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Disneyworld in October.... :)

Walt Disney World: Questions about Disney in October -- what to do/what not to do/when to do it??? :)

From Sue Harve
Posted June 23, 2012 at 11:27 AM
Hey guys... I'm new to TPI. :) I've searched lots of sites and this one seems to be the best as far as giving great tips and need to know information.

My husband and I are going to Disney for our 5th year wedding anniversary in October :)
I have been to Disney numerous times, however my husband has never been. This will be his first trip ever! I know how magical/wonderful Disney is, so I want to be sure to show him the very best! (We will be there 5 days -- plan on going to AK, MK, DHS, Epcot, and we will also go one day to Universal...)

Even though I've been multiple times, I have not been in about 8 years!! So I know a lot has changed (Especially AK)... ALSO - I've never been in October. We have ALWAYS gone June/July...

I've heard October is a great time to go as far as smaller crowds and possibly a little cooler weather as well!

REALLY looking forward to the Food and Wine Festival as well in Epcot and the Halloween festivities in some of the parks as well... I've heard its probably not wise to go to Epcot on Saturday/Sunday in October b/c most of the locals go to that and it will be more crowded, right?....

So -- to my question or request for 'tips'....

Since I've never been in October, I'm curious what the difference will be as far as waiting times in line. I'm used to waiting 1-2 hours for some of the 'big' rides. Will it be more like 30-45 minutes instead of 1-2 hours? If someone has a breakdown for Waiting lines in October, I would greatly appreciate it!:)

Also - if anyone has any super great tips about going in October/what to do first/what to do last/etc, that would be great! I know it's early, but I' trying to get an itenerary together as far as what rides/shows to go to first and in what order/etc. I know some of the parks close earlier too, so I want to be sure that we see it all! :)

AND also - Downtown Disney has changed SOOO much! Any "Must See/Must Do" places there for a couple :)

Tell me about the Halloween festivities at the parks... are any of them more geared toward little kids? Or are they for adults too? And I've heard Universal Halloween is pretty good too -- more geared for adults, right?

Super excited and thanks in advance for any tips/suggestions provided :)


Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From Orrin Carstarphen
Posted June 23, 2012 at 1:23 PM
The Halloween festivities at both Universal and Disney are seperately ticketed events. A good time to do Universals Halloween Horror Nights(recommended for ages 13 and up)may be after a day in a Disney park. Most weeks they run Thursday - Sunday from 6PM till 1AM. I have not yet had the pleasure of Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, but I have heard that even though it is geared more towards children plenty of adults also dress up in costume and trick-or-treat as well. Unfortunately Universal does not allow costumes and there is no trick-or-treating just haunted houses and scare zones.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted June 24, 2012 at 3:00 PM
I go to EPCOT for the Food and Wine Festival and it is great, but crowded on the weekends. Still, they have an ultracool event called Party for the Senses which really sums up the week of good food at EPCOT. That is on Saturday.

Mickey's Not so Scary Halloween Party is also a must! Best fireworkks and parade plus you get to dress up and Trick or Treat.

The weather is also usually beautiful

From charles henderson
Posted June 25, 2012 at 12:14 PM
By far October is my most favorite time to go. The lines are shorter and the weather is still warm but not harsh(heat and rainfall).
EPCOT is a good choice when grown-ups are involved(though many will argue that EPCOT is for kids too/ or now better suited for kids). I like to different Mickey things like the "Disney miniature golf and Water parks or Disney Dining(highly recomend Boma taste of Africa).

From Javi Badillo
Posted June 25, 2012 at 1:04 PM
October is the best time to go

From Russell Meyer
Posted June 25, 2012 at 1:48 PM
We almost always go in October, primarily because of the reduced crowds and the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival. In fact we will be there this year from October 22 through October 30. Crowds are generaly more manageable in October with between 1/3 to 1/2 the wait for most attractions compared to peak months. However, if you are there during "Jersey Week," usually the week of Columbus Day when WDW is stormed by families that go down during a week the schools are closed for teacher conferences, you may feel like it's early May.

Food and Wine events should be annonuced later in July, and because many of those require an EPCOT admission, you may want to hold of scheduling your days until you have figured out what events you want to attend. As someone else noted, the Party for the Senses is only held on Saturdays, and because locals and AP holders tend to flood EPCOT on Saturdays during the Festival, it can become pretty uncomfortably crowded, particularly if you are interested in actually enjoying EPCOT or the F&W kiosks around the World Showcase. When we were there two years ago the lines at the kiosks were about 5-8 people deep on a Wednesday, but 50-60 people deep on Saturday afternoon/evening.

As with any theme park, the most important thing is to arrive at the parks BEFORE they open. Lines can swell to over an hour on the most popular attractions (Soarin', Toy Story Mania, Tower of Terror, Everest, and Magic Kingdom Mountains) even in October. Also, be aware of the new Fastpass policy that requires CMs to enforce the return time window (you cannot hold FastPasses all day and use them all at the end of the day).

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party is a lot of fun, even for adults. You get an opportunity to meet characters that you cannot see during a normal park day (all 7 Dwarves in one shot, Malificent, all of the regulars in special costumes, and many more), there's a special parade and fireworks show, trick or treating (free candy for all), and most of all because it's a separately ticketed event with limited admission, you have access to most of the attractions with little or no lines. It's up to you if it's worth the $50-$65 (depending upon day and when/how you buy the ticket). I liked it 2 years ago, but we're not doing it this time around.

I think you're selling yourself short by only devoting a single day to Universal. If you haven't been in 8 years, you cannot do the 2 parks justice in a single day. Plus, because of Halloween Horror Nights, USF closes at 5 PM pretty much every day in October, and IOA usually doesn't stay open past 7 in October, so that's a lot of stuff to see in an already truncated day. I wouldn't waste my time or money on a single day ticket for Universal. It's almost as bad as buying a single day Disney ticket.

The weather is usually still warm enough to enjoy the waterparks (upper 70's/low 80's), but trying to predict the weather during your exact week is still a crap shoot.

Make sure you get Disney tickets with hoppers so you can change parks if you get sick of one or it's just too crowded because of Magic Hours or giant Brazillian tour groups. Plan out your days, bt be flexible. Identify the attractions that you really want to see, but be willing to skip something if it's broken down (TestTrack will still be under renovation in October) or has a crazy line (I draw my line at 1 hour for the best attractions). Also be willing to be flexible with your meals if you're not on the Deluxe Dining Plan (if you are, you should already be thinking about your table service meals or have made reservations).

From Marie-Eve Landry
Posted June 29, 2012 at 8:41 AM
If you're going to Universal for only one day, be sure to take the Park-to-Park Pass and buy Express Pass because you'll need it. Two days would be better, I think.

My husband and I went to Disney in october for our honeymoon...

My trick for Disney in october, for adults:

Go during the week days... especially in the morning when the park opens. There is NOBODY. I swear... Stitch was litterally running after us! LOL To be honest, we waited for only one attraction because it was the middle of the afternoon and we had no fast pass...(it was for Soarin' in Epcot)for everything else, it was less than 15 minutes wait or fast pass.

In Magic Kingdom here are my favorites:

1-Wishes (fireworks) and Electrical Parades at night.
2-Haunted Mansion. Fun, fun, fun!!! Go at night!
3-Philarmagic (super cute!)
4-Splash Mountain (so much fun, but bring a raincoat!It's the first one I'd do... it sets the mood! :)
5-Big Thunder mountain railroad (a smooth roller coaster)

We didn't like Space Mountain. My husband is 6'2" and he could barely fit. It was dark and just uncomfortable.

Everything else (I haven't seen the newly refurbished section though) seems more oriented for young kids. I suggest to go to Animal Kingdom in the morning (unless you wanna see all the musicals, you should be done after 3-4 hours) then switch to Magic Kingdom in the middle of the afternoon and stay there until the park closes. Epcot and Hollywood studios are more interesting for adults, I think. My husband and I spent a lot more time there than in MK and AK.

In Epcot, Food and Wine Festival is a must! Pizza in Via Napoli restaurant is amazing. Coral Reef has good steak and one of the best decor (giant fishtank)... I never went to Le Cellier but I hear it's one of the best in Epcot. If you are a fan of Ratatouille, go to eat at Les Chefs the France at lunch time (only) because Chef Remy is visiting customers. I was like a little girl when I went there and the French Onion Soup and Crème Brûlée were AMAAAAAAAAZING! :P
Attractions in Epcot: Soarin' is great and if Test Track is opened (recently refurbished) you should try it. I suggest you do it first thing in the morning because in the afternoon, it gets crowded.

In Animal Kingdom, avoid Rafiki's Train... It will burn an hour of your time to see things you can see every easter at the mall (farm animals). But go to "Kilimandjaro Safari", especially in the morning or the end of the afternoon, it's a must! "Dinosaur" is great (I still think I liked it more than the Jurassic Park section of Universal!) Kali River Rapids is nice but prepare yourself to get drenched! Expedition Everest rocks...

Eat at Yak & Yeti's restaurant, it's amazing! ;)

In Hollywood Studios, don't miss the Rock'n'roller Coaster. It's one of my favorite attraction ever. Though it's really expensive, Hollywood Brown Derby is probably the best choice for a restaurant. But if you're on a budget, Toy Story Pizza Planet has very good pizza!

If you are looking for good restaurants outside the parks, 'Ohana (at the Polynesian Resort) is fantastic. My favorite in WDW.

Downtown Disney is a nice place to go shopping. I especially loved Mickey's Pantry.

Although you did not mention if you had already made your reservations nor where you had the intention to stay during your vacation: I've tried Port Orleans French Quarter (Moderate) and Polynesian Resort (Deluxe) and they were both very clean, cute and romantic!

From Don Neal
Posted June 29, 2012 at 9:09 AM
We are going at the end of September to WDW for our 15 year anniversary. We frequent Disney World so we have a pretty good plan in place. This time with no kids we'll be doing some finer dining than we usually do but looking forward to it.

Sounds like crowds won't be an issue. We'll see how the weather does. Always a little tough to tell during hurricane season. But we're flexible, are not afraid of getting wet, and are not worried about it. :)

We are buying Park Hoppers so we can move back and forth, hit the restaurants we want, see the shows we want, and do whatever. Also helpful should the weather change to head to a park that has more indoor options.

We are also doing dinner at Downtown Disney a few nights. Something kind of fun to do is take the launch boat from DTD to the Port Orleans French Quarter Resort. Check out the resort and then follow the river walk to Port Orleans Riverside. It is very beautiful. From there you can take a bus back to DTD. All in all a 1.5-2 hour trip but relaxing and fun to explore.

We also did a monorail tour last time we were there stopping at each of the hotels on the line: Polynesian, Grand Floridian, and Contemporary. We check out their stores, restaurants, views of Magic Kingdom, pools, and what not. Great for rainy days. :)

Also for romantic dinner while at Epcot, see if you can get into the Coral Reef and request a table by the water. Be sure to book ahead of time using Disney's online reservation system or calling 407-W-Disney.

From Sue Harve
Posted June 30, 2012 at 9:12 PM
Thank you so much to everyone who responded with tips and ideas... This information has been a huge help and I really appreciate it :)

Totally going to look into some of these 'finer dining' places as well and go ahead/make reservations soon!! :)

And I'm REALLY looking forward to the Food and Wine Festival!!! Thank you for letting me know that they will release the schedule for that in July! That will really help me decide what days we want to go! And after all I've read, I think I have decided against on going Saturday since all of the locals will be there and it will be SUPER crowded. I am realy excited about the fesitival, but i also want my husband to get to experience the entire park and if Saturday will bring crowds like Summer Crowds, then I'd rather NOT go on that day.... I'm sure we would still really enjoy it during the week!

I'm starting to think that we may need 2 days at Universal as well...
And if it's true what you guys are saying (lines being that much shorter -- only 15 minutes tops?!?! that is AWESOME!! haha), then maybe we could combine 2 parks in one day and then have 2 at universal??

Also - we had not PLANNED on getting hopper passes, but after reading your comments, I'm starting to think that will be best!

My question now is -- Do you purchase a hopper ticket for like, say, 3 days? And you can hop between any of the parks for those 3 days, right?.... and that would leave 2 days for universal.

But honestly - do ou guys think I can really get the full time needed at MK, AK, Epcot, and DHS in 3 days??....

Next question -- are the water parks really worth taking 1/2 a day away from one of the 4 Disney parks???

From Sue Harve
Posted June 30, 2012 at 9:18 PM
... and by the way ... I did not know that Test Track will not be open when we go in October. I am so upset about that :(

From charles henderson
Posted July 1, 2012 at 9:22 AM
Sue,I am not sure the others have mentioned it but don't try to do too much in one day and the week. You can get alot accomplished during this time but you can still kill yourself buy virtue of your ablity to do so much. What I like to do is take a break during the day back in the room to recharge and also if I am staying past 4 days take one day in the middle to do mostly relaxing. Remember you don't want to have to take a vacation from your vacation. I would suggest catching a movie during the day at Downtown Disney. The movie theater(AMC) there will allow you to bring anything purchased at Downtown Disney; how great would a brownie sundae from Ghirardelli be with a movie?

From Mark Fairleigh
Posted July 1, 2012 at 2:32 PM
Sue, in short, the Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom is geared towards families and kids. Trick or treating, guests are allowed to wear costumes, parades, fireworks, etc. Universal's Halloween Horror Nights is more for the adult set...though it's really fine for anyone 13 and over in my opinion. Alcohol is served for instance (don't worry, any rowdiness by drunk guests is extremely well-controlled by security and local police) and the houses are on the scary/gory side. Both are great events.

If you do go to Halloween Horror Nights, I highly recommend getting Express Passes along with your event tickets. They allow you to bypass the regular line once for each haunted house. On a crowded night, it really pays off.

Hope you guys have a great anniversary trip. :)

From Dan S
Posted July 5, 2012 at 7:50 AM
My family always goes in the september/october time of the year, and it is in my opinion the best time to go. We never wait (usually, knock on wood) more than 20-30 minutes AT MAXIMUM for any ride. Last year our longest wait was probably 25 minutes for Midway Mania, like at this time of the year, the park is usually a ghost town. We even find that there is a lot more walking space, and the entire pathways are not crowded, which is nice.

From Russell Meyer
Posted July 5, 2012 at 8:43 AM
If you purchase the Park Hopper option on your passes, you have park hopping priviledges on all of those days. You can't just buy a park hopper option for 2 or 3 days of a 5 day pass.

Seeing all 4 theme parks in 3 days can be done. I've done all four parks in a single day before, but that was a really long day (8 AM until 2 AM), and we were completely exhausted. However, you should start by estimating that you will need one day for each park, and adjust according to the crowds, hours, and how you're feeling. That's why it's worth investing in Hoppers, even if you don't park hop every single day.

If you're staying on site, you can take advantage of the Magic Hours, which extend park hours for Disney hotel guests. You can start your day at 8:00 AM in a park that has early Magic Hours and then hop midday to another park. Animal Kingdom typically closes around 5 PM in October, so you can pretty easily hop from there to another park that stays open later (EPCOT usually stays open until 10 and MK until 11 on non-Halloween Party nights).

As far as the waterparks, both Blizard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon are very nice. They're good to visit on an arrival day or departure day as a way to unwind. However, depending on how many days you're going to put on your pass, it may not be worth adding the Waterpark and More option. The "Park Hopping" option does not allow you to "hop" to a waterpark, so you have to use what used to be called "plusses." The way the tickets work now, you get a Waterpark/golf/Disneyquest/Wide-world-of-sports admission day for each day of regular park admission you buy (5 day pass with waterpark and more gets you 5 waterpark admissions). However, if you're not getting non-expiring tickets, it may not be worth the option if you only plan to spend a single day at a waterpark, which you can buy individually for @$50. In the end, you have to go through all of the permutations to see what is the best value for what you'd like to do.

From Brian Emery
Posted July 5, 2012 at 8:27 AM
First Welcome to TPI.. This is a great site with many opinions…

I\we went in October two years ago and it was Fantastic. Many attractions we walked on with no wait.

I would make a visit to Universal – IOA – In my humble opinion, It is the best all-around park in Florida. Something for everyone and Harry Potter land (WWOHP) is fantastic..

Have a great time and post Trip report..

From Orrin Carstarphen
Posted July 5, 2012 at 5:35 PM
Even though we always seem to get the park hopper passes at Disney I wouldn't recommend it. You could waste a lot of time going from one park to the other. What I would do is AK(1/2 day park) on a Thursday and then go to Universals HHN that evening. It isn't usually crowded on Thursdays and the more popular rides will be running(Rip, Ride Rocket, Mummy, Simpsons, MIB. Even though it hasn't been announced I would be shocked if Despicable Me isn't open as well. This would save you from purchasing another ticket for the Studios and you could devote a whole day at IOA.

From Russell Meyer
Posted July 6, 2012 at 6:40 AM
I would recommend against going to HHN on a day you're not already planning to go to IOA or USF unless you're already resigned to purchasing Universal Express. If you're already at USF, you can purchase the "Stay and Scream" pass for HHN, which allows you to stay in the park during the hour between regular operation and HHN. They stash you in the Irish pub, but you're already in a good position to be at the front of the line of one of the soundstage houses before the gates officially open for HHN. I was able to do all of the houses without purchasing Universal Express because I did the "Stay and Scream."

Think of the park hopper option as insurance. It gives you flexibility and peace of mind so you can change your plans on the spot. You can do all of the planning in the world, but if you enter a park and realize what you're interested in isn't open or there are a zillion people in the park for some reason, having the ability to hop to another park is a very nice luxury. Depending on how you got to the park, it can take between 15 and 30 minutes gate to gate to get between them. The parks are not right next to each other, but it's not like throwing half your day away to travel between them.

From Andrew Dougherty
Posted July 6, 2012 at 2:01 PM
Only 1 day at universal probably won't be the best idea. We went in October (but sadly missed hhn) and we wouldn't have been able to do everything both parks have to offer. But if u do 1 day only also do hhn at night. Your plan for universal should be to run straight back to WWoHP first do Forrviden Journey than run to spider man and hulk those should have the BIGGEST wait times. Also popye and bluro was down for refurb so hit those rides than finish the park. USF, run to the disposable me first hit shrek last. Sprint to the Simpsons because my dad and I went on that ride 1 he after the park opened and waited 20 minuetes we got out the wait was 45 also HRRR is longer waits due to low capacity. Also MIB is a very popular attraction too but the que and parts of the rise are a little off due to the existence of a hhn house next door. Please ride E. T. too. I'm not sure how lOng it will be there and it's a classic fun ride. Disney, MK when you enter the park go right to splash mountain and get a flash pass thingy than go ride space mountain. You can pretty much do what ever you like after that. EPCOT if test track is open do that first. Than go to soarin. Do whatever you'd like after that. DHS do star tours first than if you like watch the Indy stunt show across from it. Rock n Rollercoaster get a pretty long wait alOng with toy story all day star tours gets long waits on the after noon save ToT for last as all day it only had a 10 min. wait. Make sure to catch LMA and u can skip the backlot touring you'd like. ID ADVISE IT. So that's it for that park. AK got straight back to ride Everest than river rapids. Be warned Dinosaur is basically NOTHING BUT EXTREMELLY LOUD ROARS. I didn't enjoy it because it was to loud. So that's it for Disney and we had a park hopper but never used it.

From Orrin Carstarphen
Posted July 6, 2012 at 4:57 PM
I wasnt saying to just spend 1 day at Universal/IOA, I was emphasizing that the Universal Studio side on its on is not a full days experience. You can easily hit the major attractions as well as the Haunted houses during HHN. We go to HHN every year without express passes and have NO problems whatsoever seeing and doing everything. Using this method would save a days park admission since you could purchase a 1 day ticket to IOA and 1 admission to HHN.

From Sue Harve
Posted July 7, 2012 at 5:57 PM
Thanks again to everyone for your input and suggestions!

I think since it's just my husband and I, we will not do the MK Halloween thing at night. We will probably do the Universal Halloween thing though.

I'm nervous about Universal though b/c so many of you say that it takes more than one day to do. And I just don't know if we'll have time to do more than1 day.

I cant remember if I posted it or not, but here is our 'schedule.'

We will not get to Orlando until after Midnight. We will then have 5 full days. We want to go to all 5 parks, Universal, and possibly a water park.

Again I've heard that you can do AK in 1/2 a day in October and then I'm sure since it will be October, it won't take as long to get through the other parks...

(so i think that Hopper passes will be best for us!.... if we finish one park early, we can go to another park and start there so maybe we can squeeze all 4 parks in 3 days, then have 2 days at universal???)

But that didnt count the water park either?!?!....

I guess since I have never been in October I just cant imagine short lines! haha... All I know is JULY with SUPER crowds!

Like one of you said, a lot of it is planning as much as I can, but then being able to be flexible when we get there!

That's why I think the 'insurance' of the Hopper Passes might be the best....

Again - thanks for all of the advice and input! I appreciate it so much!

(and I cant remember which one of you gave the example itenerary for what rides in what order, but I really appreciate that too! I ReALLY hope that test track is open AND that despicable me is open then too!)

WISH OCTOBER WAS TOMORROW! haha :)

From Rob Pastor
Posted July 7, 2012 at 8:21 PM
If you truly want to enjoy both of the Universal Parks, they "should not" be done in one day. Even if you have Universal Express, you would have to hurry from attraction to attraction, miss most of the shows and some of the attractions, and miss the ambiance of the Universal Parks. Better to skip a waterpark, they're mostly kid oriented, spend relaxation time at your hotel pool, and spend more than a day at Universal. As a tourist, and not a season pass person, the parks are better experienced in a relaxing manner. Sure, you can really do the highlights of just about any park besides Magic Kingdom in half a day, but a vacation day is better spent immersing yourself & your family in "all" a park has to offer. Just my opinion, but I think sometimes we try to do too much in too little time, and the total experience suffers.

From Marie-Eve Landry
Posted July 11, 2012 at 8:56 AM
I agree with the last comment. My husband and I went for two days with Express Passes in may (low crowds as well). We never got bored.

Also, as somebody mentionned, if you stay in WDW, the Extra Magic Hours are amazing, especially in the morning. Because the earlier you go to the park, the shorter the lines will be. Between 8:00 and 10:00 we did a lot of attractions with no wait at all. We actually had the time to do 5 rides in only 1 hour in MK!

From Mark Fairleigh
Posted July 11, 2012 at 9:04 AM
I wholeheartedly agree with Rob. At a minimum, one day for each Universal park. Skip the water park. Just go on Popeye's and Bluto's at Islands of Adventure a few times...you'll get plenty of water then. I don't agree that AK is a 1/2 park...part of it depends on what you like, but there was enough to experience to fill up a day. If I had 5 days only, I'd do MK, Epcot, AK, USF, and IOA. Hollywood Studios is skippable till another trip imho.

From Marie-Eve Landry
Posted August 17, 2012 at 7:24 PM
What??? :O Hollywood Studios is my favorite park! We spent a whole day there and it wasn't enough for us!

From Curtis Young
Posted August 18, 2012 at 9:05 AM
October is a great time to visit the Parks. My best advice is to really WORK the Fastpasses. Because lines are short, you can grab a Fastpass to a very popular attraction, then go to two or three less-popular ones before your ride window ends. My friends and I were able to hit 45+ attractions at all four Disney parks during three days in May this way, and crowds are even smaller in October. BTW, I don't RECOMMEND hitting 45+ attractions in three days. ;)

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