The Week Before Thanksgiving at Disney World

The Week Before Thanksgiving at Disney World

by Richard
(Burleson, Texas)

How is the week leading up to and including the day of Thanksgiving? I want to see the Christmas decorations at all the parks but avoid the big crowds and take the kids without missing to much school. Also where is a good place to have a Thanksgiving meal while I'm there?

The Boardwalk Inn Christmas Tree

The Christmas decorations at the Boardwalk

Photo by Tom Bricker (Dad's newest photographer. Check out his Disneyland photo ebook)

Dad’s Something to be Thankful for Answer

Richard,

Thanksgiving is one of the busiest times of the year, right up there with the 4th of July, Easter, New Years, and Christmas itself. Like you, many parents want to see the magic of Christmas at Disney without taking their kids out to school for too long. Unfortunately, that means you’ll have huge crowds to contend with. But you can be thankful for one thing this Thanksgiving: that you have Dad on your side to help you avoid the crowds!

In 2012, like always, Thanksgiving happens to fall on a Thursday, which means that most of the week will be jam packed, particular from Monday to Saturday. If you look at Dad’s November Crowd Calendar, you’ll see the red color – that means you’ll wait over an hour for most rides, 2-3 hours for “big” rides, and over half an hour for food at counter service locations!

Dad’s November Crowd Calendar


The weekend proceeding Thanksgiving will be slightly less crowded, so if it’s at all possible for you to go earlier in the Thanksgiving week I would recommend that. There will be crowds – but with the help of good ole Dad, you can learn some tricks to help avoid them and make the most of your Thanksgiving trip to Walt Disney World.

Dad’s Top Ten Tips to Avoid Walt Disney World Crowds


Remember to get to the parks early – before opening even! The crowds only increase throughout the day but you can get quite a bit in those first couple of hours. Ride the “big” ones early or use FASTPASSes to avoid overly long lines. Most importantly, go to the parks armed with a really great PLAN to help you see the most of the parks you can and avoid stress whenever possible.

The folks at Touringplans.com are professionals at helping families save time in line and see more at Walt Disney World. I’d check out their site and see if they can help you make your PLAN. From crowd projections to live wait-time updates to their suggested touring plans, they have everything you need to PLAN the Perfect Vacation.

Dad’s Touringplans.com Page


There are all kinds of special things happening at Walt Disney World for Thanksgiving, and you should take time to enjoy them. It’s also Dad’s favorite time of the year – Christmas at Walt Disney World! Remember to stop and smell the poinsettias – there is so much to see and do at this time of year that you can take a break from fighting the crowds just to stop and enjoy the magic unfolding around you!

As for a meal, anywhere you can celebrate with your family and appreciate each other is a great Thanksgiving meal in dad’s mind, but if you’re looking for the traditional trimmings, head to Liberty Tree Tavern where Thanksgiving dinner is served every day. If you’re too late to get an Advanced Dining Reservation there, rest assured that many of the quick service locations throughout the parks and resort restaurants have special seasonal menus.

Dad’s Bottom Line

Richard, even though the crowds will be sizeable at Walt Disney World this Thanksgiving, don’t forget that you have something to be thankful for: you get to celebrate the holidays with your family at the Most Magical Place on Earth.

Comments for The Week Before Thanksgiving at Disney World

Click here to add your own comments

Oct 23, 2012
Try the week after Thanksgiving
by: Russ

We've gone the week after Thanksgiving and have found the crowds to be light (Dad's crowd calendar agrees) and the weather to be mostly pleasant. The Magic Kingdom seemed absolutely quiet! If you pack mostly for warm weather and a day or two of slightly chilly weather, you should be fine. If you're staying on-site, you can use the laundry to compensate whatever direction the wind blows.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask Dad.