We absolutely love fall at the theme parks. While the leaves may not be turning in sunny Orlando, we love that the theme parks get dressed up in their best Halloween outfits and fall decor. If you’re planning a vacation, October is a good month because of the medium-sized crowds and the number of not-to-be-missed events. In fact, the only other month that offers as many special events is December, but we prefer October since most of the events this month involve eating or trick-or-treating as a main activity!
Those of you who are already planning next year’s trip to Disney World may be wrestling with the question of whether to pull the children out of school, and with considerably lower crowd levels than the summer months, it’s definitely worth consideration. We know this is a personal decision, and we won’t judge you either way
As we mentioned above, most days in October see medium crowd levels, with weekends seeing higher crowds mostly because of the terrific events at many of the parks such as Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights, SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular and the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. We still recommend reading our post on the SECRET to Avoiding Disney World CROWDS and downloading our wait-time apps, which now includes Fastpass return times, before you head to the parks.
If you’re looking for the least crowded days to attend Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party or Halloween Horror Nights, Sundays and mid-week nights are considerably less crowded than those on the weekends. The exception to this are the parties on Halloween night itself, which will see higher weekday crowds. Crowds during the day on Halloween should be low.
Predicted best days of the month to visit (and recommended parks)
- October 2 (Disney’s Hollywood Studios®, Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure)
- October 24 (Epcot®, Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park)
- October 29 (Magic Kingdom® Park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios®)
- October 30 (Disney’s Hollywood Studios®, Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure)
Predicted worst days of the month to visit (and parks to avoid)
- October 12 (Epcot®, Disney’s Hollywood Studios®, Islands of Adventure)
- October 13 (Disney’s Hollywood Studios®, Universal Studios)
- October 19 (Epcot®, Islands of Adventure)
Check the crowd calendar to see recommended days for the whole month and beyond.
Closings and Refurbishments
This month, there are a couple of big closures at Magic Kingdom® Park, including Peter Pan’s Flight, which is closed the entire month, and the Walt Disney World Railroad. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the Honey I Shrunk the Kids Playground is also closed the entire month. At Universal Studios, Fear Factor Live is closed for seasonal maintenance. For more details and a list of all refurbishments, check our closings page.
What’s new in the parks
Inside Magic Kingdom® Park, Cinderella, Rapunzel and other Disney princesses are now holding court in the royal digs at Princess Fairytale Hall, greeting guests, signing autographs and posing for pictures. Princess Fairytale Hall is tucked behind Cinderella Castle in New Fantasyland, where you’ll also find a number of new Magic Kingdom attractions, including Enchanted Tales With Belle, and Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid and the now-under construction Seven Dwarfs Mine Train roller coaster (scheduled to open in 2014).
Seemingly overnight, Universal Orlando opened up a whole new land around The Simpsons Ride in Universal Studios. Yes, you can now visit Springfield U.S.A., perhaps kicking back with a Duff Beer and enjoying a Krusty Burger. It’s likely that you’ll rub elbows with the Simpson clan on your visit, and you might even run into Krusty the Clown or Sideshow Bob. After you’ve ridden Springfield’s signature attraction, be sure to go for a spin on Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl.
In addition to Springfield U.S.A., Universal officially opened TRANSFORMERS: The Ride 3D in June. This attraction features amazing effects and will have you battling alongside Bumblebee and Optimus Prime to take on the Decepticons. We’ve added wait times for this attraction (as well as Kang & Kodos) to our app — make sure you download it before you leave home! We still recommend making Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem your first stop in Universal because of its lower loading capacity.
Over at SeaWorld Orlando, Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin is still getting brisk attention! This combination attraction, exhibit and area is one of the most immersive and authentic experiences we’ve ever encountered in a theme park. Still, no one likes a 2-hour wait for a ride. Thankfully, with the lower crowds in October, we expect less wait time. We recommend following the suggestions outlined for reducing your wait time at SeaWorld’s Antarctica. Also, don’t forget to check out Tad’s video of the new area, the ride, the restaurant Expedition Cafe (which is like three restaurants in one!) and Glacial Collections, the shop which sells the cute-as-a-penguin, customizable Cup That Cares.
Want to know what else is new? Look no further than Tad’s exhaustive list of what’s coming to the parks in 2013 (which just keeps growing and growing). And if you’re planning a trip for next year, be sure to check out the 2014 list.
While it is slightly cooler than the summer months, with an average high of 85 and low of 66, October in the theme parks doesn’t quite qualify as crisp. The upside to that is that it’s still great swimming weather! It’s still possible you will encounter an afternoon shower in October, but the good news is that it generally clears up after an hour or two. Here is the packing list for this time of year.
There are a ton of events happening in October, and quite a few major events. Here’s the rundown of what’s happening this month. Be sure to check out special events pages for Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando for full details.
- Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
- Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend (HS)
- Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
- Halloween Horror Nights
- Busch Gardens Tampa Bay’s Howl-O-Scream
- SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular
Will you be visiting in October? What questions do you have for us?