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Old 10-03-2011, 09:11 PM   #1
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Am I crazy to go Thanksgiving Day?

We're planning to do a Wonder cruise the Sunday after Thanksgiving 2012. We'll arrive the day before Thanksgiving. There's no way I'm going to attempt going to the parks on Friday or Saturday, but how will the crowds be on Thanksgiving Day? Is it any slower?

Thanks for the help!
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Old 10-03-2011, 11:27 PM   #2
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Have you been to DLR before? Because of the AP Blockouts Thur-Sat you may want to go more than just a day. It will be busy but Thursday should be best, last year a few people liked Friday better.
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Old 10-04-2011, 03:03 AM   #3
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No, you're not crazy. We went the day after Thanksgiving last year and it wasn't bad at all, crowded, but nothing like summer. A castmember told me that Thanksgiving Day itself wasn't crowded. So I say go for it, and if you can do Friday to, more power to ya!!
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Old 10-04-2011, 07:27 AM   #4
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Wow! That's great news! We were there the Friday to Weds before Thanksgiving last year. Friday and Sat were fine but then it was just packed! Since we were at DL last year, I didn't feel the need to fight lots of crowds. We just mostly want an excuse to stay at the Grand Californian Villas
Maybe we will buy 2 or 3 days of tickets now. Thanks!
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Old 10-04-2011, 08:33 AM   #5
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We'll actually be doing just that this year for Thanksgiving...after looking on the DIS and seeing how APs are blocked after Wed., we decided to go Thurs-Sat instead of going earlier in the week before Thanksgiving. We are SO excited to spend Thanksgiving at DL! I would say this, definitely book your Thanksgiving dinner 60 days out if you are planning on dining on-site...it seems to fill up fast! We were able to get reservations at Goofy's Kitchen, but Storyteller's was already booked for the buffet and I was only a day late! We would love to do the DLH Ballroom (I've heard such good things) but we just can't swing it this year.

We'll let you know how the crowds are this year!
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Old 10-04-2011, 09:33 AM   #6
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We went about 4 years ago on Thanksgiving day and I was expecting it to be less crowded and it was horrible. Sorry to be a Debbie Downer but it was. I know the key would be to arrive at opening and have a plan for the day like where you are going to eat. I would do sitdown meals if you could so you can make reservations. I remember havining lunch at Hungry Bear Restaurant and we waited in line for 45 minutes to order and then, we got our food and no tables were available. In fact people were holding tables with no food and would not move even though their party just got in line and wouldn't be out for 45 minutes. It was a nightmare. So, I really would think the food situation carefully because everything was packed. Hopefully, the crowds have thinned out because we'll be there this year as well but I booked dinner at the Grand Ballroom and we are staying on site. Last time we went at Thanksgiving my kids were younger and we had a weird school holiday week where we went Thurs to Saturday before Thanksgiving Day at Californian Grand Hotel and then, we went to Newport Beach Saturday to Saturday. We had the Southern California Pass. So, we did DL/California Adventure on Friday, Saturday and Thanksgiving Day. The Friday before was AMAZINGlY not crowded. So, Thanksgiving Day was a huge disappointment but we were comparing it to a really low attendance day on the Friday before.
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Old 10-04-2011, 10:14 PM   #7
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4 years ago, the AP blockouts didn't make such a big difference as they do today. If I recall correctly, it was really summer 2009 when a huge number of AP holders coupled with perhaps a few new offerings in the park and pending summer blockout periods led to unusually huge crowds for a couple weeks in June, when a lot of AP holders wanted to get a visit in before they were blocked for a couple months. Ever since, people have looked to blockouts as periods the parks will NOT be crowded, which is at least sometimes true.

Blockouts are odd in that they are days that Disney expects to be crowded, so they block some or most AP holders from visiting those days. Sometimes blockout days are surprisingly light (some people last year were surprised at light crowds July 4th, though I'm not so sure about this year). Sometimes blockout days are still crazy-crowded (week after Christmas, for instance). Thanksgiving week seems to vary, but the last couple years it sounds like the days BEFORE Thanksgiving are more crowded than the days immediately AFTER, simply because of the AP blockouts.

That said, in the SAME thread about the days after Thanksgiving, I've heard some people say it was wonderful, some say it was crowded but not awful, and a few even say it was awful. I think a lot of the crowd size is what you're used to, as well as luck (you might just happen to hit what is crowded or not and that would color your perceptions).

I like to plan for the worst but hope for the best. In times I've expected low crowds I've been disappointed. In times I've expected high crowds, they've never been as awful as I pictured (though I've never been New Year's Eve ). In fact, 2 of the 3 trips I went expecting high crowds, we did not find the park crowded at ALL. (And one of those was, of all times, World of Color opening weekend.)

Have a great trip!
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Old 10-05-2011, 12:30 AM   #8
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Thanksgiving 2009 was fairly low crowds.
Hope it works out for you.
We went last year the week before Xmas and it was fairly busy.
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Old 10-05-2011, 11:51 AM   #9
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I say go for it - we'll be there and we were there last year, check out my post *here* for more info.
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Old 10-05-2011, 08:31 PM   #10
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IME Tgiving Day and the Friday & Saturday after are amazingly quiet...I would absolutely go again those days (but my AP is blocked those days this year), it was GREAT, we even did our turkey dinner at Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen, OMG so good!!!!!
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Old 10-06-2011, 07:03 AM   #11
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Thanks for all the advice. As a previous poster suggested, I'll go and plan for huge crowds and hopefully be pleasantly surprised!
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Old 10-06-2011, 09:15 AM   #12
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I went on Thanksgiving a few years back and it was crowded, but we still had a great time. I would recommend a reservation for sit down dinner and don't have any expectations for any particular rides. We had AP's and went all of the time, so missing a ride was no big deal.

We are planning a trip again this year for Wednesday and Thursday. We have reservations at GCH Storyteller's buffet. I look at it this way, we are at the Happiest place on earth and no one has to do any cooking or cleaning up.
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