November is a transition month for many of the Orlando theme parks as Halloween and fall events come to an end and the parks get ready for the holidays. This month actually sees more low crowd-level days than October, and there are plenty of special events to experience, making it a pretty terrific month to visit the Walt Disney World Resort and the other theme parks.
This year, Orlando’s two biggest Halloween events — Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights — have dates in November. For you diehard Disney fans, it’s conceivable that you could attend both the last Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and the first Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party of the seasons at Magic Kingdom Park, since there is only a week separating them (check the crowd calendar and plan accordingly)!
The Walt Disney World Resort gets into the Christmas spirit a little earlier than the other theme parks, making it a good month to experience many of Disney’s biggest holiday events. And if you’re wondering about decorations, Disney starts decking the halls at its theme parks and resorts the first week in November, although it takes several weeks for everything to be in place! If you want to get in the spirit right now, we recommend you check out our video of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge (our very favorite deluxe resort) from our trip last December.
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 (here are a few questions to ask yourself before you do). We know this is a personal decision, and we won’t judge you either way
By the way, there are no major Thanksgiving Day celebrations or festivities at Walt Disney World, although you can find places to eat a traditional feast … or at least a turkey leg at the resort. If you’re visiting the week of Thanksgiving, here is our survival guide (including where to eat). There are a ton of other events going on this month, and we list a number of them below.
November sees mostly neutral crowds and even a good number of low crowd days, mostly weekdays in the middle of the month. That said, there are a few extremely high crowd level days, including Nov. 9 and the entire week of Thanksgiving.
We do recommend reading our post on the SECRET to Avoiding Disney World CROWDS and downloading our wait-time apps before you head to the parks. For those of you who are staying on the Walt Disney World Resort property and testing out MyMagic+, we still recommend touring earlier when crowds and lowest and booking FastPass+ times in the afternoons and evenings, when crowds are higher. (Just a reminder that FastPass+ is only available in testing for select resort guests.)
Predicted best days of the month to visit (and recommended parks)
- November 13 (Epcot®, Disney’s Hollywood Studios®, Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure)
- November 15 (Magic Kingdom® Park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park, Islands of Adventure)
- November 19 (Magic Kingdom® Park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios®, Universal Studios)
Predicted worst days of the month to visit (and parks to avoid)
- November 9 (Magic Kingdom® Park, Epcot®, Disney’s Hollywood Studios®, Islands of Adventure)
- November 28 (Magic Kingdom® Park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios®, Universal Studios)
- November 29 (Magic Kingdom® Park, 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 through Nov 13. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the Honey I Shrunk the Kids Playground is closed through Nov. 19. At Universal Studios, Fear Factor Live is closed for seasonal maintenance. At Islands of Adventure, The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride!™ is closed Nov. 3-23. 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 — and thus longer wait times! Crowds build quickly on this combination attraction and exhibit, and for this reason 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 restaurant Expedition Cafe (which is like three restaurants in one!) and the shop Glacial Collections.
Want to know what else is new? Look no further than Tad’s exhaustive list of what’s opened or coming to the parks in 2013, and if you’re planning a trip for next year, be sure to check out the 2014 list.
Rainfall chances this month are low, with an average high of 79 and an average low of 59. Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park and LEGOLAND’s Water Park have closed for the season. While the other water parks are open and the water is heated, they are subject to closure during cold snaps. The Disney resort pools and most Orlando hotel pools are heated! Here is the packing list for this time of year.
There are a ton of events happening in November, 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
- Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
- Halloween Horror Nights
- Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon
- Festival of the Masters at Downtown Disney
- Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights
- Festival of the Seasons at Downtown Disney
- SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration
- Holidays Around the World – Candlelight Processional
- Busch Garden’s Christmas Town
Will you be visiting in November? What questions do you have for us?