Our guide to September 2024 at Walt Disney World offers a free crowd calendar, when to visit, weather to avoid, new attraction openings & closures, plus Halloween & fall events. We also cover info & tips for what’s happening at Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios.
Relative to summer, September is a good month to visit Walt Disney World due to low crowds and seasonal events like Halloween. School is back in session, and wait times are low from Labor Day until crowds arrive towards the end of the month for the start of convention and group events seasons, plus early fall breaks. The September 2024 crowd calendar below makes this month a really attractive time 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. There’s only really one downside to September at Walt Disney World, and it’s a fairly big one.
That one downside is the weather, which is bad for two distinct reasons that we’ll cover in the next section. On balance, mid to late September can still be a very good time to visit Walt Disney World, but it’s not for everyone. You have to be able to tolerate (or gamble on) the weather in order to be rewarded with extremely low crowds.
Let’s take a look at what you can expect in September at WDW…
September Weather at Disney World
The downside comes in terms of weather. In terms of temperatures, September is better than June through August, but it’s still 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.
At the beginning of September, average high temperatures are 90°, with average lows of 75°. Towards the end of the month, the weather improves slightly, with historical highs of “only” 87° and lows of 72°. Add oppressive humidity that’ll fog your glasses the second you step out of your hotel room, and September is still a pretty undesirable month in terms of weather.
Suffice to say, if you’re visiting Walt Disney World in September, 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 the height of hurricane and storm season. For each of the last three years, hurricanes have impacted operations at Walt Disney World at the very end of August or beginning of September. (Add 2023 to that list, as Hurricane Idalia offered a scare, but didn’t materially impact operations at Walt Disney World!) In recent years, Hurricanes Ian, Dorian and Irma have caused the parks to close.
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.
WDW Seasonal Events in September
To answer a common question: yes, you will see Halloween decorations if you visit Walt Disney World in September. Any day in September. However, the only park that gets decked out for Halloween is Magic Kingdom, and that’s true in any year, not just 2024.
The big event for September is Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. We always attend the first party back in August, and share our 2023 MNSSHP experience here. In September, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party starts happening with increasing frequency. By mid-month, Magic Kingdom is closing early for MNSSHP a few nights per week. As discussed below, this really throws a monkey wrench into attendance dynamics.
Another event that’ll occur throughout September 2024 is the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival. This 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 Guide to the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival for more tips and tricks for this event.
SEPTEMBER REFURBISHMENTS & NEW ATTRACTIONS
For an idea of what’s going to be closed in September 2024, check the Walt Disney World Refurbishment Schedule. Just be warned that this doesn’t fully cover the construction all around Walt Disney World—just ride and entertainment closures.
The only major closure currently scheduled in 2024 is Splash Mountain. That’s being reimagined into Tiana’s Bayou Adventure at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. The new attraction will bring guests into the world of “The Princess and the Frog” after the events of the movie. According to Disney, the reimagined ride will open at Magic Kingdom in Florida and Disneyland in California in late 2024.
If recent rumors are to be believed, there’s actually an outside chance it’ll open by September 2024. In fact, it could open before that. Even if it’s not ahead of schedule, the most logical opening date for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure would be October 1, 2024 with previews prior to that in September. But we shall see–it could open pretty much anytime between July and December 2024!
Turning to what’s new, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind still qualifies even though it’s about 16 months old. At some point in September, it should drop its virtual queue by then, but if not: read this. (Fair warning: we’ve been saying that Cosmic Rewind should drop its VQ for over a year. Eventually, we’ll be correct. Until then, just keep in mind we said it’ll drop its queue in September, and didn’t specify whether we mean September 2024 or 2025!)
An alternative to the virtual queue is buying line-skipping access via the Individual Lightning Lanes. Those posts explain each option, their pros & cons, and everything else you need to know. Suffice to say, do not just show up to EPCOT expecting to join the standby line–as there isn’t one.
Then there’s the biggest addition to Magic Kingdom: TRON Lightcycle Run. This is the newest major attraction at Walt Disney World, having officially opened in April. This works very similarly to Cosmic Rewind; see our Virtual Queue Strategy Guide for TRON Lightcycle Run for details, tips & tricks for success, and more.
Bouncing back to EPCOT, there’s a bunch of other new stuff there. This includes World Celebration, Moana’s Journey of Water, and Luminous: Symphony of Us, all of which will only be less than one year old as of September 2024. That’s still pretty new in the grand scheme of things! For an overview of what else is on the horizon, see What’s New & Next at Walt Disney World in 2024 & 2025.
Don’t expect anything brand-new to debut in September 2024. It’s entirely unprecedented for Walt Disney World to open new things in the fall off-season. New additions typically debut prior to Spring Break/Easter, between Memorial Day and Independence Day, and between October 1 and mid-December. Only very small scale additions and entertainment tend to open outside those timeframes.
SEPTEMBER 2024 DISNEY WORLD CROWD CALENDAR
There’s no color-coded September 2024 crowd calendar for Walt Disney World at the top of this section because that’s reductionist and doesn’t give you the full picture of Walt Disney World attendance trends. WDW crowd calendars are less reliable due to how Disney manipulates attendance patterns, staffing, closures, and ride capacity. It’s better to offer an explanation of what to expect crowd-wise this fall at Walt Disney World.
Since Disney doesn’t release official attendance numbers, 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.
Unfortunately, wait times no longer reflect actual crowds because of 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 latter are what most of you likely care about (the “feels like” crowds), but it’s more difficult to predict wait times via Walt Disney World crowd calendars. Hopefully that makes sense!
That’s the bad news. The very good news is that September 2024 is the best month of the year to visit Walt Disney World from an objective perspective. (From a subjective perspective is an entirely different story due to the weather forecast!) Literally the entire month sees below average crowds. Even Labor Day weekend (September 1-2, 2024) draws far smaller crowds than most other holidays.
In fact, last year Labor Day was downright dead at Walt Disney World. For a few reasons discussed in that post, Labor Day was a repeat of the Fourth of July holiday weekend, which was one of the slowest stretches of the entire year at Walt Disney World.
There’s really no bad time to visit as far as the September 2024 crowd calendar goes. The first several days after Labor Day and the last week will be the two busiest weeks. However, “busiest” is a relative term, as even those should be really light compared to the entirety of October.
The time in between, which encompasses all dates from September 9 to 22, 2024 will feature some of the lowest crowds of the year at Walt Disney World. In terms of the crowd calendar, this is one of the last bastions of the off-season at Walt Disney World. Average weekly crowd levels will be 1/10 to 3/10 during this date range.
This is the reason that we named September the #1 month to visit in our Best & Worst Months to Visit Walt Disney World because of how predictably uncrowded it is. Whereas other off-season months have gotten busier, September has stayed the same–and (knock on wood) always should remain that way due to school schedules and less desirable weather.
If you’re purely concerned about crowds, we’d recommend going from September 1-2, 2024. Yes, we know that’s the Labor Day holiday weekend, but the aggressive blockouts on Annual Passes and discounted tickets, as well as the premium pricing for the holiday weekend, will push people away.
Following that, the best time for the lowest crowds will be September 10-15, 2024 for the absolute best/lowest crowd levels. This tends to be when crowds bottom out, and we felt the need to call your attention to it, even though pretty much the entire first 3 weeks of the month will be slow.
Speaking of things to which we should call attention, Rosh Hashanah is not until October 3, 2024. This means it’s probably slightly less likely that the last week of September will see a pronounced spike due to early fall breaks. September 23-30 is still likely to be the busiest stretch of the month, but it won’t be truly busy unless there’s a special offer that expires at the end of September. (This actually happens quite often, and the conclusion of those deals drive attendance quite consistently.)
Another thing to note is that it’s likely weekends will be slower during September. If you’re wondering why Saturday and Sunday attendance forecasts are lower, see the ‘Wonky Weekends at Walt Disney World’ section of our recently updated Best & Worst Days to Do All Parks at Walt Disney Worldfor a discussion of this dynamic.
If anything, you should avoid Mondays throughout September, as they’re likely to be the busiest days of the month, especially September 16, 23, and 30 in Magic Kingdom.
Nevertheless, crowds do pick up the closer you get to October. This is largely due to conventions and other group events, plus fall breaks for various school districts around the country. Some schools also do fall breaks around the last weekend of the month (roughly September 27-30, 2024), so expect higher crowd levels then, too.
Still, busier is a relative term. The last week of September 2024 will be worse than the rest of the month. However, if crowd levels hit 4/10, that’s technically true as the first three weeks will have crowd levels below that. That’s exactly what we’re predicting–crowd levels averaging out at 3/10 or possibly 4/10 in the last week of the month, but with a wider range for Magic Kingdom (see below).
For Magic Kingdom, there’s an added wrinkle to the crowd calendar: Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP). On nights this event is held, the park closes to regular ticket holders at 6 pm. Consequently, Magic Kingdom is less busy during the day time hours on dates when MNSSHP is held, and more busy on days the Halloween event is not occurring.
This might seem counter-intuitive, but it’s because the party is separately-ticketed. Typically, the biggest impact is felt closer to Halloween, so the phenomenon isn’t bad at all in September.
The title pretty much says it all, but the photos in the post and commentary explains just how uncrowded Magic Kingdom has been during the daytime hours before MNSSHP. Typically, Halloween party days have ranged from 1/10 to 2/10 on the crowd calendar. That’s pretty normal for September party days.
We’d strongly recommend visiting Magic Kingdom during the day on Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party nights, and then bouncing to another park at around 4 pm. Animal Kingdom will always be your best option for lower-crowd evenings during the fall.
As implied above, Mondays are the worst of these days, so if you must do Magic Kingdom on a day when Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party isn’t happening, try to make it a different day. In the past, Saturday was far and away the busiest day at Magic Kingdom during Party Season. However, that was not the case in September 2023 and we don’t expect that to change in September 2024.
With that said, you can expect EPCOT to have worse “feels like” crowds on weekends. This is particularly true when local Florida colleges like UCF have away football games. However, this does not show up on crowd calendars, which measure wait times. (These locals cause congestion but typically don’t impact wait times.)
EPCOT’s attendance will be lightest on weekdays during the day, with heavier crowds after work as locals turn out to graze at the Food & Wine booths. (This is something that is tough to convey via a traditional numerical crowd calendar for Walt Disney World.)
Crowd levels are usually under 3/10 for the vast majority of days in September, but we’ve had readers report higher “feels like” crowds. Weekdays starting September 23, 2024 might be slightly busier, but we’re still talking 3/10 territory. September is not a busy time to visit.
Frankly, choosing the right day of the week to do each park–especially Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and EPCOT–is much more important than the big picture crowd calendar. September is the rare month when there’s day-of-week park-level variance matters more than the overarching crowd calendar. Due to hurricane season and temperatures, we also think that weather matters a lot when choosing when to visit in September.
SEPTEMBER PRICING & DISCOUNTS
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.
As far as pricing goes, early to mid-September is considered “value” season and late September is “regular” or “fall” season for resort room rates and park tickets (read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post for ticket recommendations to avoid having to deal with seasonal pricing).
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!”
In fact, mid-September is one of our favorite times of the year for our personal visits to Walt Disney World. For a while, we took trips to Walt Disney World during this time for 4 consecutive years, as those low crowds were too much to resist. 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 even as crowds increase slightly.
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? Are you planning on visiting in September 2024 or is the potential for a hurricane too much of a gamble for 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!