Theme Park of the Day: Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

Florida in October

How busy, and is it a good time to visit?

From Ben Reeves
Posted August 13, 2012 at 6:44 PM
After just returning from Florida this weekend, my friend who came wants to return again next year. Due to work commitments he can't go at peak of summer, so my question is what are the theme parks like around halloween time. I imagine the parks are halloween themed, but isn't it the food festival in epcot around this time too?

My final question is the Disney Dining Plan, is it worth it for a 2 week holiday?

From Dominick D
Posted August 13, 2012 at 7:06 PM
October is one of the best times to go, as it's very quiet. If you can go to a Halloween event at MK or USF. The Food and Wine Festival will be going on as well. Here are some details on free dining:

From Russell Meyer
Posted August 14, 2012 at 8:37 AM
The EPCOT Food and Wine Festival is going on through October. However, many of the signature dining events are already sold out or close to being sold out (reservations started this morning). Party for the Senses reservations are probably still available, and typically remain available through a week or two in advance because the room has such a large capacity.

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party also takes place on selected nights in October in the Magic Kingdom.

Additionally, Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Orlando and Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens Tampa occur nightly in October.

In general, October is a great time to visit (some would argue that mid-November can be even better because many of the parks already have their Christmas decorations up). The crowds are generally pretty manageable, and the weather is far more tollerable than mid-summer (low to mid 80's and low probability of afternoon T-Storms).

We almost always go to Orlando in October, mostly because of the EPCOT F&W Festival, and will be there at the end of October this year.

The current Free Dining promotion is a little tricky. You need to book at an on-site resort, and the level of the Dining Plan is dependant upon the level of resort you reserve. Value resort guests receive the Disney Quick Service Dining Plan, which includes two (2) counter service meals and one (1) snack per guest per night. If you maximize the value (eat the most expensive meals at the most expensive counter service restaurants at WDW), you're probably looking at @$30 per night of savings. However, if you are unable to maximize your Dining Plan, you could only get as little as @$20 in value per night even if you use every credit. Sometimes the Dining Plan can be a burdon if you cannot keep a schedule or are a picky eater.

Guests booking at moderate and deluxe resorts get the standard Disney Dining Plan, which includes one (1) counter service meal, one (1) table service meal, and one (1) snack for each guest per night. Again, depending on how you use your credits, you could probably get as much as $60 of value per night on this plan. For us, we have booked at Port Orleans French Quarter, and with the Dining Plan, will probably cut our nightly hotel costs to about $20-30 per night by maximizing our Free Dining Plan by booking charater meals and certain dining experiences.

Also, in the past, Disney Dining Plan snack credits have been accepted for most food items sold at the EPCOT Food and Wine kiosks in the World Showcase, but there's no guarantee. A snack credit could be worth as much as $9 if you get the New England Lobster Roll at F&W, or as little as $1 if you get a bag of chips or a piece of fruit from a standard eatery/c-store.

FWIW, the resorts appear to be pretty full already for most of the second half of October (including the new Art of Animation, which isn't eligible for the free dining promotion). The free dining promotion is only eligible for certain rooms and cannot be combined with other discounts or offers. Again, it all depends on how you use the Free Dining if it's worth it to you. We defeinitely maximize the value. 2 years ago, we effectively made our resort (Pop Century) @$14/night, but back in 2010, the quick service plan included two (2) snacks per day. Here's my analysis of the Disney Dining Plan in 2010...

From Sean Huckel
Posted August 14, 2012 at 8:55 AM
October is my absolute favorite time to go.

If you're there, don't miss Halloween Horror Nights.

From Ben Reeves
Posted August 15, 2012 at 5:04 AM
Thanks for your responses guys, it's nice to see people agree it's a good time. Will certainly be booking for next year then!

From Doug Jenkins
Posted August 15, 2012 at 2:11 PM
If you plan to see Horror Nights, you may be better off staying on property at Universal at least one night. Lines can be long at night. Otherwise October is a great month. It will still be a bit crowded and warm. November (not Thanksgiving)and the first 3 weeks in December are spectacular. The Christmas decorations and festivities at WDW are must sees!

From Jonathan Bonner
Posted August 16, 2012 at 1:17 AM
As a child/teenager, my family always used to visit Florida in the height of summer. But now i'm in my 20s and look for a slightly different experience I tend to visit in September/October. Whilst the weather can be hit and miss (either blazing hot one day and chilly the next) the seasonal events have kept us coming back: The Food & Wine Festival at Epcot is a great way to spend a day/afternoon at the World Showcase. And if you love halloween and being scared out of your wits. Halloween Horror Nights is an incredible event.
In terms of crowds, again this can be hit and miss. Some days a park will be deserted but the next it could be packed. Try to keep an eye out for school vacations to help with planning.

From Marie-Eve Landry
Posted August 17, 2012 at 5:38 PM
October is an excellent (or perfect?)time to go.

Although we didn't have tickets for special event and we still enjoyed the Food and Wine festival a lot!

From Don Mobley
Posted August 19, 2012 at 8:43 PM

October is the best time in my opinion! I go every year for Halloween Horror Nights at Universal! The event is crowded and often overwhelming but is also great fun, love the scare zones and the haunted houses (the shows like Bill and Ted's have become pretty lame last few times, but hoping they get better soon)and I love just sitting in the park and listening to all the fun stuff happening! Universal has worked on making the event better and better each year, they still have issues such as too many express passers holding up the regular lines and I think they should devote more time to taking care of the annual passholders then what they do!

Also last year I went to Disney one night for the Scary Mickey Halloween parade which was fun, but not nearly as good as universal's halloween party!

If you have not been to Halloween horror Nights, I would suggest giving it a try!

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