Late summer/early fall has traditionally been a slower time at Walt Disney World, although in recent years less so than it used to be. Back when I was a Disney Authorized Vacation Planner, Disney would offer special events like Little Ones Travel Time to fill up more rooms during off-season. This year, September should be pretty (very?) busy but it will be worth visiting for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, to say goodbye to IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth and so much more. The hardest part about planning a trip will probably be to choose the perfect dates. And I’m not even mentioning in the 7 reasons the upcoming NBA Experience at Disney Springs and Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort (with a new rooftop restaurant) and ongoing experiences like Mickey & Minnie’s Surprise Celebration, which ends September 30th. September especially should be a fantastic time to be here!
Here are my 7 reasons to visit Walt Disney World in late summer/early fall 2019!
1 – Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge Opens – The most anticipated new land in my memory, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will open its first phase on August 29th, 2019 (the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance attraction will open with phase 2). From August 29th – 31st, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will open to everyone at 6:00 a.m. Then, in September and October (through November 2nd, 2019), guests will want to stay in a resort with Extra Extra Magic Hours benefits to get to enter Disney’s Hollywood Studios at that early time. I will mention more about that in this article.
2 – Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party debuts a new fireworks show – There will be a new fireworks show to replace HalloWishes and you’ll want to be there for it! On select nights from August 16th (the earliest ever) through November 1st, this hard-ticket event will be entertaining guests with Mickey’s Boo-to-You Parade, character meet and greets, the popular Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular, trick or treating and more.
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (Photo by Denise Preskitt)
3 – Epcot International Food & Wine Festival runs longer than ever – Running for a record 87 days this year, the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival draws crowds that are looking to purchase sample sized food and beverage items, enjoy the Eat to the Beat concert series and take part in special events and classes.
Epcot Food & Wine Festival display at front of Epcot (photo by Denise Preskitt)
4 – Extra Extra Magic Hours will offer onsite guests longer park hours – Just announced, Extra Extra Magic Hours will allow for more fun than ever – especially in Disney’s Hollywood Studios between September 1st and November 2nd. Guests of the Walt Disney World resorts and other select hotels will be able to enter Disney’s Hollywood Studios at 6:00 a.m.! Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom also are participating, read more about that here. Besides Walt Disney World owned resorts, other hotels that offer the Extra Magic Hour benefit are the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel, Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel, Shades of Green Resort, Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels, Four Seasons Resort Orlando, Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek and Waldorf Astoria Orlando.
5 – Illuminations: Reflections of Earth at Epcot ends September 30th, 2019 – After 20 years, my favorite nighttime show, Illuminations: Reflections of Earth will be ending. I was there for the first night and plan to be there for the last. This is a guest favorite show and I highly recommend seeing it before it ends! If I lived outside of the Orlando area, I would travel at the end of September/first days of October to catch just about everything on this list.
6 – Epcot Forever debuts October 1st, 2019 – Epcot Forever will debut October 1st, 2019 and will be an interim show before the more permanent new Epcot nighttime lagoon show debuts in 2020. Epcot Forever will include fireworks, Epcot tunes, lighting, lasers, and special effects kites.
Epcot Forever concept art
7 – The Disney Skyliner will debut this fall – The Disney Skyliner is scheduled to open sometime this fall, though no date has been given yet. We have seen the gondolas testing at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and some of the resorts! Disney says of the upcoming transportation system, Guests will be able to enjoy easy access to Disney’s BoardWalk entertainment district and a fun way to travel between Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Plus, the Disney Skyliner provides a relaxing trip to dining locations across Disney Resort hotels—including Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Disney’s Beach Club Resort and Disney’s BoardWalk Inn.
A Disney Skyliner gondola
I always say that my favorite time of year at Walt Disney World is spring, but I think this year will be different. There is going to be so much to see and do in a few months, it may also be worth it for us to book a room for a few days just to enjoy some of the Extra Extra Magic Time – it is really a big deal to have those extra hours in the park. When do you plan to visit Walt Disney World?