(Article last updated: November 18, 2018)
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 2017, these were the Table Service locations serving their own spin on a Thanksgiving meal. Disney hasn't confirmed every restaurant participating for 2018, but the selection should be similar to what was offered in 2017 (* denotes restaurants Disney has confirmed for 2018):
- Liberty Tree Tavern (their normal menu is a very traditional Thanksgiving meal)*
- Tomorrowland Terrace will serve a Thanksgiving meal, though this is a quick-service location
- Coral Reef*
- Le Cellier*
- Rose & Crown*
- The Hollywood Brown Derby
- Tusker House
Located at resorts
- Ale & Compass (Yacht Club)*
- 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.
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 6 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 however in 2018, the first one will be held on Thanksgiving day which is Thursday, November 22.
For more information, you can read all about the holidays at Disney World.
Get more info about traveling in November on the November Crowd Calendar.
Have any other thoughts on spending Thanksgiving at Disney World? Feel free to share in the comments.