Planning Checklist: Walt Disney World Seasonal Events

Once upon a time, Disney World may have been a “summer vacation only” destination, but that is no longer the case. They have been hitting it out of the park with various “off-season” festivals and holiday celebrations for decades.

Seasonal offerings like Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party have become so popular, many families plan their annual trips around them.

food and wine

If your heart is set on seeing snowfall on Main Street USA or swooning over the springtime topiaries at Epcot, consider planning tips from the experts. Visiting Disney World during a seasonal event requires a little extra effort and research.

If planned properly though, you could have the trip of a lifetime and find a new favorite time of the year to travel!

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Tip #1: Book your trip early

As already stated, seasonal events have become more popular than ever. That means you don’t want to book your trips last minute.

Before flights, hotel rates, and park tickets skyrocket, lock in your trip dates with one of our Mickey Travels agents. Best of all, if any deals become available after booking our agents can apply them to your trip.

But yes, we do strongly encourage you to select trip dates sooner rather than later. The earlier you book, the better chance you have of booking a cost-effective trip.

Plus, with the extra homework you’ll have, you’ll need the extra time to prepare.

Custom Mickey wreaths

Tip #2: Pre-Purchase Event Tickets

After booking your Disney trip, securing the necessary tickets is a must. No, we aren’t just talking about park tickets.

Some Disney World seasonal events require the purchase of a separate ticket (eg Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.) Epcot festivals, like the International Food and Wine Festival, only require park admission.

(Please note Epcot festivals do not include complimentary refreshments.)

Other offerings, like Epcot’s Candlelight Processional, technically only require park admission.

(These concerts are free to all Epcot guests, but only visitors who purchased a Candlelight Processional Dining Package are guaranteed a seat in the America Gardens Theater. The walk-up only lines for these shows can be discouragingly long.)

EPCOT Candlelight Processional

Credit: Disney

Nuances like this mean you’ll need to do your homework. The last thing you want is to discover your event of choice is sold out or you didn’t budget properly to partake in activities.

Write up an ideal itinerary beforehand and consult your travel agent on ticketing needs.

Tip #3: Buy festival gear

If you’re visiting during a holiday, you’ll want to bring fun accessories.

For instance, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is the only time adults can dress up in head-to-toe costumes. This is the perfect opportunity to cosplay as your favorite Disney princess.

Not So Scary Halloween 2022

Credit: Disney

If visiting during the Christmas season, you may want to bring some holiday-themed t-shirts, light-up necklaces, or even sweaters if the weather permits.

Do keep the weather in mind though.

There is no bad weather, only bad packing. So don’t get caught sweating to death in your favorite ugly Christmas sweater because it’s technically wintertime.

Tip #4: Check the Weather Before Packing

Speaking of the weather

You can check for average historical temperatures, but Florida weather can be a hit or miss during the off-season. Winter guests have experienced bouts of cold other unseasonable humidity.

Whether you’re planning to soak in the sun at an Epcot festival or embrace an autumn chill in the Magic Kingdom, you must rely on the actual forecast. If this means you delay your packing a bit, you’re better off packing appropriate clothing.

Better yet, if you have room in your suitcase, pack some emergency pants, jackets, and rain gear for unexpected weather.

weather

Either way, traveling to Disney for a seasonal event doesn’t guarantee ideal weather for that event. Stay ahead of the game by being prepared.

Tip #5: Do your research

Guidebooks are a thing of the past and the internet is the future for travelers! Disney blogs (cough cough like this one) are staffed by fans who visit the parks regularly and share their knowledge.

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Photo: Mickey Blog

Not only do you want to have appropriate attire and tickets, but you’ll benefit from some insider knowledge. Reading trip reports and watching vloggers on YouTube can help you answer questions like –

What is the least crowded day to visit [insert event here]?

What new (and delicious) event-exclusive snacks should you try?

What events/shows/attractions are must-dos?

How should you prioritize your itinerary?

Disney price increase

Think of these resources like a letter from a well-meaning friend. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a community more helpful than fellow Disney fans.

Armed with this checklist, we hope you’re ready to plan an extra special Disney World vacation. We hope you’ll let us help you plan a truly unforgettable trip!

Feature Image: Disney

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