In this ULTIMATE Magic Kingdom Thanksgiving guide we cover everything you need to know about celebrating Thanksgiving at Magic Kingdom and answer all your burning questions such as is Magic Kingdom open on Thanksgiving, is magic kingdom busy on thanksgiving day and where to have Thanksgiving Dinner in the Magic Kingdom.
Is Magic Kingdom open on Thanksgiving Day?
The good news is that Magic Kingdom is indeed open on Thanksgiving Day and it operates as a normal day in the park.
You can expect the opening hours for Magic Kingdom to be the usual hours for non party days. The Magic Kingdom Thanksgiving 2022 hours are 9am – 11pm at the Magic Kingdom with the park open half an hour earlier for those on-property guests for Extended Magic Hours.
So now you know that it is open you may be wondering whether or not it is crowded on Thanksgiving.
Is Magic Kingdom busy on Thanksgiving Day?
The bad news for those who want to visit Magic Kingdom on Thanksgiving is that this is historically one of the busiest times of year in the park.
It is absolutely essential that if you plan to visit Magic Kingdom on Thanksgiving Day, or in fact any day of the week of Thanksgiving that you have both park tickets and specific park reservations for the park of your choosing (in this case Magic Kingdom).
The reason for this is because Magic Kingdom is almost certainly going to reach capacity on Thanksgiving Day and most days that week. As the parks are likely to reach capacity you can therefore expect Magic Kingdom to be EXTREMELY busy on Thanksgiving Day.
If you do decide to visit Magic Kingdom on Thanksgiving Day you can expect the queues to be very high and wait times very long. 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 Magic Kingdom check out this post.
I would also say that unless you are comfortable waiting for like at least an hour and a half for the Seven Dwarves Mine Train that you allow some money in the budget for a separate Lightening Lane Pass.
Next read: Best Magic Kingdom rides for toddlers
What is Magic Kingdom like the week of Thanksgiving?
Thanksgiving Day is technically one of the busiest days of the year at Magic Kingdom. However what can you expect of the crowds at Magic Kingdom for the rest of Thanksgiving Week?
The truth is that the whole Thanksgiving Week at Magic Kingdom will be busy. 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.
I would expect the busiest days at Magic Kingdom to be
- actual Thanksgiving Day
- Friday through Sunday after Thanksgiving
If I were to choose a time to visit during Thanksgiving Week I would choose the Tuesday or Wednesday. Traditionally Mondays are the busiest day of the week to visit Magic Kingdom and the crowds of the Thanksgiving Meeting will be at their highest. Therefore I would choose Tuesday or Wednesday to visit but I would still expect very high crowds.
Where to have Thanksgiving Dinner in the Magic Kingdom?
Given the high crowds at Magic Kingdom during Thanksgiving Week you can expect the dining options to be competitive and crowded.
At Magic Kingdom you always have three types of restaurants on offer:
- Quick Service Restaurants
- Table Service Restaurants
- Character dining.
as well as food carts.
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 Magic Kingdom 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 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.
The places that offer something resembling Thanksgiving Dinner are
Cinderella’s Royal Table in Fantasy Land
In the past Cinderella’s Royal Table has served a traditional Thanksgiving style meal that has included Turkey and sweet potato mash.
The great thing about this dining experience is that you can also meet characters at this restaurant and
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.
Liberty Tree Tavern in Liberty Square
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.
Are there any Special Attractions and Decorations for Thanksgiving?
Unlike at Halloween and Christmas where there are special decorations, holiday overlays and special events and parades, there is nothing similar for Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is slap bang in the middle of of the Christmas period at Disney and as such you can expect there to be lots of Christmas decorations and festive meet and greets etc but there will not be any specific special attractions or decorations for Thanksgiving.
Magic Kingdom Thanksgiving Day tips
So now you know about the crowds, how busy and where to eat Thanksgiving Dinner in Magic Kingdom here are some of our top tips for enjoying Magic Kingdom on Thanksgiving.
Magic Kingdom Parking Tips
The parking lots at Magic Kingdom are vast and require transfers from the lots to the park via Monorail or Ferryboat. 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.
Otherwise you will have to have long walks or waits for trams. An alternative can be to pay for preferred parking but this will add a significant cost (double regular parking cost).
For more Magic Kingdom Parking Tips check out this post.
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. 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 and special attractions such as the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and restaurants 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 (these are fee charging) such as Mouse Watcher 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.
If you don’t want or don’t manage to snag a table service reservation and are planning yo use a quick service restaurant, then it is very important to use mobile ordering. The reason for this is because the queues in all restaurants will be long over Thanksgiving. 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 Magic Kingdom? What are your tips for enjoying Thanksgiving at Magic Kingdom.