The day before Thanksgiving is considered the busiest travel day of the year, but most of those people are heading to Grandmother’s house. If you need a break from family or are just starting new traditions maybe you should consider a trip to Walt Disney World.
Here is everything you need to know about visiting WDW during Thanksgiving week.
Thanksgiving is definitely one of the busier times at Walt Disney World but if you don’t have a flexible schedule and can only travel on holidays or school vacations it may be your best option!
Thursday – Sunday is always pretty crowded but if you are able to take a few days off before the holiday crowds are lighter the weekend before and grow throughout the week.
To take advantage of this crowd trend plan your park days early in the week. Utilize Extra Magic Hours, book your Fastpasses early and get in as many attractions as possible. Spend the second half of the week enjoying some great dining and the holiday festivities.
There is nothing nicer about sharing a nice meal with your family without ANY clean up. There are so many restaurants on Walt Disney World property for you to enjoy.
The most popular restaurant for a Thanksgiving meal is Liberty Tree Tavern in the Magic Kingdom because this restaurant serves a family style turkey dinner with all the fixins all day every day. Reservations will be extremely difficult to get this time of year so book early or prepare an alternative.
I like Diamond Horseshoe, right next store. Instead of Thanksgiving you will find other American favorites like BBQ ribs, baked beans and cornbread. They have carved turkey on the family style dinner platter as well (pictured)
Whispering Canyon at the Wilderness Lodge has a similar menu with skillets filled with beef brisket, maple glazed ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes and turkey.
Another family style favorite, Garden Grill, features turkey, braised beef, stuffing and mashed potatoes.
If inviting Disney Princesses to your meal is not enough. Akershus has a dish that always gives me Thanksgiving vibes. After your Norwegian smorgasbord buffet you can order dishes like Nowegian meatballs with mashed potatos and ligonberry jam, Chicken Breast with sweet potato and cranberry bread pudding, Pork Tenderloin with apple slaw.
A similar menu with fall favorites and Royal friends is Storybook Dining at Artist Point. Beef stew, Prime Rib and Roasted Chicken top this prefixed menu that comes with shared appetizers, an assortment of desserts and visits from Snow White and some of her dwarf friends.
While it may not be Thanksgiving, Biergarten is known for another fall celebration… Oktoberfest! You can visit this German Beer Tent all year round for live music and a buffet featuring sausages, schnitzel, spatzle, sauerkraut and cabbage.
A variety of other locations also offer special Thanksgiving Day menus including:
Cinderella’s Royal Table, Coral Reef, Le Cellier (Turducken anyone?), Rose and Crown, Tiffins, Boatwright’s, Olivia’s Cafe
If you are busy touring the parks and don’t have time to sit down, Tomorrowland Terrace, a quick service location will have a special Thanksgiving meal. Columbia Harbor House, a restaurant themed to colonial America is also a great option with comfort favorites like chicken pot pie, and fish and chips. There is no better day to enjoy the perennial favorite park snack.. The turkey leg.
TURKEY IN YOUR ROOM
If you still want to have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner on the actual day there are plenty of options for you.
You can book a DVC one or two bedroom villa so you have a full kitchen, get groceries delivered and cook your own feast.
If you have a car or are not opposed to Uber you can also pick up a prepared turkey and all the fixins from a local grocery store. All you need to do is reheat!! The easiest is Whole Foods Market on Turkey Lake Road
While most of the world is focused on food and football we can’t forget the historic significance of the holiday. If I was visiting on Thanksgiving day I would spend the morning on Main Street and head to the Hall of Presidents before grabbing a midday meal. After an afternoon nap I would spend the remainder of the day in EPCOT listening to the voices of liberty, experiencing the American Adventure and then eating some more.
If your favorite Thanksgiving tradition is Black Friday shopping, head to Disney Springs bright and early. Many of the stores participate in Black Friday deals.
Holidays at Walt Disney World start on November 8th with decorations on Main Street and the first Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. All the other holiday festivities slowly trickle in culminating with the Festival of the Holidays starting in EPCOT the day after Thanksgiving. You can also enjoy the first Candlelight Processional, a gorgeous retelling of the religious origins of Christmas.
After your park time in the beginning of the week, a delicious meal and look into our country’s past on Thanksgiving day getting into the Christmas spirit is the perfect way to end your vacation!!
Budgeting is such an important part of trip planning, but it can be difficult to find the time to sit down and actually work out the real cost vs a package deal. My ‘Should You Add the Disney Dining Plan’ guide covers everything you need to know to make the right dining choice for you. From what is covered in each dining plan, and who it will best suit, to the average cost of each restaurant and even calculate your savings!
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