Since most school children in the United States return to classes in the early part of September, it's a great month to visit Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, especially if you don't have children or are traveling with a preschool child.
Fewer families travel to Florida this time of year, even though the weather is slightly cooler, meaning airfare and accommodations will also be slightly cheaper. However, despite the lack of tourists, the theme parks still get crowded on the weekends as local families and school groups tend to visit then.
During the week, the lack of older children makes September a great time to visit Disney with a preschooler. Disney World generally rolls out some fun activities designed with little ones in mind this time of year, so look for special programs and events, including special park hours and character greeting opportunities for toddlers.
Disney World Weather in September
Temperatures in Orlando drop down from the blistering 90s of the peak summer months to highs in the 80s for most of September, and the humidity also tapers off just a bit, resulting in an outdoor climate that's almost bearable midday, especially in the latter half of the month. However, lows never really dip below 70 degrees Fahrenheit, so don't expect any real relief from the heat during your trip.
September still counts as hurricane season, and mild to severe storms do blow through on many afternoons. However, they're generally short-lived in Orlando and might even cool things off. Basically, you could encounter pleasantly warm weather in September, insanely hot days, or a mix of both. It's a gamble, but you may consider it a worthwhile one to avoid the crowds.
What to Pack
Plan for summer attire in September, with shorts and T-shirts for the theme parks. Even though September technically qualifies as a "fall" month, Disney World Resort pools and water parks take advantage of the still-summer weather, so be sure to pack a bathing suit. If you plan to spend a day at the water parks, bring your own water shoes to prevent slips and keep your feet protected from restroom germs.
For especially hot days, you might consider packing a cooling bandana or ice scarf, which you can freeze ahead of time, then drape around your neck as you tour the parks. It's also a good idea to pack a poncho for everyone in the group in case you get caught outside in a downpour.
September Events at Disney World
In September you can get a fun preview of Halloween at Disney World. It's the perfect excuse to play dress-up with the kids, and you may even spot some creative fall decorating ideas you can adapt for home.
- Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party: This after-dark special event at the Magic Kingdom occurs on select nights throughout the month and culminates on Halloween. Billed as "The Happiest Haunting on Earth," this party, which requires a special ticket and separate admission fee, lets kids go trick or treating while their favorite Disney characters get in on the fun in costumes of their own.
- Epcot International Food and Wine Festival: This popular event kicks off in September, giving you a chance to sample the many culinary offerings before the crowds swell in October and November.
September Travel Tips
- Arrive at the theme parks early in the morning to enjoy thin crowds and still comfortable temperatures; then, hit the pool for a few hours when things heat up in the afternoon.
- Plan afternoon visits to wet or cold attractions such as Shark Reef at Typhoon Lagoon or Splash Mountain at the Magic Kingdom.
- In Florida, you still need sunscreen in September, especially if you visit the theme parks or water parks in the afternoon.
- If you use a free dining promotion, be sure to make reservations at the restaurant of your choice before you arrive.
- Some rides and attractions may be closed in September, which is considered an off-season month. If you have a "must do" attraction, look online before you book to be sure you won't miss a favorite ride.
- Even if you have booked your trip far in advance, keep an eye out for special promotions in September. Look for packages aimed at families with small children and watch for discounts on dining and resort packages as well.
To learn more about the pros and cons of visiting Disney World during September, check out our guide on the best time to visit.
Edited by Dawn Henthorn, Florida Travel Expert since June 2000