Thanksgiving is really a magical time to be at the Walt Disney World Resort. Whether you’re planning a family vacation or a ‘friendsgiving’ escape, or simply taking advantage of the time off from school and work, there are so many reasons to spend the holiday in Disney. Thanksgiving is a crowded week to be in the parks, and reservations for dining and resorts can book up fast, but the holidays in Disney are also in full swing so you can experience everything from Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party to Candlelight Processional and more. If you’re planning your first Thanksgiving trip, here are five tips to keep in mind:
If you luck out and are able to book a last-minute Thanksgiving trip then more power to you! But we recommend booking as early as you’re able to. Resorts and restaurants fill up during Thanksgiving week, and airfare fluctuates dramatically based on the time you book. Cancelling and changing reservations made for Disney resorts through Disney directly is an easy process, so if you’re able to stay on Disney property, this is the best option if you need to book early to secure a room but want the flexibility of being able to cancel or change dates (within five days of your arrival date).
Pack lots of layers
Depending on where you’re from, the coldest winter nights in Orlando probably will never feel “cold” to you. Still, the weather at the Walt Disney World Resort really fluctuates in November and you could easily go from an 80+ degree day to a 65 degree day overnight. It most likely won’t be freezing or uncomfortably hot, but you can end up feeling like it is if you aren’t wearing the best clothing to the parks. Packing layers for a November trip is a must so you don’t find yourself dropping $60 on a Disney Parks sweatshirt if the weather gets chilly when the sun goes down.
Plan Thanksgiving dinner asap’
If you’re looking for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, you have plenty of options for where to go at the Walt Disney World Resort. You just need to make sure you book your reservation as soon as possible. Download the My Disney Experience mobile app so you can make dinner reservations (and view/edit hotel reservations, FastPass selections, and more). If you don’t initially get the reservation you were hoping for, keep checking to see what’s available on the app (the same goes for FastPasses). People cancel and change their plans all the time, so the reservation you’re looking for may just open up!
Consider non-traditional restaurants
If you don’t mind skipping the turkey (at least on Turkey Day), look for reservations at one of Disney’s signature restaurants.You may have an easier time finding a time slot for a nice dinner that isn’t traditional Thanksgiving food, and if you’re really still craving turkey, many restaurants will have some kind of seasonal offering for the holiday. Likewise, don’t overlook Disney Springs in your planning. Sometimes when restaurants at the parks and resorts are booking up fast you can still luck out and score a table somewhere just as special like STK or The Boathouse, or simply by going for a different kind of food like Italian, Chinese, Mexican, or whatever else you may be craving.
Bring your patience to the parks with you
Thanksgiving day and week will be crowded. There is unfortunately no way around this, and what’s worse is how many guests visit Disney Parks for the holiday without considering the crowd levels. If this week is the only time you can get off from school or work, or if you’re just set on spending Thanksgiving with the family in Disney, I wouldn’t try to deter you from your trip but it’s definitely helpful to expect crowds. Thanksgiving week is less crowded than Christmas week (where the parks typically close due to capacity), but it’s definitely up there! Lines will be long, transportation may take longer than usual, and overall you’ll just want to pack your patience to deal with the amount of people in the parks.
Have you spent Thanksgiving at Walt Disney World? Share with us what you love about spending Turkey Day in the parks in the comments!