Updated: October 26, 2017
If you’re celebrating turkey day in Orlando, chances are Disney World will be a part of your plans. A Disney World Thanksgiving offers plenty of family-friendly activities, with each of the four parks—Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios—all open. From where to eat to what to see and do, my guide to a Disney World Thanksgiving will give you a head start on this traditional American holiday.
Where to Eat in Disney World for Thanksgiving
While all of Disney World’s renowned restaurants and eateries will be open, the following restaurants will be serving delicious Thanksgiving meals with all the trimmings along with your favorite dishes:
- Liberty Tree Tavern: Lunch and Dinner
- Akershus Royal Banquet Hall: Lunch and Dinner
- Biergarten Restaurant: Lunch and Dinner
- Coral Reef: Lunch and Dinner
- Le Cellier Steakhouse: Lunch and Dinner
- Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room: Lunch and Dinner
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- 50’s Prime Time Cafe: Lunch and Dinner
- Hollywood and Vine: Lunch and Dinner
- Hollywood Brown Derby: Lunch and Dinner
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- Tusker House – Lunch and Dinner (buffet)
- Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant
- Planet Hollywood
- Wolfgang Puck Cafe – The Café
Walt Disney World Resort Dinners
In addition to traditional Thanksgiving feasts throughout the theme parks, various Disney World Resort hotels will also serve a Thanksgiving dinner:
- Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort: Dinner
- Jiko – The Cooking Place at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge: Dinner
- Olivia’s Cafe at Disney’s Old Key West Resort: Lunch and Dinner
- The Wave… of American Flavors at Disney’s Contemporary Resort: Lunch and Dinner
- Whispering Canyon Cafe at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge: Lunch and Dinner
No matter where you choose to dine on Thanksgiving Day, you’re in for a magical feast! Remember to place your dining reservations as far in advance as possible. Guests are able to make dining reservations up to 180 days in advance. A Disney World Thanksgiving vacation is a popular choice among families, so reservations fill up fast!
If by chance you are not able to secure a specific Thanksgiving reservation, don’t worry. You can enjoy a meal at any of Disney’s dining destinations and restaurants throughout the park.
What to Do During a Disney World Thanksgiving
Wondering what are the best things to do at during a Disney World Thanksgiving vacation? Each park features festive fun along with the classic Disney attractions you know and love. Do keep in mind that the theme parks will be jam-packed during this holiday, so your FastPass+ is your best friend. Keep it handy!
See a Thanksgiving Parade
At the Magic Kingdom, you are in for a special bonus as you can watch the Festival of Fantasy Parade as well as a Disney’s Thanksgiving Parade of Bands. This special holiday parade boasts the top marching bands from around the country. Plus, you’ll see Mickey, Minnie and the gang dressed in pilgrim regalia plus a nod to the theme of the holiday—turkey!
Ride Your Favorite Rides
From classic Disney World rides to new additions such as the land of Pandora – The World of Avatar, your Thanksgiving Day will be filled with thrills! Take your time and get in line for all of your favorite rides, shows, and attractions. Of course, don’t forget to use your FastPass+ for crowded rides such as Space Mountain, Everest, or Test Track!
Have a Thanksgiving Meal To-Go
At parks like the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, you can grab a giant turkey leg to-go and skip the massive Thanksgiving meal. This way, you’ll be able to explore more theme park attractions yet still get your traditional holiday fix. After all, what’s a trip to Disney World without a turkey leg? It’s a rite of passage!
Experience an American Adventure
At the Epcot American Adventure pavilion, the American Adventure show takes guests on a 45-minute journey through the history of America. Fairly fitting for Thanksgiving, it is an innovative and visually enjoyable production honoring the humble beginnings of the United States. This experience is perfect for little children who may not understand our nation’s history and the meaning of Thanksgiving just yet.
Get a Sneak Peak of Christmas
During the Thanksgiving holiday, the Disney World Theme Parks will be decked out with beautiful Christmas decorations in preparation for the festivals and season to come. It’s an excellent time to embrace the Christmas spirit without having to deal with the Christmas crowds. Plus, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party begins mid-November, meaning your family can join in the celebrations during your Disney World Thanksgiving adventures! Just remember to purchase your party tickets in advance, as this is a separate ticketed event.
Celebrate Thanksgiving at Disney World This Year
Whether you’re looking forward to carving the turkey with Mickey Mouse or screaming at the top of your lungs on a rollercoaster, a Disney World Thanksgiving is the perfect holiday tradition for every family. Book your Walt Disney World trip today!
Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.