September 2014 at Walt Disney World

By Dave Shute

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September 2014 at Walt Disney World from yourfirstvisit.netThis page reviews September 2014 Walt Disney World crowds, prices, deals and discounts, weather, and operating hours; adds a few other notes; and ends with week by week summaries.

September combines low crowds with low prices, and typically also has a great room rate and free dining deals as well.

This makes it a great month for returning visitors.

But it has lousy weather, combining continuing summer heat and humidity with the peak of the hurricane season, making me not so keen on the month for first time visitors who may never return.


September is one of the least crowded months at Walt Disney World–though I am one of the few forecasting higher than normal crowds in September 2014 as an aftereffect of the World Cup on South American vacation patterns.

On a crowd scale of 1-11, the week beginning 8/30 has a crowd rating of 2/lower, the week beginning 9/6 1/lowest, the week beginning 9/13 3/low, the week beginning 9/20 2/lower and the week beginning 9/27 3/low.

However, once the Halloween Party and the Food and Wine Festival begin, you can face higher waits if you go to the parks on the wrong days.  See this for how to avoid these crowds.

See this for more on 2014 crowds at Disney World.


September hotel prices begin the month at near their lowest levels of the year at all resort types.

Prices remain at this level at the deluxes until September 26th, when they are 15% higher than the lowest of the year.

Prices go up a bit at the values and moderates on September 13, at the values to 15% higher than the lowest of the year, and at the moderates to 10% higher.

See this for more on 2014 resort hotel prices at Walt Disney World.


Deals are available for September 2014. Find the details here.


September weather is hot and humid, with afternoon storms common.  It is about as bad as Orlando weather 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 hurricanes are rarely a threat until mid-August.

The peak of the hurricane season begins then and continues into early October. Hurricanes rarely have an impact on a Disney World vacation, but all of September is in the period when they are most likely.


Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party kicks off in early September.

The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival begins September 19.


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.

These calendars can be found by clicking the following links:


The week rankings that follow below are from 2014 weeks to visit, ranked in order, and are designed for first-time visitors who do not know whether or not they will return.

2014 Weeks to Visit Walt Disney World Ranked in Order v2Click the image for a calendar view of 2014 weeks (when open, keep clicking to enlarge.)

8/30/2014 Lower prices at values and moderates, lowest prices at deluxes. Lower crowds. Crowd ranking=2. Week ranking=21. Use the Fastpass+ Lower-Crowd Itinerary, but swap Tuesday and Second Saturday, and also Monday and Thursday, in both the itinerary and its To-Do List

9/6/2014 Prices lower at values and moderates, lowest at deluxes. Lowest crowds. Crowd ranking=1. Week ranking=20. Use the Fastpass+ Lower-Crowd Itinerary

9/13/2014 Prices low at values and moderates, lowest at deluxes. Low crowds. Crowd ranking=3. Week ranking=24.  Use Fastpass+ Lower-Crowd Itinerary, but swap Sunday and Tuesday in both the itinerary and its To-Do List

9/20/2014 Prices low at values and moderates, lower at deluxes. Lower crowds. Crowd ranking=2. Week ranking=22. Use the Fastpass+ Lower-Crowd Itinerary but swap Sunday and Tuesday in both the itinerary and its To-Do List

9/27/2014 Prices low at values and moderates, moderate at deluxes. Low crowds. Crowd ranking=3. Week ranking=26. Use the Fastpass+ Lower-Crowd Itinerary but swap Sunday and Tuesday in both the itinerary and its To-Do List

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1 Anonymous { 02.20.14 at 9:09 pm }

Hi, Dave. If I’m reading September crowd level charts correctly, you are rating the week of 9/20 as having lower crowds than the week of 9/13, while others seem to be rating 9/13 with lower crowds than the week of 9/20. Can you give me some insight as to why you believe 9/20 week have lower crowd levels? Also, with Food and Wine beginning a week earlier than past years, does this change your thoughts on predicted crowd levels? I’m looking at a nine-night visit starting on 9/11, 9/18, or 9/25, with my preferences listed in reverse order; however, crowd levels are my number one priority, with the opportunity for free dining my second priority.

2 Dave { 02.21.14 at 7:58 am }

For the week of the 13th, see the entries for July and September here:

Food and Wine coming earlier will have little impact on park-wide crowds the week of the 20th. All it will do is crowd Epcot a little more in the evenings–particularly on the weekends. I am guessing that the earlier Food and Wine means that free dining, if offered, will have its end arrival date a week earlier than last year–when it ended 9/25.

3 Jeff { 02.25.14 at 8:55 am }

My question is similar to the first poster’s. Before I knew about the start of F&W I was leaning toward a 9/20 arrival. Now I’m wondering if 9/13 would be better, especially if your above comment about Free Dining holds true. This stuff is so easy to overthink, but Free Dining is by far the best deal for our family and the 180 booking mark is fast approaching. I know FD isn’t guaranteed, but we picked September with hopes of getting it.

With a 9/20 arrival, would you still hold to your recommended itinerary (which has visitors in EPCOT on the first night), considering that it’s the first Saturday of F&W? Won’t EPCOT crowds be higher than normal that day? Or all things considered would you rate a 9/13 arrival higher?

4 Mabel { 02.25.14 at 9:42 am }

Hi Dave! I’m planning on arriving to WDW on Sept 12th staying @ Contemporary Resort until Sept 22th. Any recommendations on the itinerary??? I am travelling alone with my 7 yr old daughter. Second time visiting WDW, she has only visited MK, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Downtown Disney and Sea World.
On the downtime will like to take her to other parks as well.
We will have the dinning plan. Any recommendations on where to eat? Shows?
Thanks so much for your help!!!! :)

5 Dave { 02.25.14 at 6:18 pm }

Jeff, all things considered I would rate 9/13 higher if the issue is the potential for free dining. And yes–for those staying at a WDW hotel, I’d still do Epcot that first evening despite the F&W crowds, as scheduled FastPass+ makes it much easier to enjoy a park during a late arrival…

6 Dave { 02.25.14 at 6:20 pm }

Mabel, see this–it’s not an exact fit to your arrival dates, but if you start it Saturday it’ll do great! Note that it includes recommended dining.

7 Jeff { 02.26.14 at 11:24 am }

Thanks for the input Dave. Out of curiosity, what does your gut tell you about Free Dining during October? You rate the weeks of 10/18 and 10/25 in your top 10, and Disney did run FD during that period last year (which probably means nothing for 2014, I know).

We aren’t first timers, but your week rankings still hold value even after many visits, I’ve found. We did your #1 week in 2012 and LOVED it, and it happened to have Free Dining to boot!

8 Lisa { 02.26.14 at 12:46 pm }

FYI for the free dining in September last year they did do it for people that booked the Art of Animation which is great but unfortunately people that booked the little mermaid room were unable to take advantage of it. We did go in midseptember last year Sept 14 thru 18 and the crowds were very low. This year we are going to do the Sept 20-25 hoping that they do the free dining too.

9 philip { 02.26.14 at 1:44 pm }

Any predictions on the free dining for this September?

10 Dave { 02.27.14 at 8:10 am }

Jeff–my gut is not a chance…but of course I hope I’m wrong!!! And thanks for the kind words…

11 Dave { 02.27.14 at 8:13 am }

Philip I am still noodling over this. I suspect it will happen, but am not strongly convinced it will. I’ll write a post about my reasoning (hah if you can call it that!) sometime in early March…

12 Marguerite { 03.12.14 at 8:32 am }

I am coming from Ireland to Orlando 2/9/2014 – 16/9/2014 as most people would be aware our weather in Ireland is a hit or miss and now I am regretting booking in September in case it rains all the time. Do you think from past experience this would be the case or should we just go with it and just hope for the best with the weather?


13 Dave { 03.13.14 at 7:33 am }

Marguerite, there’s a lot to like about those dates, especially low crowds and low prices. Brief afternoon thunderstorms are common, and they are in the peak of the hurricane season. Hurricanes are rare, and even more rarely affect Disney World…

14 Lisa { 03.17.14 at 5:53 pm }

we have gone 3 times in september and have been rather lucky with the weather. We had only two incidents that it rained and both times were for short periods. One for two hours and the other for about 20 minutes. It is hit or miss but was fine for us.

15 Dave { 03.18.14 at 7:18 am }

Thanks, Lisa!

16 MO { 03.18.14 at 9:48 am }

Thanks for your informative info.First time visitor to WDW from South Africa (13-23 Sept 2014).Please can you explain what the 180 days before means ? do i have to book 180 days before arrival ?Question being , i was waiting for FD than to book.Kindly elaborate

17 Dave { 03.19.14 at 7:04 am }

MO, see this:

You don’t have to book dining 180 days before, but if you don’t you may be shut out of the most popular venues. If the deal you are hoping for does not transpire, you can always cancel your bookings.

18 Marguerite { 03.27.14 at 10:23 am }

Thanks Dave as I said coming from Ireland and it rains 80% of the time I think I could live with a couple of showers :)
Another thing that I have read is about the love bugs!! Yuck
Does everywhere be covered with these bugs? I know they don’t bite or sting but the thought of eating outside and these all over food is a bit crazy.

19 Dave { 03.28.14 at 6:30 am }

Marguerite love bugs are an issue if you drive your own car–they mess up the finish. This is not a likely circumstance for you! Otherwise they are at worst a trivial annoyance, noticed largely at the pools…

20 Marguerite { 03.28.14 at 8:06 am }

Thank you Dave

21 Patty { 03.29.14 at 11:10 pm }

We booked a trip for sept 25-30. I am traveling with my 6&4 year old girls who are crazy for princesses! Per your suggestion, I was planning on booking the Polynesian, but I read about the pool closure. This probably won’t be our only time to Disney and I suspect because of my girls’ ages, we will be spending a good amount of time at the pool (weather permitting). What’s your opinion on the best resort option with these specs?

22 Lara Gordon { 03.30.14 at 1:45 am }

Hi Dave,
Just refining my itinerary before I start booking all our meals starting in the next 2 days!
Do you think we should do Busch Gardens with 9, 7 and 5 year old kids? I heard someone say that the rides are aimed at teens and adults and not much for kids there? Its just that we are going to Discovery Cove and it was only an extra $20 each to do Busch Gardens but if its going to be a waste of time don’t want to travel all the way and tire out the kids before we get to WDW.
Can I please get your thoughts on this?
Thanks so much for all your help so far!

23 Lara Gordon { 03.30.14 at 5:27 am }

And in addition to my question about Busch Gardens above I also have 2 more quick questions sorry. If my kids do the pirate adventure cruise do you know if it is best from the Grand Floridian, Port Orleans, Yacht and Beach Club or Carribean – or are they all the same? And should we try and fit in dinner at Be My Guest so we can meet the beast and dine in that castle?

24 Dave { 03.31.14 at 7:45 am }

Patty, for an MK focused trip the Contemporary is the next best choice. Its pools are dull–but open!–and the ability to walk back and forth from the Contemporary to MK is a delight…

25 Dave { 03.31.14 at 7:45 am }

Sorry, Lara, I don’t really have an opinion on Busch Gardens…I can barely keep up with Disney World!

26 Dave { 03.31.14 at 7:50 am }

Lara, I don;t have an opinion on the Pirate Cruises either! Am I second rate or what.

BOG is a great venue for adults, but not as fun as Cinderella, Chef Mickey’s, Crystal Palace, Hoop Dee Doo, or Akershus for kids…If you’ve already covered those, then by all means shoot for it!

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