as October became a favorite month to visit for many WDW fans.
Suffice to say, October crowds have ballooned at Walt Disney World in recent years. This is due to a combination of the secret getting out, people postponing summer vacations for better pricing, more schools having longer fall breaks, Walt Disney World doing more convention business, and other factors. Now, October is one of Walt Disney World’s busiest months of the year.
We recommend utilizing our 1-Day Disney Park Itineraries & Touring Plans to make the most of your October experience at Walt Disney World. These will help you avoid the crowds, but more importantly, save you time waiting in line (since crowds and wait times are not the same).
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.
October Special Events
The big thing is Walt Disney World’s anniversary on October 1. Last year, that marked the start of the World’s Most Magical Celebration, an 18 month special event featuring new rides, fireworks, shows, and entertainment at Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, and the resort hotels.
That’s still happening in October 2022, but won’t be as momentous of an occasion since the 51st Anniversary obviously isn’t as meaningful as the 50th. October 1, 2022 will be Epcot’s 40th Anniversary, but we don’t expect that to be celebrated in any meaningful way.
Last year, the Disney After Hours Boo Bash Halloween Party debuted on select nights in the fall. This limited-capacity separately ticketed event at Magic Kingdom features cavalcades, character greetings, shorter waits for attractions, and other entertainment.
Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival will also kick into high gear during the month of October, as “phase 2” of this event starts. Check out our Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival Guide for more tips and tricks for this event.
October is actually one of the bigger months of the year for special events at Walt Disney World. However, aside from the ones we’ve already mentioned, most won’t be of interest to anyone reading this. There are several events on the ESPN Wide World of Sports October Calendar, but those will only appeal to attendees (who should already know about them). At the end of the month, there’s 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).
OCTOBER REFURBISHMENTS & NEW ATTRACTIONS
In terms of attractions, consult our Walt Disney World Refurbishment Schedule to see what’s scheduled for October. We expect minimal ride closures for maintenance due to the start of the 50th Anniversary and resulting crowds.
This unprecedented overhaul has led us to address the question Should You Visit Epcot? in a dedicated post. For most people, the answer will be yes, but it’s still worth going in with a realistic view of just how bad construction will be. This is a multi-year project that probably won’t be finished until 2023.
By October 2022, the answer to that will be a no-brainer: NO. Do not spike Epcot. Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Harmonious, and more will have have debuted by then. Yes, there will still be some construction walls in the center of the park, but that’s a lot of new things to skip simply due to some walls!
OCTOBER 2022 DISNEY WORLD CROWD CALENDAR
There’s no color-coded October crowd calendar for Walt Disney World at the top of this section because that would be reductionist and, frankly, totally useless and disingenuous for October 2022. It wouldn’t give you the full picture of Walt Disney World attendance trends or what to expect this fall.
Walt Disney World doesn’t release official attendance numbers, so crowd calendars use things like school schedules, airport traffic statistics, hotel pricing & occupancy, etc., as proxies for crowds. For years, this approach worked and made crowd calendars reliable. Walt Disney World attendance followed an identifiable pattern that tracked with the aforementioned proxies.
For the last few years, wait times have no longer reliably reflect actual crowds due to the aforementioned manipulation. We can still forecast attendance, but not the resulting wait times. This is like the difference between the actual temperature and the “feels like” temperature, but with crowds. The “feels like” crowds are likely what you care about most, but Walt Disney World crowd calendars don’t always get those right. With that said, here are our crowd calendar predictions for the best and worst weeks at Walt Disney World in October…
October 2022 is likely to see moderate and above crowds throughout the entirety of the month. There will be “less busy” and “more busy” times within the month, but low crowd days are unlikely. It’ll be significantly busier than September 2022, which is always one of the slowest months of the year.
In a normal year, October would get progressively busier over the course of the month, starting at moderate levels (6/10 or 7/10) and increasing to higher levels (8/10) towards Halloween.
The second week of October is typically very busy due to Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples’ Day on October 10, 2022 and people having time off from work and school being the primary cause.
Fall breaks are also common the next two weeks, leading to above average attendance on the October crowd calendar. Then there’s Halloween on October 31, 2022 to end the month coupled with early November 2022 events (including the Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend) that will cause crowds bleeding into the end of October.
In a normal year, few days are 10/10 on the numerical October 2022 crowd calendar. Rather, most days are in the 7/10 or 8/10 range on the crowd calendar. However, it won’t feel like many days are “only” 7/10 on the crowd calendar if you get unlucky.
The other problem with October is that there are roller coaster crowds throughout the day and not all parks are equally busy. This is primarily due to Magic Kingdom’s Halloween events and the Epcot Food & Wine Festival.
Epcot will be significantly more busy on weekends, especially when Florida colleges like UCF have away football games. Epcot’s attendance will be lightest on weekdays before 4 pm, with heavier crowds after work as locals turn out to graze at the Food & Wine booths.
Animal Kingdom will always be your best option for lower-crowd evenings during the fall.
Then there’s Disney Springs, the Crescent Lake resorts, and other high profile restaurants and bars at Walt Disney World, all of which are busier in the evenings during October. This is due to a surge in convention business, which peaks this month. Be sure to make ADRs for any fine dining outside the parks, and be aware that you’ll encounter heavier crowds in Disney Springs.
The above several paragraphs underscore why we don’t really care for traditional color-coded or numerical Walt Disney World crowd calendars. None of the above trends could be adequately conveyed by a simple graphic, and it’d be easy to become frustrated if we simply had an October 2022 crowd calendar with a ton of 7/10 or 8/10 days.
Instead, we’ve explained the how and why of October crowd flow, and now you can plan accordingly. While you’ll still encounter congestion and long waits, by zigging when others zag, you should avoid the worst of October’s crowds. This strategic park hopping advice is invaluable, and more useful than a numerical October crowd calendar.
OCTOBER PRICING & DISCOUNTS
Besides the events, October is a great month to visit in terms of what you’ll pay to visit. Single day ticket prices are entirely in the Value or Regular seasons, which means lower prices there. This doesn’t do you much good if you’re buying multi-day tickets, but those prices also tend to be average or below, as well.
There are also usually decent room-only discount offers, and we typically prefer this discount to the popular Free Disney Dining Plan promotion (which blocks out the entire month of October, anyway). 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.
Overall, October is a mixed bag. There are great events and the weather is starting to get nicer, but there has been a surge in crowds the last few Octobers, and we’d expect that trend to continue. Still, we really like October, and if it ever returns to being a normal month crowd-wise, it’d be among our absolute favorite times to visit Walt Disney World.
In fact, if you can get past the crowds, October is still a moderately good month to visit. The weather is improving, and the seasonal events are in full swing. Because of that, October still does reasonably well on our Best and Worst Months at Walt Disney World post. Keep in mind that park hours are often short in October, which compounds the impact of those larger crowds, too.
Are you a fan of visiting Walt Disney World in October? Are you excited for the World’s Most Magical Celebration and everything new debuting for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary? Or would you prefer nothing special or new, but lower crowds? Have you experienced the heavier October crowds the last couple of years? Which month do you like to visit WDW? Hearing your feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts or questions below in the comments!