By the co-author of the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook ever -- The easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit.—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor

October 2012 at Walt Disney World

By Dave Shute

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This page reviews Walt Disney World in October 2012: crowds, prices, deals and discounts, weather, special events, and operating hours; and ends with week by week summaries.


October is one of the least crowded months at Walt Disney World. Crowds peak over the Columbus Day weekend–Columbus Day is 10/8 in 2011–but are low the rest of the month.

On a crowd scale of 1-11, the week beginning 9/29 has a ranking of 2/lower, 10/6 5/moderate-minus, and the weeks beginning 10/13, 10/20, and 10/27 all have crowd rankings of 2/lower.

See this for more on 2012 crowds at Walt Disney World.


Prices begin the month 13% higher than the lowest of the year at the Value Resorts, 6% higher at the Moderates, and 16% higher at the Deluxe Resorts.

All resort prices bump up $25-40 per night over the Columbus Day weekend.

On 10/21, deluxe prices drop to 8% higher than the lowest of the year.  Prices at the other resorts do not change.

Click the image to see a Pop Century Resort example of Disney World resort pricing. (When open, click again to enlarge.)

See this for more on 2012 prices at Walt Disney World.


Deals are available for October. For details, click here.


The second half of October has weather about as good as Orlando gets.

Click the image, or go to Weather and When to Go to Disney World, for more on temperatures.

The hurricane season officially begins on June 1, but the peak of the hurricane season begins in mid to late August, and continues until early October.

Hurricanes at Walt Disney WorldIt is very rare for a hurricane to ruin a Walt Disney World vacation. It does happen, though.

Click the chart to see more on the typical timing of hurricanes.


Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party kicks off in September 2012 and continues in October.

2012 dates include

  • September 2102: 11, 14, 18, 21, 25, 28, 30
  • October 2012: 4, 5, 8, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 26, 28, 30, 31
  • November 2012: 2

The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is a hit with many repeat visitors, and runs from September 28 to November 12.


Park operating hours vary by the day, and sometimes change without notice. It is rare for hours to be shorter than Disney has publicized, but Disney may lengthen them in response to unanticipated crowds.

The best way to keep up with operating hours is to check Disney’s official calendars, usually available six months in advance, but changing during busy periods even the day before.

These calendars can be found by clicking the following links:

The calendars can be tricky to use–see this for hints on how to work with Walt Disney World’s online calendars.


The week rankings that follow below are from 2012 weeks to visit, ranked in order, and are designed for first-time visitors who do not know whether or not they will return.

Click the image for a calendar view of 2012 weeks (when open, keep clicking to enlarge.)

9/29/12 Prices are 6-16% higher than lowest of the year. Lower crowds–crowd ranking is 2. Week ranking=25. Use the Autumn-Winter-Spring Itinerary, but see this for required changes.

10/6/12 Prices are 6-16% higher than lowest of the year most of the week, but kick up over the Columbus Day Weekend. Moderate-minus crowds–crowd ranking is 5. Week ranking=28. Use the Autumn-Winter-Spring Itinerary, but see this for required changes

10/13/12 Prices are 6-16% higher than lowest of the year. Lower crowds–crowd ranking is 2. Week ranking=4. Recommended Week. Use the Autumn-Winter-Spring Itinerary, but see this for required changes

10/20/12 Prices are 6-8% higher than lowest of the year for most of the week, but have an uptick on Friday and Saturday. Lower crowds–crowd ranking is 2. Week ranking=5. Recommended Week. Use the Autumn-Winter-Spring Itinerary, but see this for required changes

10/27/12 Prices are 6-8% higher than lowest of the year for most of the week, but have an uptick on Friday and Saturday. Lower crowds–crowd ranking is 2. Week ranking=6. Recommended Week. Use the Autumn-Winter-Spring Itinerary but see this for required changes




1 HEATHER BALDWIN { 04.17.12 at 8:18 pm }


2 Dave { 04.18.12 at 6:11 am }

Heather, I focus on older kids so can’t give you a count…the answer is somewhere between half and 75%…

3 Michele { 05.08.12 at 12:23 pm }

We will be at the World Sept. 29- Oct. 5. We will be attending MNSSHP for the first time! Will we encounter much for crowds? I know that the wine and food festival is going on at Epcot, but if we visit during the week will it be crowded?

4 Dave { 05.08.12 at 1:22 pm }

Hi Michele! That’s a low-crowd period. The weekend will be crowded, and Epcot’s 30th is on the 1st so Epcot may be crowded that day…

5 ann { 05.28.12 at 11:48 am }

this will be our first time coming we plan on coming in late October is that a low crowd ?

6 Dave { 05.29.12 at 6:26 am }

Hi Ann, yes Late October is low crowd–see this:

7 Dan { 06.04.12 at 12:01 pm }

Any rumors out there on potential October 2012 deals?
Oh and great site! Lots of useful information!

8 Dave { 06.04.12 at 4:25 pm }

Hi Dan, I have seen some rumors of pin codes and such hear and there, but nothing substantive…last year, October discounts started coming out in early August…

9 Ann { 07.12.12 at 10:38 am }

Hi Dave, we booked for October and followed basically all your advice and booked at the Polynesian. We want this to be a memorable time for our 5 year old. But our agent just sent us the Disney promotion on free dining. We qualify and that could take the price down by $800. The availability for this promotion will be the Wilderness Lodge with a Courtyard View Room w/ Queen. Should we make the switch to take advantage of the savings?

10 Dave { 07.12.12 at 12:17 pm }

Ann I highly recommend WL–it’s my second highest-ranked deluxe hotel after the Poly. See this: The only thing wrong with it is that rooms are small and it’s less convenient to Epcot than the Poly–but with one kid, who will not care about Epcot at that age, I’d take this deal in a minute!

11 Amanda Stout { 07.21.12 at 8:36 am }

My husband and I are taking our 6 year-old on his first Disney Vacation October 7-13th. This is right after my husband comes home from Afghanistan. The military promotion ends on September 30th… but there is no way we can move our vacation dates to take advantage of that promotion due to his re-deployment back to the states. Is there any other military promotion that will be available for us?

12 Dave { 07.21.12 at 8:59 am }

Hi Amanda, it’s possible that a new version of this deal will come out, and cover your dates…but we won’t know until it does…

Other than that, Shades of Green always provides low rates, you can get tickets at 4-8% off from a base, and Disney may announce a general public deal for those dates for which you’d be eligible….see this:

13 Randy { 08.02.12 at 3:57 pm }

I’m having a hard time deciding between dining plans. Going for 9 days, 8 nights with my wife, 10 yr old daughter and 8 yr old daughter. I currently have reservations that utilize 11 credits and haven’t booked anything for my arrival or departure date as of yet. Of the 11 used, 3 are breakfasts and 7 are dinners. Is the extra $35 a night for the deluxe plan worth it in my situation or stick with the $55 regular plan? Looking for opinion. Thanks.

14 Dave { 08.02.12 at 6:04 pm }

Hi Randy, paying cash for the 3 breakfasts will be much cheaper than adding the deluxe plan….and while there’s tons of great places to eat, breakfasts can get in the way of being at the park 30 mins before it opens and enjoying the first couple of hours with hardly any crowds…

15 Luzel { 08.11.12 at 1:11 pm }

Hi , my family is planning to visit dineyworld this October 2012. I’m thinking week of October 1 but I’m hesitant because of the peak of hurricane . How about October 13 -18. Do you think that will be the best dates to go than first week of October ? Need your expertise at this matter. Thanks!

16 Dave { 08.12.12 at 7:53 am }

Hi Luzel! While the chances of a hurricane having an impact on your vacation are small for the early October dates, they are even smaller for the later dates. I really like the later dates–See this:

17 Sharon { 08.30.12 at 2:32 pm }

Hi Dave, this is more of a comment than a question. In 2007 I went to Disney the week AFTER Thanksgiving and it was fantastic, very little waiting. Walked right onto 90% of rides and attractions. Great weather too!
I’m visiting again this year on October 14th and I expect the same type of attendance and weather. I’m an approaching senior citizen (57) who enjoys Disney sans the kiddos so I am free to visit anytime. October or November have got to be the best times by far! I hope this comment was helpful to you and your readers! Best to you!

18 Dave { 08.31.12 at 7:01 am }

Hi Sharon, and thanks!

19 Jen { 09.07.12 at 12:38 pm }

I am visiting Walt Disney World with my family Oct. 21st-27th. We spend a lot of money on this vacation. We are staying at the Polynesian and got the Dining Plan. I found out not too long ago that I am pregnant again. I will be about 15 weeks pregnant when we go. Will I still be able to enjoy this trip? Will I still be able to go on most of the rides with my 2-1/2 year old? I’d really hate to spend all this money on a trip and then just have to sit around and watch everyone else.


20 Dave { 09.07.12 at 1:19 pm }

Hey Jen, couple of things.

1. I’m not an expert on this, but you can find lots of good advice re Disney while pregnant in PassPorter’s Open Mouse for Walt Disney World and the Disney Cruise Line: Easy Access Vacations for Travelers with Extra Challenges

2. Check the fine print on your reservation about when you need to cancel by/pay in full by, and what kind of refund you get related to which cancel dates…

3. I’m gonna ask some of my friends to weigh in on the “Disney while 15 weeks pregnant” question, so check back here now and then for more thoughts!

21 Mary @ Capturing Magical Memories { 09.07.12 at 1:50 pm }

I went twice when I was expecting. Most rides you can go on with your 2 yo. You will have to give up rollerccoasters and the ‘bumpy’ rides (specifically Dinosaur and Kilimanjaro Safari). There were a couple of times I was standing by myself but Cast Members understood and never made me feel alone. In fact they made me feel quite special at times. The key is to take it easy. Having a 2 yo will be a plus here. When they nap – you nap. And if you can swing it, the spas on property have a massage for women in the 2nd trimester and beyond that is fantastic!! You get some down time and some pampering.

22 Amy @ Growing Up Disney { 09.07.12 at 2:35 pm }

Jen, you can still have a wonderful time! Just know that you’ll have to slow down, but with a 2.5 YO, you won’t be going commando anyway. Dave asked for ideas from those of us who have been in your shoes. Maybe these articles will help.
Magical Wishes,

23 Dave { 09.07.12 at 3:01 pm }

Thanks, Mary–and the massage is a great idea!

24 Dave { 09.07.12 at 3:02 pm }

Thanks Amy, great links!

25 Jenn Lissak { 09.07.12 at 6:58 pm }

You’ll probably be able to go on every attraction that your 2.5 year old can go on – in fact, the last I saw, it looks as though they took the “don’t ride if pregnant” warning off of the Kilimanjaro Safari! I rode it 6 months pregnant back in January – sat in the front, less bumpy, but had no problems! Here’s a post I wrote about it –

26 Dave { 09.08.12 at 10:42 am }

Thanks, Jenn!!

27 Beth D. { 09.08.12 at 12:43 pm }

I too have been to Walt Disney WOrld pregnant at 4 months pregnant. We were taking my 18 month old for his first trip. I did get to everything I wanted with him, but I did make sure I took it easy when I could. Also, drink lots of water! :-) I am not a thrill seeker when it comes to attractions, so I didn’t miss out on anything, other than the safari (at that time the warning was still up for women who were pregnant). As for the Polynesian, we stayed there for the first time last trip and we loved it! There are plenty of relaxing and fun things to do right at the resort. If you are too tired at night to head to the Magic Kingdom to see Wishes, you can see it right from the beach – they pipe the music in too! Enjoy your trip! October is our favorite time to visit!

28 Dave { 09.08.12 at 3:31 pm }

Thanks, Beth!!!

29 Jen { 09.08.12 at 5:05 pm }

Thanks everyone. I appreciate it!

30 Dave { 09.09.12 at 9:02 am }

Hope all the responses were helpful, Jen!

31 Jennifer { 09.23.12 at 11:44 pm }

Headed to WDW Oct. 2. Have a reservation at Cinderella’s Royal Table for a party of 9, but realized its the same day as our Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party day. Since we
aren’t doing a park hopper and might want to visit a different park during the day since we have tickets for Mickey that evening will it be impossible to change our Cinderella’s Royal Table to another day we are there? Party of 9…

32 Dave { 09.24.12 at 7:23 am }

Hey Jennifer, you won’t know til you try, but my guess is that it’ll be hard to change it this close and with that big a party…

33 Melissa { 11.06.12 at 2:07 pm }

Just returned from a week in Disney World. Arrived on Monday October 29 and left Monday Nov.5th. Because of all the research I had done I was under the impression that the crowds would be low. I followed recommended parks itinerary and avoided the ones that were not recommended for the day. I found the parks to be packed with people. Ride waits were not horrible but we still waited up to 45 minutes for some. We did use the fast pass system which helped and sometimes we did get lucky with the wait. However, walking through the park was difficult and not enjoyable and I love Disney! Forget visiting the countries in Epcot, the crowd made it difficult to enjoy the festival. I did expect the weekend to be busy in Epcot but it was awful. It was not as I had expected and I am wondering if the Hurricane had an impact on crowd levels. Has anyone else mentioned this experience? I will reconsider visiting again during this time.

34 Dave { 11.06.12 at 2:46 pm }

Hi Melissa and thanks for checking in and the update!

I was at Disney World Nov 2 through the 5th and found it interesting. The parks were packed, but wait times were low–e.g. on Saturday afternoon Space Mountain had just a 30 minute wait. In terms of wait times it was just as I expected. You’ll see 45 minute to even 75 minute waits on the popular rides in the afternoons pretty much any day of the year, and at the most popular rides by 10a any day of the year. But I completely agree with you on the number of people! They were everywhere! Especially at Epcot in the evenings…

This time of year it’s particularly important to, for example, avoid MK on days when it has evening fireworks, etc. See this:

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