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With Labor Day weekend upon us, it looks like the busy tourist season of 2015 is officially over. All the summer visitors are fleeing the parks and local visitors and annual passholders are gearing up to enjoy the slow season at Walt Disney World. However, even though guest levels and wait times are getting ready to settle down to a more moderate level, if you are planning a visit during this season, there are several things you should know about fall at Walt Disney World first:

1. Increased refurbishments

This year, Walt Disney World made headlines when it chose to close down one of the Magic Kingdom’s headlining attractions (The Pirates of the Caribbean) all summer long. This summer refurbishment was definitely outside the norm, and went against the park's normal pattern of closing rides after the busy summer period.

However, this one exception aside, this fall again will see a number of attraction refurbishments at Walt Disney World. This year's post-busy season closures will include the Walt Disney World Railroad at the Magic Kingdom, Primeval Whirl at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Living With the Land at Epcot. Though it’s true that crowds are thin at this time of year and lines are short, unfortunately there are a lot fewer attractions to experience during fall at Walt Disney World as well.

2. Different operating schedules 

Though Walt Disney World is very crowded in the summertime, the massive influx of guests is often balanced out by long hours at almost every park (with the obvious exception of Disney’s Animal Kingdom). However, with the fall comes the unceremonious end of late nights at Walt Disney World. After Labor Day, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will begin transitioning to a shorter schedule that will see this park closing at 7:30 PM nightly, instead of the 9:00 PM and 10:00 PM closings that are common earlier in the year. 

Over at the Magic Kingdom, schedules are going to get even more complicated. Because of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (and eventually, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party), The Magic Kingdom will close early at 7:00PM most nights in September, October and December.

Though Epcot and Disney’s Animal Kingdom won't change their schedules much (Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival practically requires it to be open late, even during the fall), guests hoping to visit the Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios during this time of the year will definitely need to check the park hours before they leave the house, especially if they were hoping to make it a late night at Disney. 

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My family frequented WDW in the late spring, after the break crowds but before sweltering summer. I've also personally been in the fall. This is a great opportunity to advocate FOR the calendar-based pricing system. Why should you pay the same amount for a ticket, and lose 2-6 hours of fun in the park. The argument can be made for shorter lines, etc...but I think that the prices that are charged now should be lighter for those who are forfeiting fun times in the name of refurbishment or daylight hours which cannot be avoided.

Generally for us, we go late January-early February. Coming from Canada's East Coast, the weather in Florida is a pleasant change from our blustery winters. Travelling is a caveat at this time, though, with storms wreaking havoc on flight itineraries. Parks generally aren't too crowded this soon after the Holiday season. We went a little earlier this passed year, maybe 2nd week in January(?), and due to the popularity of Frozen, they were still 'celebrating' Christmas...decorations and lighting was still up, carols were being piped in over audio system... we nicknamed it 'Christmas in July' because we were all in shorts and tee's. We were even serenaded by a Streetmosphere couple at Hollywood Studios who sang us a rousing rendition of Holly Jolly Christmas by request, and hoped that next year Santa would bring us sleeves. We enjoy all of our Disney excursions, but this last one was one of my favourites, because since it wasn't our first time, we weren't driven to 'get it all in' on this trip, and we got to experience some of that winter wonder without enduring the winter Holiday crowd.

These things are really not annoying... Yes, the parks close earlier, but with the crowd levels decreasing, you won't need to be at Magic Kingdom until midnight to do everything you want to do.
The reburbishments are unavoidable... WDW is open 365 days a year. Cast members work around the clock to do little things like painting and landscaping in the middle of the night when the park is closed.
As far as entertainment, this article is a little misleading. I have been any times in the "off season" and there are still plenty of shows, parades, etc.
I think October is the best time to visit!

My mother and I love going in the fall. Yes, we get sorta put off by rides being closed, but overall, we have a great time and we feel less pressed. In fact, we are getting ready for another trip very soon. We love Disney.

My hubby and I always go for 9 days starting Super Bowl weekend!! Cool weather, light crowds, less refurbishments! We chose to go the week before Thanksgiving one time....we won't go then again! Too warm and too crowded! This year we are going for 15 days, our last day being Mardi Gras! So excited!!!

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