Relative to summer, September 2019 is a good 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 tend to be light after the Labor Day holiday and stay low until the end of the month.
This is great news for those of you who want to experience Walt Disney World before the crowds of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge arrive. September is 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 it should be even better than normal in this pre-Star Wars lull.
Weather is the only thing that prevents September from being the best overall month to visit. 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.
The downside comes in terms of weather. September is better than June through August, but it’s still a bit of a gamble. It’s a lot like May in this regard: it can be temperate and pleasant, or insanely hot. Especially early in the month, it can be pretty hot and humid. Unlike May, September is also the height of hurricane and storm season, which means rain just about every day.
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.
Beyond that, September is 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 start going up in late August). 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.
In terms of attractions, the Walt Disney World Refurbishment Schedule is not yet known for September 2019. What we do know is that there’s a lot of ongoing construction throughout Walt Disney World, and will be for the next several years.
While Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is the big project right now, and it finishes in Late 2019, other projects at Magic Kingdom and Epcot won’t be finished until early 2021. Some of this won’t be visually noticeable (such as the work on Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway), but other projects (such as those at hotels) will have a much greater impact.
On the plus side, Toy Story Land and Pandora – World of Avatar are still relatively new additions at Walt Disney World. Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey will still have moderate waits, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see both regularly dip below an hour. Not nearly as bad as the multi-hour waits this summer! Read our Ultimate Guide to Pandora – World of Avatar for tips and tricks on doing this new section of Walt Disney World.
September also brings with it Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival, which is expected to start earlier than ever before. This event 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.
Since it is the off-season, September is also a great month to visit in terms of both pricing and potential discounts. You can check available discounts via Disney here. Disney isn’t the only place where September is the off-season, so expect cheaper airfare when traveling in September–make sure to visit ITA Software to search for the best prices.
Walt Disney World uses this promotion to entice guests to visit during certain low-season periods to redistribute crowd patterns, so the fact that there are no blockout dates at all during September should speak volumes about the crowd levels.
What this does mean, however, is that hotel and restaurant bookings will be disproportionately high during September, so you may have a difficult time scoring an elusive ADR, such as for Be Our Guest Restaurant or Chef Mickey’s. The good news is that while restaurants are more crowded than normal, attractions are less crowded.
Room-only discounts are also common in September. If you’re visiting in September, expect discounts up to 30% off the already lower off-season rates at the official Walt Disney World resort-hotels. Discounts vary by tier and individual hotel, with some hotels excluded entirely.
Our picks for the best resorts for a room-only discount are Art of Animation in the Value tier, Port Orleans Riverside in the Moderate tier, and Wilderness Lodge in the Deluxe tier. This is based partly on percentage off, partly on typical rack rate at each of these hotels, and partly on our personal preferences as to which offer the best theming and value for money. You can decide for yourself which hotel might be best by reading our Walt Disney World Hotel Reviews.
Overall, September is a one of the top months of the year to visit Walt Disney World, and we’d encourage you to visit if you can handle the heat and humidity. (If you need to convince a spouse to make a spontaneous getaway, there’s really no better argument that I can think of than “that one dude on the internet said we should!”) Like a fine wine, September gets better as it “ages” with the best times to visit being towards the end of the month, mainly due to better weather and the start of Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival. In fact, 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, and we’ve traveled during this time the last 3 consecutive years (although we’re breaking the streak this year).
Are you a fan of visiting Walt Disney World in September? Have you found the crowds to be light? Is the weather this month bearable to you? If September is not your preferred month to visit Walt Disney World, which month do you like? 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!