Our First Disneyland Thanksgiving

Aurora0427

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 24, 2014
Hi! We’ve recently relocated to San Diego, and my in-laws are coming for Thanksgiving and treating us to a three night stay at the Grand Californian. We’ll be arriving Wednesday and leaving Saturday.

1. Who has done the Thanksgiving buffet at the Disneyland Hotel? My SIL loved it last year..... it’s pricey so looking for input. Any other Thanksgiving Day meal recommendations?

2. Any suggestions for managing the crowds is very much appreciated. I’ve already told my husband we are spending the extra money on Max Pass, and we are aiming for early mornings.

Thanks!
 

Malcon10t

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 21, 2006
1. Who has done the Thanksgiving buffet at the Disneyland Hotel? My SIL loved it last year..... it’s pricey so looking for input. Any other Thanksgiving Day meal recommendations?
We've done it for several years. We REALLY love it. Yes, it is pricey, but for us, it is well worth it. My daughter, elementary teacher, brings "art projects", we have food, and we have a ton of fun, and someone else cleans up! Only negative is the lack of a real pumpkin pie. But who can eat after all that food! So we bring one each year for later in the evening in the room!





 
  • Brancaneve

    That means Snow White in another language.
    Joined
    Dec 7, 2006
    I will be in DLR on Thanksgiving Day and am also interested in some advice.. Subscribing!
     

    Michele King

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Feb 8, 2015
    I would love to know the best places to eat on Thanksgiving. Two of our family are vegetarians (but not vegan) and two are carnivores (truly). What kind of foods do they have on the buffet? Anyone have pictures?
     

    Malcon10t

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 21, 2006
    I'm a carnivores, vegan-free, and there is SO MUCH on the buffet. The typical turkey, ham, prime rib, shrimp, crab, salmon, green beans, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, sweet potato soufflé, cranberry-orange relish, cheeses, charcuterie, rolls (sour dough and regualr) usually a soup (butternut squash usually) and a ton of kids options. There are usually a lot of desserts (but the pumpkin pie is is mainly crust, more of a tart).

    Desserts














    I need to make sure I take better pics next year.
     

    Aurora0427

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 24, 2014
    The Disneyland Hotel buffet looks amazing but after tax and tip are included, it average so out to over $400 to feed a family of four. Ridiculous.

    Has anyone been to Storyteller’s Cafe at the GCH? Feedback is greatly appreciated. Thank You!
     
    Last edited:
  • Malcon10t

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 21, 2006
    The Disneyland Hotel buffet looks amazing but after tax and tip are included, it average so out to over $400 to feed a family of four. Ridiculous.
    Yes, it is not cheap. But it is not ridiculous for us. It usually sells out fairly quickly after it opens, so we must not be the only ones. I enjoy all the character interactions also.

    Has anyone been to Storyteller’s Cafe at the GCH? Feedback is greatly appreciated. Thank You!
    Yes, we have been to Storyteller's for Thanksgiving a few years ago. It is good. My biggest complaint was they didn't have gravy for mashed potatoes!! If you do go, you can ask for corn chowder soup. It isn't on the buffet, you just have to ask for it.
     

    Aurora0427

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 24, 2014
    Yes, it is not cheap. But it is not ridiculous for us. It usually sells out fairly quickly after it opens, so we must not be the only ones. I enjoy all the character interactions also.

    Yes, we have been to Storyteller's for Thanksgiving a few years ago. It is good. My biggest complaint was they didn't have gravy for mashed potatoes!! If you do go, you can ask for corn chowder soup. It isn't on the buffet, you just have to ask for it.
    We are locals so I think I have a harder time dropping $400 on a meal. When we go to WDW, I have the mentality of “oh it’s vacation, money grows on trees.” I’m also just more cognizant on where our dollars go after moving to San Diego.... it’s much more expensive than where we used to live. That being said, over $400 for a meal is shocking but I completely understand why people do it and I haven’t totally ruled it out!

    Thanks for the feedback on Storytellers!
     

    Iceman93

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 2, 2004
    I'm glad we've already addressed the $400 price. That is an inexpensive dinner out for my family of five here in southern California, and I can't remember the last time we had a sit-down meal at DLR that cheap. Malcon10t is absolutely correct--that Thanksgiving buffet at the DLH is worth every penny. The food is shockingly good and varied, plus the entertainment and overall experience make it even better. This year, with the Disney cost-cuts, all bets are on the table but I'm hopeful this will continue to be a truly special meal.
     

    Delilah1310

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 25, 2008
    Those buffet pics look amazing! We have never had our Thanksgiving feast on property, but may reconsider for future years!!!

    I can speak more to managing crowds and being in the parks during that week. As someone already mentioned getting there early is key - like, really the only way to maximize your time in park. Use the morning magic as much as you can. If may be difficult to get up early, but you can do a nap in the afternoon when things will be super crowded. Christmas decor should be up by then, too.
    My advice based on our experience is to focus solely on rides from rope drop until lunch, prioritizing any headliners or family must-dos. After lunch, you might as well break back at the hotel but other options are using that time to shop or see shows, parades. In the evening, after dinner time, we found we could do only a couple of rides even with the help of MaxPass. We tired to focus on rides that seem to us to have special nighttime magic (Big Thunder, Radiator Springs, teacups, holiday small world, etc.)
    We mainly kept to rides in the morning, shows and shopping in the afternoon/evening and got way more done than we expected, but again ... being there early is vital if you want to experience a lot of headliners.
     
  • Aurora0427

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 24, 2014
    Those buffet pics look amazing! We have never had our Thanksgiving feast on property, but may reconsider for future years!!!

    I can speak more to managing crowds and being in the parks during that week. As someone already mentioned getting there early is key - like, really the only way to maximize your time in park. Use the morning magic as much as you can. If may be difficult to get up early, but you can do a nap in the afternoon when things will be super crowded. Christmas decor should be up by then, too.
    My advice based on our experience is to focus solely on rides from rope drop until lunch, prioritizing any headliners or family must-dos. After lunch, you might as well break back at the hotel but other options are using that time to shop or see shows, parades. In the evening, after dinner time, we found we could do only a couple of rides even with the help of MaxPass. We tired to focus on rides that seem to us to have special nighttime magic (Big Thunder, Radiator Springs, teacups, holiday small world, etc.)
    We mainly kept to rides in the morning, shows and shopping in the afternoon/evening and got way more done than we expected, but again ... being there early is vital if you want to experience a lot of headliners.
    This is extremely helpful information. Thank You!!!!
     

    StarlitNight05

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 6, 2016
    DH and I went for Thanksgiving last year. We got there the day before Thanksgiving and stayed until Saturday. It wasn't as bad as I expected at all! We got there for rope drop, utilized Maxpass and were able to get everything we wanted done with multiple repeats! We are vegetarians, thus the traditional buffets didn't appeal much to us. We pretty much just ate like it was a normal park day! If we weren't going for Halloween this year, I'd definitely be considering another Thanksgiving at DLR.
     

    Becca1007

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 1, 2016
    Whatever you decide, you will need a reservation for any sit down meals you want on Thanksgiving. So if you want to do a sit down lunch, make reservations asap. Many people choose a larger more festive lunch on Thanksgiving in lieu of dinner or if they can't get a dinner reservation. Having been in the park on Thanksgiving several times, the crowds always seemed manageable it was just that meal times were more difficult. We tend to do counter service on Thanksgiving and have our special dining experience on a different night of the trip. I think Carthay and Napa Rose both offer Thanksgiving options all week, but you will want to check on that for this year.
     

    Aurora0427

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 24, 2014
    DH and I went for Thanksgiving last year. We got there the day before Thanksgiving and stayed until Saturday. It wasn't as bad as I expected at all! We got there for rope drop, utilized Maxpass and were able to get everything we wanted done with multiple repeats! We are vegetarians, thus the traditional buffets didn't appeal much to us. We pretty much just ate like it was a normal park day! If we weren't going for Halloween this year, I'd definitely be considering another Thanksgiving at DLR.
    Thank you!!!! We are planning on arriving late afternoon Wednesday and just spending time exploring the resort and downtown Disney, before hitting the parks super early Thursday.
     

    Aurora0427

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 24, 2014
    Whatever you decide, you will need a reservation for any sit down meals you want on Thanksgiving. So if you want to do a sit down lunch, make reservations asap. Many people choose a larger more festive lunch on Thanksgiving in lieu of dinner or if they can't get a dinner reservation. Having been in the park on Thanksgiving several times, the crowds always seemed manageable it was just that meal times were more difficult. We tend to do counter service on Thanksgiving and have our special dining experience on a different night of the trip. I think Carthay and Napa Rose both offer Thanksgiving options all week, but you will want to check on that for this year.
    This is very helpful! My SIL and her family did the big buffet at the DLH last year and she recommended going midday versus evening. She said it was a bit much after being at the parks early in the morning and most of the afternoon. Not sure where we’ll ultimately end up eating but I have to figure it out by the 60 day window!
     

    mich311e

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 23, 2013
    We went on Thanksgiving in 2015. We did the Fantasmic! dining package at Blue Bayou. My husband got the Thanksgiving Dinner and loved it. I'm vegetarian so I go the vegetarian option there, my son got jambalaya. We did the second seating of Fantasmic! and it wasn't crowded it all. Loved it!
     

    Aurora0427

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 24, 2014
    We went on Thanksgiving in 2015. We did the Fantasmic! dining package at Blue Bayou. My husband got the Thanksgiving Dinner and loved it. I'm vegetarian so I go the vegetarian option there, my son got jambalaya. We did the second seating of Fantasmic! and it wasn't crowded it all. Loved it!
    Oh this is another fantastic idea! Seeing Fantasmic and doing the dining package is a great idea! Did they have the regular menu as well and just the Thanksgiving dinner was unique? My FIL is allergic to chicken, turkey and fish so he needs a beef or vegetarian option! So glad they have a vegetarian option!
     

    mich311e

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 23, 2013
    Oh this is another fantastic idea! Seeing Fantasmic and doing the dining package is a great idea! Did they have the regular menu as well and just the Thanksgiving dinner was unique? My FIL is allergic to chicken, turkey and fish so he needs a beef or vegetarian option! So glad they have a vegetarian option!
    They had their regular menu options and a Thanksgiving dinner option for that day only. It was turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy.

    It looks like the vegetarian option is now vegetable pasta.
     

    Brancaneve

    That means Snow White in another language.
    Joined
    Dec 7, 2006
    Can anyone chime in on eating Thanksgiving dinner at Napa Rose or Cafe Orleans?
     

    Connect

    Disney News and Updates

    Get Daily Email Updates


    Top