Thanksgiving Week Itinerary

Howdy folks!
We’ve made a few trips to Disney over the years, and hacked our way around very successfully. With the kids getting older we’re going to make our first trip to Universal Orlando next year. For trip length I’ve seen just about every recommendation possible! Anyway, here’s what we’re thinking:

-Family of five, kids ages 14, 12, and 12.
-Thanksgiving week
-6 nights
-Staying at a Premier hotel for the unlimited express passes
-We’ll get express passes for VB
-One full day at each of the three parks.
-We want to do all the things.
-For shows, Animal actors, Bourne, Horror Make-up are the can’t miss for us.
-Two full days to just relax by the pool, city walk, etc.

Sound reasonable or no?


Yeah that’s more than reasonable, it sounds like you’ve already been digging into the planning. Never too early to start!

With that much time, you can definitely dodge some of the crowds at peak times with hotel/pool breaks.

You’ll even have time to visit other resorts/pools/restaurants too. Portofino Bay and Sapphire Falls are definitely worth a visit.

Ask any and all questions here the next year and we’ll be glad to answer them!


We’ve made a few trips to Disney during spring break and Thanksgiving, so we have a general idea of what we’re getting into with crowds! Just the way it goes when you’re tied to the school calendar. November 2024 is a long way out, but flights will be bookable in 6-8 weeks, so I like to be ready.

I’ve seen everything from “you only need a half day for both main parks with express pass” to “even with express pass three days in the two main parks is ideal to take your time.” Of course plenty of people also claim Animal Kingdom at Disney is only a half day park and that concept blows my mind!

The other thing we struggle with… Epic Universe. Part of me wants to wait until 2025. But the other part of me remembers how much covid threw a wrench into everything. No plans are guaranteed so go while you can.

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I love Universal and go regularly. Thanksgiving week will be BUSY, but Express Pass (UXP) is going to save you!

Typically, in non-peak days you’d wait about 1/3 of the posted time. With it being a holiday, you should expect about 1/2 the posted wait.

Six days is going to be A LOT! I love the place and go that long often. However, if you’ve only been to WDW and not Disneyland you may not be ready for how “small” UOR is compared to WDW. For me that a GREAT thing!! The parks have so much to offer + CityWalk that you don’t need to take a 20 minute bus ride to get to anything. Be prepared that you may do everything by day 4!

I love the Macy’s Parade floats at USF! It’s a must-see for me at Christmas. Plus, the Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular is my favorite version of the Grinch tale.

Make sure with VB you get the UXP that includes the Aqua coaster. The upgrade is typically $20 more per person, but you may not get on it otherwise . On “slow days” it has a 2 - 4 hour wait.

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If we expect 1/2 of the posted wait I would think given it’s Thanksgiving week, on average… 30 minutes per ride?

As for the schedule, my hope is to have a relatively laid back theme park vacation. Park day (rope drop to close), then sleep in and chill at the pool. Park day, then pool day, park day, then fly out the next.

We may make it a 7 night trip and add a Sea World day in there. Last time we were there the kids were too small to go on the coasters, and they have a lot of good ones there!

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It’s tough to say, especially that week… I know you are wanting an “average” wait time. However, UXP can be unpredictable. It all depends on how many people have also bought it and are using it at the same rides at the same times that day. I’m sure the UXP queue for Veloicoaster will always have people in it, but there are times so many rides will have few to no one… Anything I say would be a guess… I’d budget at least 30 minutes and if you get ahead you’ll have extra time. You’re still there for sooo long you’ll get it all done though!!

I did SeaWorld, for the very first time ever, last February. I wrote this about it…

Warning - It’s VERY long!! :crazy_face:

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