If the idea of vacationing sans offspring at Walt Disney World is off-putting, allow us to present you with a theory. Sure, sweaty summer crowds at a packed theme park with sunburns and bug sprays and A/C-centric activities is no vacation for a couple -- a couple of grown-ass adults, at that.
But when the weather starts changing over into fall? It’s paradise for a couple. Less heat, smaller crowds, and oh yeah, tons more booze. Here’s why waiting till September and the onset of autumn makes for the best summer vacay Disney has to offer.
The happiest place on Earth, made even happier
Two words: fewer kids. Most schools are back in session by the end of August, and the massive broods clogging the parks in the months prior will have all but dissipated. Sure, parents pull their tots out of school to hit the Mouse House plenty, but they’re not likely to do it right at the beginning of the term. No one wants their kids to fall behind in math before the very first exam, which in turn means you won’t spend half the day waiting to ride a Snow White-themed family coaster. (Want to avoid children completely? There’s an itinerary for that, too.)
You can enjoy the glory of Halloween without feeling insane
At Walt Disney World, everyone is allowed to express their childlike spirit -- and ‘round Halloween, you can capitalize on the candy-crammed perks without having to bow out simply for your age. Not only are the grounds festive as hell, but holidays at Disney last for-ever, so you can take in the all-pumpkin-everything as early as Labor Day weekend with Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, a ticketed event with even tinier crowds that turns the Magic Kingdom into a spooktacular wonderland.
Grab a selfie with Jack Skellington of The Nightmare Before Christmas, trick-or-treat for heaping handfuls of candy despite how many years out you are from AARP membership, and take in some of the best entertainment they’ve got, complete with an appearance by a legit headless horseman. “I love the Boo to You parade. It is the only one I watch,” said Kristina Roberts, 26, a former Disney employee who lives in Tampa and who returns to visit Disney parks about three times a year. “[It’s] something you can only see during the Halloween party. It’s a lot more interactive with the guests because there are less people in the park.” Time your trip right, and you can throw down on one of the 28 nights the party’s held before All Hallows' Eve.
Food and wine and more wine and even more wine
If you still think Epcot is synonymous with “edutainment,” you’re doing it wrong. Drinking around the 11 different countries represented is the best Disney party in town, but from mid-September to mid-November, Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival turns the park into a wine-tasting, food-chowing, bonanza with 30 additional stands to double down on even more food and wine from countries worldwide, as well as a roster of bands (Wang Chung, Sugar Ray) you’ll love when you’re downing your third glass of Patagonian malbec.
The weather is finally tolerable
The middle of the Sunshine State will kick your ass in in the middle of the year -- this summer saw a 46-day streak of temperatures over 90 degrees. Once early fall sets in, though, the daily highs begin crashing, making it possible to step outside without your body instantaneously crying from every pore. September averages in the 80s, October in the mid-70s, and though it is technically hurricane season, any Mickey poncho-clad rainstorm will be easy to endure when you take note of this: summer is so hot that people buy cooling towels to drape over their shoulders so they don’t pass out in line for Peter Pan's Flight. Take your chances with the storms.
Cram everything in just because you can
Reduced crowds during the summer-to-fall transition means you can ride more rides, experience more entertainment, and basically get more bang for your admission buck. Websites that monitor Disney crowds consider it one of the best times to go, with good reason. Legitimately great bars with limited seating, like Trader Sam’s and the gorgeous new AbracadaBar, will be easier to nab a stool at. The insanely cool Star Wars-themed fireworks show at Hollywood Studios runs out of primo vantage points almost immediately, but odds of you getting one just increased by taking vacation days in September. Hell, if you wanted to check out the new Frozen ride, you could even do it without vacation-ruining wait times. Though, we recommend back-to-back trips on Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster instead. This is a kids-free trip, after all.
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