By the co-author of the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook ever -- The easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit.—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor

November 2012 at Walt Disney World

By Dave Shute

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This page reviews Walt Disney World in November 2012: crowds, prices, deals and discounts, weather, special events, and operating hours; and ends with week by week summaries.

Early November, with cooling but typically nice weather, low crowds (other than the week beginning 11/3 Jersey Week) and lower prices, has some of the best weeks of the year to visit.

Thanksgiving Week is more expensive, and much more crowded.

The last few days of the month begin one of the three best weeks of the year to visit Walt Disney World.

November also has two special  parties: the last shows of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, and the first of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, each a special evening event–with its own ticket–that have become  family traditions for many.

The Candlelight Processional begins the Friday after Thanksgiving.

The 2012 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival continues to November 12.  See this for more.


Much–but not all–of November is one of the least crowded periods at Walt Disney World. Crowds hit a small mini-peak over Jersey Week and hit a very high level during Thanksgiving Week, but are low the rest of the month.

On a crowd scale of 1-11, the week beginning 10/27 has a ranking of 2/lower, 11/3 6/moderate, 11/10 2/lower, 11/17 9/high, and 11/24 2/lower.

See this for more on 2012 crowds at Walt Disney World.


Prices begin the month 13% higher than the lowest of the year at the Value Resorts, 6% higher at the Moderates, and 8% higher at the Deluxe Resorts.

All resort prices bump up $30-65 per night over Thanksgiving week, and then return t0 the level at which  they began the month.

Click the image to see a Pop Century Resort example of Disney World resort pricing. (When open, click again to enlarge.)

See this for more on 2012 prices at Walt Disney World.


Deals are available for November. For details, click here.


Early November has weather near as good as Orlando gets. Over the course of the month, lower temps, and more variability in temps, emerges.  Days can be perfect or quite cool.

Click the image, or go to Weather and When to Go to Disney World, for more on temperatures.


Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party kicks off in September 2012 and continues in November, on November 2.

The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is a hit with many repeat visitors, and runs from September 28 to November 11.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party kicks off early in the month and continues except for Thanksgiving Week.

2012 dates include

  • November 2012: 9, 12, 15, 16, 25, 27, 29 and 30
  • December 2012: 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, and 21.


Park operating hours vary by the day, and sometimes change without notice. It is rare for hours to be shorter than Disney has publicized, but Disney may lengthen them in response to unanticipated crowds.

The best way to keep up with operating hours is to check Disney’s official calendars, usually available six months in advance, but changing during busy periods even the day before.

These calendars can be found by clicking the following links:

The calendars can be tricky to use–see this for hints on how to work with Walt Disney World’s online calendars.


The week rankings that follow below are from 2012 weeks to visit, ranked in order, and are designed for first-time visitors who do not know whether or not they will return.

Click the image for a calendar view of 2012 weeks (when open, keep clicking to enlarge.)

10/27/12 Prices are 6-13% higher than the lowest of the year. Lower crowds–crowd ranking is 2. Week ranking=6. Recommended Week. Use the Autumn-Winter-Spring Itinerary, but see this for required changes.

11/3/12 Jersey WeekPrices are 6-13% higher than lowest of the year. Moderate crowds–crowd ranking is 6. Week ranking=17. Use the Autumn-Winter-Spring Itinerary, but see this for required changes.

11/10/12 Prices are 6-13% higher than lowest of the year most of the week. Lower crowds–crowd ranking is 2. Week ranking=7. Recommended Week. Use the Autumn-Winter-Spring Itinerary

11/17/12 Thanksgiving WeekPrices kick up for the Thanksgiving holiday week. High crowds–crowd ranking is 9. Week ranking=37. Use the Autumn-Winter-Spring Itinerary, but see this  for possible changes

11/24/12 Prices are 6-13% higher than lowest of the year. Lower crowds–crowd ranking is 2. Week ranking=2. Recommended Week. Use the Basic Itinerary




1 Keith { 04.23.12 at 9:01 am }

We’re thinking about 11/14 through 11/20 departing prior to Thanksgiving. Any thoughts on expected crowds during this time and when they will begin to grow?

2 Dave { 04.23.12 at 10:15 am }

Hi Keith, you should be fine until the 17th. Crowds will be bad starting the 18th.

3 Henry { 04.23.12 at 10:46 am }

Just wondering when the 2012 Christmas decorations will “officially” apear at Magic Kingdom. We planning to be there in early November and would like to extend trip to cover the first “Christmas Days” at Magic Kingdom. Thanks!!

4 Dave { 04.23.12 at 11:24 am }

Hi Henry–Magic Kingdom decorations are largely done by the first Christmas Party. That looks to be November 9 this year (not official, based on my read of the calendar.)

5 Phil Button { 04.23.12 at 7:21 pm }

What would it cost to stay a week at a moderate Disney resort beginning November 10 with park hopper and eating tickets? This would be for two senior citizens, my wife and me. We would be driving to Orlando. Can our two dogs stay with us at night and then in a kennel during the day?

6 Allison Jones { 04.23.12 at 9:09 pm }

This is great information! We are already getting lots of people interested in November and we always want to avoid Jersey Week!

7 Dave { 04.24.12 at 7:05 am }

Hi Phil, to set a budget, just go thru the steps of an online booking but don;t complete it–see this:

And I’m sorry to say that with the exception of some parts of Disney’s campground Fort Wilderness, no pets are allowed in the hotels at any time…Disney has a kennel (“Best Friends) very close to the Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter moderate resorts..

8 Dave { 04.24.12 at 7:05 am }

Great, Allison!

9 Dana { 05.01.12 at 1:23 pm }

Hi Dave!
Quick question, is it possible to come mid week to a disney resort? My family of 4 is looking to come the wednesday before thanksgiving (I know, but its the only time sports are not a factor!) and leaving the monday after? txs.!

10 Dave { 05.01.12 at 2:10 pm }

Sure Dana, you can arrive any time.

11 Shanna { 05.01.12 at 5:18 pm }

I see that the Nov. 2012 calendar is now on the How do you know when the parades and fireworks are scheduled??

12 Dave { 05.02.12 at 6:34 am }

Shanna, click on the date–e.g. on November 1–and a new page will open with that day’s schedule

13 Perry { 05.08.12 at 12:42 pm }

Do you believe they will extend the free dining thru November?

14 Dave { 05.08.12 at 1:26 pm }

Hi Perry–it depends on the economy, as Disney is trying to cut back on its discounts.

If they do, between Jersey Week and the early Thanksgiving I wouldn’t expect to see many arrival dates offered except the first day or two, late in the week of the 3rd til the middle of the next week, and days following the Saturday after Thanksgiving…

15 Dana { 05.09.12 at 10:03 am }

Hi Dave, another question…do I need to have my ‘magic your way’ reservations complete before I can make dinner reservations for say Thanksgiving day and the candlelight procession and even fantasmic? I’ve read where it says when making the reservations, I should inform them that I am on the dining plan. Does that need to be confirmed first? thanks Dave!

16 Perry { 05.09.12 at 11:13 am }

How much more traffic does Jersey week generate? Will the parks be very crowded?

17 Dave { 05.09.12 at 2:37 pm }

Perry, Jersey Week isn’t bad, it’s just a little more crowded than the weeks around it. See this:

18 Dave { 05.09.12 at 2:38 pm }

Dana it’s easiest if you have your reservation done first, but you can call them back and convert a reservation from cash to dining plan…

19 Janet { 05.10.12 at 1:22 pm }

Do you think Nov. 12th (arriving that afternoon) thru 14th (leaving 15th) will be crowded? Thanks!

20 Dave { 05.10.12 at 1:25 pm }

Hi Janet, no I don’t–crowds will be low those days…

21 Janet { 05.10.12 at 2:25 pm }

Thanks, Dave! Love your site!

22 Dave { 05.10.12 at 2:52 pm }


23 Mila { 05.10.12 at 6:21 pm }

How bad is it on 11/21 tru 11/25

24 Dave { 05.11.12 at 6:43 am }

Hi Mila–that’s about the 5th busiest week of the year at WDW. So, bad.

25 TC { 05.16.12 at 10:48 pm }

We are planning a short multi family trip and it seems that 11/9-11/13 is what everyone can do … we hear that first saturday is among the most crowded park days of the year but the rest should be fine. What is your advice?

26 Dave { 05.17.12 at 9:23 am }

TC, I concur on both points…Saturdays are always rough but the rest of those dates should be fine..

27 Amy { 05.18.12 at 1:38 pm }

We were originally planning on booking our vacation for Disney for Dec 8-15 but due to my work schedule, we are thinking onn changing it to Nov 26th (the monday after thanksgiving) through Dec 2. Is this a good time to travel? Or will it be busy?

28 Dave { 05.19.12 at 8:26 am }
29 Jenn { 05.31.12 at 11:35 pm }

We are looking at visiting 11/15/2012 – 11/20/2012. Do you think it is going to be really busy or will we miss most of the Thanksgiving crowds?

30 Dave { 06.01.12 at 6:51 am }

Hi Jenn! The thanksgiving crowds will begin building the 17th and will be quite heavy the 18th and on…So strongly suggest you hit MK as ealry in your trip as you can…

31 Kim { 06.04.12 at 10:25 pm }

Are you aware of any annual passholder discounts for the week after thanksgiving?

32 Dave { 06.05.12 at 7:33 am }

Hi Kim, I wouldn’t expect to see December passholder discounts out for several months. Right now, passholder discounts are out only into June, I think…

33 Stephanie { 06.11.12 at 9:42 am }

do you think there will be any discounts (i am also a florida resident) during the travel dates 11/20-25 and if so when will those come out?

34 Dave { 06.11.12 at 11:00 am }

Stephanie, because Thanksgiving week is wildly crowded, Disney typically does not offer discount for arrival dates during the that week…

35 Kathleen { 06.11.12 at 9:14 pm }

Any idea if there will be any discounts the week of November 10th?

36 Dave { 06.12.12 at 7:39 am }

Hi Kathleen! That’s a commonly discounted week, but no guarantees. Last year, discounts for it started coming out in August…

37 Dana { 06.26.12 at 9:33 am }

Hi Dave,
Just booked the candlelight processional dinner package at the Garden Grill…was wondering if you knew (because the operator didn’t) if you can request an area that you would like to sit for your dining experience? (for example, I heard that downstairs in a booth is pretty neat as you can sit and watch all that is going on and “around”)…any idea? Thanks Dave!!

38 Dave { 06.26.12 at 11:10 am }

Hi Dana! I’m not sure, but here’s my guess: you can request a special setting, but it may delay or complicate when you get seated, as I think the system is set up to give you the first available table for a party of your size…and unless that one is where you want, then you have to wait…

39 Stephanie { 07.13.12 at 10:56 am }

We just changed our travel plans from Thanksgiving(Nov 21-25) to the following week (Nov 29-Dec 4th) to take advantage of the free dining plan – how are the crowds during that last week of Noveember into the 1st week of December?

40 Dave { 07.13.12 at 11:25 am }

Stephanie–crowds your new week are great, and are much better than Thanksgiving week!

41 Kenny { 07.15.12 at 2:42 pm }

Dave, we are from Jersey and are thinking on going for “Jersey week”, the last three years, we went the first and second week of December and each year it seemed to get a little more crowded, maybe people are catching on to that being a “slow” time of year. Is “Jersey Week” much more corwded than those first 2 weeks of December? Great site by the way! Thanks…

42 Dave { 07.16.12 at 7:22 am }

Hi Kenny! First, yes, Jersey week is more crowded than the December weeks. And yes, the December weeks are also more crowded than they used to be!

43 Stephanie { 07.16.12 at 9:11 am }

Question – we are going to disney nov29th-dec4th – my mom will be traveling with us but will be staying with a relative in the area and not with us at the resort – but she was going to purchase a hopper ticket before we go so that she can go to the parks with us during the day – does the black out dates apply?

44 Dave { 07.16.12 at 10:11 am }

Stephanie, I’m not sure what you mean by the black out dates…

45 Stephanie { 07.16.12 at 1:24 pm }

I may be wrong, but I thought if you bought a pass there were certain dates that the pass couldn’t be used (blackout dates). Is this just for annual passholders?

46 Dave { 07.16.12 at 1:59 pm }

Hi Stephanie, for regular tickets there’s no blackout dates–they are good every day of the year.

47 Jerri { 07.17.12 at 12:49 am }

Thanks for all of your insight. My husband, daughter (age six) & I will be arriving 11/23 and staying for eight nights. I’ve already booked seversl character meals (based on your recommendations) La Nouba, etc. Two questions:
1) Do I need to buy tickets for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas early? I am concerned that I will buy tickets for a night that might be raining. Since it should not be as crowded after the
25th, I was planning to check the weather reports when we arrive and buy the tickets one or two days in advwnce. Is this a bad idea?

2) Is it really necessary to buy a “dinner package” (using two table credits each) to get in to see the Candlelight Processional/Illuminations at Epcot? I don’t want to use the extra table credit unless necessary, as we are already using double credits for the Hoop Dee Do Review and the Royal Dinner in Cinderella’s Castle. **If it is necessary, then which restaurant would be the
best for a six-year-old to enjoy.**

Thanks so much!

48 Jerri { 07.17.12 at 12:54 am }

Whoops! I just found your input about the Candlelight Processional. So, the issue is which restaurant would you recommend for our family? Thanks again!

49 Dave { 07.17.12 at 6:42 am }

Hi Jerri. MVMCP does sell out, so if missing it would be a disappointment, I’d buy the tix well in advance. And for the Candlelight dinner for families, I recommend San Angel Inn.

50 Kenny { 07.19.12 at 12:05 pm }

Hi Dave,
Right now we are looking at booking a trip during “Jersey Week” and that is the 1 week that NO free meal plan is offered. In your experience, do you think Disney will add it as we get closer to the date, or is this histotically a week they always skip the free meal plan because of the bigger “Jersey week” crowds. That is a huge savings and makes a big difference….. Thanks again for all your information.

51 Kenny { 07.19.12 at 12:15 pm }

One more question if you don’t mind, I know MVMCP starts Nov.9th, but are all the parks decorated for Christmas by then as well, or is that not until later in the month or even into very early December? There is nothing quite like seeing the parks all decorated for Christmas, but I’m afriad “Jersey Week” might be a little early for all the decorations to be up already. Thanks again,

52 Dave { 07.19.12 at 12:32 pm }

Hey Kenny!

No, they won’t add free dining to Jersey week, for just the reason you noted–demand for hotels then is already strong enough that they don’t need to discount to get their occupancy up.

53 Dave { 07.19.12 at 12:36 pm }

Kenny, they start putting the Xmas decoration out in the middle of the night between Halloween and 11/1. They are fully in place at MK by the first MVMCP, and are well in place in the other parks by then as well…So you will get an Xmas feel during Jersey Week but not the full one…

54 Kenny { 07.23.12 at 9:17 am }

Hi Dave, Sorry to keep throwing these questions at you, but would you be able to tell me if there is a free meal plan being offerd if I was to go to Disney from December 1st thru December 8th? if it’s not being offered at this time, is there a good chance it will be added as we get closer to those dates? We went last year on December 4th and it was offered then, so I’m hoping that is still the case. Once again, thank you so much for all your help and for having such a great site.

55 Dave { 07.23.12 at 9:59 am }

Hey Kenny, your dates are not eligible for free dining–see this and I don’t think more free dining dates will be added unless the economy goes off a cliff. There’s a good chance that a room rate discount will come out and your arrival may be eligible for that…

56 Chris { 07.30.12 at 10:09 am }

Hello everyone, My family and I are headed to Disney November 21-28 with Make-a-Wish. Our 3 children will be 8 year old girl, 6 year old boy (on Thanksgiving Day), and 15 month old boy. I would like some recommendations on where to stay, eat, play, etc. Brady, our 6 year old has congenital heart disease and might be limited on some of the bigger rides. just curious. thank you in advance.

57 Dave { 07.30.12 at 11:54 am }

Hi Chris!

For the basics on where to stay, eat, etc start with the home page–

See also this for an example of how to fit everything together–it does not match your days, but is a good starting point: Given the ages of your kids, you’d want to cut back on the time at Epcot.

You likely also will want to buy and read this book: PassPorter’s Open Mouse for Walt Disney World and the Disney Cruise Line: Easy Access Vacations for Travelers with Extra Challenges It will give you some specific guidance related to your son’s condition.

Hope this helps! Dave

58 Kenny { 08.14.12 at 12:50 pm }

We are now looking at Dec. 1st thru Dec.8th, but the travel agaent we are working with warned us about the first week or December because of all the Pop Warner Football players and cheerleaders. Is it that big a deal? Meaning, does it make it that much more crowded for that week? Would you suggest staying away from that week if possible, or this isn’t really a reason to shy away from that week becasue the crowds are not that much worse than the week prior or week after? What do you think?

59 Dave { 08.14.12 at 4:47 pm }

Hey Kenny, Pop Warner week is much less of a problem than many think it is–see this: –but if you could do any time, I do recommend the weeks before and after more highly–see this:

60 Suzanne { 09.17.12 at 5:29 pm }

We are planning on being there November 20 – 27. What are the best 3 days to go with the least amount of crowds?

61 Dave { 09.17.12 at 8:36 pm }

Hi Suzanne, the 25th-27th will be by far the best days

62 Connie { 09.30.12 at 3:50 pm }

This is my first time at WDW for Christmas. I wanted to see WDW decorated for Christmas as this may be my final visit due to cancer. Is the Mickey Christmas Party worth the time & money? We plan on visiting Nov 11 thru Nov 17th, 2012.

63 Dave { 09.30.12 at 6:01 pm }

Hi Connie, I think it is, but it isn’t my money…you’ll see almost all the special MK Xmas stuff without going to MVMCP–it has a special parade and fireworks display, and limited crowds, which is why I think it is worth it!

64 Michelle { 10.02.12 at 10:07 pm }

I found this post concerning crowd levels during November. We are traveling to Disney 11/11/12 for a week. I called today to add one night and I was told that the entire week is sold out for all resorts. Any insight as to why it will be so crowded? We assumed when booking that the following week would busy due to the holiday. Thanks!

65 Dave { 10.03.12 at 8:18 am }

Hey Michelle while the Disney hotels are always crowded when the parks are crowded, it doesn’t work the other way around–the hotels can be full during a low-crowd week. There’s a Disney-hosted golf tournament that week, and that’s why the hotels are full…the parks will be fine!

66 Mommy J { 10.03.12 at 1:19 pm }

Does Veterans Day holiday bring more crowds to WDW?

67 Dave { 10.03.12 at 2:12 pm }

Hi Mommy J–not really, partly because it’s not routinely a three day weekend, and partly because a lot of the private sector doesn’t get it off…

68 Mommy J { 10.05.12 at 4:53 pm }

Thanks Dave. Love your website.

69 Dave { 10.05.12 at 5:24 pm }


70 Cindi { 10.13.12 at 8:08 pm }

We are planning a trip to WDW on Nov. 28 – Dec. 3. Any advice on the crowd during this period? We’ve been 15 times, but never when the place is decorated for Christmas.

71 Elizabeth { 10.29.12 at 2:55 pm }

Dave, My husband is talking about trying to go to Disney around Thanksgiving. He said he heard Nov. 15-19 would be less crowded than Nov. 23-26. My question is if this is the only 2 times we can try to go which would be the best time to go? Thank you for your input in the matter. Also, what are the perks of getting annual tickets? Thanks again. Elizabeth

72 Dave { 10.30.12 at 7:42 am }

Hi Elizabeth! What he has heard is right! There’s too many annual pass benefits for me to list them here–see this:

73 Elizabeth { 10.30.12 at 9:21 am }

Thank you for your information. I told my hubby….now he is asking about crowds. I showed him your charts. We usually go during fall break in October and crowds are not bad. How crowded will November 15-19 will be? Which parks will be the most crowded? The only other time we could go would be Jan. 2, 2013, which you already told me that it will be crowded. Thank you for your help! Elizabeth

74 Dave { 10.30.12 at 10:38 am }

Ok Elizabeth!

Both your periods have good and bad days.

The good days in the earlier period–the 15th and 16th–are better than the good days in the later period–the 26th and 27th. The bad days in the earlier period–the 17th, 18th and 19th–are better than the bad days in the latre period–the 23rd and 24th–especially the 17th.

I left in my car the stuff on better and worse days, so confirm which period you are thinking about and I’ll use that as a reminder to get those to you later!

75 Nicole { 10.30.12 at 1:55 pm }

This is exactly when my husband and I were thinking about going. We also have off for Veteran’s day so I was thinking the 9th- 12th too, but wasn’t sure about Jersey week. Can you tell me a better date as far as crowds between the 15-18th of November and 9th-12th? Thank you Dave.

76 Dave { 10.30.12 at 2:32 pm }

Nicole, that’s a tough call. I suspect that with Jersey week and Veterans day that the 15th to 18th will be better!

77 Nicole { 10.30.12 at 3:34 pm }


That’s what I was thinking. Thank you for info. Can you give some insight on best time to visit the parks on those dates? We will only be going to Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom. Thanks so much.

78 Nicole { 10.30.12 at 4:47 pm }

There is one other date we might be able to do other than November 15-18th and that is January 3-6th? Do you have a recommendation betweent the two?

79 Dave { 10.31.12 at 11:54 am }

Hi Nicole, suggest this:
11/15: Epcot or AK
11/16: MK
11/17: Any
11/18: Any except

80 Dave { 10.31.12 at 11:55 am }

Nicole, I’d go with November. I expect major New Years crowds to continue until January 5…see this:

81 dave { 02.05.13 at 3:47 pm }

Hi there I’ve just booked to go to Orlando on the 5th November 2013 for 15 nights will the parks at Disney and universal be ok thanks Dave

82 Dave { 02.05.13 at 5:16 pm }

Hi Dave, that should be great–see weeks ranked #6 and #11 here:

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