Our guide to September 2022 at Walt Disney World offers a free crowd calendar, when to visit, weather to avoid, new attraction openings & closures, plus Halloween & fall events. We also cover info & tips for what’s happening at Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios. (August 21, 2022.)
Relative to summer, September is a good month to visit Walt Disney World due to low crowds and seasonal events like Halloween. School is back in session, and wait times are low from Labor Day until crowds arrive towards the end of the month for the start of convention and group events seasons, fall break, and Walt Disney World’s 51st and Epcot’s 40th Anniversaries. The September 2022 crowd calendar (below) makes this month a really attractive time to visit.
While every park isn’t going to be “dead” every day of the week, if you plan well, you can really avoid crowds during a September Walt Disney World visit. That also means shorter September park hours, but you can’t really argue with accomplishing more in less time. There’s only really one downside to September at Walt Disney World, and it’s a fairly big one.
That one downside is the weather, which is bad for two distinct reasons that we’ll cover in the next section. On balance, mid to late September can still be a very good time to visit Walt Disney World, but it’s not for everyone. You have to be able to tolerate (or gamble on) the weather in order to be rewarded with extremely low crowds.
Let’s take a look at what you can expect in September 2022 at WDW…
September Weather at Disney World
The downside comes in terms of weather. In terms of temperatures, September is better than June through August, but it’s still a gamble. It’s a lot like May in this regard: it can be temperate and pleasant, or insanely hot. Especially early in the month, it can be pretty hot and humid.
At the beginning of September, average high temperatures are 90°, with average lows of 75°. Towards the end of the month, the weather improves slightly, with historical highs of “only” 87° and lows of 72°. Add oppressive humidity that’ll fog your glasses the second you step out of your hotel room, and September is still a pretty undesirable month in terms of weather.
Suffice to say, if you’re visiting Walt Disney World in September, remember to pack accordingly, bringing the Frogg Toggs for the humidity…and ponchos for the rain so you don’t spend $179 on them at Walt Disney World. You can view day-by-day temperature and weather forecasts plus historical averages for Walt Disney World weather in September here.
September is also the height of hurricane and storm season. For each of the last three years, there have hurricanes that have impacted operations at Walt Disney World at the very end of August or beginning of September. In recent years, Hurricanes Dorian and Irma have caused the parks to close.
You may want to consult our Visiting Walt Disney World During Storm Season article to navigate the afternoon showers (or worse) without them putting too much of a damper on your trip. Things get better towards the end of the month both in terms of humidity and storms, so your best bet is definitely to hold off on visiting until later in the month if you can.
WDW Seasonal Events in September
To answer a common question: yes, you will see Halloween decorations if you visit Walt Disney World in September. Any day in September. Walt Disney World’s Halloween 2022 decorations are all already up. However, the only park that gets decked out for Halloween is Magic Kingdom, and that’s true in any year, not just 2022.
In addition to the decorations, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is BACK for 2022! The event started in August, and picks up frequency in September 2022. The event is already sold out many dates, so you might want to read our guide to determine whether it’s worth the money and buy tickets ASAP if you want to attend.
Another event that’ll occur throughout September 2022 is the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. This is a great way to graze and sample different cuisines, or attend instructive seminars, or other foodie special events. It’s also a great way to lighten your wallet, as it is very easy to spend a lot of money at Food & Wine Festival on these small samples.
Especially if you buy booze: not only can you spend a lot on the drinks, but the drinks might cause you to relax your credit card swiping hand and use it more freely on snacks. Not that we know from experience or anything. Check out our Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival Guide for more tips and tricks for this event.
Additionally, the World’s Most Magical Celebration continues in September 2022, running through April 2023. See our Ultimate Guide to Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary for more details. This is largely devoid of substance, but there are some decent decorations for the festivities.
SEPTEMBER REFURBISHMENTS & NEW ATTRACTIONS
For an idea of what’s going to be closed in September 2022, check the Walt Disney World Refurbishment Schedule. Not everything will be listed on that until later this summer. Even once that’s updated, it doesn’t fully cover the construction all around Walt Disney World—just ride and entertainment closures.
The construction project that will have the most noticeable impact on the guest experience is the massive reimagining at the front of Epcot. This is starting to look better, but the front of the park is still a sea of construction walls with a giant dirt pit in the middle. On the plus side, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Space 220 Restaurant, Creations Shop, Club Cool, Connections Cafe, and Harmonious all already having debuted in the last year.
Speaking of the front of Epcot, Walt Disney World’s blockbuster addition for 2022 is Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. Experiencing the new ride is a bit complicated, so be sure to check out our How to Ride Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind & Virtual Queue Speed Strategy to improve your chances of success for joining the free virtual queue. (Note: this virtual queue might be retired by some point in September 2022.)
Another alternative is buying line-skipping access via the Individual Lightning Lanes. Those posts explain each option, their pros & cons, and everything else you need to know. Suffice to say, do not just show up to EPCOT expecting to join the standby line–as there isn’t one.
Beyond that, there are several attractions that have not yet opened and likely won’t until Fall 2022 or later. These include the Play Pavilion and Moana’s Journey of Water at Epcot, and TRON Lightcycle Run roller coaster at Magic Kingdom. All three may not open until 2023.
SEPTEMBER 2022 DISNEY WORLD CROWD CALENDAR
There’s no color-coded September 2022 crowd calendar for Walt Disney World at the top of this section because that’s reductionist and doesn’t give you the full picture of Walt Disney World attendance trends. WDW crowd calendars are less reliable due to how Disney manipulates attendance patterns, staffing, closures, and ride capacity. It’s better to offer an explanation of what to expect crowd-wise this fall at Walt Disney World.
Since Disney doesn’t release official attendance numbers, crowd calendars use things like school schedules, airport traffic statistics, hotel pricing & occupancy, etc., as proxies for crowds. For years, this approach worked and made crowd calendars reliable. Walt Disney World attendance followed an identifiable pattern that tracked with the aforementioned proxies.
Unfortunately, wait times no longer reflect actual crowds because of the aforementioned manipulation. We can still forecast attendance, but not the resulting wait times. This is like the difference between the actual temperature and the “feels like” temperature, but with crowds. The latter are what most of you likely care about (the “feels like” crowds), but it’s more difficult to predict wait times via Walt Disney World crowd calendars. Hopefully that makes sense!
On the Walt Disney World crowd calendar, September 2022 is the best month of the year to visit. Literally the entire month sees below average crowds. Even Labor Day (September 5, 2022) draws far smaller crowds than most other holidays.
There’s really no bad time to visit as far as the September 2022 crowd calendar goes. The first weekend and the last week will be the two busiest weeks. However, “busiest” is a relative term, as even those should be really light compared to the entirety of October 2022 or August 2022.
The time in between, which encompasses all dates from September 6 to 23, 2022 will feature some of the lowest crowds of the year at Walt Disney World. In terms of the crowd calendar, this is one of the last bastions of the off-season at Walt Disney World.
In fact, we named September 2022 the #1 month to visit in our Best & Worst 2022 Months to Visit Walt Disney World because of how predictably uncrowded it is. Whereas other off-season months have gotten busier, September has stayed the same–and (knock on wood) always should remain that way due to school schedules and less desirable weather.
If you’re purely concerned about crowds, we’d recommend going in the middle of the month. At the beginning, there are some residual crowds from summer as a handful of school districts around the country start late. Additionally, Annual Passholder blockouts in summer can push some of that demand to late August and early September.
Conversely, crowds pick up a little the closer you get to October. This is largely due to conventions and other group events, plus fall breaks for various school districts around the country. It’s also possible that last weekend leading into October 2022 will see slightly elevated crowds for Epcot’s 40th Anniversary and Magic Kingdom’s 51st Anniversary. More than that, October is just busier as a whole than September.
For Magic Kingdom, there’s an added wrinkle to the crowd calendar: Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP). On nights this event is held, the park closes to regular ticket holders at 6 pm. Consequently, Magic Kingdom is less busy during the day time hours on dates when MNSSHP is held, and more busy on days the Halloween event is not occurring.
This might seem counter-intuitive, but it’s because the party is separately-ticketed. Typically, the biggest impact is felt closer to Halloween, so the phenomenon isn’t bad at all in September.
We’ve already seen this play out on the days of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, as discussed in our recent post: Magic Kingdom’s Third Slowest Day of 2022!
The title pretty much says it all, but the photos in the post and commentary explains just how uncrowded Magic Kingdom has been during the daytime hours before MNSSHP. Thus far, Halloween party days have ranged from 1/10 to 2/10 on the crowd calendar. Our expectation is that these numbers will increase going forward (for the reasons discussed in that post), but they should remain low.
With that in mind, here are the September 2022 dates that Magic Kingdom will be LEAST crowded:
- September 2
- September 5
- September 9
- September 11
- September 13
- September 16
- September 18
- September 20
- September 23
- September 25
- September 27
- September 29
- September 30
In cross-referencing this with a park hours calendar, you’ll note that all of these are earlier closing times. This is exactly why the crowds are (significantly) lower–most guests avoid them, wanting the most bang for their buck and more hours in the park. We’d expect these days to have crowd levels before 4 pm that max out around 3/10 to 4/10.
We’d strongly recommend visiting Magic Kingdom during the day on Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party nights, and then bouncing to another park at around 4 pm. Animal Kingdom will always be your best option for lower-crowd evenings during the fall. If, for some reason, Fantasmic still hasn’t returned, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be another great option.
Here are the September 2022 dates that Magic Kingdom will be MOST crowded:
- September 3-4
- September 10
- September 17
- September 24
Typically, Saturdays are the worst of these days, so if you must do Magic Kingdom on a day when Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party isn’t happening, try to make it a weeknight. We’d expect non-party weekdays to have crowd levels of 5/10 to 7/10, perhaps hitting 8/10 or 9/10 on Saturdays later in the month.
In addition to this, you can expect Epcot to be busier on weekends, particularly when local Florida colleges like UCF have away football games.
Epcot’s attendance will be lightest on weekdays during the day, with heavier crowds after work as locals turn out to graze at the Food & Wine booths. (This is something that is tough to convey via a traditional numerical crowd calendar for Walt Disney World.)
SEPTEMBER PRICING & DISCOUNTS
Since it is the off-season, September is also a great month to visit in terms of both pricing and potential discounts. You can check available discounts via Disney here. Disney isn’t the only place where September is the off-season, so expect cheaper airfare when traveling in September–make sure to visit ITA Software to search for the best prices.
Typically, the Free Disney Dining Plan promotion is offered in the fall. It won’t be offered in September 2022, because the Disney Dining Plan still is not back. Read our When Will the Disney Dining Plan Return? for further insight into when we expect Walt Disney World’s popular pre-paid meal plan to return.
It’s not for everyone, but you’ll definitely want to check out the Free Dining promo if it’s offered during your vacation, as it can be a great deal for some visitors! Walt Disney World uses this promotion to entice guests to visit during certain low-season periods to redistribute crowd patterns, so the fact that there are usually no blockout dates at all during September should speak volumes about the crowd levels.
What this does mean, however, is that hotel and restaurant bookings will be disproportionately high during September, so you may have a difficult time scoring an elusive ADR, such as for Be Our Guest Restaurant or Chef Mickey’s. The good news is that while restaurants are more crowded than normal, attractions are less crowded.
Room-only discounts are also common in September. If you’re visiting in September, expect discounts up to 30% off the already lower off-season rates at the official Walt Disney World resort-hotels. Discounts vary by tier and individual hotel, with some hotels excluded entirely.
Our picks for the best resorts for a room-only discount are Art of Animation in the Value tier, Port Orleans Riverside in the Moderate tier, and Wilderness Lodge in the Deluxe tier. This is based partly on percentage off, partly on typical rack rate at each of these hotels, and partly on our personal preferences as to which offer the best theming and value for money. You can decide for yourself which hotel might be best by reading our Walt Disney World Hotel Reviews.
Overall, September is a one of the top months of the year to visit Walt Disney World, and we’d encourage you to visit if you can handle the heat and humidity. If you need to convince a spouse to make a spontaneous getaway, there’s really no better argument that I can think of than “that one dude on the internet said we should!”
In fact, mid-September into the beginning of October remains one of our favorite times of the year for our personal visits to Walt Disney World. Before we were locals, we took trips during this time for 4 consecutive years, as those low crowds were too much to resist. Like a fine wine, September gets better as it “ages” with the best times to visit being towards the end of the month, mainly due to better weather.
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
Are you a fan of visiting Walt Disney World in September? Have you found the crowds to be light? Is the weather this month bearable to you? Are you planning on visiting in September 2022 or is the potential for a hurricane too much of a gamble for you? If September is not your preferred month to visit Walt Disney World, which month do you like? Hearing your feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts or questions below in the comments!