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ULTIMATE Disney World Thanksgiving Guide

ULTIMATE Disney World Thanksgiving Guide

In this ULTIMATE Disney World Thanksgiving guide we cover everything you need to know about celebrating Thanksgiving at Disney World and answer all your burning questions such as is Disney World open on Thanksgiving, is Disney World busy on thanksgiving day, which park is best to celebrate Thanksgiving in  and of course where to have Thanksgiving Dinner at Disney World.

Important Note: This post may contain affiliate links which means if you click through and make a purchase I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you!

Is Disney World open on Thanksgiving Day?

The good news is that Disney World is open on Thanksgiving. In fact Disney World is open 365 days a year which includes the big holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

The opening times, as with any day of the year will differ depending on which park you are going to and whether or not you are staying on property or off site which will affect whether you have Extended Magic Hours. 

The Disney World opening times for Thanksgiving Day 2022 have now been released and are

Animal Kingdom

  • 8am – 8pm
  • Extended Magic Hours  opening the park half an hour for those on-property guests. (7:30am -8am). 


  • 9am – 9pm
  • Extended Magic Hours  opening the park half an hour for those on-property guests. (8:30am -9am). 

If you are celebrating Thanksgiving at Epcot be sure to check out this dedicated post. 

Hollywood Studios

  • 8:30am – 9pm
  • Extended Magic Hours  opening the park half an hour for those on-property guests. (8:00am -8:30am). 

Magic Kingdom

  • 9am – 11pm
  • Extended Magic Hours 8:30am – 9am. 

For a guide on spending Thanksgiving In Magic Kingdom check out this post.

So now you know that it is open you may be wondering whether or not it is crowded on Thanksgiving.

Is Disney World busy on Thanksgiving Day?

Best Day for Magic Kingdom to avoid crowds

Best Day for Magic Kingdom to avoid crowds

The bad news for those who want to visit any of the Disney World parks on Thanksgiving is that this is historically one of the busiest times of year in the park. 

It is therefore essential that if whatever Disney World park you want to visit on Thanksgiving Day, or in fact any day of the week of Thanksgiving that you have both

  • park tickets and s
  • specific park reservations for the park of your choosing

Without both of these things the chances of you being admitted into the park of your choice (or any of the parks is slim to none). This is because all of the Disney World parks are likely to be operating at capacity that week and will sell out. To avoid disappointment be sure to get both of these things well in advance. 

Also as the parks are expected to be very busy on Thanksgiving Day and the crowds high this will mean the parks will have long queues for everything from rides to meet and greets to restaurants and special experiences such as the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. 

We therefore recommend that, if your budget allows, that you purchase Genie Plus to ensure that you get on more ride attractions during the day. For a complete guide on how to use Genie Plus at each of the parks check out these post.

  • Animal Kingdom Genie Plus Guide 
  • Epcot Genie Plus Guide 
  • Hollywood Studios Genie Plus Guide 
  • Magic Kingdom Genie Plus Guide 


On top of this, if there are some of the more popular attractions that you will want to ride that have separate Lightening Lane passes such as Guardian’s of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind at Epcot and the Seven Dwarves Mine Train at Magic Kingdom you may want to have room in your budget to buy this separate Lightening Lane ticket. 

What is Walt Disney World like the week of Thanksgiving? 

Thanksgiving Day is technically one of the busiest days of the year whatever Disney World park you decide to enter. However what are the crowds like for the rest of Thanksgiving Week?
Well the bad news is that  the whole of Thanksgiving Week at Disney World will be busy.
As I am sure you are aware if you are thinking about visiting Disney World at Thanksgiving, people typically use this public holiday to travel and be with family. As such many families will take this as an opportunity to head to Disney World like you are doing. As such the whole week around Thanksgiving will be busy. 

I would expect the busiest days at Disney World at this time to be

  • actual Thanksgiving Day
  • Friday through Sunday after Thanksgiving

My personal preference would be to head to the parks on the Tuesday or Wednesday of that week. Traditionally Mondays are the busiest day of the week to visit Magic Kingdom and the crowds of the Thanksgiving week will be at their highest.

Therefore I would choose Tuesday or Wednesday to visit however having said that I would still expect very high crowds. 

Which is the best park to celebrate Thanksgiving Day in

When thinking about which park is best to celebrate Thanksgiving Day in I think there a few factors to consider:

  • age of group
  • crowds
  • importance of rides vs characters 
  • getting a traditional Thanksgiving meal

Least Busy Disney World park on Thanksgiving

The truth is that all of the Disney World parks will be busy on Thanksgiving – extremely busy. However I would expect the busiest to be Magic Kingdom and Epcot. 

I personally would choose Animal Kingdom if I was looking for a quieter park to visit on Thanksgiving day however I expect all parks to be at capacity in 2022. 

Best Park for All Ages

Epcot with a toddler: toddler rides at Epcot

Epcot with a toddler: toddler rides at Epcot

We have written our guides to the best age to go to different Disney World Parks. You can read them below:

  • Best Age for Magic Kingdom 
  • Best Age for Animal Kingdom 
  • Best Age for Epcot
  • Best Age for Hollywood Studios

Generally speaking if you are traveling with children under 11 I would recommend Magic Kingdom or Animal Kingdom. While for adults, they may enjoy the food and drink scene in Epcot. 

If you want more rides then you will want Hollywood Studios over Animal Kingdom. For more information on the best parks for certain groups check out the above posts. 

Best Park for Thanksgiving Dinner

If a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner is important to you then the best parks for you on Thanksgiving day may be Magic Kingdom or Epcot as there are more options for Thanksgiving meals – keep reading for more information. 

Where to have Thanksgiving Dinner at Disney World

Magic Kingdom Thanksgiving Guide

Magic Kingdom Thanksgiving Guide

When you are at Disney World, no matter what park you are in there are usually three types of restaurants that you can choose to dine in. These are:

  • Quick Service Restaurants 
  • Table Service Restaurants 
  • Character dining. 

And on top of that there will be plenty of food carts and snack carts around the park but especially at Epcot. 

If you want to have something that resembles a traditional Thanksgiving Meal then you will be looking at booking a character dining experience or a table service meal. 

If you wish to do this it is really important to remember that you will need to make reservations 60 days out from either 

  • the first day of your vacation if you are staying on property
  • 60 days before entry if you are staying off site and visiting. 

These reservations will snap up quickly, especially for Actual Thanksgiving Day at restaurants that serve something that resembles a traditional thanksgiving dinner.  Although there are plentiful dining options at Disney World, it is surprising at how limited the options are for something that resembles a Thanksgiving Feast. 

Below we will list the best character dining and table service meals to eat Thanksgiving Dinner at but if you opt for a quick service restaurant we recommend: 

  • Mobile Ordering. This can be done through the the My Disney App. Mobile Ordering allows you to order and arrange a pick up time for your food in advance without waiting in long queues.  If you don’t opt for Mobile Ordering  you will be spending a long time at the quick service restaurants ordering and waiting for food. 

So now you have everything you need to know about food on Thanksgiving in Disney World here are our favorite places to eat something that looks like a Thanksgiving Dinner at Disney World. 

Please note: we have done our best to confirm menus where possible but please reach out to your desired restaurant closer to the time to confirm Thanksgiving offerings. 

Cinderella’s Royal Table in Fantasy Land in Magic Kingdom

In the past Cinderella’s Royal Table has served a traditional Thanksgiving style meal that has included Turkey and sweet potato mash. And as an added bonus to the Thanksgiving meal you will meet Cinderella and she will also be joined by around 4 princess friends.

As the queues to meet princesses in the Princess Hall can be expected to be around 90-120 minutes on Thanksgiving Day (and you only meet two at a time) this is a great way to get lots of meet and greets done and save some time. 

Also is there really any better place to celebrate Thanksgiving than in the Disney Castle itself?

Liberty Tree Tavern in Liberty Square in Magic Kingdom

Liberty Tree Tavern is one of the best places to have Thanksgiving Dinner in Magic Kingdom. The reason for this is that Liberty Tree Tavern basically serves Thanksgiving dinner every day of the year so you know they do it well. 

The Diamond Horseshoe in Frontierland in Magic Kingdom

Offers the same menu as Liberty Tree Tavern usually. 

Garden Grill in Epcot

This eatery offers a type of Thanksgiving Meal everyday of the year serving turkey and mash. This has to be top pick if you want something resembling a traditional thanksgiving meal at Epcot. 

It is also expected that Coral Reef Restaurant, Le Cellier and Rose and Crown may have something on offer but this is not guaranteed. When we have more information we will update accordingly

Tusker’s House Animal Kingdom

I haven’t been Abel to confirm for 2022 but usually there is some Thanksgiving addition to their menu. Even without this however you get to meet amazing characters in safari get up. 

Hollywood and Vine in Hollywood Studios

While not overtly Thanksgiving, they usually have large roast meets, mash and. vegetables which at least resembles something of a Thanksgiving Meal. 

and as an added bonus you can meet here

  • Minnie Mouse
  • Mickey Mouse
  • Goofy and 
  • Pluto

which given the run times to meet Mickey and Minnie on a regular day in this park usually stretches to 1 hour plus this is a great way of combining two things. 

And if the crowds get too much in the parks and you would like to consider eating your meal outside of the park between park hopping for instance then you could also consider:

  • Trattoria Al Forna – on Disney’s Boardwalk that usually offer Turkey and trimmings or 

some resorts will offer Thanksgiving offerings in their restaurants. 

Are there any special Thanksgiving Decorations or events at Disney World

Unfortunately there are no special thanksgiving events at Disney World. Disney tends to go all in for Halloween and Christmas as opposed to Thanksgiving.

If you go to Disney during Thanksgiving you will see Christmas decorations rather than  Thanksgiving specific ones. 

Disney World Thanksgiving Day tips 

Now we have talked about crowds, reservations, and best thanksgiving dinners in Epcot we will finish off with some of our tips to help you enjoy Epcot when crowded

Parking Tips

Parking at Magic Kingdom Tips

Parking at Magic Kingdom Tips

To make sure you get a good parking spot on Thanksgiving we recommend getting to the parks early as you will be able to park your car closer to the transfer hub. This is also good as the parks are quieter early in the morning and later in the evening. 

Check out this post for our magic kingdom parking tips too. This is the biggest lot out of all the parks so you will need these handy tips 

Make Reservations Early for your desired park

Reservations are now required to guarantee entry into the park on top of your tickets. BE sure to select your pack reservation early as they will sell out. 

Consider park hopper tickets

Best Disney Castle Instagram Captions

If you are worried about your desired park selling out or you haven’t managed to get the correct park reservation for Thanksgiving Day you could consider park hopper tickets. 

This means you will start the day in another park but can hop to another park after 2pm. 

60 days 

60 days is the Magic number for your Disney vacation.  It is either 60 days before 

  • the first day of your vacation if you are staying on property or 
  • before entry if you are staying off site and visiting. 

and is the day that all reservations  will open. Although cancellations do happen it would be much less stressful to have the reservations from the start.

If you don’t get  the reservation you want you could download one of the reservation apps such as Mouse Watcher (there is an additional fee for this service)which will notify you when cancellations occur. 

Use Genie +

Genie Plus is the system that replaced the old Fast Track Passes at all the Disney parks. We would advise getting this given the expected crowds on Thanksgiving in the parks if you want to beat the crowds on some of the most popular rides. 

For more information on how to use Genie Plus at each park check out these posts. 

Use a Stroller

Disney Stroller Hacks / Hacks for Disney Strollers

Disney Stroller Hacks / Hacks for Disney Strollers

Disney World can be very busy on Thanksgiving Week, if your children get easily overwhelmed and won’t be able to cope with the walking then be sure to bring your stroller. 

As there will be a lot of strollers at Disney World on Thanksgiving we recommend making your stroller recognisable. For more Disney World Stroller hacks check out this post. 

If you are renting a stroller be sure to do this well in advance if using an external provider as these are also likely to get booked up. 


Best Snacks to Take to Disney World

Best Snacks to Take to Disney World

We always recommend bringing snacks to Disney World but it is even more important on Thanksgiving Day as there will be very large queues at snack carts and quick service restaurants and there is nothing worse than having a hangry toddler at Disney World. 

Mobile Ordering 

With the expected crowds for Thanksgiving week the truth is you may not be able to snag the sit down restaurant of your choice for Thanksgiving. If this is you, or you prefer to use quick service restaurants for budget reasons or ease in your itinerary then we recommend using mobile ordering. 

Mobile Ordering will save you time both ordering and receiving your food and can be done through the My Disney app.

Have you celebrated Thanksgiving at Epcot? What are your tips for enjoying Thanksgiving at Epcot?