September 2021 at Disney World: Crowd Calendar & Info

Our guide to September 2021 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. (Updated August 5, 2021.)

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 for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary towards the end of the month. The September 2021 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 2021 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, there have hurricanes that have impacted operations at Walt Disney World at the very end of August or beginning of September. In recent years, Hurricanes 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 (this year decorations start going up in August). However, the only park that gets decked out for Halloween is Magic Kingdom, and that’s true in any year, not just 2021.

Unfortunately, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is not being held in 2021–we’re hoping it returns in 2022. In its place, the new Disney After Hours Boo Bash Halloween Party will be held on select nights throughout September 2021. This limited-capacity separately ticketed event at Magic Kingdom features “Mickey’s Happy Halloween Cavalcade,” character greetings, shorter waits for attractions, and other entertainment.

Another event that’ll occur throughout September 2021 is the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. 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.

SEPTEMBER REFURBISHMENTS & NEW ATTRACTIONS

For an idea of what’s going to be closed in September 2021, check the Walt Disney World Refurbishment Schedule. Not everything will be listed on that until later this summer. Even once that’s updated, it doesn’t fully cover the construction all around Walt Disney World–just ride and entertainment closures.

At Epcot, there’s a possibility of soft openings in late September 2021 for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Space 220 Restaurant, and Harmonious. It’s unlikely, but possible. Our Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure Opening Info post covers previews and potential soft openings; the rationale applies to all three, not just the rat ride.

The construction project that will have the most noticeable impact on the guest experience is the massive reimagining at the front of Epcot, which will eliminate Future World and replace it with 3 new neighborhoods. This project has already kicked into high gear, and will continue through at least 2022.

This unprecedented overhaul has led us to address the question Should You Visit Epcot in 2021? 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.

Outside of Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios has two attractions that will still be fairly new come Fall 2021. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, both of which will be over a year old by that point, but are still very popular. The latter is literally the best Walt Disney World attraction in decades–better than Avatar Flight of Passage.

SEPTEMBER 2021 DISNEY WORLD CROWD CALENDAR

There’s no color-coded September 2021 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. We think 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!

On the Walt Disney World crowd calendar, September 2021 is the best month of the year to visit. Literally the entire month sees below average crowds. Even Labor Day (September 6, 2021) draws far smaller crowds than most other holidays.

There’s really no bad time to visit as far as the September 2021 crowd calendar goes. The first weekend 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 2021 or August 2021.

The time in between, which encompasses pretty much all dates from September 12 to 26, 2021 will feature 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.

If you’re purely concerned about crowds, we’d strongly recommend avoiding the last week, beginning with September 26, 2021. That’s the lead-in to Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary on October 1, 2021. The World’s Most Magical Celebration will begin on October 1, and crowds will be colossal from that point until the start of 2022. In fact, fans will begin arriving en masse on September 26, making the dates that follow progressively busier.

Aside from that last week of the month, our expectation is that September 2021 will actually benefit from the 50th Anniversary. In fact, we named it the #1 month to visit in our Best & Worst 2021-2022 Months to Visit Walt Disney World because of the likelihood that fans will delay their fall visits until October or beyond.

In addition to this, we are also hearing that many guests are cancelling their Walt Disney World fall vacations due to Florida’s rising case numbers and the reinstated indoor mask rule (obviously, different people are cancelling for different reasons). We expect neither of these things to be relevant come September, but the damage is already done in terms of cancellations. Bad news for Disney, good news for you if you’re still planning on traveling then!

When it comes to September 2021 crowds at Walt Disney World, that’s pretty much the whole ballgame. Most of the month will benefit from the pre-50th Anniversary lull, whereas that last week is to be avoided because it’s when those guests will start to descend upon Walt Disney World.

Normally, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party would throw a monkey wrench into crowds due to it causing Magic Kingdom to close early on event nights. That’s not the case with Disney After Hours Boo Bash, so nothing to worry about there. With that said, there are a few smaller factors…

First, expect Epcot to be busier on weekends, particularly when local colleges like UCF have away football games.

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.)

Second, Happily Ever After is ending “permanently” on September 29, 2021.

This fireworks show is incredibly popular with Walt Disney World fans and locals, and it’s our expectation that Main Street will be more crowded at night than normal during the last couple weeks of its run. This should not impact crowds all day throughout the park, except perhaps on weekends.

Finally, it’s highly likely that new Annual Pass sales will resume at Walt Disney World in late August 2021.

It’s impossible to predict what the immediate impact will be on September 2021 crowds. We have heard from a lot of Walt Disney World fans and new Florida transplants who are eager to purchase APs. That could result in a spike of pent-up demand once schools go back into session. Our view is that this spike will be more than offset by Walt Disney World fans who normally visit in September but are holding off until October for the start of Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary.

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.

Typically, the Free Disney Dining Plan promotion is offered in the fall. It will not be offered in September 2021, but the Disney Dining Plan might be back. Read our When Will the Disney Dining Plan Return? for further insight into when we expect Walt Disney World’s popular pre-paid meal plan is likely to be back.

It’s not for everyone, but you’ll definitely want to check out the Free Dining promo if you’re visiting in September 2022, as it can be a great deal for some visitors! 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 usually 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!

In fact, mid-September into the beginning of October remains one of our favorite times of the year for our personal visits to Walt Disney World. Before we were locals, we took trips 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.

Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!

Your Thoughts

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 2021 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!

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