Tips for Thanksgiving at Disney World in 2017

(Article last updated: October 12, 2017)

With mild temps, holiday decor, and not-as-busy-as-other-holidays crowds, spending Thanksgiving at Disney World is a great idea for many people.

Here's some advice, including where to spend your Thanksgiving meal and how to handle the crowds.

Let's take a look...

Crowds for Thanksgiving at Disney World

Though Thanksgiving week is definitely considered a busy time at Disney World, it's not nearly as crowded as other times of year like Christmas or Easter weeks. Throughout the week, crowds continue to build, with Saturday-Wednesday generally being slightly less busy than Thursday-Sunday.

If you're planning to be there for the whole week, get in some quality park touring time at the beginning of your trip before crowds really ramp up.

Though we don't usually recommend Extra Magic Hours, the week of Thanksgiving at Disney World is a good time to take advantage of them if you're staying onsite, especially if you are willing to be awake early/late to take full advantage, and even better if you have Park Hopper tickets and can visit another park during the non-EMH portion of the day.

 Restaurants and dining options for Thanksgiving at Disney World

In 2016, these were the Table Service locations serving their own spin on a Thanksgiving meal. While Disney hasn't confirmed any restaurants for 2017, the selection should be similar:

Magic Kingdom

  • Cinderella’s Royal Table
  • Liberty Tree Tavern (their normal menu is a very traditional Thanksgiving meal)

Epcot

  • Akershus
  • Biergarten
  • Coral Reef
  • Le Cellier
  • Rose & Crown

Hollywood Studios

  • The Hollywood Brown Derby

Animal Kingdom

  • Tusker House

Located at resorts

  • Boatwright’s Dining Hall (Port Orleans Riverside)
  • California Grill (The Contemporary)
  • Cape May Cafe (Beach Club)
  • Captain’s Grille (Yacht Club)
  • Chef Mickey’s (The Contemporary)
  • Fresh Mediterranean Market (at The Dolphin)
  • Garden Grove (at The Swan)
  • Grand Floridian Cafe (at The Grand Floridian)
  • Il Mulino (at The Swan)
  • Jiko (at Animal Kingdom Lodge)
  • Mickey’s Backyard BBQ (at Ft. Wilderness)
  • Narcoossee’s (at The Grand Floridian)
  • Olivia’s Cafe (at Old Key West)
  • Sanaa (at Animal Kingdom Villas - Kidani Village)
  • Trail’s End (at Ft. Wilderness)
  • Trattoria al Forno (on the Boardwalk)
  • The Turf Club Bar & Grill (at Saratoga Springs)
  • Victoria & Albert’s (at The Grand Floridian)
  • The Wave (at The Contemporary)
  • Whispering Canyon Cafe (at Wilderness Lodge)

Although restaurants often book up way ahead of time, you can check availability on the Disney World site at https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/#/search=thanksgiving/sort=relevance/

Holiday festivities

Though Thanksgiving decor isn't something that Disney World focuses on, holiday decorations will be everywhere.

Holiday things you can expect to see Thanksgiving week:

  • Holiday decor in the parks
  • Resorts decorated for the holidays

Holiday things you should not expect to see Thanksgiving week:

  • Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party - though these begin at Magic Kingdom in early November, they don't take place Thanksgiving week. Closing Magic Kingdom at 7 p.m. for the party to be held would be difficult with the surge of crowds.
  • Candlelight Processional (not available at the beginning of the week) - this holiday event at Epcot usually begins the day after Thanksgiving. In 2017, the first one will be held on Friday, November 24.

For more information, you can read all about the holidays at Disney World.

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Get more info about traveling in November on the November dashboard.

Have any other thoughts on spending Thanksgiving at Disney World? Feel free to share in the comments.

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Robert

Our family will be staying at the Swan Hotel for Thanksgiving in 2017, we are 4 adults, 1 toddler and 1 infant.

Since 180 days is approaching fast (in 2 weeks), I’m trying to nail down our choice for eating dinner on Thanksgiving Day.

Currently the two main ideas are:
Option A – Liberty Tree Tavern
PRO: for obvious theming and cuisine parallels.
CON: must use Disney transportation to get there (could be extra busy)

Option B- A restaurant at Epcot (undecided restaurant)
PRO: Entirely walkable from Swan hotel
CON: not an obvious natural choice for having Thanksgiving dinner

Any suggestions would be most appreciated!
Robert

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