Give it to me straight - Thanksgiving Week Touring

My reason for this post is simple: I would love to hear from people who have toured the parks around Thanksgiving. I'm looking for any suggestions, warnings or advice I can get as I will be going by myself with my two daughters who will be 8 and 9 by the time of the trip. We are staying at POP Century from Monday, November 17 through Thursday poultry_leg November 27.

About my daughters:

They are high-energy, late night children. They wake up well in the morning for the most part so I hope to hit as many rope drops as possible. I don't plan on taking a lot of resort breaks but do plan on relaxing at a meal or a laid back show or something. Maybe we can ride People Mover and CoP over and over. haha!

  • I do not want to do laundry *(I am flying Southwest so I will have
    plenty of room for clothes as they allow 2 checked bags per person)*

  • I am not planning on renting a car

  • I would love suggestions on what to pack as far as clothes, shoes, accessories, etc.

  • I plan on taking a light backpack into the park to carry things we need so I would also like suggestions on what to put in the bag that I may not have thought of.
    (so far I'm thinking, Trent Charger, large ziplocks, body glide, moleskin, flip-flops, sunscreen)

Here are the plans for the trip:

Nov. 17: Flight arrives at MCO at 5:30pm Magical Express to POP
8:25pm dinner reservation at 1900 PF

Nov. 18: Hollywood Studios
12:05pm lunch reservation for Mama Melrose Fantasmic! Dining Package

Nov. 19 Magic Kingdom
7:30am breakfast reservation at Ohana
4:40pm dinner reservation at Crystal Palace

Nov. 20 Magic Kingdom
(This is the day that I'm hoping to get A&E FPP for) Plan A
11:45am lunch reservation at Liberty Tree Tavern
4:15pm dinner reservation at Be Our Guest

Nov. 21 Animal Kingdom
1:00pm lunch reservation at Tusker House
tour AK through park close
hop to Epcot with intent to watch Illuminations
7:00pm dinner reservation at Garden Grill

Nov. 22 Epcot
8:10am breakfast reservation at Akershus
12:45pm lunch reservation at Via Napoli
possibly take a break and hit PM emh at MK

Nov. 23 Hollywood Studios
12:30pm lunch reservation for Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater
6:35pm dinner reservation for 50's Prime Time Cafe

Nov. 24 Epcot and possible park hopping/resort day
tour Epcot and possibly hop to hit other attractions/rides the girls want to do again
I have reservations for meals this day at Epcot but I'm not sure I'll keep them.
(8:10am Akershus, 12:45pm Via Napoli and 6:30pm Garden Grill)
I know for sure that I won't keep all three. Don't think we could eat that much!

Nov. 25 Animal Kingdom
12:30 lunch reservation for Yak & Yeti
tour Animal Kingdom and see shows/attractions we may have missed on Nov. 21
hop to MK for the evening?
7:00pm dining reservation at Be Our Guest that I may not keep.

Nov. 26 Magic Kingdom (Our Thanksgiving Day)
(If I don't get A&E FPP for Nov. 20 then I will hopefully get it for this day) Plan B

12:00pm lunch reservation at Liberty Tree Tavern for Thanksgiving Lunch
6:30pm dinner reservation at Be Our Guest for (possibly light) Thanksgiving Dinner

Nov. 27 (Real Thanksgiving Day)
hit rope drop for 7:00am morning EMH at Magic Kingdom
9:55am breakfast reservation at Crystal Palace
Take Magical Express back to MCO for our 3:20pm flight home.

Thanks in advance for any replies!

I was there last year for 17 days. This included a few days in the week before Thanksgiving, the entire Thanksgiving week, and the entire first week of Dec. I was so concerned that the crowds were going to be crazy. I had my mind made up that Thanksgiving week was going to be insane. I was so pleasantly surprised. Yes, we were there for RD and had a TP for the most part but we waited very minimal for everything. Now, first week of Dec I had always heard was so low with crowds. The truth is that I didn't find a huge diff between Thanksgiving week and the first week of December. I would have gone this Thanksgiving again but my AP didn't time right with it and we are going in Sept again (when the crowds are truly low). You will have a blast and it won't be miserable like a Christmas week would be. Thanksgiving week a few of the parks opened at 7 am and we got so much done by being there at RD. We took a break at noon when most of the people were flooding in. We go a great spot for parades, Castle lighting ceremony, etc. It is very doable.

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We were there last year from the Fri night before until the day after thanksgiving. I thought it was perfect! Much less crowded than Easter week 2013 & Christmas decorations were up. It was chilly most mornings & we only swam once due to time constraints (we are hardy northerners).

For clothes I packed lightweight layers that were removed as it warmed up. Lightweight khakis/capris, T-shirt, zippered hoodie, gloves, Tevas/Keens, & socks (don't laugh - you needed them a couple of days!).

Parks really became less crowded after the fireworks, so if you have night owl kids definitely take advantage of that!

Great plans! I was at WDW in early December last year. As far as clothing goes, it was still pretty warm during the daytime (low-mid 80s), but chilly on some evenings and early mornings, so it was nice to have a sweatshirt and capris with me in addition to shorts/T-shirts.

Great plans, but here's a few thoughts to consider: 11/20 lunch & dinner are too close together, your times on 11/26 are much better for those two. I would plan to use GG on 11/24 so you can leave 11/21 evening open in case you are worn out after the late party night.

Are you on the dining plan and if so which one? If the regular plan then I'd suggest dropping crystal palace (both) unless your DDs are big pooh fans. My dd8!could care less about pooh but I know some still like them at that age.

Thank you so much for the input!

We are on the regular dining plan. But... here is where it gets a little different. We are on the dining plan from 11/17 to 11/20 (our credits must be used by midnight 11/21)

The reason for this is that I booked the package 11/17-11/20 with 10-day tickets through Disney and paid out of pocket. For the remaining six nights, I used Ultimate Reward points to book POP Century (like a split stay but we aren't moving resorts). With the higher nightly rate that starts on Friday, 11/21 and goes even higher Thanksgiving week, this saved me more money than paying for the whole package and booking "free dining". I used the calculator and looked at it every which way. Saved over $970 on the room for six nights. I know that we will not spend that much eating over the course of those days.

I kind of front-loaded the ADRs to fall into the dining plan timeframe. 1900 PF, Fantastic! Pkg, Tusker, Garden Grill, etc. We may do more QS meals and will probably be dropping some ADRs (breakfast ones especially). (liners will be notified in case I have any they want)

You are right. I was worried about that. I have a lunch reservation for LTT on 11/19 too as a backup so I might swap those or drop them all together for QS. I definitely will keep LTT lunch on 11/26.

I think we should be ok on this one only because we have to eat dinner anyway. So if we are really wore out we could just leave after we eat instead of staying to watch Illuminations. Also, I have no problem taking a cab if busses are crazy. My girls do get a second wind at night. I've been watching how they do in somewhat similar situations like all-day Six Flags over Texas trips in the Texas heat, July 4th fireworks (we waited almost 2 hours in the line for the busses to take us to our car, they played together and had a great time, didn't get home until after 1:00am and they are still saying "we're not tired" haha!) I definitely don't want to run them to exhaustion but they are usually good as long as we can sit for a little while or get a snack now and then.

We will be there 11/20-26. Your plans look great....only thing I might add is some of those disposable rain ponchos (camping aisle at Wal-mart, about $0.50) for when you ride Splash & Kali---if you ride early or late in the day, might be too cool to dry off well and your girls might not enjoy that. Nov has some of the lowest rainfall of the year, but for less than $2, it is cheap insurance! Have a magical time with your ladies!

Good idea on the ponchos! I know it isn't rainy season but I plan on bringing them just in case. At least we'll have them for Kali River Rapids as I hear that ride can get you soaked.

Well thought out @dadhatter! Now that is some serious planning 👍 We will be there that week as well. Hope to see ya there.

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Okay, first comment: Super Dad! Super Planner! You seriously need a superhero cape!!

Second, here are some things I always have in my backpack when with kids: headache medicine for me, water bottles with crystal light packets, a couple granola bars for snacks, a couple bandaids, a small hand sanitizer, camera, ponchos, a lightweight change of clothes just in case ( but my kids are younger), kids' autograph books and pen. Just for fun, some glow sticks or glow necklaces for dark night touring.

Third, I love Pop, and I love -- like really love -- restaurant food. But when I hear 10 days at Pop it makes me think of my 5 night stay and how I actually really started to miss regular food and a kitchen. To prevent digestive issues and constipated kids, you might want to make sure you get some fresh fruit into them regularly, bananas, carrot sticks, I don't know. I have heard more than once on lines "oh no, DD has a tummy ache, going to urgent care, hope it isn't appendix etc" when the sweet girl was just really painfully constipated.

Have a great time!!!


This is why I love Lines! So much wonderful info and even more wonderful people. Thanks for the tips. I do plan on packing (Southwest so 2 checked bags each) or shipping some breakfast items like granola, fiber bars etc. If I do Garden Grocer, the fruit and veggies is a great option for snacks. I'm going to have to change my eating habits a bit before the trip to "warm-up" for all the sugar and processed foods. I normally eat very clean but I'm not going to go crazy trying to eat super healthy in Disney. I'll just go with it.

Hi, guys! I am bumping this to the top because it now turns out that my DD7 and I will also be at WDW the week of Thanksgiving! I, too, would love to hear all the tips you've got about the crowds and successful touring. We usually go in low crowds -- these should be the biggest crowd level numbers we've experienced. But I am hoping for early morning opening hours, because we are early birds and I would love to have an empty park early in the morning!

Wow, what great plans, you're going to have a great time.

In terms of healthy eating and Disney, I've found that a good breakfast (oatmeal and fruit are easy to find), with one meal a day where I eat "healthy" like salads or stir fry, and then other meal whatever I want, helps keep me in balance.

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Awesome suggestion. smile

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Great tips! We’ll be there Turkey week (and the week after) and slightly nervous. We’ve only been in September and beginning of December. I have to agree with @glamourgirl, I thought beginning of December would be much less crowded. So does MK open up early every day of Tday week? I’ve never paid much attention to the schedules for that week because I was one of those people that would never go during a crazy holiday! :dizzy_face: