Park Hour Changes & Crowd Calendar Report For October 2013

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October is a month for scary costumes, but there is nothing scary about October crowds at Walt Disney World. October brings in some of the lightest crowds all year: not as light as early September or mid-January, but more manageable than most other periods on the calendar. We noticed some recently adjusted park closing times throughout the month, however, so we thought it might be a good idea to review the crowd profile for October. Changing the official park closing is not unusual, but there were a couple changes to note that fall outside the norm.

What to watch out for at Magic Kingdom

As the Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party goes, so go the crowds at the Kingdom. Days on the schedule that include a Party at night (October 3, 4, 6, 10, 11, 14, 17, 18, 20, 22, 24, 25, 27, 29, 31, November 1) will have low wait times throughout the morning and early afternoon. Normally guests with tickets to the Party will begin to arrive after 4:00 pm. If you are not attending the Party and want to tour the Magic Kingdom in the morning and afternoon, these days can be great for doing so efficiently. However, the trade-off is not being able to see the nighttime festivities.

If the nighttime festivities are a must-do for you, then pick the day without a Halloween Party that has the lowest crowd level rating for Magic Kingdom. We like October 8, 12, 15, 16, 21, 23, 28, or 30.

The Magic Kingdom park closing has been extended to midnight and 11:00 pm on October 21 and 23, respectively. It is rare to see such a late closing time at Magic Kingdom on a weekday in October. We stand by our crowd predictions, however: we just can’t imagine a dramatic increase in crowds for those days.

Some weekend nights have been extended, as well, which is good news for those hoping to tour for a full day when Magic Kingdom does not host a Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.

Park Hour Changes at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Throughout the middle of the month, October 13 through 24, the Studios has moved its closing time earlier. Check the calendar for your dates; you may now notice a 7:30 pm or 8:00 pm closing. That is still plenty of time to tour the Studios effectively, but you may need to revisit your dining reservation times to make sure your itinerary still works.

Food & Wine Festival at Epcot

Our crowd calendar is based on wait times at the attractions. The wait times during the Food & Wine Festival at Epcot don’t tell the whole story. In fact, the wait times are deceivingly low compared to the significant crowds – especially on weekends. If your Epcot day is focused on a touring plan of Epcot’s attractions, then you can do so comfortably in Future World. But trying to meander through the masses of the Food & Wine festival in World Showcase can be daunting at best. This is why we don’t recommend visiting Epcot on weekends in October.

If Food and Wine is a must-do then go ahead – it is great! Go during the week if you can and arrive early.


Fred Hazelton

Fred Hazelton maintains the crowd calendar, theme park wait time models and does hotel rate analysis for the Unofficial Guides. He's also done the models for the new mobile wait times product Lines. Fred Hazelton is a professional statistician living in Ontario, Canada. His email address is You can also follow him on Twitter: @DisneyStatsWhiz.

14 thoughts on “Park Hour Changes & Crowd Calendar Report For October 2013

  • October 2, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Thanks for the heads up! We’re heading to WDW in 2 weeks and will check the calendar for changes that might need to be made! Going to MNSSHP for the first time on 10/18!

  • October 2, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    If the nighttime festivities are a must-do for you, then pick the day without a Halloween Party that has the lowest crowd level rating for Magic Kingdom. We like October 8, 12, 15, 16, 21, 23, 28, or 30.

    These dates do not correspond with the above paragraph. Just wondering.

  • October 2, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    Sorry for the confusion Tina, by nighttime festivities I am referring to Wishes, The Main Street Electrical Parade and other nighttime entertainment that occurs on evenings without the Halloween Party.

  • October 3, 2013 at 9:59 am

    How does MK handle the nights of the Halloween Party? Do they clear out MK and then let you back in if you have a ticket? If they don’t and you are already there, do you have to show your ticket to get on the rides or do any of the activites?

    • October 3, 2013 at 11:54 am

      If you were already in the park you have to exit and re-enter with the party admission media [correction: or you may obtain a bracelet from one of the designated locations inside the park]. Once you clear the admission gate you receive a bracelet that identifies you as a partygoer. Gradually, guests in the park without bracelets are politely but sternly asked to exit as the party opening time approaches. Only guests with bracelets are permitted to enter attractions.

      • October 3, 2013 at 12:02 pm

        Thanks Fred. When traveling with a baby, I have to plan ahead for everything!

      • October 3, 2013 at 8:41 pm

        This is not a correct response. You do not need to exit and re-enter. If you are in the park, there will be several places where after 4 pm you go and they scan your event ticket and give you a bracelet. Last year they were by Stitch, by Tortuga Tavern, and at Customer Sevice on Main Street. After 7, you will need to show yoir bracelet for everything – rides, characters, shopping, food, etc.

        • October 3, 2013 at 9:44 pm

          Thanks MVC1225, you are correct, you do not have to exit and re-enter, you can get your bracelet from one of the designated locations. Of course, the park entrance is one of the locations.

  • October 3, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Hi Fred-

    We are headed to WDW in 2 days!! We have tickets to the MNSSHP for 10/6. Its not a recommended night per above, is that for any specific reason? We have never been but got tixs based on a calender on other sites…

    Just wondering – Great site!

    • October 3, 2013 at 2:02 pm

      The list of dates above are for recommendations when to visit the Magic Kingdom when a Party is not being held. Enjoy the Party on Oct 6th, I’m sure it will be great!

  • October 3, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    Sorry, I must have misunderstood. We are dressing up (4 adults) and I just wanted to make sure it wasn’t going to be absolutely nuts there crowdwise. Very excited!!

    Thanks again

  • October 3, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    When we attended MNSSHP on 9/20. We entered MK at 4:30 with our MNSSHP ticket and immediately received a bracelet. Other guests within the park were heading to the Rose Garden and the area at the front of the park where the Pumpkin scarecrows are to obtain their Halloween bands. Others in our party that were not staying for the celebration were escorted out by CM’s carrying ghosts with Mickey Ears lit up by a flashlight (this was after 7 pm when we finished dining at BOG). Hope this helps some party goers.

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