Halloween Party

Helpful Information For Your October 2020 Disney World Vacation

So you are planning a vacation to Disney World in October 2020?
October is a wonderful time to visit Walt Disney World!

Weather

The weather in Disney World during October is mild and mostly dry. The average high is about 84 degrees, the average low is about 66 degrees and the average rainfall is about 2.52 inches. The evenings can get a little chilly, so be sure to pack a few of your favorite Disney hoodies!

Crowds

The crowds in October remain low to moderate as kids are back in school. However, several school districts throughout the US have a fall break during the month of October that can sometimes cause the crowd levels to rise slightly especially over the weekends and Columbus Day week. Throughout the month, expect heavier than normal crowds at Epcot due to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.

October 1 – October 3
Average Crowd Level 3.3 out of 10
October 4 – October 10
Average Crowd Level 5.3 out of 10
October 11 – October 17
Average Crowd Level 7.1 out of 10
October 18 – October 24
Average Crowd Level 4.4 out of 10
October 25 – October 31
Average Crowd Level 6.0 out of 10

Magic Kingdom ClockPark Hours

Magic Kingdom
Open most days from 9am – 8pm (plus Extra Magic Hours)
Epcot
Open most days from 9am – 9pm (plus Extra Magic Hours)
Hollywood Studios
Open most days from 9am – 8pm (plus Extra Magic Hours)
Animal Kingdom
Open most days from 9am – 8pm (plus Extra Magic Hours)

For specific hours on each day during October, please click this link. Remember that park hours are subject to change and are often adjusted two weeks prior.

Events

On select nights in October, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is held at Magic Kingdom. This party is a lively, light-hearted, family friendly event. There are special parades, exciting dance parties, stunning fireworks and tons of trick-or-treating stations filled with candy for everyone! Adults and children alike really get into the spirit of the event by dressing in costume, trick-or-treating and dancing the night away with all of the characters. For more information, please click here.

Epcot International Food & Wine FestivalOne of the best things about visiting Disney World in October is the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. Last year’s festival featured featured 197 chefs and included more than 35 food and beverage marketplaces scattered around World Showcase, signature dining experiences, food and beverage demonstrations and music concerts.

Refurbishments

Periodically throughout the year, Disney closes attractions for refurbishments and enhancements. Here are the currently scheduled closures during October (subject to change without notice):

Magic Kingdom
Tron Themed Attraction: Opening in 2021
Walt Disney World Railroad: December 2018 – TBD

Happy HalloWishes Fireworks ShowEpcot
Fountain View Dining: TBD
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind: Opening in 2021
Journey of Water: Opening in 2021
La Creperie de Paris: Opening in 2020
Mary Poppins Attraction: TBD
PLAY! Pavilion: Opening in 2021
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure: Opening in 2020
Space 220: Opening in 2020
Spaceship Earth: May 26, 2020 – TBD
Wondrous China: Opening in 2021

Hollywood Studios
Roundup Rodeo BBQ: Opening in 2020

Animal Kingdom
No Scheduled Refurbishments At This Time

Water Parks
No Scheduled Refurbishments At This Time

Disney Springs
No Scheduled Refurbishments At This Time

Planning Tips

If you are traveling to Disney World in October 2020, your planning is probably well under way at this point. Here’s a checklist to make sure you are on track:

  • Make sure you have created your My Disney Experience account. If you haven’t, click here to sign up now.
  • If you haven’t already made your dining reservations, be sure to make them now by clicking here.
  • If you are staying on site, be sure to customize your MagicBand on your My Disney Experience account by picking the color and adding your name. And if you really want to make your MagicBand special, personalize it with your own custom designed MagicBand Skin from Magic YOUR Band. Click here to get started!
  • Now is a great time to research what attractions you and your family would like to see at the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. Because Walt Disney World is so large, it is very difficult to see everything during one trip, so be sure to get everyone’s top priorities. This is also a great time to begin looking at menus for counter service restaurants so that you have an idea of which locations serve foods that your entire family will enjoy.
  • Whether you are staying on site or off-property, be sure to purchase your admission tickets and link them to your My Disney Experience account.
  • 501 WaysOnce your tickets are linked and at exactly 60 days in advance of your check in date (7am EST time) if you are staying on site or 30 days in advance for all other guests, login to your My Disney Experience account and book your Fastpass+ reservations.
  • If you are staying on site, be sure to check in online at 60 days out from your arrival date.
  • Double check your flight times and if you will be using Disney’s Magical Express for your airport transportation make your reservation at least 60 days in advance by clicking here.
  • It’s never too early to start creating a packing list so that you don’t forget anything.
  • Need more help planning? Please check out my book UPDATED FOR 2020 501 Ways to Make the Most of Your Walt Disney World Vacation, for hundreds of insider tips and secrets for having the most magical Disney World vacation possible!

Special Offers

If you haven’t already made your October 2020 reservations, be sure to check out these valuable resources to help you save money:

Have a magical vacation!

Halloween Party

2020 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Tickets Now On Sale

This year Magic Kingdom is celebrating the Halloween season with the annual family friendly Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party on select nights August 13 through November 1.

Here are the dates for 2020:

  • August 13, 18, 21, 25, 28
  • September 1, 4, 7, 11, 13, 15, 18, 20, 22, 25, 27, 29
  • October 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, 31
  • November 1

The party is held at Magic Kingdom from 7pm to 12am.

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is a lively and light-hearted experience and it is truly a family friendly event. There are special parades, exciting dance parties, stunning fireworks, and tons of trick-or-treating stations filled with candy for everyone! Adults and children alike get into the spirit of the event by dressing in costume, trick-or-treating, and dancing the night away with all of the characters. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party tickets start at $85. You’ll want to purchase your tickets as soon as possible if you plan to attend, because they do sell out. To buy tickets, please click here or call 407-827-7350.

Please keep in mind Disney’s costume policy (from the official website):

While we encourage creativity, we also value safety and good judgment. If you’re planning to attend these special holiday events, take a moment to read over our latest rules and regulations:

General

  • Disney reserves the right to deny admission to or remove any person wearing attire that is considered inappropriate or attire that could detract from the experience of other Guests.
  • All Guests may dress as their favorite character, but may not pose for pictures or sign autographs for other Guests.
  • Costumes must be family-friendly and may not be obstructive, offensive, objectionable or violent.
  • Costumes may not contain any weapons that resemble or could easily be mistaken for an actual weapon.
  • Costumes may not contain sharp objects, pointed objects or materials that may accidentally strike another Guest.
  • Guests who do not adhere to these guidelines may be refused entry into, and/or removed from, unless his or her costume can be modified to meet the above standards.

For Guests ages 13 and under:

  • Costumes and some masks may be worn, as long as the mask does not cover the entire face and eyes are visible. 

For Guests ages 14 and older:

  • Layered costumes or costume props that surround the entire body are strongly discouraged and may be subject to additional security screening.
  • Costumes may not reach or drag on the ground. (e.g.,full-length Princess dresses) 
  • Capes may be worn if the length does not go below the waist. 
  • Themed T-shirts, blouses, sweatshirts, and hats are acceptable. 
  • Acceptable accessories include: transparent wings, plastic light sabers, toy swords, and tutus. Headwear may be worn as long as it does not cover the face. 
  • Masks of any kind may not be worn. 

 Here’s a little video from the party to get you in the spirit!

Have you been to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party?
Please leave a comment; we would love to hear from you!

Disney World Is Closed – Now What?

This has been an astonishing week across the United States and around the globe as the reality of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has finally begun to sink in. Disney announced late this week that the theme parks at both Walt Disney World Resort in Florida as well as Disneyland Resort in California would close through the end of March.

If you’re like me, and you probably are since you’re reading this blog, you probably have a trip planned to Walt Disney World in the near future. So Disney World is closed, now what? Do you wait and see, reschedule, cancel…cry? In this post, I’ll cover what Disney has to say, what I am doing about my upcoming trips, and where we go from here.

DISNEY WORLD IS CLOSED

Well, here’s what we know so far, everything is changing. Every time you turn around, there seems to be more information, restrictions, cancellations, and things to worry about being shared across social media. Hopefully, I can put your mind at ease, at least where your Walt Disney World vacation is concerned.

Let’s begin here…Disney is a strong, reputable company that has been around over 100 years. It is resilient, and I have no doubt, will bounce back from this situation, better than ever. The Disney Company cares about the health and safety of its employees as well as its guests, so I am sure that the decision to close its theme parks didn’t come easily. However, top officials knew that it was the right thing to do given the severity of the situation. Disney’s unprecedented decision to continue to pay its theme park employees during this time, should hopefully give you some reassurance that they will take care of you and your vacation plans, too.

WHAT DISNEY HAS TO SAY

For now, if you have a trip that does not begin within the next 3 days, please wait to call Disney. The phone lines and cast members are currently overwhelmed helping guests that were scheduled to travel during the closure. If you can wait patiently to call closer to your travel date, you will help everyone out. Remember you can access the Disney website 24 hours a day, and many modifications and cancellations can be made there without calling. If your travel dates are within the 3 day window, please call (407) 939-5277 for help, and be prepared to wait on hold for several hours.

In the meantime, if you have a question, here are some common ones that cast members have been receiving, and the official answers from Disney:

PARK TICKETS

May I get a refund on my ticket?

Unexpired multi-day theme park tickets with unused days, or date-specific theme park tickets with a start date on or before March 31, 2020 will automatically be extended to use any date through December 15, 2020. If you are unable to visit by December 15, 2020 you may apply the value of a wholly unused ticket toward the purchase of a ticket for a future date.

What about special event tickets?

Guests who have purchased tickets for Disney After Hours, Disney Villains After Hours and Disney Early Morning Magic from March 16, 2020 through March 31, 2020 will be automatically refunded.

ANNUAL PASSES

How does the closure impact Walt Disney World annual passes?

All Walt Disney World Annual Passes will be extended by the number of days the parks are closed.

RESORTS

I have a future stay at a Disney Resort hotel while the park is closed. What does that mean for my vacation?

Guests who have not checked in for stays between March 16, 2020 through March 31, 2020 may modify or cancel their Disney Resort room reservation or Walt Disney Travel Company package up to their original check-in date. If no action is taken, Disney will automatically process a refund to the original form of payment within seven days of the original check-in date. If you did not book through Disney directly, please contact your travel professional.

What if I want to cancel a Disney Resort hotel reservation after the parks reopen?

Disney will waive all Disney imposed change and cancellation fees up to the date of check-in through June 30, 2020.

DINING & OTHER EXPERIENCES

I have a pre-paid dining reservation or experience reservation like Droid Depot or Savi’s Workshop while the parks are closed. Will I receive a refund?

Yes. All pre-paid dining and experience reservations will be automatically refunded if scheduled between March 16, 2020 through March 31, 2020.

What happens to dining reservations that required a credit card at the time of booking?

Reservations made at locations impacted by the closure will not be charged a cancellation or no-show fee.

FASTPASS+

What happens to FastPass+ reservations made during the closure?

All Fastpass+ reservations during this time period will be automatically cancelled without replacement.

WHAT I AM DOING ABOUT MY UPCOMING TRIPS

So if you’ve read this far, I am guessing you have a trip planned to Walt Disney World too. I understand this is extremely disappointing, and my heart goes out to you and your family. Hopefully, you’re planning to reschedule for a future date, and if so the silver lining might be that one of the new attractions you were going to just miss like Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, TRON Lightcycle Run, or Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will be open by your new travel dates!

I have a few trips scheduled for the remainder of this year, and I am trying to adjust them one at a time. I have a slightly different approach for each that I will share with you, in hopes that this information will help if you are on the fence as to what to do next.

Epcot Flower & Garden FestivalSPRING TRIP

My next trip is a short three night onsite stay near the end of April. I really want to go on this trip, as I am sure you feel about your trip too. It’s been a long cold winter here in Colorado, and I haven’t been to Florida since December. I was looking forward to some sun, flowers, palm trees, and Mickey Mouse to celebrate my birthday. Realistically, it’s looking more and more like I will need to cancel this vacation. The Disney parks in China and Japan have been closed almost eight weeks now, and have not yet reopened. If our situation here in the US tracks similarly, we could be looking at a closure through mid-May, at a minimum.

Flights

I have airline tickets on Frontier for this trip. While I love flying Frontier for its cheap rates, it is definitely no frills, and often has hefty change and cancellation fees. Because of COVID-19, they are allowing passengers to change or cancel flights during my travel dates with no penalties and giving a credit that must be booked within 90 days and flown on by November 2020. So as long as I reschedule and use the credit by November of this year, I’m not out any money.

Tickets

I have an annual pass, so I am not worried about tickets for this visit.

Hotel

I have a reservation at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort in a pirate room. I booked this room with an unbelievably good bounce back offer, so it might be hard to get that rate again in the future.

Bottom Line

It’s a gamble, and I am normally a risk-averse person, but I am not cancelling or rescheduling yet. I was able to make arrangements for my kids in case I get stuck in Florida, or have to be quarantined when I arrive home, since they aren’t traveling with me on this visit. I have no risk of money loss on my admission ticket or hotel, and Frontier will give me a credit on my flight, so I think its worth the gamble. This is normally how I roll with trips scheduled during hurricane season. Last year for one of my visits, I didn’t know until just a few hours before take off, if the Orlando airport would reopen and if I would be able to fly out. So for this visit, I am going to be cautiously optimistic, hoping that something turns around, and that I will be able to travel, but understanding that the odds aren’t great.

Tree of LifeSUMMER TRIP

My next trip is much more complicated. It is scheduled for early summer with the entire family, and whenever there are more people involved, it always get exponentially more complex.

Flights

Again I have cheap, no frills tickets on Frontier. I am currently outside the 60 day window, so I could cancel my flights now for a full credit for future travel. Same rules apply, I would need to book within 90 days and use by November of this year.

Tickets

While I have an annual pass, my kids don’t. I purchased each of them 7-day, 1 park each day tickets that are non-refundable which cost me over $1000. If I have to cancel this trip, it is likely that they will not be able to travel with me for a full week until summer 2021.

Hotel

For this trip, our plan was to stay offsite at a Magical Vacation Homes rental in the Reunion Resort. I love to do this when traveling with my kids. We usually stay at a huge vacation home with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, its own private pool and hot tub, game room, pool table, theatre room, and more, for less money per night than a one bedroom villa at a deluxe Walt Disney World resort hotel or a family suite at Art of Animation. The only thing with this type of rental, is that their policies aren’t as flexible as staying at a Disney resort hotel so there is a risk of money loss if we need to cancel or reschedule.

Car Rental

Because we were planning to stay offsite, we had a car rental booked for this visit. There is no risk of money loss with this since I booked without paying in advance.

Bottom Line

Even though this trip is further out, I have already had to make some difficult decisions and modifications. Hopefully, Walt Disney World will be back up and running sooner rather than later, but it’s impossible to predict exactly when with any degree of accuracy at this point. I am optimistic that my kids and I will still be able to go this summer, so I don’t want to cancel until the very last moment unless I have to, similar to my plan for my spring trip. However, I want to minimize the amount of money I could be out, if a last minute cancellation does need to occur. So even though it was difficult, I let my kids in on what is going on with the vacation plans, telling them I had made some adjustments for now, but that there is a chance that we might have to postpone until summer 2021.

For the flights, I am just going to wait and see what happens. Even though I could cancel now and receive a full credit with no cancellation fee, I am going to take the gamble that if I need to cancel closer to my travel date, Frontier will still have in place their special cancellation fee waivers due to COVID-19. For the park admission tickets for my kids, if Walt Disney World is closed, the same rules will probably apply to my tickets allowing me to use them through December 15, 2020. Even if I can’t reschedule before that date, I will be able to apply that $1000 I spent on the tickets towards new ones to use next summer if I need to move my trip to 2021. The car rental was also an easy decision, I just went ahead and cancelled it this weekend, for no cost.

The most difficult decision was cancelling the vacation home. It cost me a non-refundable 20% deposit (ouch!), but if I don’t cancel now, the amount of money that I could lose just continues to go up from here. Magical Vacation Homes does not allow rescheduling and they do not refund money under any circumstances which is all clearly spelled out in the rental agreement that you sign at the time of booking. Their company is not making an exception due to the Coronavirus. I decided rather than taking the chance on losing the full amount of the rental if I had to cancel closer the to trip dates, I would rather have the flexibility that Disney offers. So after cancelling the vacation home, I rebooked onsite at a Walt Disney World resort hotel for my summer vacation with my kids. Although it is a little more expensive and a lot less space, it gives me the peace of mind that I need knowing that I won’t lose money and that Disney will work with me to modify or cancel my reservation if necessary.

LATE SUMMER AND BEYOND TRIPS

For my trips in July and beyond, I am going to continue to take them one day at a time. I would hope that by mid summer we as a country and as a world are in a much better place both health-wise and economically. I imagine it will take some time to recover, but as things start to calm down and begin looking up, I would expect the parks to reopen and crowds to slowly pick up as people become more comfortable traveling again.

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE

In the meantime, while we wait for things to get back to normal, I will continue to share Walt Disney World information here. You can still expect to see several posts a week, updating you on the latest news and filling you in on all of the fun things coming up at the most magical place on earth for the rest of the year and beyond!

Please stay safe and well, and I will see you in the parks real soon!

501 WaysHeading to Disney World?

If you are planning a vacation to Disney World, be sure to check out these valuable resources to help you save time and money:

Are you rescheduling or cancelling? Have any tips or concerns?
Please leave a comment; we would love to hear from you!