This is what we’re looking at for October 2016. Click to enlarge or view as a prettier PDF. And if you don’t know what the numbers/letters mean, read the top of this post. The full operating schedule is available here.
October is dominated by Mickey’s Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom on 18 dates and the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot every day throughout the month. At Magic Kingdom, that means days when Magic Kingdom is not hosting a Party will be significantly more crowded as casual vacationers flock to the Park when it closes later than 7pm and offers the nighttime spectaculars. Note that on the original release of the hours, Wishes and the Electrical Parade are not scheduled at all on any date throughout the month. Disney did the same thing for half of September and ended up adding the nighttime entertainment throughout the month late last week. I expect Disney to add both the nighttime parade and fireworks to the schedule, but have added question marks next to each as Disney has not confirmed times. Even if the nighttime entertainment is not scheduled, dates with later closes would continue to see higher attendance.
Note that the overall crowd levels are not indicative of Magic Kingdom crowd levels on days without a Halloween Party. Magic Kingdom will be significantly more crowded. Also note that as we saw last year, Magic Kingdom will remain congested on Party nights with higher wait times than we’ve historically seen. This is due to a number of factors, but the biggest is FastPass+. Fewer hours means far fewer experiences available and most attractions will see maximum FastPass+ distribution all day. With so much capacity given to FastPass+, more FP+ returners means longer standby lines as those with FP+ arrive at attractions immediately after open and continue throughout the day.
October is also the heart of Food and Wine season with Epcot seeing significantly heavier crowds particularly on Friday nights and Saturdays and to a lesser extent Sundays. But the Park sees higher attendance than it would otherwise see every other day as well. Add the Frozen stuff and 11am in Arendelle could get interesting.
Otherwise, October is not 2s and 3s, but it’s largely slightly-below-average to slightly-above-average crowds. Weekends head higher at Epcot.
A lot of things remain up in the air at the moment as we wait to see what Frozen Ever After does to Epcot, in addition to changes at Soarin’. A lot of things at Animal remain unknown with Rivers of Light and the nighttime enhancements coming online. It will be interesting to see what that all does to traffic flow and movement throughout the week.