Fall is in full swing and while I have to admit I’m not necessarily into the sort of “basic-ness” that tends to come with the season there are definitely certain things I love.
For one, the foliage is pretty neat, and I’m fortunate enough to live in a place where I’m really able to enjoy it for the season. The weather is kind of hit or miss (because I so prefer warm weather, so that entirely depends). But I’m always up for some fall food- bring on the hot apple cider and seasonally appropriate squash soups, please!
In general though, I tend to feel admittedly less obsessed with the season than Instagram would like me to be but there is one place where my ‘meh’ fall feelings totally fade away… Walt Disney World. Fall is without a doubt the best time to visit the Walt Disney World Resort (coming in a close second to the beginning of the year with during the Epcot International Festival of the Arts, but that’s a subject for a whole separate post).
Fall at the Walt Disney World Resort comes with so many glorious things from Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party to the seasonal decor, fun merchandise, the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, and so much more. Here are just a *few* reasons why you need to plan your next Disney trip between September and November (or August if you’re up for braving the humidity and want to extend spooky season!).
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
Hands down, my favorite ticketed event at the Walt Disney World Resort is Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. The Magic Kingdom truly comes to life at these events, and if you love Halloween this is the ultimate event to celebrate the season. The Boo to You Parade is my favorite parade in the parks* (*current parade anyway- you know I can’t forget about the 90s goodness that was Mickey Mania!). I love seeing the ballroom dancers and grave diggers from the Haunted Mansion, the Headless Horseman, and all the classic characters dressed in their favorite Halloween costumes.
I also loved picking up merchandise shifts to work during the Halloween party while I was on my Disney College Program, and even though that was years ago now I still have a special sense of nostalgia for seeing the parade and fireworks. And speaking of fireworks, new fireworks just debuted for this year’s party- Disney’s Not So Spooky Spectacular Fireworks.
If you’re all about rides, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party gives you plenty of time to get on some of your favorite attractions, some of which like Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Mad Tea Party even have special overlays for the occasion. Outside of the rides with overlays, I tend to skip the rides in favor of character meet and greets and snacks that are specific to the party, but if you’re on a short trip or really looking to get on rides with little to no wait the party is a great time to ride.
Character meet and greets and trick-or-treating are where it’s at for me though. I love seeing characters who aren’t usually out in the parks, and I always get a kick out of seeing some favorite characters all dressed up in their costumes. If you are also a fan of meeting characters, it can be fun to meet the ones who go with your costume for the evening- We dressed up as Lilo and Stitch one year and had a blast at Stitch’s meet and greet!
Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
For the past couple of years, Epcot has basically had a festival for every season. The Epcot International Festival of the Arts is slowly creeping in as a close second for me, but the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival has to be my favorite. This event began in the 90s as a way to bring more guests to Walt Disney World in the off season (oh, how times have changed!) after Disney executives saw the success of similar festivals in Colorado ski resorts which have similar seasonal challenges.
More-so than the other Epcot festivals, Food & Wine Festival has really expanded so much that you can easily spend an entire trip at this event alone. (And if you do decide to plan a Food & Wine Festival-focused vacation, I definitely recommend staying at an Epcot Area Resort so you’ll be in walking distance of all the fun! The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort is my go-to for an Epcot festival getaway.)
When most people think of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, they think pretty exclusively of the outdoor kitchens or booths. Of course snacking and sipping around the world is one of the best parts of the event, but some of my favorite festivities take place outside the booths. The Eat to the Beat concert series is always a good time and we LOVE the beverage seminars. There are even smaller ‘events’ like cheese crawls and scavenger hunts, making this festival the ultimate fall foodie destination.
WonderFall Flavors at Disney Springs
Disney Springs has had a booming foodie scene since its rebranding from Downtown Disney, and the seasonal menu items that pop up during the fall season are some of my favorites. If you’re looking to take in some flavors of fall like pumpkin spice, apple, cinnamon, and more, Disney Springs is where you need to be in the fall.
Visit Disney Springs and order fall-inspired items from table service restaurants, quick service locations, and food trucks around the parks. Special souvenir sippers and snack packs are also available (my favorite is the poisoned apple stein pictured above from Aristocrepes). For table service dining, The Boathouse is my go-to restaurant during any season in Disney Springs. This season, one of the most decadent desserts on the WonderFall menu is at The Boathouse, so if I had another fall trip in the works I’d definitely have some drinks and oysters followed by the Apple and Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée!
WonderFall Flavors at Disney Springs is also a great way to take in the season without a park ticket. You can easily taste your way around Disney Springs by focusing on quick service restaurants and pulling up a seat at the bars, and the experience can be completed by doing some fall shopping along the way. Halloween merchandise is typically available by the beginning of August, and if you’re shopping for Christmas you can always get a head start on that in Disney Springs too!