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Should I go the Saturday after Thanksgiving?

by John
(Little Rock, Arkansas, USA)

I am planning my first trip to Disney World since 1981… My wife has never been, and we don’t get to vacation often at all. We are looking at a 12 day stay at Port Orleans River View in early December 2016. My question is this: with Pop Warner being in town around the 6th or so, would the crowds be better if we started our stay on the Saturday after Thanksgiving? Any help would be much appreciated.

Santa Claus on Main Street

You can even see Santa in the Snow on Main Street – Photo by Disney Photo Snapper

Dad’s might be a good idea Answer


Hi neighbor (I’m in Oklahoma).

Crowds in late November and early December are pretty light. Even the Pop Warner Football and Cheerleader Championships don’t really affect crowds except at the Magic Kingdom.

I think arriving on the day after Thanksgiving would probably be the best plan. If you come any later you’ll get the full week of Pop Warner. Even though Pop Warner crowds aren’t bad, missing them will make things better.

Dad’s November Disney World Crowds page
Dad’s December Disney World Crowds page

For years, I’ve made the week after Thanksgiving one of my top picks for the best weeks to visit WDW.

Dad’s Best Weeks to Visit WDW in 2014 page

Yeah, I need to get the 2015 list up, but it will be about the same as 2014.

Twelve days will be plenty to see everything at a nice leisurely pace. That would be enough even with big crowds. You’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and Dad’s Favorite time to visit WDW.

Dad’s Christmas at Disney World page


Destinations to Travel Logo - Perfect

John, I do hope that you will get in touch with our partners at Destinations to Travel. The do an incredible job of preparing you for a trip. For a first time, or first time in a long time, guest I would really recommend it.

Yes, if you book with them from my site I’ll get some money, but this is not about money. I want you to have the best possible experience and Destinations to Travel will give you the help you need and be there if you need anything at all.

Destinations to Travel

Dad’s Bottom Line

John, since you are staying 12 days, the crowds won’t matter much, but you’ve picked about the best time to go. You’ll have a great time. Who knows, you might see even get to see Dad himself.

Comments for

Aug 18, 2016 Nervous about my trip dates
by: Goldie

Booked our Disney trip for the Sunday after Thanksgiving to that next Saturday. You have this almost all green for crowd numbers. Had trouble booking my dinning reservations for the whole trip. Even started 180 plus 10 and still didn’t get Be Our Guest. My question is does your crowed prediction still stands. Especially since I would like to end the trip with going to Magic Kingdom on that Saturday. Thanks Dad.

Dad’s Answer

Goldie, yes, those dates will have manageable crowds. I might have a different answer if Disney had thrown a big promotion for that week, but they didn’t. Be Our Guest is very popular and books quickly even during the slow times.

Mar 16, 2015 Week after thanksgiiving
by: Julie

My family is planning to go the week after thanksgiving and we wanted to stay at the Hilton next to downtown Disney b/c we have Hilton points. However the hilton is already completely booked for that week. Do you know of some major event going on in DW that week that would cause the whole hotel to be booked already?(nov 29-dec5)

Dad’s Answer


I’m not sure of any specific event but that Hilton hosts lots of conferences. That might be a factor.

Mar 10, 2015 Feb 2016
by: Regen

Planning trip Feb 7th-13th 2016. Princess Marathon ends the afternoon we check in and we plan to check out Sat morning before Presidents Day weekend. Fat Tuesday will occur during our trip… Currently you have the beginning half of our trip at high crowd levels. Based on previous Mardi Gras week trips, as long as it does not coincide with President’s Day week/weekend, then crowd levels are not greatly affected. Am I wrong or has Disney simply gotten much busier? Thanks!

Dad’s Answer

Actually it’s a bit of both. Disney is busier every year it seems, but Mardi Gras week is usually not a real busy week, but the last couple of years it’s bumped up a bit.

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