If there is one thing we’ve seen over the past few years, it is that the Fall is becoming a very popular season to visit Walt Disney World—the months of October & November in particular have become fan favorites, and for good reason. While the Fall months have a lot going for them, there are also some things you need to look out for too. Here are some things coming up in Fall 2019 that will help you get excited about your Walt Disney World Vacation, along with a few things to keep in mind while you plan.
While the Fall has often been known as THE time of year to get discounts, in particular the ever-popular “Free Dining,” we have seen those discounts become more restrictive and less available for fall months over the past couple of years. With Disney’s recent release of Free Dining for July-September travel dates you have a great chance to take advantage of the offer in September for your Fall travel, but it may mean that October and November discounts will be even less than the last two years when most of October and a big part of November were excluded. Unfortunately I’m not Madame Leota and I don’t have a magical crystal ball, so we don’t know for sure what the Fall may bring as far as Walt Disney World Discounts. My advice to clients has always been to book what you are comfortable with budget-wise, then if you get a discount you can look at it as a bonus . . . or consider upgrading.
9. Gran Destino Tower
Starting in July 2019 there is a brand new place to stay at Walt Disney World—the Gran Destino Tower at Coronado Springs Resort. Inspired by Spanish artists, architects, and explorers, this elegantly themed tower compliments the existing Coronado Springs Resort and offers new accommodations including suites. Many of these options are aimed toward the Convention visitors at Coronado, but other guests will find the new rooms very nice for their vacations as well. Not only does the opening of Gran Destino Tower mean more room options for your Fall 2019 Walt Disney World visit, but also new dining options. Three Bridges Bar & Grill offers dining on an island in the middle of the resort’s Lago Dorado. Toldeo – Tapas, Steak, and Seafood will be a must-see dining space located on the rooftop of the tower. Just imagine the fabulous views of Walt Disney World property you will have from that vantage point.
8. Illuminations “Epcot Forever”
Illuminations Reflections of Earth, the nighttime spectacular at Epcot, is going to be ending in Summer 2019. If you are traveling the Fall of 2019 you may have the opportunity to catch the limited run of a “placeholder” show at Epcot “Epcot Forever.” This is a temporary show before the new spectacular is unveiled in 2020, but I am super excited about it as an uber “Retro-cot” fan. I love everything about the original Epcot, and this show promises to pay homage to all of my favorites. Once dates are announced I will be planning my trip. At the D23: Destination D event in November Bob Chapek described the show which “will feature classic Epcot tunes. “Epcot Forever” will begin with a spark of imagination that swells into an epic spectacle of fireworks, music, lighting, lasers, and special effects kites.”
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This is one of those not-so-exciting, but you really need to know about elements of planning Fall vacations to Walt Disney World: Hurricanes. Hurricane season runs June 1-November 30, but as we’ve learned by experience for several years, the peak months seem to be late August-mid October. And these storms can affect your vacation to Central Florida in a variety of ways. The best way to prepare for this possibility now as you start booking your vacations is to familiarize yourself with Walt Disney Travel Company’s current hurricane policies, and to consider purchasing Travel Insurance. Whether you add the policy to your Walt Disney World Vacation package, or purchase it separately we always highly recommend a policy for the unexpected—but this is particularly pertinent during hurricane season.
6. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
The BIGGEST thing to come to Walt Disney World in a very long time (maybe ever thanks to the presence and hype of social media) is Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in “Late Fall 2019.” Just as a reminder, Fall begins September 23 and ends December 21. So Late Fall likely means December . . . and many insiders and bloggers have speculated that it will be very late Fall when it opens. Disney’s recent promotions are certainly pushing guests not to put off their visits waiting on Galaxy’s Edge by emphasizing all of the great things to see and do there right now. If you are waiting on Galaxy’s Edge to open and want to be there one of the first weeks it is open you should be prepared for long waits like we have never seen before . . . even just to enter the park. Galaxy’s Edge will have two attractions, Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Both of these should prove to be immensely popular and highly interactive. While in Galaxy’s Edge you will also run into Star Wars Characters, visit a street market, go to the Cantina, and participate in more interactive elements.
5. The Crowds
As I mentioned, the Fall in general has become a very popular time to visit Walt Disney World with many of the things on this list attracting guests. The potential of cooler temperatures (although September is hot, October is pretty hot & November is very warm . . . on average) also lure in guests. Many schools now offer a nice Fall Break, there is “Jersey Week” when New Jersey schools have an extended break, and other holidays like Columbus Day, Veteran’s Day, and Thanksgiving present families with opportunities to visit without missing too many days of school. While September is still a less crowded time (based on the past few years), October, November, and early December see an uptick in guests. The evidence can be seen in the lack of discounts for October and November in recent years—if the resorts are already filling up Disney doesn’t need to offer discounts to entice more guests. If you are visiting in October-December be prepared for the possibility of some larger crowds.
4. Party Time!
The Fall is peak party time at Walt Disney World. In 2019 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party tickets are already on sale for dates spanning mid-August through November 1. This very popular event often sells out for the first party and right around Halloween. If you are visiting in the Fall you may want to add the Halloween party to your itinerary and purchase your tickets in advance . . . maybe planning a break day at your resort before going to the party that night. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party features my favorite Disney parade, Halloween fireworks, special character meet & greets, trick-or-treating, and special live shows. Right after Mickey’s Not So Scary the Fall & Halloween decorations come down and it is time for Christmas. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party picks up where Not So Scary left off . . . dates for 2019 have not yet been announced, but it normally runs early November through right before Christmas (usually skipping Thanksgiving week). I love this party with the Christmas parade, Holiday Wishes fireworks, snow on Main Street, live entertainment, special characters, and more.
3. Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
The International Food & Wine Festival at Epcot has taken on a life of its own as one of the most popular things drawing visitors to Walt Disney World, and specifically Epcot in the Fall. If you are planning a Fall 2019 vacation and the Food & Wine Festival is on your list you are not alone. If at all possible I would recommend visiting the Festival on Monday-Thursday as weekends get very, very busy. Once booths and menus are announced you will start to find the information online, and after the first day of the Festival you will find photos and reviews—this can help you narrow down and focus your food touring around World Showcase. If you are interested in participating in any of the workshops, seminars, tastings, or dining events associated with the Festival you should plan on booking those very early on, as soon as you can once they are announced. Plan plenty of time to take in all of the food options, as well as the special entertainment and merchandise that is in Epcot during this time.
2. Disney Skyliner
I am super excited about the Disney Skyliner Gondola system as a new way to transport guests at Walt Disney World. Guests staying at Caribbean Beach Resort, the Riviera Resort (opening in December), Pop Century, and Art of Animation will have stations to board the gondolas which have stops in Epcot (at the International Gateway) as well as Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Not only does the concept artwork for the gondolas look adorable, I can’t wait to see the views of Disney property that you will have as you ride through the sky (I still miss the Skyway at Magic Kingdom). Unfortunately all we have for a date right now is Fall 2019, but fingers crossed you will have this as a transportation option for your Fall 2019 vacations.
1. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
Disney’s first EVER attraction dedicated to the main mouse himself, “Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway” will be opening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Fall 2019 (RIP Great Movie Ride). This attraction should prove to be a crowd pleaser with a combination of beloved characters and with high tech effects that create a 2 ½ D experience (no glasses required). You will join Mickey & Minnie and enter their cartoon world through a crazy “short.” The attraction promises to be out of control with lots of “twists and turns.” One of the things I find really cool about this attraction is the sound effects. The whistle will be that of Steamboat Willie, and other sound effects will be created with props (rather than digital sound) so it goes back to the roots of the way the original Mickey Mouse shorts would’ve been produced in the Golden Age of Hollywood (that is the theme of Hollywood Boulevard in the Studios). I can’t wait to experience this cartoon world with my favorite pals Mickey & Minnie—I wish we had more details on an opening date, but for now we only have Fall 2019. Stay tuned!
What are some things you have in mind when planning your Fall 2019 Walt Disney World Vacation?