By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2020, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

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Thanksgiving 2019 at Walt Disney World

By Dave Shute


Thanksgiving week at Walt Disney World is busy–particularly Wednesday through Saturday.

It represents the first major long holiday period in 2019 after the August partial opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, so likely will be even more crowded than past years.


This site’s Higher Crowd Itinerary mostly works for Thanksgiving Week, with one possible change and one however.

  • The possible change comes from the fact that the itinerary puts you in Magic Kingdom on Thanksgiving. Traditionally, the two crowdest parks on Thanksgiving are Magic Kingdom and Epcot, and the least crowded is Disney’s Animal Kingdom. So you will be best off if you swap Thursday and First Sunday in both the itinerary and its To-Do List.
  • The “however” is that the parks may open an hour earlier than it indicates many days Thanksgiving week, and may also have morning Extra Magic Hours added as well–making the day start one or even two hours earlier than indicated on the itineraries. These may not be added until a month before–or even the day before. So you’ll need to stay in touch with schedules–even on the night before–to make sure when you need to arrive to beat park openings.

Doing First Sunday on Thursday puts you in Tusker House for Thanksgiving dinner.  If you are looking for alternatives–or not even paying attention to my itineraries–recent Disney World Thanksgiving meals are here.


Starting on the Friday after Thanksgiving 2019, Epcot’s Festival of the Holidays begins. My itinerary has you in Epcot that day.


You can get updated park operating hours when you arrive at Walt Disney World. If you want to know what’s up before then, check the park calendars in mid-October and also a day or so before you depart for Florida on the My Disney Experience website, and while you are there as well.


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1 Jane { 04.30.19 at 8:42 am }

Hi Dave, We’ve been twice over Thanksgiving week and both times avoided going into any park on actual Thanksgiving day. But this time it’s unavoidable. So, I am thinking to do AK on Thanksgiving day and Epcot on Black Friday. This seems in alignment with your advice. Does that sound right? Maybe Thanksgiving dinner at Tiffins. We will have split up MK over Mon and Tues and done HS on Wed (but I will adjust this when the schedule comes out at my 180 day mark, if necessary). Thank you!

2 Jane { 04.30.19 at 5:04 pm }

….or, would it be ridiculous to think we could do HS on Thanksgiving day? I guess no one really knows yet….but I think the 50s Primetime Cafe’s chicken pot pie could make a great Thanksgiving meal…..that’s one of my favorite things in the world……

3 Dave { 05.01.19 at 12:08 pm }

Jane, HS might be OK, but no way would I plan on it. AK is the right answer! Epcot the next day should be OK

4 Jane { 10.28.19 at 1:26 pm }

Hi Dave, with less than a month to go, how do you feel about Thanksgiving week with SWGE in the mix now? More or less crowded than in the past? I was just looking at historical crowd levels and see that it was pretty bad in 2014 and 15 when we went but we had a great time and crowds mostly didn’t bother us….hoping for a repeat, but there was obviously no SWGE then. Thanks for any advice. I’m happy with my ADRs and FP selections and am sure we can have fun, I just want an expert’s idea of what we’re walking into. Thank you ! 🙂

5 Dave { 10.29.19 at 8:30 am }

Jane, it all depends on whether or not Rise is in soft open. If it is, that will likely both draw locals to HS and pull folks from other parks to HS. So far there’s no indication that such will happen.

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