If I’m being honest, I have to tell you that fall is my favorite time of year to visit Walt Disney World. Why? Oh, that’s easy. Lower crowd levels and awesome special events make fall such a fun time of year to visit. Here are ten of my favorite activities to do during autumn months at Disney. Be sure to note your favorites in the comments, too!
I’ve always loved this event. I love that they have the Magic Kingdom all dolled up in autumn decor and then they take it up a notch after dark when they bring out some (mildly) spooky decorations. The parade and fireworks show that occur during this event are exclusive to the parties and those two things alone are worth the price of admission to the festivities. Another fun aspect of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is the availability of characters (namely, villains) and groups of characters (seven dwarves, anyone?) that aren’t normally around to meet and greet.
Possibly the best thing about the party, though, is that families are invited (encouraged, even!) to dress up in Halloween costumes–yes, that includes mom and dad! We’ve gone in costume several different times; we always have fun coming up with a theme. I think the year we went as Peter Pan and friends still ranks as my favorite.
2. Sip a hard cider
I’m not exactly a beer kind of girl, but even I can appreciate a nice hard cider come fall–apple season and all. Disney sells cider in all of the parks (with the exception of Magic Kingdom) and nearly all of the restaurants that sell alcohol. I recommend the Angry Orchard – Crisp Apple. It goes quite nicely with the soft pretzels in Epcot’s Germany pavilion.
3. Sink your teeth into a caramel apple
The Karamell Kuche (also in Epcot’s Germany pavilion) is where you’re going to want to go to enjoy a caramel apple at Walt Disney World. The case full of caramel treats (pictured below) might even tempt you to pick up a little something extra while you’re there. Don’t worry; calories don’t count on vacation ;)
Does fishing have a season? I don’t know, but it rings fall to me for some reason. Guests are welcome to fish at Fort Wilderness, whether they are actually staying there or not. Casting-rod fishing gear can be rented from the Bike Barn at Fort Wilderness without reservations.
I’m a huge fan of renting watercraft at Disney. They offer boats of all sizes, but I’m partial to the SeaRaycers. They can be rented (for very reasonable rates!) at several Disney resorts as well as Downtown Disney. Guests can rent boats any time of year, of course, but I prefer to do so in the fall when the humidity is bearable and the sun isn’t quite so hot.
6. Wine and dine at the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival
Come now, you knew this one would be my favorite among favorites, didn’t you? I absolutely love this event. Several temporary booths are set up all around the World Showcase. Bitty bites and small sips (of wine, beer and/or spirits) are available at each location. Prices range from about $3 to $6 for a tasting size portion. My husband and I like to start our Food and Wine Festival experience by loading money onto a “bracelet” gift card that can be worn around our wrists. We then make our way from one booth to the next, perusing the offerings and sampling here and there. We totally make a meal out of it. It is awesome.
I mean, since we’ve already established that calories don’t count on vacation, why not? Pumpkin fudge is only available seasonally at Walt Disney World and every time I see it, I buy a piece or two. You can get it at Goofy’s Candy Co or the Candy Cauldron in Downtown Disney. It’s also available at Disney’s BoarkWalk (Seashore Sweets) and pretty much everywhere where cookies and candies are sold from a glass case. I highly recommend trying the seasonal treat while you can!
8. Rent a surrey bike
Let’s be real here, folks: it is usually entirely too hot and humid in Florida to even think about exercising whilst on vacation. Come the cool(er) fall months, though, surrey bikes are a really entertaining way to spend some downtime. My family prefers to rent one at Disney’s BoardWalk and then pedal our way around for about half an hour or so. It’s the epitome of classic family fun. Expect to pay about $30, give or take to go a few spins around the BoardWalk. Also, word to the wise: DO NOT let anyone under the age of ten be in charge of the bell ;)
I don’t know about you, but when I think about fall, I can’t help but think comfort foods. Pumpkins and autumn leaves and seasonal gourds makes me want to dig in to a big Thanksgiving feast. Of course, we can’t all be lucky enough to spend Thanksgiving at Disney, so why not fake it with a fakesgiving meal? The best place to do that at Walt Disney World is Liberty Tree Tavern in the Magic Kingdom. Every day is Thanksgiving there! Well, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but they do serve Thanksgiving-esque foods family-style each and every night. What better place to celebrate fakesgiving?
10. Do a fall scavenger hunt
This one involves some creativity, but for those who are up for the challenge, it could be a really fun and unique way to make the most of a seasonal Disney trip. You could do something relatively easy, like “eat some variety of apple (or pumpkin, if you want to make it a little harder) treat in each of the four major theme parks.” Or, you could go for a more challenging task by requiring that family members take ten photos representing fall. They might choose to snap pictures of decorations in the Magic Kingdom or find a tree with leaves turning. Or they might have a snarky bone and take a picture of a person “falling” into the pool. In any case, a scavenger hunt is sure to open your eyes to a new side of Disney. Have fun with it!
Those are my ten picks for fall activities at Walt Disney World. What is your favorite way to spend an autumn Disney day?