Disney World in October 2020: Tips for Halloween, Handling Crowds, and More!

Disney World in October is an exciting month for guests as they experience all the Halloween decorations in the Magic Kingdom.

Everyone has personal preferences to consider when planning the date of their Walt Disney World trip- each season will have its pros and cons and guests' choices will vary based on those. Make sure to read our Walt Disney World crowd calendar to get an idea of what to expect when picking a date to visit Walt Disney World.

Keep reading for everything you need to know about visiting Disney World in October including current events, what weather to expect, crowd level predictions, and what to pack!

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Disney World Events in OctoberMickey and Minnie halloween costumes

Here are all the current events to know about impacting Disney World in October!

Fall Fun and Halloween 

Disney will continue their socially distanced approved Halloween celebrations until Oct. 31st. There will be Fall Fun seasonal offerings like decor, Halloween-themed cavalcade, themed treats, and costumes are welcome! You can read all about the new offerings including spooky treats, costumes guidelines, and merchandise offerings in our Disney World at Halloween guide.

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival 

One of the most popular Epcot festivals, the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, continues into October so you can expect to see some higher crowds at Epcot during this time. You can read all about this delicious festival in our guide on Mickey Visit. You can expect to see a large variety of wine, international foods, concerts, culinary demonstrations, and other special themed events.

Reservations Required- Park Pass System

Advance reservations for park admission is required for Walt Disney World upon reopening as Disney navigates limited capacity restrictions to ensure a safe environment for guests and cast members.

How to Make a Reservation 

  1. Link your park tickets/admission to your Disney account. You will need valid park admission to make a reservation.
  2. Create your party. Before you make a reservation, you'll be prompted to create a party from your Family & Friends list on your account. This ensures your group has the same reservations for your trip.
  3. Select a date and park. Choose the date and time you'd like to visit from the available reservations.
  4. Review and confirm your plans. You will also be prompted to agree to a COVID-19 liability waiver.

Important Details for Making Reservations

Everything looks a bit different right now for visiting Disney World so it's important to be aware of these new policies for the reservation system and the state of the parks when they open.

  • Reservations are limited and subject to availability and are not guaranteed until a reservation is finalized.
  • At this time, Guests will be able to select one park per day; visiting more than one park per day will be temporarily unavailable upon the reopening of the theme parks due to attendance limitations.
    • Guests with existing tickets that include the Park Hopper Option or Park Hopper Plus Option have options available to them for ticket modifications and cancellations.
  • A park reservation must be made for each day of entry. If you have a multi-day ticket, you will be required to make a park reservation for each date of your visit.
  • It is highly recommend that you make your park reservation as soon as you complete your ticket purchase, as availability can change until the reservation is finalized.

You can read more about how to make a reservation in our opening guide. You will NOT be able to enter the park without a theme park reservation.

New Safety Policies

It's crucial to be aware of the new health policies in place from required face coverings for guests to reduced capacity measures. Here are some highlights of the new policies to help you prepare:

  • Certain Experiences Temporarily Suspended: Experiences that draw large group gatherings– such as parades and nighttime spectaculars – will return at a later date. In addition, “high-touch” experiences such as makeover opportunities, playgrounds and character meet and greets will remain temporarily unavailable. Characters are still in the parks to greet guests from a distance.
  • Reduced capacity: Walt Disney World has reduced guest capacity and an advanced reservation system in place to manage attendance. All guests are required to obtain a reservation for park entry in advance.
  • Screening and prevention support: Guests 2 years of age and older and cast members are required to wear appropriate face coverings in theme parks and common areas of resort hotels. All guests and cast members will also undergo temperature screenings prior to entering a theme park.
  • Physical distancing: Managing guest density in queues, restaurants, hotels, ride vehicles and other facilities throughout the park and across the resort.
  • Mask Relief Areas: There are designated ‘guest relaxation' areas for guests to safely remove their masks and get a break from wearing them throughout the park.
  • Reduced Operating Hours: Disney World has currently been operating with reduced hours with most of the parks closing prior to 7PM.

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom-CANCELLED for 2020

Unfortunately, Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party has been cancelled for the 2020 season as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Disney World will still decorate the Magic Kingdom for Halloween though even if we cannot enjoy the popular parties. 

It's important to note that if you do not have a ticket to the party you will have to leave once the party starts! Make sure that you have a park hopper ticket so you are not left without somewhere else to go. If you plan on attending on one of the party nights then I recommend arriving as early as Disney World will let you in the park so you can get full access from your party ticket to the Magic Kingdom. Make sure to read our full guide to the Halloween party to find out about the special entertainment, trick or treat stations, attractions, and more! And as always, make sure to buy your tickets in advance to the party if you plan on attending!

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Disney World in October Crowd CalendarImage result for disney world halloween

Since Disney World is managing all theme park capacity with an advance reservation system, you don't have to worry about crowds this Fall. All of our well speculated crowd predictions have flown out the window with the current situation the world is dealing with right now. However, the crowds do tend to behave in a predictable manner at so far at Disney World we've seen that the first hour of the morning proves to show higher risk for bottlenecks in certain park areas and that Hollywood Studios remains the most popular since it holds all the newest attractions.

  1. Arrive later- this normally goes against all our Disney park advice but we're living in unusual times! There's no need to arrive early and rope drop with such limited crowd levels. If you show up at hour after the parks open you can miss getting caught up in early morning bottlenecks as guests first arrive. This is definitely personal preference though, with shorter hours guests might not be as keen to arrive later or waste any park time. But if you want to avoid people the best you can, skipping the first hour is best.
  2. Stay until closing- since many guests seem to be arriving right when the gates open, they end up leaving 1-2 hours before the parks officially close since wait times are so low you can get everything done before the end of the day quite easily. This is when you will see the absolute lowest wait times for rides that may be pushing that 30+ minute plus range which seems to only be an issue in Hollywood Studios.
  3. Be prepared for Hollywood Studios- since Disney's Hollywood Studios has Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, Toy Story Land, and the newly opened Mickey's Runaway Railway attraction it is by far the theme park that feels the most crowded at the moment. The reason lies not in larger attendance than the other parks but smaller walkways and fewer hit attractions (plus lack of entertainment) to evenly disperse guests. Consider arriving later in the day and staying until close for this theme park.

Disney World's hours for October are :

  • Magic Kingdom: 9AM to 6PM
  • EPCOT: 11AM to 7PM
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 10AM to 7PM
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom: 9AM to 5PM

Based on Disney World's response to their hours of operation here, it's safe to assume that they don't expect large crowds for October.

For a typical October crowd predication, keep reading below to help you plan for the 2021 year

Guests visiting the Magic Kingdom in October have the extra hurdle of Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. If you don't have a party ticket, you will be asked to leave the park around 5pm on party days. It's important to plan ahead for those dates so you have a plan in place for once the party starts. In the past the first start of the day before the Halloween party is actually low in crowd levels as many party goers don't enter the parks until later in the day when their Halloween party ticket allows saving them the cost of a full day ticket. It can actually be a wise decision to start off the day early at the park hosting the Halloween party to beat some of those crowds.

October is now a busy time of the year Disney World as the popularity of Halloween has grown, more discounts offered from the resort, and longer school breaks have all contributed to more guests picking October as their vacation month. You should expect to see high crowd levels during this month comparable to what you would expect in summer and the holiday months.

Disney World Weather in OctoberImage result for disney world halloween

Disney World in October starts the more moderate temperatures of the year with an average high of 84 degrees and an average low of 66 degrees. The daily average tends to hover closer to 75 degrees making the weather much more comfortable than the summer months.

You can still expect some light rainfall, it is Florida after all, so still come prepared to handle rain. October is the tail end of hurricane season in Florida so it is still possible to encounter some downpours and high humidity during your visit.

Tips for Visiting Disney World in October

When it comes to visiting Disney World in October, we have some tried and true hacks for having a magical time on your vacation.

What to Wear 

One of the most frequently asked guest questions is: what should I wear to Disney World? Always check the weather leading up to your trip. The weather does begin to cool down in October making this one of the best weather months to visit! Still come prepared for heat though because you will occasionally encounter some really hot temperatures mixed with the high humidity. Come prepared for rain, carry a light poncho into the parks each day so you're prepared for any surprise storms.

What to Pack 

Even though the average high temperatures start dropping this time of the year, the temperatures can still be pretty warm especially if you're not used to hot climates. Still pack the hot weather essentials even though it's technically Fall.

Always bring the hot weather necessities like sunscreen, portable fans, cooling towels, and other items all aimed at keeping you cool on hot days. If you find yourself wanting one of these while you're there, you'll end up paying a high price in the parks or at your hotel. And if you're planning on hitting the beach, don't bother bringing towels and just use the ones from your hotel.

If you plan on attending the Halloween party at Magic Kingdom, adults and children can wear costumes! It's best to buy your costume in advance and bring it with you. Buying one on the fly in the parks or nearby stores could be time consuming and expensive. People go all out with their costumes for the Halloween parties, consider dressing up so you can join in the fun.

You can read our giant packing list here to make sure you show up prepared for literally anything you need while you're visiting Disney World.

What to Expect

There are a few things you should expect when choosing October as your month to visit Disney World:

  • Rise of Resistance- there is a virtual queue in use for the popular Rise of Resistance attraction in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge where guests will have three chances throughout the day to secure a Boarding Group to ride. This ride is more popular than ever so be prepared so you don't miss out.
  • New safety policies- temperature checks upon entry, face coverings required, social distancing in line queues, reduced dining capacity, and modified character experiences are all changes you can expect on your visit. You can read in full detail all about the new reopening safety procedures in our guide.
  • Know the Halloween Party Dates (cancelled for 2020)- being prepared for Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is essential halfway in the month once the party dates begins. You should plan on park hopper tickets so you can hop over to the other theme parks when the party starts if you don't have a ticket. If you plan on attending, we recommend not buying a park ticket that day as your party ticket will allow you into the party!
  • Prepare for Possible Construction- at the recent D23 Expo, Disney Parks announced a huge project to completely reorganize and add to Epcot in preparation Disney World's 50th Anniversary in 2021.
  • Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Tips- some experiences at this festival require advanced reservations so be prepared to schedule some activities in advance that you may be interested. Read our full guide to Epcot International Food & Wine Festival to prepare yourself for what to expect and how to make any reservations.

But most of all, remember to enjoy your time at the most magical place on earth!

Plan Your Disney World Vacation!

Keep reading our blog to keep you updated on everything you need to know to prepare for a Disney Parks vacation! We have a team of writers working hard to keep you updated weekly on events in the parks and tips for navigating the magic. Subscribe to our free deals newsletter to receive helpful planning information, exclusive Disney deals, and access to the lowest priced Disney tickets anywhere. You can find more information on planning your vacation here:

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