Everyone loves the idea of the holidays at The Most Magical Place on Earth, but many never get to enjoy the holidays here or have to choose which one to celebrate at Disney World. As we’ve spent our year living here in the Walt Disney World Resorts, we of course have been able to celebrate each holiday here. Some we’ve enjoyed more than others, but the most recent one we celebrated was Thanksgiving. We enjoyed the day and went to Magic Kingdom to see the crowd levels and find out if there were any special things going on for the holiday. Here’s what we thought about spending Thanksgiving at Walt Disney World.
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Thanksgiving at The Disney Resorts
All the Disney resorts at this point in the month have their Christmas decorations up, and we didn’t find signs for special Thanksgiving celebrations or activities like we did for Halloween. There was definitely more of a celebration for the last few holidays at the resorts than there was for Thanksgiving. Fort Wilderness did a Turkey Trot with a cute prize, but if you aren’t an early riser, this wouldn’t be fun for you. Registration begins at 6:30 am and the race starts at 7:30 am. Robert made it to this, but I opted to sleep. You can find a list of all the fun run at the resorts here.
Thanksgiving at The Parks
At the parks, the Christmas decorations and music were up as well as any Christmas shows that play during the holiday season. We did find two signs in Magic Kingdom in front of Cinderella’s Castle that said Happy Thanksgiving, so we were really happy to take pictures with these. The lines were pretty long, but we didn’t mind waiting. The cast members were so good about saying Happy Thanksgiving to guests throughout the park, but it was really crowded with lines staying long all day, so we only stayed for a couple of hours before leaving.
Thanksgiving at Disney Restaurants
We did not eat at a Disney restaurant on Thanksgiving, but we know many people who did. Almost every restaurant on Disney property served some form of turkey and traditional Thanksgiving-style meal, even if they don’t normally offer it. The most popular restaurant on Thanksgiving Day is Liberty Tree Tavern for its traditional Thanksgiving meal, but it’s the same menu they serve every day, so you don’t have to go on Thanksgiving to enjoy their food.
Another great option many don’t consider for Thanksgiving if you’ll be at Walt Disney World is Biergarten. It’s a buffet with a great selection of meats and sides, is only one table service credit per person, and there’s a fun show while you eat. We always enjoy our time there and think it’s a great place to go with the family.
Thanksgiving at Club Level
Each club level lounge in the Disney resorts is different because they’re given the ability to offer food available from the resort restaurants or that makes sense for the resort theming. We were given permission to take pictures at one of the lounges to show what they had for Thanksgiving. All of the food was the same for the day, including the desserts except they had turkey, stuffing, and gravy at dinner. This was at the Wilderness Lodge club level lounge. Again, each lounge is different, so some may have had more than this for their Thanksgiving offerings, but we were told every club level at least had turkey for the guests.
Of course we enjoyed spending Thanksgiving at Walt Disney World, but given the choice again, we don’t plan to do so. With all of the holiday decorations and music set for Christmas, it’s hard to celebrate Thanksgiving. There wasn’t much at the parks either, so it just felt like trying to celebrate two holidays at once with Christmas winning. We prefer more traditional at-home celebrations for this day with all the normal Thanksgiving options, including turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, green bean casserole, corn bread casserole, pumpkin pie, and more. You won’t find such a wide variety of options like that at the Disney restaurants, so you’ll find us celebrating with a smaller crowd and home cooked meal next year.