October sees average crowds for the most part with the International Food and Wine Festival at Epcot driving weekend crowds higher than they would be otherwise, also helped by long hours at Magic Kingdom. One potential mistake on the official operating schedule is October 4th when the Tower of Terror 10-miler is scheduled at 10pm in and around Hollywood Studios. I’m expecting Disney to switch the Animal Kingdom/Hollywood Studios morning Extra Magic Hours so Friday’s morning EMH is at the Studios and Saturday’s is at Animal Kingdom. Also expect Hollywood Studios to close at 6pm with no Fantasmic scheduled on Saturday the 4th so Disney has time to set up some infrastructure for the race. I’ve indicated this by crossing out the Fantasmic and the recommendations have the expected changes already built in.
Otherwise, the main hurdles are the Mickey’s Party schedule and Food and Wine Festival. Mickey’s Halloween Party closes Magic Kingdom on three or four nights each week, causing crowds to be much heavier on days with longer operating hours and both nighttime spectaculars during regular Park hours. The website almost always recommends visiting Magic Kingdom on the weekday with long hours/nighttime entertainment because it’s less crowded than the Monday or Saturday with a similar schedule if you’d like to see the nighttime shows. Mickey’s Party days, particularly Tuesdays, are otherwise the least crowded days of the week at Magic Kingdom. That rings true throughout the month.
Ordinarily, Magic Kingdom would not be recommended on a national holiday, but for whatever reason local schools here in Florida don’t get a day off for Columbus Day and the rare Monday Halloween Party cuts down on crowds significantly. The Tuesday following Columbus Day weekend is not recommended with the likelihood Disney will add the Electrical Parade in the future, in addition to the already long hours and Wishes.
Epcot on a Friday or Saturday during Food/Wine in fun under the right circumstances – namely being pre-buzzed and sans children.
This was the line for the beer booth on a Saturday afternoon last year. Note that you can’t even see the kiosk. Otherwise, these days are best avoided. The only other time you’ll see World Showcase crowds that heavy is during New Year’s Eve. Even July 4th wasn’t as densely crowded.
Otherwise, October is a good month to visit for the most part. Temperatures remain hot, particularly early in the month. South America remains a concern over the first two weeks, coupled with fall breaks in the south. Local Florida schools are out on the 17th and 20th, which is the reason for the higher crowd levels on those days. A trip over the last week in October would be best with cooler temperatures and lower crowds as compared to the first half of the month.