Insider Tips for Spending Thanksgiving at Walt Disney World 2022

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Tinkerbell in Front of Cinderella Castle during Thanksgiving at Walt Disney World

Let’s talk turkey. Specifically, turkey at the Mouse House. For many families and couples, spending Thanksgiving at Walt Disney World is a treasured tradition. After all, there’s no cooking Thanksgiving dinner, no cleaning, plenty of cheerful people and not to mention all the rides, food and pixie dust.

We’ve got a guide to help you decide if enjoying Thanksgiving at Disney with Mickey and his pals is right for your family. And if you're ready to spend Turkey Day with a mouse then you'll learn the best places to eat Thanksgiving Dinner at Disney World and valuable time-saving tips.

Spending Thanksgiving at Walt Disney World

We're going to cover everything you need to know about spending Thanksgiving at Disney including where to eat, how busy it will be, what to expect at Disney Springs, and even what to wear.

Plus, Thanksgiving at Disney World 2022 means you'll be there when the parks and hotels are fully decorated. The holidays at Walt Disney World kick off on November 11, 2022 and run through early January 2022.

READ MORE: Top 5 Disney Hotels with the Best Christmas Decorations

How busy is Disney at Thanksgiving?

The short answer: busy. With students off from school, and adults taking time off work, it’s the perfect time to take a family vacation.

Walt Disney World still requires park reservations, in addition to a park ticket. Before you tell the family that Thanksgiving dinner will be at Liberty Tree Tavern, check to make sure the park you plan to visit has availability on turkey day.

  • Park reservations do fill up for holidays, but there’s no telling when, or even if, any of the parks will reach capacity. Best to make your plans sooner rather than later.
  • Prepare yourself for larger crowds and longer wait times for attractions.
  • Plan your strategy with these ways to avoid long lines at Disney World.
  • Thanksgiving is a good time to devour some delicious food, people watch and take in the, hopefully, nice weather.
Cinderella Castle with Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Emblem
Cinderella Castle with Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Emblem – Dani Meyering

 

What time is the Thanksgiving Day parade at Magic Kingdom?

There actually is no Thanksgiving Day parade at Magic Kingdom. You can still catch the Festival of Fantasy Parade at its normal times of 12 p.m. and 3 p.m.

In honor of Thanksgiving, there will be various marching and youth bands performing throughout the day. The list of bands and times has not yet been released by Disney.

Thanksgiving Fireworks

If you're going to watch the Thanksgiving fireworks inside the parks, you'll need to get your spot an hour and a half in advance. Some folks even claim their spots two hours in advance or more.

  • Magic Kingdom Thanksgiving fireworks are at 8:15 pm
  • EPCOT Thanksgiving Fireworks begin at 9 pm
  • Hollywood Studios Fantasmic Thanksgiving show at 9:00 pm

If you find the parks too crowded, there are plenty of places to watch the Thanksgiving fireworks outside the parks – without a theme park ticket. You'll need to make a dining reservation to access any of the Disney hotels.

Thanksgiving dinner at Disney

There are some restaurants in the parks that will have some special dishes and desserts in honor of Thanksgiving.

  • At the Hollywood Brown Derby and 50's Prime Time Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios you can dine on turkey breast with cornbread, apple-sage stuffing, mashed potatoes, vegetables and other festive food.
  • Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom is known for its year-round Thanksgiving feast. The Patriots' Platter is an all-you-care-to eat feast of turkey, pot roast and pork.
  • Satu’li Canteen in Disney’s Animal Kingdom will have a Thanksgiving Turkey Bowl with wood-grilled turkey breast, gravy, potatoes and vegetables. There’s also pumpkin cream cheese mousse to finish the meal.
  • Restaurantosaurus, Tusker House and Tiffins at Animal Kingdom also will have special Thanksgiving Day dishes and desserts.
  • Over in EPCOT, Biergarten, Coral Reef, Garden Grill, Le Cellier and Sunshine Seasons will have special Thanksgiving Day dishes and desserts.
Disney Fab 50 Statues Toy Story at Disney's Hollywood Studios
Disney Fab 50 Statues Toy Story at Disney's Hollywood Studios – Dani Meyering

You will need to make a dining reservation, as soon as possible, if you want to eat at sit-down restaurant.

READ MORE:

Casual Thanksgiving Dinner at Disney

Roasted turkey dinner, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes with turkey gravy, seasonal vegetables, and cranberry relish
(Available Nov. 24 only; mobile order available) 

Available at the following:

  • Intermission Food Court at Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
  • World Premiere Food Court at Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
  • End Zone Food Court at Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
  • Landscape of Flavors at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
  • Centertown Market at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
  • Contempo Café at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Capt. Cook’s at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
  • Everything POP Shopping & Dining at Disney’s Pop Century Resort
  • Riverside Mill and Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside and French Quarter
  • The Artist’s Palette at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
  • Roaring Fork at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Thanksgiving at Disney Springs

If you want Disney magic without the fuss of the theme parks, Disney Springs is a good option. Between the restaurants and all the shops, you can easily take care of a Thanksgiving meal and holiday shopping all in one place.

A reservation is not needed to visit Disney Springs, and it’s free to park and walk around. Just be prepared that the parking garages may fill up early in the day.

 

Daiquiri Cocktail at Wine Bar George Disney Springs
Daiquiri Cocktail at Wine Bar George Disney Springs | Dani Meyering

 

Get more details!
Our quick guide to Thanksgiving at Disney Springs includes where to book your Thanksgiving dinner reservation, where to grab a special treat, and some tips on parking and when to visit.


What to wear at Disney World at Thanksgiving

Oh good ‘ole Florida weather. It’s as unpredictable as my piloting skills on Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run.

The good news is Florida is nearly out of hurricane season by Thanksgiving (it ends Nov. 30) so the likelihood of getting rained out is slim. The bad news is you probably won’t know until a week or two before your trip if you need to pack a sweater or a swimsuit.

Temperatures at the end of November are usually in the mid to upper 70s during the day. It doesn’t get much cooler at night. That Florida humidity is known to stick around.

You might want to bring a light jacket if only for the air-conditioning, which can be cooler than the outside temps.

Good walking shoes are a must. The weather may be unpredictable, but it’s a known fact that you’ll get some serious steps in while visiting Walt Disney World.

A hat and sunscreen are other things you’ll want to wear. The Florida sun can be brutal, even at the end of November.


More ideas for Thanksgiving weekend fun:

Thanksgiving dinner in Orlando:

All images by Dani Meyering


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