Thanksgiving

Jennifer Underwood

Earning My Ears
Joined
Nov 7, 2019
Hi, everyone!
Looking for great tips for a trip to Disney/Universal Thanksgiving week next year! Food? Touring plans? Tips? Going to with my parents and kids 15, 11, and 7. I’ve seen a ton on Christmas but not as much on Thanksgiving. We went Thanksgiving week back in 2011 and found it was not that bad crowd wise (busy yes but not overwhelming) but from other posts/sites it seems like it’s awful. Has this changed the past 8 years? We found that staying during the extended late hours at night was super helpful..could run on rides after fireworks. Still true? Anything you might have or recommended sites would be great! Thanks in advance!
 

Forevermarypoppins

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 1, 2015
Hi, everyone!
Looking for great tips for a trip to Disney/Universal Thanksgiving week next year! Food? Touring plans? Tips? Going to with my parents and kids 15, 11, and 7. I’ve seen a ton on Christmas but not as much on Thanksgiving. We went Thanksgiving week back in 2011 and found it was not that bad crowd wise (busy yes but not overwhelming) but from other posts/sites it seems like it’s awful. Has this changed the past 8 years? We found that staying during the extended late hours at night was super helpful..could run on rides after fireworks. Still true? Anything you might have or recommended sites would be great! Thanks in advance!

I spent 2 Thanksgiving weeks at WDW roughly 10 and 12 years ago. I remember Thanksgiving and after being much more crowded than earlier in the week.
BUT the Disney we knew at 8 yrs, 10 or 12 years is no longer. I would expect crowds to be higher than what you remember.
You're starting now and that's a positive start. PLANNING is everything now!!!!
 

SaintsManiac

Adventure is out there.
Joined
Dec 9, 2014
We went in 2017 and loved it. Returning this year! Yes it is busy, but if you have a good plan you can do everything you want to do.

We will be doing the late extra magic hours at the MK for the first time. Not sure what to expect, but we aren't planning on hitting the big headliners.
 
  • Bjkandma

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 29, 2019
    Been going to Disney for years straight. You will find lines at the Extra Magic Hours!! Anyone can get in line up to actual park closing time and ride that ride. All rides during EMH, they will scan your band to verify you are staying on resort. The lines will move as there isn't any fastpasses, but you will wait.

    Disney no longer has a "slower" time of the year!
     

    Jennifer Underwood

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Nov 7, 2019
    I spent 2 Thanksgiving weeks at WDW roughly 10 and 12 years ago. I remember Thanksgiving and after being much more crowded than earlier in the week.
    BUT the Disney we knew at 8 yrs, 10 or 12 years is no longer. I would expect crowds to be higher than what you remember.
    You're starting now and that's a positive start. PLANNING is everything now!!!!
    So, Disney overall has been a lot more crowded in recent years? Thanks for your comment!
     

    Nancyg56

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 17, 2005
    So, Disney overall has been a lot more crowded in recent years? Thanks for your comment!

    Yes, Disney is more crowded at all times of the year. I rememebr October being so relaxed, and my last trip a few years ago I was blindsided by the number of people. December as well. It has gradually increased crowdsize and now I find it busy. Not crazy but busy.

    I have visited Thanksgiving, with arrrival being on Thanksgiving Day. It was BUSY, and stayed that way through SUnday evening, slowing a bit on Monday. I imagine that week woudl be gradually building crowdwise with folks tanking advantage of the long holiday weekend to Minimize time off from school or work.
     

    sponica

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 16, 2017
    Ah 2011, we were still in post recession years back then...it's probably going to be a LOT more crowded than you remember.

    I think with a good plan (and patience) you should be ok...
     
  • stephk1981

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 11, 2013
    Disney has become busier and busier every Thanksgiving 😭. If you can leave the Friday night or Saturday morning before Thanksgiving you will have a couple of okay days. EMH do help, but still crowded. Make your fp+ for an hour after opening. Rope drop to do a few rides, then use the fast passes. After that add a fourth fast pass, and so on. We have lots of luck with that. We go a few times a year, with Thanksgiving week as a set week yearly due to husband hunting. Have a great trip
     

    Jennifer Underwood

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Nov 7, 2019
    Thank you everyone! Sounds like the parks have increased crowd levels. Any suggestions on which park, which day? Going to Universal as well. Going Sat before Thanksgiving to Sat after.
     

    commanderbuzzy

    Commander Buzzy
    Joined
    Nov 7, 2019
    Hi, everyone!
    Looking for great tips for a trip to Disney/Universal Thanksgiving week next year! Food? Touring plans? Tips? Going to with my parents and kids 15, 11, and 7. I’ve seen a ton on Christmas but not as much on Thanksgiving. We went Thanksgiving week back in 2011 and found it was not that bad crowd wise (busy yes but not overwhelming) but from other posts/sites it seems like it’s awful. Has this changed the past 8 years? We found that staying during the extended late hours at night was super helpful..could run on rides after fireworks. Still true? Anything you might have or recommended sites would be great! Thanks in advance!
    Hi!

    If you're going to Disney, I would've booked fastpasses a month ago. Thanksgiving week is almost as busy as christmas, and knowing Disney, those are probably already gone.

    Without fastpasses or a plan this close to your travel date, you'll be waiting. A lot. I'd go as far as to push your trip back. However, here's a way to ride your #1 ride without a fastpass:

    -Arrive at the park an hour in advance, go through security
    -(ONLY IF YOUR RIDE IS IN GALAXY'S EDGE) Once on property, apply to enter the land via MDE, or else you won't get in.
    -The second the park opens, sprint (yes, literally sprint) to your favourite ride. This should get you through the line in under 15 minutes. This even worked for on season FOP.

    Hope this helps!
     

    Jennifer Underwood

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Nov 7, 2019
    Hi!

    If you're going to Disney, I would've booked fastpasses a month ago. Thanksgiving week is almost as busy as christmas, and knowing Disney, those are probably already gone.

    Without fastpasses or a plan this close to your travel date, you'll be waiting. A lot. I'd go as far as to push your trip back. However, here's a way to ride your #1 ride without a fastpass:

    -Arrive at the park an hour in advance, go through security
    -(ONLY IF YOUR RIDE IS IN GALAXY'S EDGE) Once on property, apply to enter the land via MDE, or else you won't get in.
    -The second the park opens, sprint (yes, literally sprint) to your favourite ride. This should get you through the line in under 15 minutes. This even worked for on season FOP.

    Hope this helps!
    Thank you! I’m a super planner so as I wrote we’re actually going next year, 2020. Any other tips for planning way ahead?
     
  • commanderbuzzy

    Commander Buzzy
    Joined
    Nov 7, 2019
    Thank you! I’m a super planner so as I wrote we’re actually going next year, 2020. Any other tips for planning way ahead?
    Ah, I'm sorry for reading your question wrong! You're 100% on the right track and seem like you know what you're doing :)

    All I'd say regarding fastpasses is to keep the tiering systems in mind (you can only book 1 fastpass for a tier 1 ride, which is generally a more popular ride) so I'd utilize the rope dropping system I replied with if you want to hit 2 popular rides without worrying about fastpasses!

    Also, if you're interested in going to Oga's Cantina, I'd book that now. It's the most popular restaurant in a Disney park, and for every day leading up to 2020 it is completely booked. We booked ours by playing the refresh game, and we got super lucky at that, don't be like us and make sure to plan for these things ahead haha

    Have fun! I wish you the best on your trip :flower1:
     

    MouseMama11

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 6, 2012
    We stayed the week leading into Thanksgiving back in 2013 and it was one of my favorite trips!! There were crowds but not to the extreme (I've gone during Easter and 4th of July and those were ridiculous! Thanksgiving seemed like nothing lol!)… We stayed Saturday through Black Friday and the crowds were pretty moderate until the day before Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving Eve they increased some and Thanksgiving Day they hit capacity in MK pretty early. We had an ADR at Tony's for Thanksgiving dinner so we ate there, then left for a resort pool day. From the looks of the other comments, things may have changed a little bit but hopefully its ok!

    We are currently planning our trip for the same week in 2020 too with my mom! Our kids are older now so we will be taking advantage of the Extra Magic Hours... seems like that is the way to go!
     

    Jennifer Underwood

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Nov 7, 2019
    Thanks for your info and comment! Here’s hoping next year Thanksgiving week is close to what we remember😉 Since you have older kiddos, we loved the late hours after fireworks at night...cooler and we ran on rides. It felt like no matter how early we got there in the morning, it was packed but the nights almost always cleared out especially all of the Littles with strollers who are wiped. Good luck planning!
     

    Memorymakerfor4

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 15, 2018
    We leave tomorrow morning for our Sat-Sat Thanksgiving trip, so ask me in a week! You might check out the November 2019 board on the Trip Planning Strategies forum to see how everyone is going about it this year. People there now are saying it's busier than they thought it would be, even the week before, which is usually slow.

    We made at least one ADR a day. 180 days out things went pretty quickly, so be ready to spend some serious time stalking to adjust your times. Don't worry about actual Thanksgiving day reservations if you don't see what you want that day, Disney released them sometime later, I don't know why. FP day was similar. I got everything I wanted except for Slinky Dog and was able to get it about three weeks later.

    We have a pretty detailed plan, but are ready to ditch it if we're overwhelmed with crowds and spend time resort hopping or in the pool. I'm going in with pretty low expectations of how much we can get done, so hopefully I'll be pleasantly surprised.
     

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