October. Y'all are freaking me out.

katyringo

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 21, 2017
I have read a few posts now that go something like this:

"October is nuts, don't go"

"October is the absolute worst"

"Avoid October at all costs.."

So naturally.. I'm freaking out. We are booked at DLH for 7 nights in mid October. 5 full park days. We have genie+ and we will do OBB on a non park day. We chose the dates because (like most) the kids have a few days off school. Our other option would be Labor Day, but I don't want to do the first OBB party.. and we would start the trip before Halloween officially started which I don't want.

We've always done the parks at busy times. Our first trip was Christmas break, parks at capacity. Had an amazing trip. We had 3 days and did so much, not everything but enough.

We did 4th of July 2019 and thanksgiving 2018.

I'm a planner, I make the reservations, I learn the strategies, I use mobile ordering. Over 5 trips to both disneyland and DisneyWorld, I've never had a bad park day. We also plan to take full advantage of early entry for resort guests which should be back by October if Disney sticks to its word.

So- is October so bad that we move the trip to September? Or should I just ignore these comments and stick to my planning?
 

shosh1530

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jan 20, 2020
I think if you've managed those other really busy times you'll be fine.

We did go for fall break (week of Columbus Day) in October in 2016 and it was crazy crowded (like 10/10 on the Tuesday after the holiday). And it was 100 degrees. It was our first trip and it wasn't so successful.

But now with park reservations most days are crowded. We are thinking of doing a trip that same week in October this year. The heat is honestly the only part I'm worried about (every October trip we've done to Southern California has very warm). We know the parks much better now and how to deal with crowds.

With 7 days and DLH it sounds like you can easily have a great trip in October. I'd also want to avoid the first OBB party in September. It seems like it usually takes a few events for Disney to get their act together and run things smoothly.
 

Cal-Pie

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 2, 2011
Or should I just ignore these comments and stick to my planning?
Don't ignore the comments, it WILL be really busy, but don't change your trip. Disney has done a great job of marketing Halloween Time, and more and more school districts have moved to longer fall breaks, which has really increased crowds. You have plenty of park days if you need to take time out to regroup, you are familiar with the parks, and you've done your research. Mentally prepare yourself for the crowds, and you'll be fine.
 

StormyCA

Chief Troublemaker
Joined
Sep 22, 2014
Just manage your expectations and take it 'low and slow' and you'll be fine. I've found that when I'm there on a super crowded day if I just channel my inner Elsa and "Let it Go" I'm fine. I do recognize that it's much harder to do that with kidlets, though. We can manage our expectations, but it's not so easy to manage theirs! Concentrate on their 'must dos' and try to let the rest slide if need be.

You may be pleasantly surprised though, I've been twice during HalloweenTime and it wasn't super bad. Crowded, but manageable. This was in the 'Before Times™' though and honestly I think any 'Before Times™' info (including mine) needs to be taken with a hefty pinch of salt.


PS We're headed to WDW in 2023 in mid October. I'm already 'managing my expectations' and I have 16 months to wait!!
 

ktlm

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 20, 2008
Last year in October there was no FP at all-- no Genie+ and no Max Pass and it was really crowded. The lack of any type of FP was what really hurt our trip. The virtual queues were an extremely stressful nightmare. The park reservations and hopping restrictions were a pain- but with some type of FP, they would have been workable.

I think with Genie+ in place now you will be fine at DLR. We have been at really crowded times with Max Pass and it was fine. OBB is really really great.

Stick to your planning--- but be careful with that mobile ordering and keep an eye on what is going on with the pick ups. I got really irritated last year with that. I would mobile order- go to the place at my pick up time and wait 30 minutes for our food while watching walk ups order and get their food immediately. I quit doing mobile order and just walked up and found it was faster most places. Most places were doing walk ups. The Tiki room bar was not (and you had to mobile order about an hour and a half ahead for a dole whip the day we were there), but all the different Dole Whips were available for walk up around the corner at Tropical Hideaway with about a 5 minute wait as that line moves fast.
 
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ktlm

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 20, 2008
PS We're headed to WDW in 2023 in mid October. I'm already 'managing my expectations' and I have 16 months to wait!!
We have been to WDW in October several times. We love MNSSHP and WDW in October! We were going to do that last year, but cancelled due to the huge raise in resort prices from our last trip in 2019 ($3,000 more for the same category room at the same resort for the same week) and the fact that with that price increase offerings were limited and there was no FP at all. We decided to do DLR instead.

I would say that outside of going into EPCOT on a Saturday during Food&Wine, WDW in October was much less crowded than what we experienced at DLR last year.
 

mdmost

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 3, 2021
I liken going then to going at Christmas time. We've gone both at Christmas for 4 park days and Halloween for 3 and loved both trips. We knew it was going to be crowded beyond belief but wanted to see and experience the parks at those fun times of the year. My wife loves Halloween and I'm a big holiday decorations guy. We also wanted our kids to trick or treat and dressed up as Haunted Mansion characters (wife and I just wore Disney purchased Haunted Mansion host shirts).

I agree with the above comments, just manage your expectations and enjoy how magical they make Disneyland look at Halloween. Rope drop, get in as many rides as you can before the crush of humanity happens, take a break or at least take it easy with some shows or leisurely activities when it starts to get too hectic.
 

duckboyone

Mouseketeer
Joined
Mar 3, 2022
Back when my kids were little, October was always the time we went, precisely because it wasn't so busy, it was cooler weather, and we could pull them out of school with no issues. They did the trick-or-treating stuff back then but I guess it hadn't really taken off yet.
 

V.I.N.CENT.

Mouseketeer
Joined
Oct 20, 2009
I am one of those "never October again" commentors. Several factors play in to that for me. First, October was our go to month for YEARS. it's actually a treat for us to see the regular version of Haunted Mansion. Second, our last trip was five full days in 2021, restaurants/entertainment/hotels were not back in full service. And the final kicker was the lack of maxpass. I say maxpass in particular because we loved the system. Would genie+ have mad a difference on our last trip? Possibly. But I am reserving that judgement until I actually use the system.

If it's your first time going during the Halloween season, I say it's worth it. I think in particular after COVID, a lot of pent up vacationers chose Halloween to return, making it that much worse last year. I would recommend booking as many OBB nights as you can, its worth it.
 

V.I.N.CENT.

Mouseketeer
Joined
Oct 20, 2009
P.S., I went on November 1 last year and it was dead, dead, dead. It was sooooooo nice!
I would say book your trip the last few days of October and first few of November. I agree, been there on November 1st and is far less crowded. Actually the 31st is a great time to go. Fewer people on Halloween cause of events at schools and local trick or treating.
 

DLgal

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 12, 2013
Here is the thing. At this point, October is quite literally the most crowded time of year at DLR. It's worse than the 2 weeks around Christmas (which we did 4 days during in 2021 for the first time EVER due to having an annual pass with no blockouts...truly, it was pleasant). 4th of July, traditionally? Not crowded. We do a staycation at the Grand every year over 4th of July (typically 2nd-5th). It's always manageable. People in So Cal head to San Diego, the mountains, or the beaches for the 4th.

October sees NUMEROUS neighboring states flock over during school fall break weeks (Utah, Arizona, Nevada being the major ones). Annual passes are all allowed to come. "Locals" flock to the Halloween offerings. There is a Gay Days weekend. It's a literal madhouse all month. In addition it's usually HOT and windy and October is "red flag" for Santa Ana conditions, with almost a guarantee of a nearby wildfire (which can and has impacted the air quality in the parks).

As a passholder who goes all year, weekly, it's my least favorite month to be there. We usually go once, maybe, during that month. We won't even consider it during a Santa Ana/fire event. We made that mistake exactly once, in 2008, and it was awful. Fires are unpredictable, so you can't exactly plan around it, but 2020 was a bad year for fires (we had to evacuate our home 12 miles south of DLR that year in October) and every year just gets worse and worse.

I am going to be the person to tell you that going around Labor Day will be a SIGNIFICANTLY BETTER experience.
 

gelatoni fan

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 18, 2018
Christmas Break is usually the craziest time. But OBB can make October feel a lot worse due to the early DCA closing and higher wait times for some attractions during he mix in period. The crowd behavior is also a little different. Christmas tends to be more people who have no idea what they're doing and on New Years Eve, passholders are camping out for the fireworks. But October gets more people who will wait as long as necessary to ride Guardians of the Galaxy and Haunted Mansion. I don't really agree that October is worse than Christmas break but it certainly can feel that way if you are also trying to do the seasonal things and weren't prepared for OBB messing with crowds.

My experience with July 4 is that it's actually a low crowd day for summer in the morning but crazy busy closer to fireworks time.
 

Mle8308

Earned My Ears 1992 - 2007
Joined
Apr 18, 2021
I'll be going the third week in October, it's been almost 20 years! I don't really have a choice of time, I'm hoping for the best. I'll buy Genie+ if it's crazy.
 

KPeterso

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 26, 2004
Like another poster, October is also my least favorite month at DL. I am not a huge Halloween fan, so those offerings only mildly interest me. But it seems like the whole month of October is always very crazy with tons of people. It is usually right after I get back from my fall trips to WDW, so I don't care that if I don't go as much that month. I have been Christmas week before, but I swear it felt worse in October. Maybe Disneyland is better prepared for Christmas (seriously no idea on that), but it never has felt as bad as I would expect. Evenings in October are especially bad in my opinion.
 

Gypsybear

It's all about the Villains
Joined
Jul 8, 2008
There is a Gay Days weekend.

This takes place the first weekend in October every year. In Florida, it's every first weekend in June.

We've done Halloween at DL and WDW. Both are "oversold" in our opinion. That said, we continue to go. Why? Because, as others have said, we temper our expectations and go with the flow. We don't fight it. We've been the first week of October, and the last 2 weeks of October, and they're equally busy. Though Halloween week can be cumbersome. Again, just manage your expectations, and you'll be fine. We ALWAYS end up having a great time.

And yes, we're those old folks who dress up for the occasion (costumes).
 

Aspencreek

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jun 1, 2021
Back when my kids were little, October was always the time we went, precisely because it wasn't so busy, it was cooler weather, and we could pull them out of school with no issues.

SAME! ^^^ Back in the day we loved going in October because of the usually wonderful weather and break from the insane summer crowds. Probably best ever trip though was a visit to WDW about 10 years ago in early November. It was so dead that you could literally exit Space Mtn, walk around to the entrance, and immediately get on to a waiting car/ship. We did that ride about 6 times in a row with ZERO wait time until my son had finally had enough.

But that was then and this is now...
So what about mid-September or early November at DLR? Those going to be way better than October?
 

Wesley815

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jun 8, 2021
....and more school districts have moved to longer fall breaks, which has really increased crowds.
I've noticed this too.... seems like they have longer Fall, Winter, Spring and entire Summer break. Not sure when anyone is actually in school!! ;)
 








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