Why Fall is King for Special Events at Walt Disney World

Each fall at Walt Disney World Resort three of their very best special events run back-to-back-to-back making it an unbeatable time to visit the Most Magical Place on Earth

Just in case four theme parks, two water parks, shopping, golf, spas and much more isn’t enough to keep you happy, Walt Disney World also offers some really excellent special events and festivals at certain times throughout the year. While events are scattered at several points in most seasons, for my money, the fall season is the runaway winner when it comes to special events at Walt Disney World Resort.

If you’re planning a Disney vacation and you’re trying to determine the best time to go, there a several great reasons to consider a fall vacation to Disney World based on special events alone. Let’s look at three reasons why I recommend the fall season as an ideal time to visit Walt Disney World.

Epcot Food & Wine Festival, Walt Disney World

While the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is great for adults, there’s truly something for everyone to enjoy at this great event. Here a young Epcot guest shares the Scottish Banoffee Tart with her mother at the new Scotland Marketplace. (Photo Matt Stroshane)

1. Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
(Mid September to Mid November. 2014 Dates: September 19 – November 10)

If you love to sample exotic and unique foods–and taste wine, beer and spirits from several countries around the globe–then there’s really no better time to be at Walt Disney World than during the very awesome Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.

“Taste Your Way Around The World” is the very fitting slogan for this Disney event and it is one of the best of the bunch–particularly for adults. In fact, if you’ve been considering a Secret Disney Vacation without the kids–or any Disney adults-only getaway–this is one of the best events to attend.

The Food & Wine Festival transforms Epcot’s World Showcase area into a global chef’s table. You can wander the world-within-the-World sampling delicious bit size meals from over 30 separate tasting stations. The festival does not limit itself to the permanent country residents of World Showcase. During the event dozens more booths are added with samplings from more and more countries around the globe (and it keeps getting better each year). On a beautiful sunny fall day in Florida, it doesn’t get much better than walking World Showcase with a beer or wine in your hand and sampling dish after dish of unique and tasty flavors from regions far and near.

Plus, there are also special signature dining experiences with world-class chefs where you can learn a few tricks of the trade. Culinary demonstrations and seminars run regularly in the Festival Center and the popular “Eat To The Beat” concert series fills the air with nightly performances by big-name bands from the past.

All in all this is a must-do event at Walt Disney World and is a good time for the whole family or adults-only. If you plan to take part in some of the premier signature experience, these are ticketed events and fill up fast, so bear that in mind. Wine connoisseurs will want to make a note to visit the Festival Center where an immense wine store offers thousands of bottles for sale from around the globe.

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, Magic Kingdom

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party offers trick or treating, meet and greets with favourite Disney characters (in costume), plus the must-see “Mickey’s Boo-to-You Parade” and “Happy HalloWishes” fireworks display. A separate ticket is required to attend. (Photo Gene Duncan)

2. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
(Runs select nights in September and October)

If Halloween is one of your favorite times of the year, then Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party in Disney’s Magic Kingdom park is not be missed. This is a special ticketed event and it runs only on select nights each week throughout September and October. On the nights of the party, the Magic Kingdom is open only to guests who purchased party tickets and the park is transformed into a ghoulishly fun Halloween environment!

As the name suggests, this is not a scary event and Disney is not out to make you scream or shudder in fear. Instead, partygoers are invited to dress up in costume and enjoy the festivities inside the park. Your favorite Disney characters will be dressed up too, adding to the fun of the event! Of course, trick or treat stations are set up throughout the park and you can load up on candy and chocolate just like you would on Halloween night. There are also awesome and eerie character greetings, an amazing Disney Villains Mix & Mingle show at Cinderella Castle and a rockin’ dance party on the Tomorrowland Stage.

The Haunted Mansion offers some special fun during the event (naturally) and two major highlights of the event include Mickey’s Boo-To-You Halloween Parade and a very special version of the Wishes fireworks display.

This is truly a must-do event for the entire family and kids really love trick-or-treating inside the Magic Kingdom.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, Magic Kingdom

“Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade,” is an enchanting entertainment offering during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. When snow falls on Main Street USA during this event, it really feels like the holiday season. (Photo Matt Stroshane)

3. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
(Runs select nights in November and December)

Hot on the heels of the Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, Mickey and the gang do a quick change for the next season and follow it up with the very magical and festive Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. This is also a ticketed event that takes place within the Magic Kingdom, so you’ll need to pay an additional fee for tickets on top of your regular park admission.

The Christmas Party really brings home the joy and magic of the Christmas holiday season and is one of our favorite family traditions. The park is truly transformed and the holiday atmosphere is all around you. Christmas music fills the air and Cinderella Castle is alight and shimmering for the occasion. Free cookies and hot cocoa are offered to guests at several locations throughout the park and the characters will greet you in their holiday best.

Highlights include the Once Upon a Christmastime Parade (featuring Santa Claus himself) and an awesome version of the Wishes fireworks display, called Holiday Wishes. Probably the most amazing part of the event is the snow that falls on Main Street USA. I especially love it when this happens on a cool Florida evening, because is just feels that much more like Christmas.

If you love the Christmas holiday season, then Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a great event to attend. It’s a great way to get you and your family into the Christmas spirit Disney style.

Tips to Remember for these Disney Special Events
Some nights for the Halloween and Christmas parties can and do sell out, so if you know you’re going for sure, go online and purchase your tickets in advance. You don’t want to be standing at the gates in disappointment. The Food & Wine Festival does not require special tickets, although some of the experiences within the festival are ticketed.

Depending on when you visit Walt Disney World, it is possible to be able to cover more than one of these events in a week’s vacation. In some years–if you plan it just right–you can actually do the Halloween party and the Christmas party in the same week (the last of one and the first of the next)–and the Food & Wine Festival as well. How is that for the perfect trifecta of Disney special events?

What are your favorite Walt Disney World special events?

~ Mike Belobradic