In this ULTIMATE Epcot Thanksgiving guide we cover everything you need to know about celebrating Thanksgiving at Epcot and answer all your burning questions such as is Epcot open on Thanksgiving, is Epcot busy on thanksgiving day and where to have Thanksgiving Dinner in Epcot.
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Is Epcot open on Thanksgiving Day?
Yes Epcot is indeed open on Thanksgiving Day and it operates as a normal day in the park.
You can expect the opening hours for Epcot at Thanksgiving to be the usual hours for November. For 2022 the opening hours for Epcot in November are:
- 9am – 9pm
- Extended Magic Hours opening the park half an hour for those on-property guests. (8:30am -9am).
So now you know that it is open you may be wondering whether or not it is crowded on Thanksgiving.
Is Epcot Busy in Thanksgiving Day?
I am afraid I have bad news for those wanting to visit Epcot on Thanksgiving Day. And that is that Epcot is extremely BUSY on Thanksgiving. In fact the same can be said across all of the Disney World parks on Thanksgiving. Historically we have seen the crowds swell across all the parks on Thanksgiving Day.
Therefore it is absolutely essential if you want to visit Epcot on Thanksgiving day, or on any day of Thanksgiving week that you make the correct reservations and in plenty of time.
- getting park tickets AND
- getting park specific reservations for your park of choice.
This is because the parks are likely to reach capacity on Thanksgiving Day and therefore without tickets AND park reservations you will not be able to enter the parks as they will be fully booked.
If you do decide to visit Epcot on Thanksgiving Day then you can expect the queues to be very high and wait times very long.
In order to make your day more enjoyable with the crowds we recommend, if your budget allows, 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 Epcot check out this post.
And don’t forget at 7am be sure to try and join the queue for Cosmic Rewind. In my opinion this is the best ride at Walt Disney World. You have two chances to get into the queue, one at 7am and one at 1pm. Otherwise you may have to pay for an extra lightening lane to enjoy this amazing attraction.
What is Epcot like the week of Thanksgiving?
Thanksgiving Day is technically one of the busiest days of the year at Epcot. However what can you expect of the crowds at Epcot for the rest of Thanksgiving Week?
The truth is that the whole of Thanksgiving Week at Epcot will be busy. As I am sure you know people typically use this public holiday to travel and be with family and many families will take this as an opportunity to head to Disney World. As such the whole week around Thanksgiving will be busy at all of the Disney World Parks and water parks.
The busiest days at Epcot this week are:
- Thanksgiving Day
- Thanksgiving Weekend
However you can expect crowds all week at Epcot and the other parks.
For more information on Magic Kingdom on Thanksgiving Day check out this post.
Where to have Thanksgiving Dinner at Epcot?
As the crowds are expected to be very high at Epcot on Thanksgiving you can expect as well as queuing for rides and character meet and greets, that the restaurants and restaurant reservations will also be crowded and competitive to get the most coveted reservations.
There are 3 types of restaurants at Epcot. They are:
- Quick Service Restaurants
- Table Service Restaurants
- Character dining.
As well as lots of snack trucks especially in the world showcase area. With these options however I think Epcot has most dining and food options out of all the Disney World parks.
If you want a table service or character dining experience 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 Epcot there are limited options for a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner.
Below we will list the best character dining and table service meals to eat Thanksgiving Dinner at in Epcot but if you opt for a quick service restaurant we recommend:
- Using the My Disney App to organise Mobile Ordering otherwise you will be spending a long time at the quick service restaurants ordering and waiting for food.
- Eat at slightly odd times to avoid the worst of the Thanksgiving Lunch and Dinner crowds
However if you are hoping to book a proper Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving style meal in the parks your best options are:
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.
Are there any Special Attractions and Decorations for Thanksgiving at Epcot?
No there are no large decorations or special attractions or holiday overlays at Epcot for Thanksgiving.
Epcot 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
Epcot Parking 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.
And if you are doing a park hopper on Thanksgiving you may want to consider magic kingdom parking too.
Using Genie +
Genie Plus is the system that replaced the old Fast Track Passes at Epcot. We would advise getting this whenever you travel to Epcot but given the expect crowds on Thanksgiving in the parks it is even more important if you want to beat the crowds on some of the most popular rides.
For more information on how to use Genie Plus at Epcot check out this post.
Using a Stroller
Magic Kingdom 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. It is worth pointing out that if you want to do the world showcase, this will involve a lot of walking so out of all the parks I always think a stroller is most necessary at Epcot compared to the other parks.
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.
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.
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 Epcot.
For more information on the best age for Epcot check out this post.
With the popularity of many of the Epcot restaurants, 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 Epcot 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?