Disney World Thanksgiving – your must-have guide!

Disney World Thanksgiving set to be a fun and magical time - with plenty of events and dining opportunities for all ages to enjoy

Spending Thanksgiving at Disney World is a great way to enjoy the holiday. Nowhere else feels quite as enchanting as experiencing the holidays with family and friends when the park is decorated and full of festive atmosphere. With the anniversary of 100 years of Disney magic in full swing, this years Thanksgiving week at Disney World promises to be especially full of timeless family fun and festivity.

Magic Kingdom starts spreading festive joy with Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (November through December, 2024) and Hollywood Studios marking the season in style, with its enchanting Jollywood Night events (November through December, 2024) With EPCOT hosting its annual International Festival of the Holidays from November through December, 2024, no one is going hungry in the fun stakes at Disney!

Thanksgiving weekend also coincides with ESPN Events too – inviting sporting fans and families to sample the festive magic of Disney World whilst they’re here.

If you’re planning a trip to Disney World for Thanksgiving, take a look at our villas for Thanksgiving.

Is Disney World open on Thanksgiving?

Yes, indeed! Showcasing the festive season with themed decorations and tempting seasonal dining, Disney World Thanksgiving week is a time to kick start and celebrate the holidays. When visiting Disney World this Thanksgiving you’ll find all the beloved elements of Disney World including its theme parks and the outdoor shopping and entertainment complex of Disney Springs open and ready to greet the holiday crowds. All that’s waiting is for you and your family to dive into the magic! 

Walt Disney World Thanksgiving Opening Hours

Here’s a glance at the park opening times for Disney World on Thanksgiving Day, 2024:

  • Magic Kingdom: 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM
  • Epcot: 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM
  • Hollywood Studios: 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM
  • Animal Kingdom: 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM
  • Disney Springs: 10:00 AM to 11:00 PM

Whether you’re seeking the festive thrills of Magic Kingdom, the cultural holiday vibes of Epcot, the cinematic wonder of Hollywood Studios, the natural beauty of Animal Kingdom, or a shopping and dining experience at Disney Springs, you’ll feel grateful for all the fun you’ve had at Disney World this Thanksgiving!

Disney World Thanksgiving - crowds build around Cinderella's castle on Main Street U.S.A

Is Thanksgiving busy at Disney World?

Yes, Thanksgiving is one of the busiest time at Disney World, along with 4th July and Christmas week. Be prepared for a surge in visitor numbers on the Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of Thanksgiving week. Knowing how to navigate the crowds will be your ticket to making the most of your festive Park trip. 

Book Thanksgiving dining in advance and keep track of Disney Park Pass availability. Certain Disney World Parks may reach their capacity, especially on key holiday dates, such as EPCOT; which may fill up in the Thanksgiving week for the start of the International Festival of the Holidays. Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios are perennial favorites too, and tend to fill up quickly. Staying in the know with helpful crowd calendars and Disney apps will mean your valuable time won’t be “gobbled” up.

How crowded is Disney World during Thanksgiving week?

The answer is, very! Thanksgiving week at Disney World is one of the most popular times to visit, and as a result it does get crowded. With this in mind, it’s best not to leave your Disney experience to chance. Having a game plan before you step foot inside the park will ensure you have your best foot forward when negotiating the increased crowd numbers. Whether you’re all about thrilling rides, immersing yourself in the atmosphere, or savoring the holiday magic, our top tips will help you create unforgettable Disney World Thanksgiving memories.


Tips for Disney World Thanksgiving

The key to a successful Thanksgiving at Disney World is to know firstly what you and your family are looking to enjoy most there. For example, are you aiming to conquer as many thrilling rides as possible, soak up the enchanting holiday atmosphere, or savor the family-friendly festivities? 

You may well be looking to experience all three! If so we have some essential tips to help you make the most of your Disney World Thanksgiving week.

1. Plan ahead Thanksgiving at Disney World with Park Priorities

Start by compiling a list of priorities for each family member. This way, you can strategize effectively, ensuring that everyone gets to enjoy their favorite attractions.

You can find ready-made Park Plans for Disney World, which can be a valuable resource when looking to enjoy your Thanksgiving at Disney World. Additionally, look to make your Thanksgiving dinner and meal reservations in advance. Downloading the Orlando Planning app, which offers touring plans and lets you customize your own Disney World Park experience also goes one step further in staying ahead of the crowds.

2. Beat the holiday crowds with the help of Disney Genie+ for Ride Control

If you’re looking to maximize your Disney World ride experiences, then consider adding Disney Genie+ to your itinerary. For an additional daily fee per person, you can also access Disney Genie+. This supercharged Disney app allows you to reserve attractions and bypass the standby queues, using the Lightning Lane entrance. This hassle-free service can be a game-changer when contending with the peak crowd moments at Disney World on Thanksgiving. Enabling you and your family to spend less time queuing and more time experiencing the magic of Thanksgiving at Disney World will more than make up for the cost of the additional daily fee!

3. Join a Virtual Queue with My Disney Experience

Another great tip to fully optimize your Disney World Thanksgiving week visit is to check the My Disney Experience app each morning. This app offers updates on attractions that may be operating with a virtual queue. By securing your spot in these queues, you’ll have more flexibility and time to explore the park over Thanksgiving.

In conclusion, Thanksgiving week at Disney World is a wonderful time to make unforgettable memories. To ensure you have a memorable and enjoyable experience, plan ahead, set your priorities, and consider using Disney Genie+ to streamline your ride experiences. By staying informed through the My Disney Experience app, you can make the most of your magical holiday getaway while avoiding the most crowded areas.

Disney World Thanksgiving 2023 promises to be delectable with character meets at the Hollywood & Vine restaurant at Hollywood Studios

Thanksgiving dinner at Disney world

When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner at Disney World, the best-loved restaurants and dining experiences are as famous and as popular as the theme park rides themselves! You can take advantage of the quick-service restaurants, taste some seasonal dining at a table-service restaurant or enjoy a special character dining experience for the kids. Plan ahead to make your Thanksgiving dinner at Disney World a delectable experience.

The main attractions for Thanksgiving dinner at Disney World are the character-themed Minnie’s Holiday Dine experience over at Hollywood & Vine Restaurant at Hollywood Studios, and the traditional Thanksgiving dinner served up at the colonial-style Liberty Tree Tavern at Magic Kingdom. Hollywood Studios also promises traditional holiday fare at The Hollywood Brown Derby and 50’s Prime Time cafe. If you’re at EPCOT, then a trip to the American Adventure Pavilion and the rest of the World Showcase promises Turkey leg o’ plenty – with Thanksgiving offerings at Biergarten Restaurant, Coral Reef Restaurant, The Garden Grill Restaurant, Le Cellier Steakhouse, Sunshine Seasons, American Holiday Table and Refreshment Port.

Families looking to enjoy a “roarsome” Thanksgiving feast at Animal Kingdom should head to Restaurantosaurus, Satu’li Canteen, Tiffins and Tusker House, for delicious Turkey offerings. 

Thanksgiving at Disney Springs also invites you to kick start some festive shopping, after diving into a seasonal meal at City Works Eatery & Pour House, Cef Art Smith’s Homecomin’, Earl of Sandwich, Planet Hollywood, Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant, STK Steakhouse and Wine Bar George.

Before looking to savor a festive meal at Disney World on Thanksgiving, be sure to check the Thanksgiving menu availability dates for restaurants, as they do vary.

Top dining tips:

When looking to make your Thanksgiving dinner at Disney World a memorable one for all the family, it pays to have these top Thanksgiving tips up for your sleeve.

1. Plan ahead for table-service restaurants for Thanksgiving at Disney

For those looking to “gobble” down a table-service feast this Thanksgiving, you will need to secure your dinner reservations well in advance. Dining bookings open 60 days ahead of your trip, so the earliest you book them the better.

2. Streamline your Thanksgiving dining experience 

The go-to dining app you’ll want for your Thanksgiving Park trip is the My Disney Experience app. Acting as your dining HQ, you’ll be able to make reservations, utilize Mobile Ordering, seek last-minute walk-up availability, check in for your reservation, and peruse the restaurant’s Thanksgiving menu. If your first-choice Thanksgiving restaurant is fully booked, don’t give up – monitor for cancellations in the days leading up to your Thanksgiving visit. You may just be “thankful” you did!

3. Look at dining before or after regular mealtimes

There’s a lot to be said for going against the stream of peak dining times in the Parks, and instead opting for off-peak dining times. Starting the day on a large breakfast will put you and your family in good stead for savoring a late lunch sitting. Tucking into a Thanksgiving meal at a less busy off-peak time, will also mean you’re not “eating” into your valuable Park time!


EPCOT’s The Festival of the Holidays

If you’re looking for a unique  head to EPCOT’s The Festival of the Holidays (November through December, 2024). It offers a festive alternative to the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, with a captivating blend of enchanting entertainment, lively cultural events and delicious international cuisine to tuck into. Amidst the array of unique experiences at the EPCOT Festival of the Holidays, the true shining stars are the Holiday Kitchens – home to a delightful array of seasonal global flavors.

Sample traditional American favorites at the American Holiday Table, enjoy hearty Bavarian dishes at the Bavaria Holiday Kitchen, and explore the captivating fusion of flavors at L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen. Discover the rich holiday traditions of Mexico at Las Posadas Holiday Kitchen, savor delectable treats from France at Le Marché de Noël Holiday Kitchen, and experience the unique flavors of China at the Shanghai Holiday Kitchen. From Japan’s Shi Wasu Holiday Kitchen to the delightful dishes of Italy’s Tuscany Holiday Kitchen, EPCOT’s Thanksgiving celebration invites you to explore the world’s culinary traditions in one magical place!

Best Thanksgiving treats at Disney World

Our favorite Disney World Thanksgiving treats for 2024 include the flamboyant Thanksgiving Donut at Disney Springs, the brand-new Mara Pumpkin Patch seasonal mousse at The Mara and the equally new Gobble Wobble Bundt cake at Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort. Unless otherwise noted, the majority of seasonal treats at Disney World are on offer for the best part of November, 2024, with mobile ordering available to many.


Disney World Thanksgiving Parade

Disney World Thanksgiving time sees Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Time at Magic Kingdom spark the imagination of Disney fans

There is no official Disney World Thanksgiving parade, but there are plenty of festive events to immerse yourselves in. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom promises to put you in the festive spirit – with magical decorations and “snowfall” on Main Street, U.S.A setting the mood for Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, before the fantastical Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks display drawing a close to an enchanting festive experience.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is on select dates this season from 7:00 PM to midnight (with ticket holders being admitted into Magic Kingdom from 4:00 PM on the day of their valid ticket date).

Where to stay for a magical Disney World Thanksgiving

If you’re looking to stay in Orlando for your Thanksgiving week, our family-friendly vacation rentals at Top Villas are not only close to Disney World, they also benefit from incredible themed kids’ bedrooms, game rooms, private heated pools and much more! Many of our luxury resort villas and condos offer access to 5-star resort amenities, as well as convenient Disney World theme park shuttles. 

Plus, you’ll be able to book all your tickets, transportation and private chefs through our Concierge team

Make it a Thanksgiving week at Disney to remember, explore our incredible range of Orlando vacation rentals today!