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Is Disneyland or Disney World Open on Thanksgiving Day?

Happy Thanksgiving! Are you wondering whether Disneyland or Disney World will keep its magical gates open on this beloved day of gratitude and festivities? Rest assured—the magic never takes a holiday! Yes, both Disneyland and Disney World are open on this special day. But what exactly awaits you at the Disney parks on Thanksgiving Day? Let's unwrap the wonder and explore the delightful experiences that await amidst the holiday cheer.

🕗 Disneyland Thanksgiving Day Hours of Operation

Disneyland Park - 8 am - 12 am
Disney California Adventure Park - 8 am - 11 pm
Downtown Disney District - 7 am - 1 am

🦃🥧 Thanksgiving Dinner at the Happiest Place on Earth

Thanksgiving meal with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and rolls

Indulge in a Thanksgiving extravaganza across Disneyland's various dining spots! At Napa Rose, embark on a culinary journey through a 4-Course Wine Country Feast, savoring the essence of California's finest flavors. Over at Goofy's Kitchen in the Disneyland Hotel and Storytellers Cafe in the Grand Californian Hotel, relish a delightful Thanksgiving buffet featuring Disney Characters adding an extra dash of magic to your holiday meal, offering brunch and dinner options filled with traditional delights.

Additionally, several other esteemed Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park restaurants like Blue Bayou, Carthay Circle, Carnation Cafe, River Belle Terrace, and Wine Country Trattoria are also dishing up delightful meals on Thanksgiving, ensuring a scrumptious celebration for everyone.

🎄 Holiday Decorations Galore at Disneyland Park

Christmas Fantasy Parade at Disneyland Park

The Thanksgiving holiday marks the beginning of the Christmas season at the parks. Adorned with dazzling Christmas decorations, Main Street, U.S.A. is transformed into a winter wonderland! The parks come alive with festive lights, Christmas trees, and Disney characters dressed in their holiday best. Among these offerings, there is also a dazzling Christmas Fantasy Parade at Disneyland Park, delightful seasonal cuisine, festive live entertainment, and an array of holiday merchandise.

🎁 Holiday Overlays

Feel the holiday magic with spectacular overlays across Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park. At Sleeping Beauty Castle, witness its transformation into a wintry wonderland adorned with icicles, wreaths, and festive decorations. As evening sets in, marvel as the iconic edifice sparkles to life amidst falling snow and twinkling lights, creating a mesmerizing sight.

Pumpkin King Jack Skellington at Haunted Mansion

Step into the Haunted Mansion Holiday, where Pumpkin King Jack Skellington has infused frightful yet festive touches inspired by The Nightmare Before Christmas. Prepare for thrills and seasonal surprises as Halloween Town's citizens lend their unique flair to this classic attraction.

Experience the enchantment at It’s a Small World, where the beloved attraction illuminates the holiday season. Serenaded by timeless melodies and festive tunes, witness the facade glowing with thousands of twinkling lights, accompanied by captivating light projection shows every half-hour, painting the scene with vibrant holiday colors and images.

For a whimsical adventure, take a spin through Cars Land in Disney California Adventure Park with Mater's Jingle Jamboree, enjoying a tractor ride through a festively decorated junkyard. Join Luigi's Joy to the Whirl, where Luigi and his family of roadsters celebrate the season in style with cheerful dances and lively tunes, offering a delightful spin around Luigi's festive backyard.

✨ Special Events, Festivals, and Nighttime Spectaculars

Pixar Pal-A-Round with a Mickey Head in the middle

During the week of Thanksgiving, you can experience the Festival of Holidays and ¡Viva Navidad! at Disney California Adventure Park, where you will find delicious holiday treats, live entertainment like a festive street party, and cultural festivities celebrating the season. During these festivals, you will enjoy the sights, sounds, and tastes of this joyous celebration of cherished holidays—including Christmas, Navidad, Hanukkah, Diwali, Kwanzaa, and Three Kings Day!

Experience the holiday enchantment with the World of Color - Season of Light (in Disney California Adventure Park), where water, light, story, and song blend into a captivating display of pure magic. Watch as cherished moments from Disney and Pixar films adorn a colossal mist wall while hundreds of dancing fountains synchronize with festive melodies, enveloping the scene in shimmering snowflakes.

At the "Believe...In Holiday Magic" Fireworks Spectacular (in Disneyland Park), witness the holidays come alive through dazzling fireworks, stirring melodies, and a sprinkle of snow. The night sky transforms into a canvas of vibrant colors, complemented by over 80,000 twinkling lights that adorn Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle, creating a spectacle of sparkling icicles and glistening snow-capped turrets, truly capturing the spirit of the season.

🎅 Meet Santa

Santa in a Christmas parade with a teddy bear and other toys

Ring in the Christmas holiday season with an enchanting meeting with Santa Claus! At Disneyland Park's Critter Country, mingle with Kringle himself, capturing festive photos and indulging in merry moments. Over at Disney California Adventure Park, join Santa and his team of clever elves at the transformed Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, where you can explore a holly, jolly playground of seasonal games and outdoor activities. Additionally, make sure to catch Santa's visits at the Disneyland Resort hotels, Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, and Disneyland Hotel, for a chance to share your holiday wishes and spread the cheer!

🛍️ Thanksgiving at Downtown Disney

Downtown Disney's monorail

At Downtown Disney during Thanksgiving, immerse yourself in a wonderland of festive delights. Wander through the district, soaking in the enchanting Christmas decorations. Feel the holiday spirit with live musical performances at the Downtown Disney LIVE! Stage, adding a melodious touch to your visit. Do not miss the evening snowfall experience, a magical new addition near Tortilla Jo’s, Jazz Kitchen Coastal Grill & Patio, and Black Tap Craft Burgers & Shakes, brought to you by Freeform’s 25 Days of Christmas and The Santa Clauses.

Engage in family-friendly crafts celebrating Christmas/Navidad, Hanukkah, Diwali, and Kwanzaa, available daily from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM. And indulge in the delectable limited-time menu options at various eateries, an irresistible treat for your taste buds during this festive season from November 10 to January 7, 2024.

Thinking about visiting Disney World for Thanksgiving Day instead of Disneyland?

Walt Disney World is also open for Thanksgiving and is full of holiday cheer!

🕗 Disney World Thanksgiving Day Hours of Operation

Magic Kingdom - 8 am - 12 am
Hollywood Studios 8:30 am - 9 pm
Animal Kingdom - 8 am - 7 pm
EPCOT - 9 am - 9 pm
Disney Springs - 10 am - 11 pm

🦃🥧Thanksgiving Meals at the Most Magical Place on Earth

Indulge in a year-round Thanksgiving feast at Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom, where reservations promise a delightful turkey dinner. Dive into the all-you-care-to-enjoy Patriot’s Platter, a lavish lunch or dinner spread featuring roasted turkey, pot roast, and oven-roasted pork, accompanied by classic sides. For a delectable finale, savor the Ooey Gooey toffee cake topped with chocolate sauce and served with creamy vanilla ice cream. You could also experience the Liberty Tree Tavern menu's flavors at The Diamond Horseshoe for another memorable dining opportunity.

A cooked turkey on a plate

There are also some other restaurants in the other three parks serving Thanksgiving meals, including the Coral Reef Restaurant and American Holiday Table at EPCOT, 50's Prime Time Cafe at Hollywood Studios, and the Tusker House at Animal Kingdom - to name a few. Moreover, you will find plenty of Thanksgiving options within Disney Springs as well, like Planet Hollywood, Wine Bar George, and City Works Eatery & Pour House.

🎄🎅 Holiday Cheer at Magic Kingdom

Cinderella's Castle decorated in shimmering Christmas lights

Similar to Disneyland, Disney World is full of holiday decorations, festive foods, and live entertainment on Thanksgiving Day! At Magic Kingdom, experience the all-new enchanting Frozen Holiday Surprise at Cinderella Castle, where your favorite Frozen friends illuminate the castle in a dazzling spectacle. Enjoy the park's festive decorations, adorning Main Street, U.S.A., and beyond, creating an enchanting holiday atmosphere. Do not miss the Jingle Cruise's merry transformation—a festive spin on the classic adventure, spreading yuletide cheer from start to finish all season long.

✨ Holiday Fun at Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and EPCOT

Gertie the Dinosaur in festive spirits above Echo Lake, adorned with a Christmas ornament

Each of the parks hosts a beautiful and ginormous Christmas tree, and most offer the opportunity to meet Santa Claus. More specifically, at Disney's Hollywood Studios, encounter Gertie the Dinosaur in festive spirits above Echo Lake, adorned with a Christmas ornament and a nearby Christmas tree, adding a charming touch to the park. Delight in holiday-themed entertainment like a Christmas special of For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration, featuring Olaf, and experience the Hollywood Tower Hotel's nightly transformation with Sunset Seasons Greetings—a captivating display of holiday projections. Additionally, Toy Story Land characters don holiday attire, adding cheer to your day.

Celebrate Thanksgiving at Disney's Animal Kingdom, where nature meets enchantment. Experience the Merry Menagerie on Discovery Island, showcasing artisan-sculpted puppets of arctic animals, adding an extra dose of wonder to your visit. Witness the Tree of Life Awakenings Holiday Edition as night falls, where the park’s iconic tree sparkles with a heartwarming musical score, creating a magical spectacle.

Mickey and Minnie Mouse in Christmas hats as topiaries in Epcot

As for EPCOT, although transitioning festivals on Thanksgiving Day, the International Festival of the Holidays kicks off on Friday, November 24, offering whimsical happenings, delectable festive food, and captivating holiday entertainment for those visiting after Thanksgiving.

🎄✨ Special Events at Disney World (Separately Ticketed)

Stitch on the Tomorrowland Stage as it is decorated for Christmas

Join Mickey Mouse and friends for an exclusive celebration, complete with festive entertainment like Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks Show and Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in Magic Kingdom. Indulge in cookies and cocoa, snap photos with Disney pals dressed in their Christmas finest, and revel in the enchanting snowfall on Main Street, U.S.A., all while enjoying the park’s iconic attractions, some with a merry holiday twist.

Meanwhile, Jollywood Nights at Hollywood Studios promises a dazzling holiday extravaganza filled with glitz and glamor, featuring live entertainment, including a musical variety show and the return of the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! nighttime spectacular. Explore themed entertainment areas, enjoy lower wait times for favorite attractions, encounter nostalgic Characters spreading holiday cheer, and treat your taste buds to specialty sips and bites available for purchase.

🛍️ Thanksgiving Day at Disney Springs and the Resorts

The Gingerbread House display at the Grand Floridian at Walt Disney World Resort

At Disney Springs, revel in festive delights like meeting Santa Claus, enjoying live music, and encountering charming Toy Soldier Stilt Walkers and Snowflake Skaters. Explore the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Stroll, showcasing beautifully decorated trees across the area, and experience magical snowfall in the evenings at the Town Center. Do not miss the holiday-themed Jock Lindsey's Holiday Bar, offering a seasonal menu and dazzling decorations.

Meanwhile, at Disney Resort Hotels, immerse yourself in holiday cheer with stunning decorations featuring elaborate Christmas trees and ornate gingerbread displays in select lobbies and guest areas. Indulge in seasonal treats and specialty menu items available at various restaurants within the resorts, adding extra flavor to your holiday stay.

Planning Tips for Thanksgiving at the Disney Parks

Mickey Mouse with his thumbs up in front of the Magic Kingdom train station

- Park Hopper Tickets: Consider the Park Hopper option to maximize your experience across multiple parks.
- Early Arrival (Rope Drop): Arriving early allows you to experience popular attractions with shorter wait times. If you are staying on Disney property, account for the fact that you can enjoy the parks 30 minutes before everyone else when planning your arrival time!
- Table Service Restaurants: Reserve your table in advance at the table service restaurants to ensure a spot for your Thanksgiving meal.
- Plan Your Day: Come to the parks prepared with a listing of the different things you want to do, so you can make the most of your time and shift things around according to the wait times, show times, or Disney Genie+ availability.

📅 Best Days and Crowd Levels

It's a Small World in the back with the big clock wearing a christmas hat and the hoilday crowds in front

The week of Thanksgiving tends to be one of the busiest days of the year, meaning long lines on the most popular rides and the not-so-popular rides. If you are looking for smaller crowds, your best bet is to visit between early September and early November or the week right after Thanksgiving weekend. Keep in mind, if you want to enjoy the holiday season festivities at Disneyland or Disney World that typically begins in mid-November. So, even though it is a busy time for the Disney Parks around Thanksgiving, you may still want to go to enjoy the holiday fun!

🎢 Crowd Tips and Maximizing Fun

Minnie Mouse blowing a kiss at a Christmas parade

To make the most of your time, consider purchasing the Disney Genie+ service and using the Disneyland or Disney World app to navigate the parks efficiently. Disney Genie+ allows you to skip the lines on selected rides of your choosing throughout the day, and the My Disney Experience app is a great place to check out the wait time for your favorite rides and serves as a map on how to get there! Additionally, taking advantage of mobile ordering for dining options (on the MDE app) can save time and avoid long wait times during peak season.

Happy Turkey Day!

Paper cutouts reading Thankful with pumpkins, acrons, and leaves.

Celebrating Thanksgiving at Disneyland or Disney World is a magical experience filled with holiday magic, delicious food, and special events. Despite the crowds, it is a fantastic way to kick off the holiday season and create unforgettable memories with family and friends!

Not sure what to pack in your Disney Parks bag? Check out this blog post, 21 Essentials to Pack in your Disney Park Bag!

Have you spent Thanksgiving at Disneyland or Disney World? If so, comment below - we would love to know about your experience! If you have not gone, is it on your bucket list of places to visit now? Let us know in the comments, and share this article with the person or people you want to go with! Either way, SUBSCRIBE below to learn about other places to add to your "To Visit" List! Ready? Okay, vamos. Time to have fun!

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* This article is not sponsored by any of the businesses or locations mentioned above or their affiliates. *

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