Weather – Fall is similar to Spring, but in reverse, when it comes to temperature. September and October typically bring continued summer heat with little noticeable drop off in temperature until late October, at the earliest. November becomes more pleasant, and December can be cool, though it will fluctuate. This past December we had temperatures still topping 90 degrees, so don’t rule out swimming at the Meadow Pool completely.
The biggest weather concern with the fall is, of course, that it is the peak of hurricane season. Stay abreast of the tropics leading up to your stay, and even if a storm doesn’t appear to be making landfall near the Cape Canaveral area, be cognizant of the possibility of heavy, extended rain.
Crowds – Whereas early September can see some of the lowest crowd levels at Walt Disney World and the Fort, late September begins a busier time. There are still some slower times mixed in during the fall, but for the most part with the Food and Wine Festival, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party spanning the entire 3 months, Fall can be one of the busier times to stay at the Fort. If you are looking to stay on or around Halloween and Thanksgiving, specifically, make reservations as early as possible. TIP - An underrated time that I like to stay is in the first two weeks of December. This is after the Thanksgiving holiday, and before the winter break typically starts, so crowds are usually low, and prices are much cheaper than they were around Thanksgiving and closer to Christmas.
Activities – Now to the fun part. As I’ve eluded to in the previous sections, there is a lot to do during the fall. The weather is still relatively nice, for the most part, so swimming is definitely still in play. On the flip side, the weather in the evening, especially in November and December, can be cool, which makes it a perfect time to take in the campfire sing-a-long and outdoor movie.
Starting toward the end of September, though it changes year to year, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party begins at Magic Kingdom. Though it is not a Fort Wilderness activity, it does provide two perks unique to Magic Kingdom resorts, of which the Fort is most definitely one. First, if you are attending the party you can hop on the ferry at the end of the night and head straight to the Fort. This is a huge convenience when everyone is trying to leave at once and the monorail is the longest line of the evening. Second, if you are not attending the party, you get to see the excellent fireworks spectacular from the party. Of course, as with Wishes, the views are a bit muted, but it is still a great show.
Halloween itself provides a great, unique experience to Fort campers. Like other times of the year at Fort Wilderness, the campers themselves are what make this night great. Campsites are transformed into haunted houses with elaborate decorations. Campers sit at the end of their site passing out candy, and there is even a golf cart parade earlier in the day with carts decorated for the holiday. This is truly something that you will find nowhere else on Disney property. What can I say? Fort campers are the best! Like other holidays, there are also special activities at the Meadow Recreation area, though these change on a yearly basis.
There is a slight lull in activities until Thanksgiving, though with the weather becoming more stable as hurricane season passes, and the temperatures decreasing, this is a great time to enjoy outdoor activities such as a carriage or wagon ride, or even a dinner at Mickey’s Backyard BBQ. Thanksgiving itself, like Halloween, will bring special activities at Meadow, so be sure to check your Activities Guide when you check in.
Shortly after Thanksgiving, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will begin, and with it will come the same perks that accompanied the Halloween party. Also, as the days creep toward Christmas, or, for the purposes of this article, December 21st, campers will begin decorating their sites for Christmas with beautiful light displays and intricate displays. This is one of the times that I definitely recommend renting a golf cart if you are able and spending a night cruising each loop. Sleigh rides are also offered around this time, and the food cart outside of Pioneer Hall typically is open, offering holiday treats.