Walt Disney World (221380)
Credit: Cyril Josh Barker

Autumn is the perfect time to visit Orlando in what is known as the offseason during September through November, when crowds are fewer, children are back in school and the weather is still warm.

During a recent “Fall Escape” to the Sunshine State, I took advantage of some great hotel and airfare prices, soaked up some early fall sun and got a chance to see some great attractions. Staying near Walt Disney World, I attended the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival and relaxed, getting myself fully prepared for autumn in New York.


October through November is a great time to head to Orlando. Temperatures are still in the upper 80s and low 90s, making it perfect weather to take a dip in the pool or head to a nearby beach. Airfare and hotels are also cheaper, as many hotels have sweet deals to attract tourists. Although traveling during the week will turn up a cheaper rate, weekends are also reasonable for quick getaways. I stayed for three nights, Thursday through Sunday, catching a little bit of the weekend offerings and getting some weekday savings.


One word: Kissimmee. While it might seem attractive to stay at a Walt Disney World hotel, they can be a little pricy. Some of the best five-star resorts can run you $300 to $400 a night. However, there are plenty of Disney hotels that are reasonable if you are looking to save. If you’re dead set on staying at the resort, I recommend Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort and Disney’s Pop Century Resort.

However, there are plenty of great quality hotels outside of the Disney property in Kissimmee. Many of these hotels offer great rates and free or low-cost shuttles to Orlando’s top attractions. I stayed at the Radisson Resort Orlando-Celebration, just a few miles from Disney World. Rates will run you $60 to $75 a night plus a resort fee. The hotel had a tropical feel, with two swimming pools and spas. Although there was food available on-site, the hotel is within walking distance of several other great dining options. Also nearby is Orlando’s Old Town shopping area, flea markets and the Fun Spot America theme park.


As a fan of all things Disney, I couldn’t go to Orlando without visiting the parks. During my stay I went to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Thanks to Disney World’s park hopper ticket, I was able to visit both parks in one day without paying two admissions and was able to visit more if I wanted to.

On the day I arrived, in the evening, I took in the new Disney Springs (formally Downtown Disney), which recently opened its Town Center shopping area. The new section has several stores and is basically an outdoor mall. Town Center features Spanish-revival style architecture, drawing from a rich history of Spanish explorers who landed in Florida centuries ago, and a promenade with dozens of high-end and midrange stores.

The next day I headed to the parks, stopping first at the Magic Kingdom in midmorning. Enjoying great weather, I was able to ride Pirates of the Caribbean and Space Mountain, and I caught a parade. Using FastPass+, I was scheduled on rides and attractions I wanted to visit without having to wait in line.

In the afternoon, I took the monorail to Epcot, where the International Food and Wine Festival was going on. Visitors can eat their way around the world at Epcot World Showcase, sampling good-sized portions of dishes from around the globe. To get the full experience, I got the Tasting Sampler package, where I received eight tickets to try eight dishes and wines. I tried some great dishes including a barbacoa enchilada from Mexico, spezzatino alla toscana con polenta from Italy and roast duck from China.

Taking in a ride in the evening, I opted for “Soarin’ Around the World.” This new version of the popular attraction gives guests a thrilling bird’s eye view of Earth’s scenic wonders, visiting six continents in all. Fly-overs include the Great Wall of China, the Great Pyramids of Egypt and the Eiffel Tower.

All in all, if you’re looking for a great inexpensive getaway this fall, Orlando is it. There is still time left to get a great rate on a package deal and catch the little bit of summer that’s left in Florida.