What to Do at Walt Disney World in the Fall – Autumnal Activities, Special Events, Decorations & More

Hay there, fall travel fans! The Walt Disney World Resort is a popular travel destination any time of the year, with each season offering a different set of perks. So, with that in mind, just what does Walt Disney World in the fall have in store for guests? In short, a whole bunch! From autumnal events and decorations to wonder-fall food and drink offerings, from more pleasant weather to (slightly) more manageable crowds, there’s a lot to love about fall at Disney World. (We don’t know about you, but we love a gourd fall pun.) So, dig out your Halloween costume, grab yourself a cozy PSL (that’s pumpkin spice latte, in case you’ve been living under a rock) and read on as we dive into the pile of fun that awaits you during a Disney World fall vacation.

FAQs About Fall at Disney World

Much like every other holiday, autumn comes early to Walt Disney World Resort. Although fall doesn’t officially start until sometime between September 21 to 24, depending on the year (in 2023, the fall equinox lands on September 23), you wouldn’t know it from setting foot inside one of the Walt Disney World theme parks. Instead, it starts to feel like fall right around early to mid-August with the arrival of gourd-geous decorations on Magic Kingdom’s Main Street, USA and all things pumpkin spice and everything nice, just in time for the kickoff of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Here are some things to keep in mind when considering a Disney fall visit.

Mickey Mouse pumpkin decorations hanging on street lights with Disney castle in background

What is Disney World like in fall?

Along with the winter holiday season (the Christmas decorations!), fall is one of our favorite times to visit The Most Magical Place on Earth. Walt Disney World in autumn tends to be a lot less crazy than the jam-packed summer months, the temperatures are a little cooler, and there aren’t as many showers and storms as during the rainy season. On top of that, Magic Kingdom gets all dressed up in hues of red, orange and yellow, and dining outlets across the resort start selling festively themed food and drinks in flavors like pumpkin spice and apple or inspired by the Disney Villains and Haunted Mansion’s hitchhiking ghosts. All in all, it’s enough to make you fall in love with autumn at Disney World.

Is fall a good time to go to Disney World?

We think so! Between the relatively pleasant weather and thinned-out crowds, as well as the fun seasonal events, limited-time food and drink offerings and, of course, the festive decorations in Magic Kingdom, fall is a favorite time to visit for many Disney theme park fans. With school back in session, there are typically fewer people visiting, particularly during the weekdays. So, if you can plan the bulk of your trip to land somewhere between Monday through Friday, you shouldn’t have to deal with outrageous wait times too much unless you’re trying to experience newer attractions like Tron Lightcycle / Run and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind or enduring favorites like Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Avatar Flight of Passage.

Haunted Mansion in Liberty Square at Magic Kingdom Park

Now, some of you might have heard that fall is the “slow season” at Disney World. Well, we’re going to squash that rumor right now. While that might have been the case at one time, many folks have caught on about autumn being a “low” period. As a result, fall at Disney World isn’t as slow as it once was, though it is a whole heckuva lot less crazy than it is during spring or summer.

Of course, there are some exceptions, like weekends (especially at Epcot due to the International Food & Wine Festival), school breaks and holidays. So, try to steer clear of Labor Day, Columbus Day and Veterans Day weekends (September 2-4, October 7-9 and November 11-12, respectively), as well as the entire week of Thanksgiving. And although it isn’t quite as busy as the days we just mentioned, the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend, which runs from November 2 to 5 in 2023, can also increase the crowd levels.

Is it better to go to Disney World in September, October or November?

It really depends on what you’re hoping to avoid. If you want to escape the crowds (or, at least, skip the worst of them), then September is your best bet, as most families aren’t traveling during this time with school back in session. Unfortunately, this also happens to be peak hurricane season. So, if you don’t want to risk a tropical storm raining on your pixie-dust parade, then October is an excellent alternative.

While it is slightly busier and hurricanes are still a possibility, the crowds are still rather reasonable, there isn’t as much of a chance for bad weather, and the October temperatures can be downright balmy. In contrast, though November serves as the bookend to hurricane season, it can get quite busy around Veterans Day and Halloween. If you do plan to travel then, we recommend trying to visit during the first two weeks of the month.

When does Disney World decorate for fall and Halloween?

Fall decorations and Halloween decorations are one and the same at Walt Disney World. When it comes to the theme parks, the only real place to (pumpkin) spice things up is Magic Kingdom Park. Here, Main Street, USA comes alive with Disney World fall decorations in fiery reds, oranges and yellows, from Mickey Mouse jack-o-lantern wreaths, garlands of colorful fall foliage, and candy corn-like fabric swags bedecking the buildings and streetlamps to scarecrows and piles of pumpkins in Town Square. These Disney World Halloween decorations typically go up sometime within the first or second week of August in preparation for the start of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. For 2023, the Magic Kingdom Halloween decorations will add some fall flair to Main Street, U.S.A. from August 10 to November 1.

While not as extensive as the Halloween decorations at Magic Kingdom, Disney Springs also receives a fall makeover especially for the season. Here, the beauti-fall trimmings and trappings typically go up closer to the actual autumn equinox, right around the middle of September. Expect more pumpkins, fall-inspired signs and spice-tacular photo opportunities filled with autumn leaves, hay bales and gourds.

Pumpkins down Main Street with castle

What is the weather like during fall at Disney World?

In our opinion, one of the best reasons to visit Disney World during the fall is the unbe-leaf-able weather. Unlike July and August—which are hot, sticky and all-around not nice—autumn at Disney World, especially October and November, are on the cooler side. And by “cool,” we mean cool for Central Florida—think high temperatures of around 86°F in September to 75°F in November. Evenings are also incredibly pleasant, with lows of around 72°F in September to 58°F in November.

The only thing to bear in mind is that this is still hurricane season until November 30. Peak hurricane season lands around mid-September. And according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 96% of the season’s biggest hurricane days happen between mid-August and mid-October. But don’t sweat the fall stuff! If you do happen to experience a hurricane at Disney World, you can take heart in knowing that the theme parks rarely have to close in the event of a tropical storm. Plus, hurricane ride-out crews are on-hand at the resorts to make sure guests are safe, happy and entertained, including visits from Disney characters.

Can’t-Miss Experiences During a Walt Disney World Fall Vacation

So, what sorts of fall-bulous activities are on offer for guests doing a Walt Disney World autumn vacation? If you’re going to The Most Magical Place on Earth this fall, check out one of these a-maize-ing offerings or go big or gourd home and try them all.

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

When many folks think of fall, the first thing that comes to mind is Halloween. Well, when Disney fans think of fall, they think of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Hosted by Magic Kingdom, this spook-tacular celebration takes over Disney World’s most enchanting theme park on select nights from August 11 to November 1, 2023. Although this eerie-sistable event is separately ticketed and not included with your regular park ticket, we think it’s worth it for everything that comes with it.

It offers after-hours access from 7:00 PM to midnight to some of Magic Kingdom’s most popular attractions, scream-worthy exclusive entertainment (like Mickey’s Boo-to-You Halloween Parade, Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular fireworks and the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular), meet-and-greets with Disney characters dressed up in Halloween costumes, spellbinding snacks and sips and all the candy you can handle from several trick-or-treat trails. Tickets start at $109 for adults and $99 for kids ages 3 to 9 and increase in price the closer you get to Halloween.

Remy's Ratatouille Adventure in France Pavilion in World Showcase at Epcot

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

From Oktoberfest in Germany to Mid-Autumn Festival in China, many fall celebrations around the world pay tribute to the harvest season, and the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is no exception. Happening from July 27 to November 18 in 2023, the Food and Wine Festival in Epcot honors all things edible (and drinkable!), with a cornucopia of internationally inspired dishes and drinks available at almost 30 Global Marketplaces for hungry guests to sample.

Of course, there’s more to the Epcot Food & Wine Festival than just yummy bites and beverages. It also boasts wonder-fall fun activities like Pluto’s Pumpkin Pursuit, a scavenger hunt featuring hidden pumpkins themed after Disney characters (available from September 29 to October 31, or while supplies last) and Emile’s Fromage Montage, a cheese-focused food stroll. Access to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival is included with your park admission.

Race line with confetti

Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend

Whether you want to work off some of that Halloween candy, are hoping to get ahead of your Thanksgiving feast, or simply enjoy running (and running and running), runDisney’s Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend could be just what you’re looking for. Offered near the end of the Epcot Food & Wine Festival (from November 2 to 5 in 2023), the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend serves up everything from a 5K to a full-on half marathon and, of course, a slew of covetable runDisney medals and appearances by Disney characters. (Did you know that the Disney Cruise Line also offers its own 5K at Castaway Cay, its private island in the Bahamas?)

This year, the races take their inspiration from some of the greatest dinner table (or tea table) moments from Disney movies, like the Alice in Wonderland tea party, the “Be Our Guest” scene from Beauty and the Beast and the Madrigal family fun of Encanto. Go fall out and tackle both the 10K and half marathon in the Disney Two Course Challenge and earn a kitchen-themed medal featuring everyone’s favorite purple dragon Figment of Epcot’s Journey Into Imagination attraction.

Fall Into Magic at Disney Springs

The theme parks aren’t the only places at Walt Disney World that celebrate autumn. Disney Springs, the resort’s must-visit entertainment district, does, too! Fall Into Magic at Disney Springs is the shopping & dining complex’s seasonal soiree, dishing up everything from fang-tastic entertainment like the Squad Ghoul (available Friday through Sunday from September 29 to October 29) to villainous merchandise to a pumpkin patch full of fall decorations and photo ops. You’ll also find a spell-tacular spread of autumn-inspired eats. Some restaurants will even offer Thanksgiving dinner. Fall doesn’t start quite as early at Disney Springs as it does at Magic Kingdom, so expect the festivities to begin sometime around mid-September.


Autumnal Eats Throughout the Resort

Attention, pumpkin spice lovers! It wouldn’t be a seasonal celebration at Disney World without a whole bunch of limited-time dishes and drinks to enjoy, and the same goes for fall. All autumn long, restaurants at the theme parks, resort hotels and Disney Springs cook up all sorts of fall-tastic flavors like candied and caramel apple, apple cider and, of course, all things pumpkin spice (Milkshakes! Waffle sundaes! Cheesecake! Tiramisu!). There are also some extra-special dining, like Minnie’s Halloween Dine (available from August 11 to November 4, 2023) at Hollywood & Vine in Disney’s Hollywood Studios—a character meal that features festive decorations, a spook-tacular menu and Disney characters in Halloween costumes—and Thanksgiving dinners on the other side of the season.

Not to mention, a handful of Disney World restaurants offer fall-worthy dining all year round. At Magic Kingdom, Liberty Tree Tavern in Liberty Square serves a Thanksgiving feast complete with roasted turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes, no matter if it’s Turkey Day or July with its Patriot’s Platter. At Epcot, meanwhile, hungry diners in search of a hearty meal can choose from two different dining options. In the Germany Pavilion in World Showcase, Biergarten Restaurant transports guests to a moonlit Bavarian town square during Oktoberfest for a buffet-style meal of sausages and apple strudel. And Garden Grill Restaurant in The Land Pavilion offers Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Harvest Feast, a character dining experience featuring seasonal dishes crafted with ingredients grown right there in the pavilion’s greenhouses.

Black Minnie Mouse ears with candy corn shaped hat on top

Beauti-fall Autumn- and Halloween-Inspired Merchandise

If you’re anything like us, then you love a gourd excuse to do some shopping. Thankfully, gift shops across Walt Disney World Resort are more than happy to oblige with seasonal merchandise like apparel (including Halloween costumes), home goods, Mickey and Minnie ears, and much more. But that’s not fall—novelty items like popcorn buckets, sippers and pumpkin straws can be purchased from select quick-service restaurants and outdoor vending locations.

Posing with Disney Characters in Halloween Costumes or With the Fall Decorations

We aren’t the only ones who like to dress up for Halloween. Some of the Disney characters do, too! (Our new favorites are Minnie Mouse, Daisy Duck and Clarabelle Cow as the Sanderson Sisters from Hocus Pocus.) While Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is your best chance to pose with trick-or-treat-ready characters, you might also see them float by during regular park hours in a Halloween cavalcade down Main Street, U.S.A. So, be sure to snap a selfie! Alternatively, Disney World fall decorations like scarecrows, jack-o-lanterns and garlands of colorful autumn foliage also make for an unbe-leaf-able photo opportunity.

Mickey and Minnie Mouse on Disney float

A Villainous Takeover

Between the glowing jack-o-lanterns and the bewitching bites and beverages, Halloween is the perfect time for Disney Villains to run amuck. Spooky season brings out the best of the worst when it comes to Disney characters. Not only do they hold court during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, but you might even see them parade past as part of a Disney Villains cavalcade along Main Street, USA. And don’t be surprised if Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas serves as the master of ceremonies during a “nightmare” of a Magic Kingdom character procession. He is the Pumpkin King, after all!

But wait, there’s more! Over at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, you can even put pencil to paper and learn how to draw one of Disney’s wildest animal villains. From October 1 to 31, 2023, Disney animators at the Animation Experience at Conservation Station will be offering lessons for drawing characters like Scar from The Lion King, Bruce the shark from Finding Nemo, Tick-Tock the crocodile from Peter Pan and Shere Khan and Kaa from The Jungle Book.

Other Spooky Seasonal Entertainment

We know what you’re thinking. There’s already a bagful of entertainment tricks and treats during fall at Disney World. What other haunted happenings could there be? Well, along with the Halloween-y character cavalcades, you can also enjoy some spook-tacular live musical performances with an eerie twist. Most notably, the Cadaver Dans (known throughout the rest of the year as the Dapper Dans) will take to Main Street, USA throughout the Halloween season to belt out some spine-tingling tunes, all in tight, multipart barbershop-style harmonies.

Main Street Halloween decorations

Well, pumpkin, that brings our autumnal roundup of all things fall at Walt Disney World (and our fall puns) to an end. One thing is certain: No matter what you decide to do during your Disney fall vacation, it’s sure to end apple-y ever after. (Ok, we lied. Now we’re finished.) What do you like doing during autumn at Walt Disney World? Let us know in the comments! Then, learn how to stretch your budget and save for your fall trip with our Disney World discount tickets.