While every season at Disney has its own unique pixie dust, but Fall at Walt Disney World is an especially charming time to visit.
7 Reasons to Love Fall at Walt Disney World
- Autumn’s balmy weather. The equinoctial mildness of fall, combined with the (relatively) weakening rays of the Florida sun can produce days of positively gentle warmth. (On the other hand, October can also produce scorchers that rival those of high summer – but at least without the attendant suffocating humidity.) Disney guests seeking relief from the heat can also enjoy the longer days of fall (as compared to those of winter), along with the correspondingly longer park hours on Disney’s calendars. We all hope for a visit with smaller crowds, but Disney has perfected the art of filling the parks. Marathons, conventions, and programs for high school students now ensure that there isn’t much of a slow season at Disney, ever. So you can’t count on fall for low crowds – but at least you’re less likely to be hot if you find yourself in a throng.
- Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party – held on more than 30 different nights in September and October! Disney guests who decide to try the Halloween Party once often find themselves coming back to it, year after year. There are so many things to do that it’s not uncommon to find people splurging on two nights of parties! (One might be devoted to rides, characters, and trick-or-treating while the other is given over to entertainment, the Boo to You Parade, and HalloWishes fireworks.) There has been some confusion over Disney’s changing rules regarding guests’ costumes this year. At first, it appeared that only guests under age 14 would be permitted to enter the Magic Kingdom park for the Halloween Party in a costume. Fortunately, a dismayed surge of guest push-back caused Disney to think again. The updated policy allows all guests to attend in costume, but with some restrictions. No layered costumes nor those that reach the ground. Capes only to reach waist level. No masks or headgear that covers the face. Plastic light sabers and toy swords are okay.
- Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival. Nosh your way around the world at 30 different kiosks (Disney calls them “marketplaces”) bursting with global flavors. The many special events, seminars, and demonstrations (some held at resorts as well as inside Epcot) associated with the Food & Wine Festival sell out quickly, so plan ahead! If the best advice for Food & Wine is to arrive hungry, the second best advice is to do your research before the trip. With so many marketplaces, each offering up to three choices, you’ll find nearly 100 menu items to tempt your taste buds. One tip is to choose dishes that are easy to eat as you stroll along, because seating is very limited. Note that (predictably) lines are also long, so you’ll save a lot of trouble if you have a list of must-do’s (must-munches?) in hand when you arrive.
- Disney’s bad guys (and girls) host Halloween at Club Villain in Hollywood Studios on Friday and Saturday nights through September and October (as well as Halloween night itself). Sunset Showcase (near Tower of Terror) is the venue for frightful dancing and dining (New Orleans style) with Maleficent, the Queen of Hearts, Cruella de Vil, and creepy master of ceremonies, Dr. Facilier (from PRINCESS AND THE FROG). Like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, this event requires a separate ticket.
- Deliciously themed fall treats across property. The seasonal tastiness isn’t limited to Epcot. You’ll find such treats as witchy cupcakes, pumpkin-shaped caramel apples, krisped rice ghosts, pumpkin spice funnel cakes, and candy corn shaped cookies throughout the parks as well as the resorts. If only for the fun of window shopping, make a quick stop at any bakery you pass! Many of the items feature Mickey ears, of course.
- Beautiful fall decorations. While the Disney parks and resorts may not be transformed for fall in quite the same manner as they are for Christmas, the garlands of leaves, fall wreaths, pumpkins, and scarecrows are not to be missed. The Magic Kingdom is obviously the epicenter of fall regalia, since it’s decked out for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. But you don’t have to buy a ticket for the party to enjoy the decorations. The giant stacked pumpkins in front of the train station and at the bottom of Main Street USA make great photo ops. Town Square has a group of cheerfully spooky pumpkin-headed scarecrows – each representing a different Main Street USA citizen – including a couple from the Main Street Bakery and the marching band. Main Street is swathed in orange and yellow bunting with carved pumpkins on the second floors – they’re themed to match each shop or restaurant. (Jack-o-lanterns of Lady and the Tramp slurping spaghetti sit atop Tony’s Town Square, while the ice cream parlor at the other end of the street has an ice cream cone on one pumpkins and adjacent pumpkins with brain freeze faces! You might even spot pumpkin versions of the Dapper Dans.) Smiling Mickey pumpkin heads with autumn leaves decorate the lamp posts while metal statues of Disney characters in Halloween finery come out near the Hub. Liberty Square is beautifully decorated, too – with cornstalks, sunflowers, and massive gourds added to the pumpkins and leaves. Don’t miss the Headless Horseman jack-o-lantern when you stop at Sleepy Hollow for a gourmet waffle.
- Fall merchandise. Even if you’re not a shopper or a Disney souvenir collector, the beautiful displays in Disney World’s shops will gladden your heart with their color and creativity – and inspire you to go home and decorate your house for fall. Some souvenirs (as well as specialty baked goods and treats like candy corn ice cream from Storybook Treats) are only available to guests attending Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Keep your eyes open for a poison apple stein (sometimes served with an apple pie sundae!).
If you’re staying at a Disney resort on Halloween itself, be sure to ask about any special activities. And don’t forget the Halloween Golf Cart Parade and decorating contest at Fort Wilderness on October 30 and 31. There’s no better time to fall right into the magic!