Walt Disney World Holidays: Thanksgiving Tips for WDW

Carving Board Turkey Dinner at Port Orleans Riverside.

Families headed to Walt Disney World for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday will find the parks and resorts already decorated in their holiday best.

Disney's Grand Floridian during the holiday season features a beautiful tree.
Disney’s Grand Floridian during the holiday season.

WDW will be immersed in a wonderland of candy canes, ornaments, and catchy seasonal tunes. Remember, you won’t see much décor with pilgrims, the Christmas trimmings will add to the festivities. Yes, you’ll need to embrace the holiday season along with your Thanksgiving meal.

Thanksgiving Tips Walt Disney World

Thanksgiving Dinner

Gratefully, your family won’t go hungry as there will be a bounty of menu options. From quick, casual meals with traditional entrees to table service meals with specialty fixings, your loved ones can easily find a familiar holiday meal on Thanksgiving day.

The "Yacht Club" Club Sandwich at The Boathouse.
The “Yacht Club” Club Sandwich at The Boathouse.

In fact, you’ll find 28 dining locations offering a full buffet or special plated meal of traditional turkey day cuisine. Some of the places that your family can feast are:

• Akershus Royal Banquet Hall – Lunch and dinner
• Biergarten Restaurant – Lunch and dinner
• Chef Mickey’s – Dinner only
• Coral Reef Restaurant – Lunch and dinner
• Jiko – The Cooking Place – Dinner only
• Le Cellier Steakhouse – Lunch and dinner
• Olivia’s Cafe – Lunch and dinner
• The Wave… of American Flavors – Lunch and dinner
• Whispering Canyon Cafe – Lunch and dinner

Carving Board Turkey Dinner at Port Orleans Riverside.
Carving Board Dinner at Port Orleans Riverside.

More festive flavors will be offered at:

  • Magic Kingdom’s Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Inn and Café – turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, cranberry sauce and gravy.
  • Plus, Pinocchio’s Village Haus has Thanksgiving-inspired flatbread that is offered all month. The menu boasts cheese, turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce drizzled in gravy.
  • Epcot’s Sunshine Seasons – turkey with gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans and cranberry sauce for lunch and dinner.
  • Animal Kingdom’s Satu’li Canteen will feature the Na’vi’s version of a holiday meal. On Pandora, wood-grilled roasted turkey breast with gravy, apple and sage stuffing, green beans, orange marmalade glazed sweet potatoes with candied pecans, mashed potatoes and cranberry boba pearls will be served; available in both adult and kids’ portions. You’ll find a delicious pumpkin cheesecake mousse for dessert.
  • Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ at Disney Springs is offering a Thanksgiving roast turkey special.

Or… you might want to make the holiday even more memorable by noshing on a turkey leg or a decidedly non-traditional meal like Via Napoli’s Italian offerings in Epcot’s Italy pavilion.

Pizza at Via Napoli in Epcot
Pizza at Via Napoli.

Suggested Thanksgiving Itineraries

  • Reserve a carriage ride. Dine at your hotel food court. Take a walk around your resort. Visit Disney Springs for dessert. End your evening with miniature golf.
  • At Epcot, take in some of the shows around World Showcase that you’ve skipped on other trips. Collect photographs with characters. Stop by the Liberty Inn for dinner; get cobbler for dessert.
  • Go horseback riding at Fort Wilderness and then have a take-out meal/picnic from P&Js Southern Takeout. Take the boat to Disney’s Contemporary Resort to check out the holiday decorations. Board the monorail and visit the Polynesian Village and Grand Floridian resorts; pose for family photos in front of the holiday trees for your Christmas cards.
  • Find a football game on in one of the resort lounges before going to dinner at your resort hotel. Take a walk around the BoardWalk, then get ice cream at Ample Hills Creamery.
BoardWalk Resort WDW
Take a walk around the boardwalk from Beach Club to BoardWalk.

Go shopping at Disney Springs, graze at the quick service spots, then go see a movie. I love the idea of having an appetizer at one place, entree at the next, and finishing up with dessert at another location.

AMC Disney Springs 24 with Dine-In Theatres
See a movie.

Thanksgiving Day Planning

If you’re just planning a last minute trip to Walt Disney World, don’t despair. While most restaurants are booked to capacity, you won’t go hungry. Some restaurants still have availability and many quick service venues offer delicious meals. Next year, plan 180 days in advance to secure your first-choice Advance Dining Reservations.

The most popular restaurants, including Liberty Tree Tavern, offer traditional meals in a memorable atmosphere.
No reservation? Think of an alternate plan; for example, try Columbia Harbour House in the Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square. Get your meal, then dine upstairs on the second floor.

Find quaint Thanksgiving Day seating on the second floor of the Columbia Harbour House.
Find quaint seating on the second floor of the Columbia Harbour House.

Thanksgiving Touring Plans

Your Thanksgiving touring plans should accommodate the crowds. Utilize FastPass+; checking for last minute availability as some families will decide they are too tired to tour after their holiday feasts. Plan to use single rider lines.

Eat a holiday meal at your reserved restaurant. Hit up a park and ride the overlooked attractions that have little wait. How long has it been since you’ve seen Carousel of Progress or rode the train around the Magic Kingdom? Finish the night with a caramel apple on Main Street U.S.A.

Caramel Apple WDW
Finish your holiday with an old-fashioned treat.

Look for information on the Thanksgiving Parade of Bands. This mass marching band performance includes award-winning bands from around the country, along with the Boston Brass. They have performed traditionally at 2PM in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Finally, don’t forget about Black Friday at Disney Springs! Arrive around opening time at Disney Springs for an uncrowded experience and some fun deals. Crowds pick up around 11AM.

Disney Springs - a great place to unwind.
Plan some time at Disney Springs.

Walt Disney World Holidays are always fun. With our tips you’ll find navigating Thanksgiving at WDW to be memorable. Turkey dinner has a variety of options; look for quick service meals featuring a traditional menu or full service restaurants offering special plated entrees.

From carriage rides, movies, and fishing to shows, rides, and shopping, Walt Disney World serves up a bounty of Thanksgiving fun!

We’ll be in Walt Disney World for the Thanksgiving week. We hope you’ll follow our holiday explorations; we plan to dine at Tusker House for our holiday dinner!

Share your Thanksgiving holiday experiences at WDW with us.

Kimberly LaPaglia

Kimberly shared her passion for Disney when she was selected for the inaugural Walt Disney World Moms Panel and then as the first Disney Cruise Line panelist. As a Disney Mom, she helped countless families plan their own dream-filled journeys. Blending her love for research, travel, and writing, Kim has been an editor for Disney Food Blog for nearly 8 years. At The Castle Concierge, she blogs about travel, parenting, celebrations, and the road to empty nesting.

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