Below is what I think we’re looking at for October:
On one hand, October is a pretty easy month to plan. For the most part, crowds are slightly below average to average. Picking Magic Kingdom days is easy if you’re willing to forgo seeing the Electrical Parade and/or Wishes. But Mickey’s Halloween Party closes Magic Kingdom at 7pm on three to four nights each week. That pushes a ton of people to the days with longer hours and nighttime entertainment, which makes seeing the Electrical Parade and Wishes that much more difficult because the only options will be more crowded than the overall crowd level suggests. Magic Kingdom is recommended on Wednesdays throughout the month, but those days are going to be significantly busier than Party dates, including Thursday Party dates with a morning Extra Magic Hour attached. Expect Disney to extend the close on most Party dates to 8am – 7pm when they update the operating schedule, eliminating the benefit of those 8am breakfasts. Those 8am opens will be more common in the first two weeks of the month. Expect Disney to extend the hours on Saturdays all the way to 8am – 12am with two Electrical Parades.
The Food & Wine Festival also creates problems. Friday, Saturday, and some Sunday nights can be downright uncomfortable with massive crowds in World Showcase. The effect on Future World is not as intense, but the “newly imagined” Test Track should pull crowds. Mondays and Thursdays are your best days to visit Epcot. To have the most success, you’ll want to be on your way up to World Showcase right at 10:45am with plans to return to Future World as soon as 5pm. You shouldn’t run into any major problems with that plan of attack.
Other wrinkles include Columbus Day on Monday the 14th. Columbus Day really isn’t a big deal. The Florida schools here don’t get a day off and longer breaks over the holiday are less common. Fall Breaks over the first full week in October (7th – 11th) will actually bring in more people. Local school breaks on the 18th, 21st, and 25th are the reason for the bumps in the overall crowd level on those dates.
Fantasmic isn’t scheduled on three Saturdays during the month. Fantasmic won’t be scheduled on October 5th due to the Tower of Terror 10-Miler race. Disney may add Fantasmic on the other two Saturdays as we get closer to October, but the Studios would remain the best Park to visit.
Overall, October is a pretty good month to visit with Mickey’s Halloween Parties and the Food & Wine Festival. It’s still extremely hot in Florida, particularly during the first three weeks. Luckily, rain is less common than September and the summer months. An October trip is more than doable with diligent planning and the right expectations.