5 Reasons Why This Fall Is the Perfect Time to Visit Disney World
Planning a magical getaway? These Disney must-dos have to be on your list.
As a theme park journalist, I spend a lot of time at Disney World, but fall is my favorite season to visit because the Central Florida temps aren't as brutal, the crowds aren’t as insane and there’s so much more to see and do beyond the classic attractions. Plus, this fall is even more exciting as the Skyliner just opened, the brand-new Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge is about to open its second galactic ride with unprecedented theme park technology and Disney just rolled out literally hundreds of vegan and vegetarian dishes at the House of Mouse. Seriously, you have to try the vegan lemon curd cake at Be Our Guest.
But here’s the thing about Disney: You can’t do it all in one trip. So, here are my top five must-dos this season. Read on and start planning your own magical fall getaway.
EPCOT Food and Wine Festival
Fall at EPCOT means the International Food and Wine Festival where the park’s World Showcase of 11 country pavilions explodes into more than 30 booths serving up global fare, from Brazilian cheese bread to Moroccan hummus fries. This year there are some new dishes that have already become super popular on social media. Do not sleep on the foam noodles from Japan — I’m still dreaming about those.
If you’re a Food and Wine newbie, I highly recommend staying at the Disney Swan or Dolphin. These sister properties are technically managed by Westin — so you can earn Starwood points! — but they’re on Disney property and one of the closest resorts to EPCOT. The Disney resort boat service even stops at the Swan and Dolphin and drops you off right at the back entrance to EPCOT between the UK and France pavilions so you can hit the ground running — or rather eating and drinking. While the Swan and Dolphin are connected properties, they are slightly different. I think the Swan wins over the Dolphin as the rooms have two queen beds instead of two doubles.
Swanky New Disney Digs and Eats
If you want to stay on property at an official Disney resort, Coronado Springs is the place to be this fall. The Spanish-style resort just got a major makeover with newly remodeled rooms that feel way more luxurious than some of Disney’s fancy, deluxe resorts. It honestly feels like a mistake that you can score these rooms for just over $200 right now! The resort’s brand-new Gran Destino Tower features cool new restaurants and bars such as the Gaudi-inspired Barcelona Lounge and the rooftop Dahlia Lounge and Toledo restaurant for tapas, steaks and seafood. Bonus: The rooftop deck has amazing views of fireworks from multiple parks around the resort.
Out of This World Magic
If you haven’t been to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in awhile, you probably won’t recognize it with new additions like Toy Story Land and the newly opened Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. The galactic-themed land is totally immersive with park employees 100% in character, space eats and drinks at the iconic Oga’s Cantina and the chance to step inside (and pilot!) the infamous Millennium Falcon. And Disney is opening a second attraction on the planet of Batuu Dec. 5. It will have technology never before seen in a theme park ride. Essentially, the attraction puts fans right in the middle of a battle between the First Order and the Resistance. Even the ride car itself will change throughout the story. It’s some kind of Jedi magic I’ve never seen in a theme park attraction, and I can’t wait to see it in action.
As soon as Halloween is over, Disney goes into full-on holiday mode. If you’re the type of person who watches every single Christmas movie on TV, you’ll want to visit Disney World this fall. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is an all-out holiday palooza with a Christmas-themed parade, Christmas-themed rides and it even magically snows on Main Street. The party is a special, separately ticketed event, but it comes with cool perks like rare character photo ops, free cocoa and holiday treats and the brand-new Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks show in front of Cinderella Castle.
Fewer Crowds and Fewer Kids
Late November, early December is my all-time favorite time to visit Disney World because it’s low on crowds and that means fewer strollers nipping my achilles. Fall is the perfect time for adults without kids to visit Disney. Dare I say it’s even romantic? If you’re looking for a place to stay on property that’s more upscale and less kid-y, stay at the Four Seasons. Technically, it’s on Disney property, but it feels worlds away as it’s tucked into the super-posh Golden Oak neighborhood. It’s farther away from the magic than other resorts, but I recommend it for adults because the FS Orlando has the only adults-only pool on Disney property. Definitely splurge on a cabana at the Oasis Pool. It’s the perfect counterbalance to a day of go-go-go in the parks.