Summer vacation season can be a thrill, but as any traveller knows, it is also insanely busy. While many theme park-goers have a solid “strategy” in place for getting around the parks during the busy season, visiting the Orlando theme parks in the fall is a much more laid-back affair.
Though rides like It's a Small World or Manta are pretty much the same whenever you go, these five rides and attraction benefit greatly from the slower, cooler fall season, and are must-do attractions if you find yourself at one of Orlando's parks this fall.
1. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts – Universal Studios Florida
When Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts opened this past summer, guests were excited, and showed up in droves. The huge attendance boost coupled with some early technical difficulties with the ride pushed average wait times to around three hours during the summer months, with the ride topping out at a truly excessive seven hour wait during its first few days of operation.
However, now that fall has arrived, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts is seeing wait times that range from a modest 30 minutes all the way down to a truly amazing 5 minutes. This past Saturday, guests were able to walk right on the ride, and ride vehicles were leaving the station half empty.
We’ve told you before that ride experience on Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts varies widely depending on where you are sitting, and with wait times hitting the floor, guests can grab re-rides in different rows with little to no wait. If you don’t want to watch the pre-show several times, you can also blast through the single rider line, and probably ride with your party as long as the line is five minutes or less.
2. Tomorrowland Transit Authority – Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World
The Tomorrowland Transit Authority (or TTA for short) is one of the best attractions at Walt Disney World, if only for its spectacular views of Cinderella Castle and other surrounding attractions. Though the ride is a great attraction to “cool off” on during the hot summer season, the TTA is elevated from "should do" status during the summer to "must-do" for the fall season.
Wait times for the TTA during the off season all but evaporate, and guests can walk on this attraction and see spectacular views of the Magic Kingdom decked out in its fall colors. If things are especially slow, you can ride the TTA continuously, taking in the sights over and over (and getting some really great photos). The views from this attraction during the fall season are truly a sight to behold, and the TTA provides the perfect vantage point with which to admire the seasonal beauty of the Magic Kingdom.
3. Treasures of the Seven Seas: A Pirates Adventure – Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World
If you yearn to do something a bit more active at the Magic Kingdom, you can check out the Treasures of the Seven Seas interactive game in Adventureland. I would never recommend this experience under any circumstances to summer travellers, as the heat and high guest density (combined with Adventureland’s general lack of shade) make this game a sticky exercise in frustration as guests queue for quest points and sweat profusely in the high summer heat.
However, in the fall, this game is actually a fun attraction. The cooler temperatures mean you can walk around comfortably for the two hours it takes to play through the game’s five adventures and the low crowd density means you can visit the game’s different quest points with little to no wait. This game is definitely a lot of fun, and features an interesting pirate-themed story and a truly excellent use of practical environmental effects.