Over Thanksgiving Week, When's the Best Time To Visit Disney World?

Specifically, the Magic Kingdom. We’re taking the Firebug there for two days either over the preceding weekend, or during the early part of the week before Thanksgiving. Our goal is to have the lightest possible crowds to fight.

Thanksgiving is on Thursday, November 22. Our choices are:

a) Saturday and Sunday, 11/17-18
b) Sunday and Monday, 11/18-19
c) Monday and Tuesday, 11/19-20
d) Tuesday and Wednesday, 11/20-21

The online info I’ve been able to Google tells me that Thanksgiving itself is crowded, but the earlier part of the week is more moderate. And in general, weekends are more crowded than weekdays, and the most crowded days of the week are Saturday, Monday, and Thursday.

But none of that tells me whether the weekend before Thanksgiving is more crowded or less crowded than early in Thanksgiving week.

Anybody got any inside scoop here, or have superior Google-Fu? We’d like to go ahead and book airfares, rental cars, and hotels now, before those things get too expensive.

Go the week after. Not only is it really not crowded but they are also set up for Christmas. I took my two children there a couple of years ago and it was great.

Unfortunately, that’s not an option. The choices I’ve listed really ARE our choices; I’m just trying to find out how those four would rank in terms of crowds.

There are a couple of sites that list the highs and lows for most days. I didn’t keep any links though. My guess, though it’s probably wrong, is the Monday or Tuesday before.

Len, one of the writers of The Unofficial Guide to DisneyWorld posts here. They put out a book you need to buy and their website will list crowd estimates for those days. Get the book, register for the website.

That’s the week we’re going this year. Supposedly it’s the least crowded week of the year at the Disney parks. Can’t wait! (just bought our park passes- 3 days for four people- almost $1,000. Gulp.)

OP- sorry, I’m not familiar enough to advise you.

The information you have is correct in general. If you want to be really tricky take a look at which parks have early admittance (which they call extra magic hours or something like that). If you’re staying in a Disney hotel then find out which days have early admittance for the parks you plan to go to and take advantage of that. If you plan on staying off site do just the opposite since the park with early admittance tends to be the most crowded later in the day.

We use a site called mousesavers to find the deals when we plan trips there.

I used to work at Disneyland, so many I can give some insight

At that point of the year, Disney is in full peak period mode. There will be people, and a lot of it. However, Thanksgiving itself is unlike a Christmas or a July 4th in which people actually like to go out. The most popular tradition on Thanksgiving is being at home and eating a lot. Add to that, the holiday’s on a Wednesday, and I’d wager you should go on Thanksgiving itself.

When I worked at Disneyland, we always overstaff for Thanksgiving, but end up sending a number of people home early. People like to stay home on Thanksgiving. Tuesdays, usually the slowest day of the week, happens in a week when a lot of people take time off, so I believe that explains the surge on Tues and Wed of that week but the dropoff on Thanksgiving itself

Have you told your kid yet?

I can find the book, but not the website.


It’s a membership based website, where all the best content costs $12. You can buy the book and get a 50% discount on the website as well.

Membership gets you historic crowd calendars and future predictions of best/worst parks for each day and predicted crowd levels, which is what it sounds like you’re looking for. It also gets you access to their touring plans, which are a set of schemes to get on most/all of the good rides at each park by giving you the correct order to go on each ride. And access to their smartphone app which will (a) keep track of your selected touring plan, and (b) give you realtime wait times at each ride.

When we were in Disney last fall, the phone app was really, really useful. Disney had their own phone app, but it had a few drawbacks - it only worked if it could determine you were physically in the park (which often failed when we were under cover or indoors). Its wait times also seemed less accurate than the touring plans app - I think Disney may have been experimenting with some social engineering reporting ride times higher/lower than actual in order to balance crowds. Also, IIRC, it was only available to verizon subscribers.

And when you go, learn how Fastpass works, and use it as much as possible. It’s the best way to get on the best rides without long waits. You only need one person to get all the tickets, so it’s absolutely worth it to send one adult running across the park for Fastpasses while everyone else gets in line for another ride.

That was exactly what I was looking for - and definitely worth the $12!

I plan to take advantage of all this! We don’t have a smartphone yet, but there’s plenty of time between now and November to upgrade to one, and learn to use it. And Fastpass sounds like a great thing to help with the waits!