Top Tips for Spending Thanksgiving Day at Walt Disney World

Liberty Tree Tavern Sign fb crop
Credit: DisneyTips

The holidays at Walt Disney World are amazing!  There is something extra magical about combining holidays with the magic of Disney.  If you are considering a visit for Thanksgiving, then you will definitely want to check out these top tips for spending Thanksgiving Day at Walt Disney World:


10. Be aware of the crowd levels.

The parks will be pretty busy for Thanksgiving, but won’t be as crazy busy as guests typically see around Christmas, New Year’s or Easter.  It will still be pretty busy though.  You will want to prepare yourself for a bit longer wait times and it will likely be difficult to get into some of your favorite table service dining locations if you don’t have a dining reservation.

9. Arrive early and consider not park hopping.

Due to the higher crowd levels, you definitely want to consider arriving early.  This will help to ensure that you get into the park you want and you get through the initial chaos of getting into the park so you can enjoy your day.  Since things are typically more crowded, we tend to recommend not park hopping so that you don’t have to wait in the lines again to get into the next park and risk spending a lot of time hung up in travel.

8. Leverage Extra Magic Hours.

We recommend making good use of Extra Magic Hours when the parks are expected to be busier.  This will give you the opportunity to rest up during the busy parts of the day and enjoy fewer crowds during Extra Magic Hours times.  You can probably get more attractions in during that time than during a wider span of time during the normal operating hours.


7. Book dining and FastPass+ reservations in advance.

If you are planning your trip in advance, we definitely recommend that you secure your dining and FastPass+ reservations as soon as you know your plans.  Dining reservations will be extremely popular and you won’t want to miss out on your preferred spot.  If you don’t see what you are looking for you, you can keep checking back since you never know when someone may cancel a reservation that you are seeking.  This is also the same for FastPass+ selections.  Those can always be switched around as you find availability for a different attraction.

6. Liberty Tree Tavern is a popular Thanksgiving dining location.

We love Liberty Tree Tavern for Thanksgiving.  We love that it is located right within Magic Kingdom Park and that the menu is always a Thanksgiving style menu.  The location is Colonial themed and so much fun.  Because of all of this, it is easy to see why it is one of the most popular Thanksgiving dining locations.  If you want this one you will have to act fast or keep stalking and hoping you can pick up a reservation!

5. There will be holiday decorations.

Disney doesn’t really decorate for Thanksgiving, so when you visit there will be Christmas decorations already out across the theme parks and resorts.  If you love Christmas decorations, then you will definitely get to see the impressive trees, festive decorations and hear the holiday soundtracks throughout the different locations.  The decorations at Walt Disney World are beautiful and definitely worth checking out!

Epcot, Candlelight Processional

4. Holiday events may not be offered.

There are holidays events that you won’t get to experience on Thanksgiving.  The Candlelight Processional doesn’t begin until after Thanksgiving, so you will have to visit beyond the holiday if you want to experience it.  Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas is also not typically offered during Thanksgiving week.  With the increased amount of crowds, it would be difficult for Disney to close the park early a few days a week in order to host the party.  Be sure to check the times guide for events and offerings so that you know what is happening in the parks.

3. Don’t forget about the resorts and Disney Springs for dining options.

There are tons of amazing dining options throughout Walt Disney World, not just in the theme parks.  There are typically over 20 locations across property that offer special Thanksgiving Day menus, so be sure to consider all of the amazing dining options. Some of the restaurants outside of the parks also may be easier to get into if you are trying to get a late reservation or get in on the same day.

Jaleo at Disney Springs

2. Check out Epcot International Festival of the Holidays the next day.

If you are staying beyond Thanksgiving Day, then you can be among the first guests to experience the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays for the season.  The festival typically kicks off the day after Thanksgiving, so you can go and see everything that the event has to offer.  It is typically pretty busy on that day, so you will want to be patient and ready to deal with any crowds.

1. Visit patriotic attractions.

If you are in Epcot, you can head over to visit the American Adventure pavilion within World Showcase.  You can experience the Voices of Liberty and learn more about the history of America during the show at the pavilion.  If you are in Magic Kingdom, you could visit the Hall of Presidents where you can also learn about history of the United States.  These will definitely get you in a thankful mood for our freedoms that we are so fortunate to have.

Voices of Liberty

About Christy Caby

I am a diehard Disney fanatic! I fell in love with all things Disney from an early age and that only increased once I first visited Walt Disney World! It led me to complete a yearlong Disney College Program working at merchandise locations within Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Disney-MGM Studios at that time) and I worked for Disney Parks & Resorts Technology in Project/Program Management. Now I get to write about Disney and help others plan their magical vacations! Disney holds a special place in the hearts of my entire family as my husband proposed there, we honeymooned there, took trips while pregnant with each of my boys and have visited with them many, many times from 8 weeks old through now. One of my favorite memories from each trip is always the look on my kids’ faces the first time they see the castle. I’d love to help you plan your magical vacation! Request a free quote at or look for me on Facebook at Have a magical day!