Thanksgiving week at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida can be one of the busiest times of the year. The week before tends to be considerably slower, and the week after a little bit slower, but for a lot of families those won’t be viable options because their trip must be timed with when the kids are off school, and the parents are off work. But if you don’t mind the crowds, Walt Disney World is a very appealing Thanksgiving destination.
If you do come during the busy Thanksgiving week, there’s even more value than usual in taking advantage of the FastPass system. FastPass is Disney’s way of spreading around the crowds. If you go to a popular attraction in advance, instead of waiting in line for an hour or more, you can pick up a FastPass for that attraction with a designated time stamped on it, go off and enjoy other areas of the park, come back at that designated time, and typically have a much shorter line to contend with.
Remember also that many activities-meals at certain restaurants, for instance-require advance reservations, and for visits during the busiest periods that may mean not the usual days or weeks in advance, but months in advance.
To give you an idea of what you have to look forward to, here are some of the attractions you could see at Walt Disney World for Thanksgiving 2010:
* Ice at Gaylord Palms
Even in November and December, Orlando, Florida is generally fairly warm. Maybe a little nippy at night, so bring a sweater or jacket, but never cold cold.
However, the exception is at the Gaylord Palms Resort (which is not directly in the park, but is a short cab ride away), where the temperature is kept a crisp 9 degrees Fahrenheit.
Ice at Gaylord Palms means real ice, not make believe. Using one thousand tons of ice, this attraction recreates Santa’s North Pole, with an Arctic forest, Santa’s ornament room, a Christmas carnival, reindeer, a life-sized Nativity scene carved from clear ice, and long ice slides to ride.
* Snow at Gaylord Palms
This year there is a new companion attraction to Ice at Gaylord Palms. Snow at Gaylord Palms features forty tons of snow (and this too is real snow, not artificial). Enjoy Elf Bowling, the Snow Tube Run, and winter-themed snacks.
* Christmas at Disney World
Yes, this is the week of Thanksgiving, but Christmas comes early to Disney World. By Thanksgiving weekend, the park should be fully decorated for Christmas, with the special recurring Christmas events starting then if not earlier in November.
That means at the Magic Kingdom you can enjoy Cinderella’s Holiday Wish Stage Show, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, and Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade. Epcot has the inspirational Candlelight Processional. At Animal Kingdom there’s Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Expeditions. Disney’s Hollywood Studios has the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.
* Thanksgiving Dinner
Many of the Disney World restaurants serve a complete traditional holiday meal for Thanksgiving, with turkey and all the fixings.
Of course you can also enjoy all the usual year round rides and attractions of Disney World. Plus another advantage of coming during a busier time is the hours are extended. The whole week of Thanksgiving, for instance, the Magic Kingdom stays open until at least midnight.
Sabah, “How to Spend Thanksgiving at Disney World Orlando.” eHow.
“Disney Thanksgiving Day Events, Parades and Dining Restaurants.” Orlando Inside!
“Walt Disney World Events.” WDW Info.