Must be crazy. Thanksgiving Week!

BrotherCraig

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 27, 2021
We were suppose to be on a cruise for Thanksgiving Week but had to cancel because of COVID. We are already staying at Disney the week before so we figure we would stick around Orlando and take the family to Universal. A friend gave us free tickets to the parks for two days and we are staying at RPR Sun-Thurs - then flying back home. We are planning on hitting the parks on Monday and Tuesday (11/22 & 11/23). We will have Express Passes and Early Entry into the parks.

We know it will be very packed. We have folks telling us don't even bother going to Universal because of it but we are going. So what rides would jump on early if it was you?
 

kbelle8995

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 28, 2009
We were suppose to be on a cruise for Thanksgiving Week but had to cancel because of COVID. We are already staying at Disney the week before so we figure we would stick around Orlando and take the family to Universal. A friend gave us free tickets to the parks for two days and we are staying at RPR Sun-Thurs - then flying back home. We are planning on hitting the parks on Monday and Tuesday (11/22 & 11/23). We will have Express Passes and Early Entry into the parks.

We know it will be very packed. We have folks telling us don't even bother going to Universal because of it but we are going. So what rides would jump on early if it was you?
We went Thanksgiving pre-pandemic. We had a great time. Black Friday was very crowded but the next day was so much better. We had a great time. We stayed at Cabana. RPR early entry and express pass will be extremely helpful. Make some restaurant reservation.
 

BrotherCraig

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 27, 2021
Thanks everyone! We are just going to ride what we can ride and take it easy during this UO visit. Two days in the parks with the kids (they never been).

Which rides should we hit when the EE starts?
 

mamapenguin

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 15, 2006
Have a great time. I know if I were staying at RPR Sunday through Thursday I would be at the parks more than 2 days- but that’s just me. Express will make things easier.
 
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DoryGirl1963

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 14, 2016
Thanks everyone! We are just going to ride what we can ride and take it easy during this UO visit. Two days in the parks with the kids (they never been).

Which rides should we hit when the EE starts?
If IOA has EE, make a beeline to Hagrid's first thing - then maybe Velocicoaster if you're interested - neither of those rides have EP.
 
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AJA

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 16, 2008
I would absolutely go with free tickets and having express passes and early entry you can accomplish a lot even in heavy crowds!

I would take some time to get familiar with Uni dining options and dining menus. The express pass wont help in food lines and not planning when/where to eat ahead of time (and being in that area) could waste a lot of precious ride time.
Make City Walk table service dining reservations sooner rater than later if you know you want to eat table service.
 
  • BrotherCraig

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 27, 2021
    Thanks again, everyone. We made some dinner reservations - Chocolate Emporium for our first night at Universal and then the Italian restaurant at Portofino on our last night. For the park, we did reserve one place already. Thanks.
     

    Skywalker3

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 10, 2018
    Last several years, we've been at theme parks for Thanksgiving, Disney-2017,2019,2020, and Universal 2018. definitely crowded. But good you're doing parks Mon and Tues, as it tends to get busier as the week goes on, but it'll still be busy. we just did a fairly busy Columbus day weekend, and made sure to try and rope drop Hagrids, which was NOT virtual while we were there, but was the days before and after, and Velocicoaster another day. be extra early for rope drop, I'd walk in the AM. over boats/bus if possible, then kinda just expect lines all day everywhere, All the Hp shops were super crowded. Bathrooms not too bad, but QS can get long lines. Eat at off times. I was getting Who Hash as soon as windows opened. Thunder Falls as soon as it opened, etc. Ride lines can sometimes back up, even for express, but none were too bad when we were there. in 2018, However I remember one very crowded day in Diagon Alley, kinda shuffling along holding onto each other, and the line for Florians was outside, wrapped around, very long. Butterbeer lines were crazy. That kind of thing. So just be ready for it, and you'll be good. We love the cooler weather for Thanksgiving more than Oct, so that'll be a huge plus. We typically have to follow the school calendars, and get the week off for Thanskgiving, so love going to Orlando then. Have fun!!!!
     

    DoryGirl1963

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 14, 2016
    I believe Early Entry is only for Universal Studios and no rides for IOA.
    App is showing IOA as EE park starting 11/01/2021 thru 11/21/21 (furthest hours posted), so hopefully that continues thru Nov for the OP - they switch EE parks back & forth but hours are only posted about a month in advance.
     
  • BrotherCraig

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 27, 2021
    App is showing IOA as EE park starting 11/01/2021 thru 11/21/21 (furthest hours posted), so hopefully that continues thru Nov for the OP - they switch EE parks back & forth but hours are only posted about a month in advance.
    True but doesn't show any rides available. EE is suppose to get us into Harry Potter but not sure what means. Just two rides I am guessing?
     

    BrotherCraig

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 27, 2021
    Last several years, we've been at theme parks for Thanksgiving, Disney-2017,2019,2020, and Universal 2018. definitely crowded. But good you're doing parks Mon and Tues, as it tends to get busier as the week goes on, but it'll still be busy. we just did a fairly busy Columbus day weekend, and made sure to try and rope drop Hagrids, which was NOT virtual while we were there, but was the days before and after, and Velocicoaster another day. be extra early for rope drop, I'd walk in the AM. over boats/bus if possible, then kinda just expect lines all day everywhere, All the Hp shops were super crowded. Bathrooms not too bad, but QS can get long lines. Eat at off times. I was getting Who Hash as soon as windows opened. Thunder Falls as soon as it opened, etc. Ride lines can sometimes back up, even for express, but none were too bad when we were there. in 2018, However I remember one very crowded day in Diagon Alley, kinda shuffling along holding onto each other, and the line for Florians was outside, wrapped around, very long. Butterbeer lines were crazy. That kind of thing. So just be ready for it, and you'll be good. We love the cooler weather for Thanksgiving more than Oct, so that'll be a huge plus. We typically have to follow the school calendars, and get the week off for Thanskgiving, so love going to Orlando then. Have fun!!!!

    Thanks. Yeah, it will be packed and we are not in a rush to do anything there. The kids are 9, 7, and 1 so not much for them there at all. We are just going to enjoy the day as much as possible and look around for the two days we are there in the parks. I have been many times but it has been 20 years since I have been.
     

    DoryGirl1963

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 14, 2016
    True but doesn't show any rides available. EE is suppose to get us into Harry Potter but not sure what means. Just two rides I am guessing?
    Hagrid's, Forbidden Journey & Flight of the Hippogriff should all be open for EE at IOA - the latter two (2) have EP lines but those aren't available until regular park opening time.
     

    cfoxga

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 14, 2009
    Thanks. Yeah, it will be packed and we are not in a rush to do anything there. The kids are 9, 7, and 1 so not much for them there at all. We are just going to enjoy the day as much as possible and look around for the two days we are there in the parks. I have been many times but it has been 20 years since I have been.
    Our girls were 8 and 10 on our first trip and had a blast. They were (and still are) obsessed with Harry Potter. Then they discovered the Simpsons and have watch almost every episode (30+ years worth). So even though I get motion sick on that ride, I end up doing it multiple times each trip. Spiderman and Transformers were hits as well. The Horror Makeup Show was the biggest surprise, even though some of the jokes went over their head.

    So even if they are too young for RRR or Hulk, there is plenty to do. If things go really well, you have the option to upgrade the tickets to Annual Passes and go additional days or potentially a second trip within 12 months. It also opens up APH rates, which can save 30-45% off of the resorts, which can be a couple hundred dollars per day savings. Unfortunately, it is probably a bit too late for this year to get one.

    As others have said, it will be crowded. The EP lines in the afternoon will get to 45+ minutes. But the mornings and evenings are much less crowded. So we go early, hit all of the rides in one park before lunch, head back to the resort for a nap/pool, then go back in the evening. Diagon Alley at night is spectacular.

    I'm pretty sure that all three times we've been for Thanksgiving, they have had both IOA and US open for EE. If you aren't doing coasters like Hagrids, IOA is a great place to start for EE. You can ride FJ and FoH and do all the wand stuff in Hogsmeade because almost everyone heads straight to Hagrids.
     

    solosara

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    May 28, 2019
    My best friend and I always go the week of Thanksgiving because of his birthday, and we've always had a great time (both before and during the pandemic.) If you're cool to go with the flow, you can definitely ride whatever you want and the weather should be great.
     


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