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13 Reasons Fall Is the Best Time to Visit Walt Disney World

Shorter lines, cooler temperatures, lower prices, and a slew of special events all make the autumn a perfect time to fall for the magic of Walt Disney World.

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Enjoy dwindling crowds and better weather

First things first: When kids head back to school in September, the crowds start to shrink at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, and there’s a long stretch between Labor Day and Thanksgiving with no school holidays, which keeps the crowds low throughout September, October, and November. And you’ll have better weather if you visit in the fall, too. After the high temps and soupy humidity of August, even slightly warm September will feel great by comparison; come October, temperatures start to dip even more, with easy warm days and cooler nights; and by November, you’ll get mild and lovely days and nights. These insider tips from a Disney World superfan will help you get the most out of your trip.

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Sip and dine at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

Disney World fans know that the fall brings a sweet treat to Epcot: A culinary festival that now runs a delectable 87 days, from August 29 to November 23, 2019. The 24th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival lets you sample culinary delights and sip decadent drinks all while you wander from Future World and around the incredible World Showcase home to restaurants reflecting the tastes of Germany, Mexico, France, Norway, Canada, Japan, and more. There’s no additional ticket required to attend the festival, and there’s free entertainment as part of the “Eat to the Beat” concert series, although you will need to purchase any food or beverages you want to sample. While you’re there, be sure to try these delicious Disney foods at least once.

01-cinnamon-new-tastes-you--have-to-try-at-walt-disney-world-courtesy-walt-disney-worldCourtesy Walt Disney World

Eat for free in the fall

Speaking of food here’s another great reason to visit Disney World in the fall: You can get a complimentary Disney dining plan and eat for free! Purchase a five-night vacation package that includes a room at a select Disney Resort hotel and ticket with a Park Hopper Option now through September 29 for stays September 1 to 18 and November 17 to 27, and you’ll get a free Disney dining plan that includes two meals and two snacks every day of your stay—this is just one of our tips for saving serious money at Disney.


Get great deals on Disney Hotels

Another money saver in the fall: You can save up to 20 percent on rooms at select Disney Resort hotels, including at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Simply book through September 29, 2019, for stays most nights September 1 through September 28, 2019; and for stays most Sunday through Thursday nights September 29 through November 7, 2019. Keep your eye out for these Hidden Mickeys on your next trip to Disney World.

WonderFALL Experiences at Walt Disney World ResortCourtesy Disney

Say “Boo!” to a not-so-spooky Mickey all season long

If you wish Halloween could last for more than one night, you’re in luck if you visit Disney World in the fall. You can trick-or-treat at the Magic Kingdom’s Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party for a record 36 select nights this year, from August 16 to November 1 (note that this evening event requires an additional ticket). And be sure to keep an eye to the sky for the all-new Halloween fireworks spectacular that features Jack Skellington from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.

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Celebrate Christmas in the fall

As soon as the Magic Kingdom packs up the jack-o-lanterns, they break out the mistletoe! Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party kicks into gear on November 9 and continues on selected nights until mid-December (note that these evening special events require an extra ticket). You can meet Disney characters in their yuletide finest, see the shimmering Cinderella Castle, indulge in festive sweets and treats, and enjoy enchanting holiday entertainment including live music, carolers, and a special Christmastime Parade; plus there’s even snowfall on Main Street, U.S.A.!

Star wars land disneyCourtesy Disney

Feel the Force at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

Get ready to feel the Force when the highly anticipated Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens August 29 at Hollywood Studios. For all of September and October, staying at a Disney resort will guarantee you entry to the immersive world and you’ll be able to take advantage of “Extra Magic Hours” to access the park before general ticket holders. Be prepared to set your alarm extra early this fall to visit the “Galaxy Far, Far Away”: From September 1 to November 2, Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ Extra Magic Hoursincluding Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land—will run from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. daily. Here are all the best Disney attractions for Star Wars’ fans.

Disney skylinerCourtesy Disney

Take to the sky on Disney Skyliner Gondolas

Buses, boats, cars? So last summer. This fall, you’ll be able to take to fly above the resort when the Disney Skyliner begins carrying guests high above the Walt Disney World Resort on September 29, 2019. The gondolas feature custom cabins that glide through the air, conveniently transporting guests between Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot to four resort hotels: Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, and Disney’s new Riviera Resort, scheduled to open in December of 2019.

illuminationsCourtesy Disney

New Epcot nighttime spectacular

Head to Epcot this fall and you can be one of the first to see the new nighttime spectacular show when it debuts October 1. “Epcot Forever,” will feature fireworks, lighting, lasers, and more choreographed to a special soaring soundtrack. (And if you visit through September 30, you can say a special farewell to the beloved “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” show which ends its 20-year run on September 30, 2019.)


Fall flavors at Disney Springs

Pumpkin spice might be nice, but you don’t have to limit your autumn flavor fun to simple lattes and pie. Over at Disney Springs, there’s an orchard full of fall specialty foods and cocktails to try. Some highlights from previous years have included butternut squash gnocchi with a pumpkin seed pesto at Maria & Enzo’s, Apple Cinnamon Sangria at YeSake, and Pumpkin Shakes at D-Luxe Burger. Extra bonus: You don’t have to pay admission to experience Disney Springs.


Bounce into fall at Disney Springs’ NBA Experience

According to the Disney blog, the NBA Experience’s championship-worthy grand opening August 12 at Disney Springs means it will be ready to leap into action for the fall NBA basketball season. Step into this re-creation of a modern NBA arena to feel what it’s like to be a basketball superstar through unique hands-on experiences where Disney’s magic merges with the thrills of the NBA and WNBA.

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom lights up the night

As the sun sets earlier and earlier this fall, “Rivers of Light: We Are One” will come to life on Discovery River in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, according to Disney’s blog. This nighttime show includes dramatic new imagery and familiar animal characters from Disney nature films along with favorite moments from Disney’s most memorable animations.

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Make a run for it at Disney Fall Half Marathon

Lace-up your sneakers for the fall’s most delicious race: Disney’s delectable 2019 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend which takes place October 31 to November 3. It’s filled with a tasty offering of events, including a 5K, 10K, half-marathon, and kids’ races. There’s even a Disney Fall Feast 5K where you can run, jog, or walk your way around Epcot before you indulge at the Food & Wine Festival. Just double-check that you haven’t brought along any of these 18 everyday items banned at Disney parks so you can fly through security.

Melissa Klurman
Melissa Klurman is a freelance travel writer and editor with more than 27 years experience who reports on travel trends around the planet for Reader's Digest. Winner of a Lowell Thomas Gold Award for excellence in travel writing, she started her career as an editor at both Frommer’s and Fodor’s travel guides, then went on to write about travel for many publications including Family Traveller, Parents, and Working Mother magazines. More recently she has been a contributing editor at Saveur, Islands, and Caribbean Travel and Life and a senior contributor at Travelocity. A New Jersey native, ice cream addict, and a lifelong Bruce Springsteen fan, Klurman lives in Montclair, New Jersey, with her husband, son, and rescue dog.