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How Busy is Disney World During Thanksgiving Week?

How Busy Is Disney World During Thanksgiving Week?

Understanding the Thanksgiving Week Crowds at Disney World

Walt Disney World transforms into a hub of festive activity during Thanksgiving Week, drawing visitors eager to combine the magic of Disney with the warmth of the holiday season. Anticipating how busy Disney World gets this time of year is crucial for planning your visit.

Historically, Thanksgiving at Disney World ranks as one of the busiest periods, rivaling even the Christmas week. With schools on break and families looking to celebrate Thanksgiving in a memorable way, the theme parks see a significant spike in guest numbers.

thanksgiving at disney world

Thanksgiving Week Activities and Dining at Disney World

The Disney parks offer a plethora of holiday-themed activities and dining options during Thanksgiving week. From the Magic Kingdom hosting the Merry Christmas Party to Disney’s Hollywood Studios lighting up with festive cheer, there’s no shortage of entertainment. For those craving a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, places like Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom and the Hollywood Brown Derby at Hollywood Studios become hotspots, serving up everything from herb roasted turkey breast to roast garlic mashed potatoes.

Disney Springs becomes a focal point for many, with restaurants like Raglan Road Irish Pub and Wine Bar George offering special Thanksgiving meals. Not just limited to the parks, several Disney resorts such as Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort present unique Thanksgiving offerings. Whether it’s a lavish Thanksgiving meal at Grand Floridian Cafe or a casual Thanksgiving turkey bowl at Satu’li Canteen in Animal Kingdom, the options cater to all tastes and dining preferences.

thanksgiving at disney world

Tips for Navigating the Holiday Crowds

Given the holiday crowds, having a strategy is essential. Utilize the Disney Experience app for real-time updates on Disney World park hours and dining reservations. Consider visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom or Epcot for slightly lighter crowds compared to the Magic Kingdom. Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge offer cozy retreats from the hustle and bustle, where guests can still enjoy seasonal vegetables and traditional turkey dinner in a more relaxed setting.

Booking dining reservations early is crucial, especially for popular spots like Whispering Canyon Cafe or the Garden Grill Restaurant, known for their traditional Thanksgiving fare. For those looking to avoid long waits at restaurants, quick service restaurants throughout the parks also offer holiday-themed dishes, from wood grilled turkey breast to pumpkin cream cheese mousse.

thanksgiving at disney world

Maximizing Your Disney World Visit During Thanksgiving

While visiting Walt Disney World during Thanksgiving week demands dealing with more substantial crowds and planning, the festive atmosphere, holiday decorations, and special menus make it a unique experience. From the Thanksgiving Day Parade to the intricate Christmas decorations that start to adorn the parks, the holiday spirit is palpable. Visiting Disney Springs for shopping or enjoying a meal provides a festive yet less crowded alternative to the parks themselves.

To truly make the most of your Disney vacation during this busy time, consider staying at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort or Disney’s Port Orleans Resort for their proximity to both the parks and Disney Springs. Planning your park days around park hours and anticipated holiday kitchens in Epcot can also enhance your Disney magic experience, allowing you to enjoy the Thanksgiving feast and Christmas week celebrations to the fullest.

thanksgiving at disney world


Spending Thanksgiving at Walt Disney World Resort is a dream come true for many. With careful planning, making dining reservations, and using the Disney Experience app, you can navigate the holiday crowds and create lasting memories. Whether you’re indulging in a traditional Thanksgiving dinner at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, enjoying the Thanksgiving Day celebrations, or exploring the theme parks and Disney resorts, the essence of the holiday season envelops you, making your Disney vacation truly magical.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still got questions about Disney World During Thanksgiving Week? Check out our FAQ below.

How busy is Disney World during Thanksgiving week?

Disney World experiences one of its highest crowd levels during Thanksgiving week, as many families choose to celebrate Thanksgiving at the parks. Expect longer wait times for attractions and make use of the Disney Experience app to keep track of Disney World park hours and wait times.

Can I find a traditional Thanksgiving dinner at Disney World?

Yes, many restaurants across Walt Disney World Resort offer a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Venues like Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge serve holiday favorites, including herb roast turkey, mashed potatoes, and cranberry relish.

Are there special Thanksgiving events at Disney World?

While Disney World doesn’t host specific Thanksgiving Day events, the parks are in full holiday swing with Christmas decorations and special entertainment. Magic Kingdom, for instance, might have the Merry Christmas Party, which starts in early November.

How can I manage dining reservations during Thanksgiving at Disney World?

To secure dining reservations during this busy time, book as early as possible, ideally 60 days in advance. Use the Disney Experience app to explore available Thanksgiving meal options and secure your spot at popular eateries like Hollywood Brown Derby or Grand Floridian Cafe.

Is Disney Springs a good place to visit during Thanksgiving week?

Disney Springs is an excellent choice for those looking to enjoy the holiday ambiance with less crowding. With its array of dining options like Raglan Road Irish Pub and Wine Bar George, you can enjoy a Thanksgiving meal or shop for holiday gifts without the same level of theme park crowds.

Do any Disney resorts offer Thanksgiving dinners?

Yes, several Disney resorts provide special Thanksgiving dinners. Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort, and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort are among the places where you can enjoy a festive meal away from the parks.

Can I still enjoy traditional holiday foods at quick service restaurants in the parks?

Absolutely! Quick service restaurants throughout the Disney parks offer holiday-themed dishes, such as turkey gravy, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin cream cheese mousse, allowing guests to enjoy traditional Thanksgiving fare without a dining reservation.

Are park hours extended during Thanksgiving week at Disney World?

Disney World park hours may be extended during Thanksgiving week to accommodate the higher volume of guests. Check the Disney Experience app for the most up-to-date information on park hours and event schedules.

Holly Smith

I'm Holly a Mum of 4 with a love for everything Disney & Orlando!

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