If there’s one thing I know how to do well, it’s Disney. After decades of visits and having worked for the Happiest Place on Earth, I have a pretty good grasp on all things Walt Disney World. So, why not pass that on to all you wonderful people? I know some of you DIYers out there are Disney fans. I know this because you tell me you are. So, since I just came off my last Disney vacation, I thought I’d share why I think that late October/early November is the best time of year to visit Walt Disney World. Now, for any real Disney fan, anytime is a good time to be at WDW. And this time period I’m recommending is a year away, but don’t let that stop you from racking up some Disney moments in the coming months. I’ll certainly be there in the spring again. Hello? Flower and Garden? This is just to prep you for all the fun to come to your calendar next fall. You may already have a favorite time to go, but I just wanted to throw this in the mix, too.
My vacation was from October 30 – November 11. I KNOW! It was a long one and I hadn’t ever taken such a long vacation, but it was so worth it. So why those dates? Here’s Why. NOTE: There are a TON of tips I can give you. In fact, if you’d love my advice on something, please don’t hesitate to send me a message and I’ll do my best to answer it.
Why I Think Late October – Early November Is The Best Time to Visit Walt Disney World
Four Great Events at One Time!
I think the last week of October through the first week of November is a great time to visit Walt Disney World, especially if you like the events going on during this time and all the festive decor. I sure do! During my trip, I was able to see all FOUR of my favorite events at Disney. So lucky!
1. Halloween – Disney delivers unmatched kid-friendly spooky fun this time of year. I personally get a kick out of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, which is an event that requires a separate ticket (usually around $60 depending on ages and if you buy a ticket in advance). I had a blast this year, which you can read all about it here from an earlier post.
Not only are the decorations and awesome lighting worth seeing for yourself, but you can’t miss the Halloween-themed parades (I think the Haunted Mansion dancers steal the show), unique stage shows and of course, there’s trick-or-treating!
2. Epcot International Food & Wine Festival – “Food & Wine” is a must-go for me every year (and for most of my close Disney friends that fly down every year for it). Think of World Showcase as one big tapas restaurant. All of the countries (and some special guests) deliver up delicious food and spirits. I definitely frequent the country of Hawaii (ha!). Seriously, they have Hawaii represented during the Festival and I’m fine with that because Hawaii (not a country) is DELICIOUS.
From Canada to Mexico, there are so many decadent delights. And all in small portions so you can taste your way around the world. TIP: Weekend nights can get pretty busy and rowdy, so I recommend a week night visit or if you have to go on the weekends, go in the early afternoon.
3. Festival Of The Masters – FREE event! Over 130 artists from around the nation descend on Downtown Disney, blanketing acres and acres of this favorite shopping, dining and entertainment destination with beautiful and inspiring art pieces.
All types of mediums are celebrated in this massive artistic showcase — clay, mixed media, jewelry, watercolor, wood, painting, glass and the list goes on. Of course, my favorite tent to visit is the Disney Artist Village where renowned Disney artists like Greg McCullough and Will Gay show off their best Disney work. It’s a great place to get limited edition pieces and an autograph, too. I picked up this print, by Greg McCullough, that I’ve been wanting for a couple of years. Only $35 and autographed.
4. Holidays – I arrived on Wednesday, Oct 30th and enjoyed all the Halloween festivities through the weekend. It was spooktastic! Monday morning came around and the parks opened the gates with yuletide cheer. Garland was strung. Holiday music was filling the streets. And the entire resort was ready for the holidays.
For me, there’s nothing like Main Street at the Magic Kingdom during the holidays. Especially at night. It’s also the time when they kickoff Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (separate ticket, again). I didn’t attend the party this time around, but if you’ve never been, I definitely think you should do this one. The exclusive event parade is just a tradition that I hope never goes away, especially the dancing Toy Soldiers. Always a crowd favorite. They also serve up free hot cocoa and cookies throughout the park and the stage show and fireworks are busting with cheer. But the #1 reason why I love to be here during the holidays is for this…
At sundown, every night, Cinderella’s Castle becomes a jaw-dropping wintry spectacle. The crowing jewel of the Magic Kingdom sparkles and glitters as if covered with ice. Or as I like to think…diamonds! It is so pretty and you just can’t take your eyes off of it. Cinderella is the luckiest Princess ever!
This year Magic Kingdom debuted an all-new Jungle Cruise, now, appropriately named, Jingle Cruise. All holiday themed from the jolly queue line of holiday-themed fun to the unforgettable jokes full of merriment. It’s definitely the most wonderful time of the year in Adventureland.
This time of year the day temperature averages around upper 70’s to lower 80’s. At night, this is the best part, you’ll want to have a hoodie or light jacket on hand, because it’ll get in the 60’s, maybe even 50’s. Love that. Makes that yummy hot cocoa and cookies that much more full of jolly. Of course, Florida weather can be fickle and downright cruel to your plans, but I’ve always had great luck with this time of year.
There’s all kind of deliciousness happening here. I’ve already mentioned “Food & Wine” (I miss you, Hawaii). And I’ve already told you about the hot cocoa and cookies. But during Halloween and the holidays, you’ll find all kinds of amazing treats in all of the parks and hotels. Dressed-up candied apples for Halloween. Peppermint bark for the holidays. There’s all kinds of sugary sweetness going on and you just have to let your nose lead the way.
Since the first day I visited the Walt Disney Park and came home with my first Mickey Mouse plush and a baby blue Mickey-shaped balloon, I loved finding a Disney must-have to pack in my suitcase (back then it was a fantastic multi-colored & flowered fabric suitcase). Now I’m all about finding unique conversation-starting memorabilia. I bought this incredible cartoon-inspired umbrella back in the early 90’s that I had up until a year ago. Pretty sure a tear came to my eye when the wind whipped through it and busted my favorite shielder of rain. Over the years, Disney has really pumped up their offerings. Not just in the quality and variety of merchandise, but even the stores that sell it. Trend-D at Downtown Disney is one such store where you’ll find edgier items beyond the obvious t-shirts, plushies and hats. This is where I found a great drapey thin sweatshirt with a little bling of Mickey on it that I didn’t see anywhere else on Walt Disney World property. It’s mine now.
There’s also the fact that they have partnered with some big name designers to bring Guests exclusive merchandise. Dooney & Bourke. Vera Bradley. Harvey’s for Disney Couture. It’s some seriously awesome stuff. And what’s great about this time of year, is that they’re rolling out all kinds of seasonal merchandise from Halloween until Christmas. They also introduce a lot of new products this time of year, too. Just in time for the holidays. I need a Disney wish list. Here are my favorite stores to frequent at WDW.
The Chapeau – hats galore and I love all the new mini hats that have come out in recent years as well as all the fun character-inspired mickey ears
All The Main Street Stores – I love how they are all connected and you can go from one to the other and find a bunch of goodies – from jaw breakers to jewelry!
Island Supply in Adventureland – They carry some pretty summery dresses and Ray Ban’s, too.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Animation Gallery – All the great artwork and collectibles we love, but what I really love is the live artist sketching away at his desk.
Celebrity 5 & 10 – The best store to walk around in and browse after getting off of Tower of Terror.
Keystone Clothiers – They have all the stuff you’ll find in most stores, but sometimes feature a shirt or bag you haven’t yet seen. Always fun for browsing.
Magic Ink Artisans at Muppet Courtyard – All the Muppet stuff you could hope for, but the best part is how they themed the store. It’s been Muppetfied to the extreme. Adore this shop.
The Writer’s Stop – This is always my go-to spot where I can hang for hours. Great books, great coffee and a nice big couch to sink into. If you go, you have to try the carrot cake cookie — the only place on WDW property to get it.
MouseGear – Next to World of Disney in Downtown Disney, this is a great huge store of everything. If you see something in the parks you love, you’ll most likely also find it here.
Art of Disney – All the great art we love and easy to find something for your collection back home.
The Shops in World Showcase – France for makeup. Italy for amazing perfumes. Japan for one-of-a-kind bags. Norway for ski-friendly gear. Germany for awesome Adidas. Canada for cute jammies.
Disney Outfitters – All the great Disney stuff but you’ll find some Animal Kingdom-specific fun here, including safari Mickey ears!
Serka Zong Bazaar – Fun Yeti-themed merchandise and all the other Disney faves.
Mombasa Marketplace – Safari souvenirs and cute animal toys.
Arribas Brothers – I love looking at all the Swarovski jewelry here. And maybe buying it, too. Found a really pretty ring last time I was there. I’m wearing it now. :)
D Street – Anything that’s new in the world of Vinylmation will be found here. Also you gotta love the themed decor and great window displays.
Goofy’s Candy Company – All the sweets you could even think of devouring, but what I really love is the build-a-cup station at Goofy’s Glaciers. Top that slushy off with some cute Mickey ears!
World of Disney – It’s the WORLD of Disney. Do I need to say more? It’s pretty much a Disney mall — men’s, women’s, kids, toys, jewelry, home, seasonal. It’s pretty awesome.
Tren-D – Stylish and funky Disney stuff that’s a bit out-of-the-ordinary and unique.
Where Did I Stay?
I’d like to talk a bit about where I stayed during my last visit. Let me start with this, I have always been a stay-on-property kind of girl. It’s nice to include the magic in all areas of your stay. BUT. This time I was invited to stay off property at Global Resort Homes and I gotta tell you — I’m a huge, HUGE fan*.
2. Absolutely luxurious
3. Resort-like amenities
4. Stocked with everything you want and need
5. Quiet and relaxing.
This 3-bedroom condo has it all. And if you have a family, I think this is a great option. It feels so good to have your own space to come back to after a long day in the parks and room to just do your thing. It’s just outside of the parks, so it’s a no-brainer. I was such a fan, that I agreed to do a video testimonial about my stay, which they often ask their guests to do for them. I agreed to do the testimonial but asked if I could write-up the script and concept. They agreed. And below is the video that aired soon after my time at Global Resort Homes. It really was like a home away from home.
And those are my tips and tidbits on how to do a Disney vacation. Have you been to Disney recently? If so, what are your tips and what do you think of mine? Would love to hear your stories, especially when it’s about Disney. I’ll leave you with some photos from my awesome time at Walt Disney World. To read the captions, just click on the image. See you real soon.
*Disclaimer. Part of my stay at Global Resort Homes was complimentary, however, the opinions expressed in this post are solely my own.