What to do and
Where to Dine
Thanksgiving Day
at Walt Disney World

ALL EARS® Readers were asked:

"What do you do on Thanksgiving Day when you're in Walt Disney World?
And where would you like to dine?"

**********

THINGS TO DO:


As for what to do on Thanksgiving I would visit the countries in Epcot's World Showcase and learn about how they celebrate their countries heritage. Wendy

*****

Our favorite thing to do on Thanksgiving at WDW is people-watch. The parks were wonderfully uncrowded, great for leisurely touring, but best of all was visiting the hotels (many of which had their holiday decorations already up) and watching the families dressed up in festive clothing as they went to Thanksgiving dinner at the hotel restaurants. Seeing so many folks in their holiday best, obviously happy just to be together (and at Disney World!) and sharing the celebration was what really made my day. Linda Tomsho

*****

During the night after Thanksgiving Day, thousands of elves must have descended on WDW because in the morning suddenly all of the Christmas decorations were up at the hotels and the parks. We just enjoyed going to each hotel and seeing how they interpreted Christmas consistent with the theming The days after Thanksgiving were understandably quite crowded, but we had reserved activities, such as hotel viewing, shopping, and 2nd rides on favorite attractions for this time. Bill Lund

*****

We love to go to the water parks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon, over the holidays. It is certainly something we cannot do over Thanksgiving up at our home in Pennsylvania, then we come back home and tell everyone we were swimming to celebrate the day. Mary Ward

*****

As crowded as WDW is at Thanksgiving, Epcot did not seem crowded. It probably has to do with the wide sidewalks and open spaces. I will always select Epcot for Thanksgiving and probably Christmas now that I will be living in Orlando. Bianca Brister

*****

One year when we made the trip to WDW during Thanksgiving we decided to celebrate like we would up here in NYC. We spent the day in the Magic Kingdom and saw the afternoon parade while we sipped Hot Chocolate. Even though it wasn't the Macy*s Day Parade we are used to, it was a great substitute. We almost felt like we were home. Later that day we went over to the Studios and ate dinner in the 50's Prime Time Cafe. With Mom as our waitress we felt like it was Thanksgiving at Grandma's House. We had Turkey for dinner with Mashed Potatoes. We finished off the meal with slices of apple pie. Then we ended the evening by going through the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights. It reminded us of going through the light displays near our house. It was one of the best Thanksgiving's we ever had!!!! Yanksfan

*****

After dinner we love to casually stroll through the Osborne Family Light Spectacle while sipping on hot chocolate. I just love the way the special glasses they give you turn the little Christmas lights into an amazing 3-D experience! The "snow" falling and the holiday music make it even more special! In fact, we love it so much that we usually go back through a second time! Deb Thomas

*****

My birthday is November 25th, and every six years November 25th is Thanksgiving Day! Combining my Birthday with the Thanksgiving Holidays and celebrating both at Walt Disney World makes for a one-of-a-kind celebration. Since my family pampers me on this special double celebration day, I get to do the choosing. All you can eat breakfast at Animal Kingdom to start the day. On to the Magic Kingdom. Ride my favorite ride, Splash Mountain, as many times as possible. Catch a lunch at The Liberty Tree Tavern. (Turkey with all the trimmings of course) Find good seats for the Parade. Spend the rest of the Day enjoying the Magic Kingdom. Keeping with the Thanksgiving theme, I would also enjoy a smoked turkey leg or two prior to leaving.

A quick dip in the Wilderness Lodge pool before heading to the late show of the Hoop-De-Doo revue at Pioneer Hall. Of course I will begrudgingly let my family announce that it's my birthday. After all, I would not want to disappoint my grandkids (Kara, Corey or Billy) on Papa's special day. Strawberry Shortcake is a great replacement for ice cream and Birthday cake. A hot cup of coffee to end the festivities. Then, I will cringe in fear that I will get picked as part of the show. I don't think I would look good in a tutu. Plus I think I ate too much. But, what a wonderful day! wow74vette

**********

PLACES TO DINE:


I am currently researching our options, and 50's Prime Time Cafe seems to have the most appeal...Dinner made by "Mom" and served by your cousins....all at the greatest place on earth!!! Hope I don't get caught with my elbows on the table! but am looking forward to it immensely! MaryAunt

*****

We've been at Walt Disney World during Thanksgiving three times and always choose 50's Prime Time Cafe at Disney's Hollywood Studios because it's theme is "home" with "brothers and sisters" as the waitstaff and "Mom" in the kitchen! They serve a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings, and their desserts are the best! (Especially the S'Mores!) Afterwards, we love to casually stroll through the Osborne Family Light Spectacle while sipping on hot chocolate in a Christmas-Themed souvenir mug. I just love the way the special glasses they give you turn the little Christmas lights into an amazing 3-D experience! The "snow" falling and the holiday music make it even more special! In fact, we love it so much that we usually go back through a second time! Sincerely, Deb Thomas

*****

When my granddaughter and I arrived at WDW late after flying all day on Thanksgiving a couple years ago, I thought we would have to forego a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. But, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings was available in the food court at our resort (All Star Music)! The price was moderate and reasonable, too. So even non-planners and late arrivals can have a turkey dinner at WDW on Thanksgiving day! Beth Eloheimo

*****

My nominee for Thanksgiving Dinner, is the place that I'm planning on having dinner this Thanksgiving myself. My husband and I are going to make reservations at Artist Point in the Wilderness Lodge. The food and ambiance is definitely reminiscent of a rustic, yet elegant, feel of the Northwest. The service in this restaurant is always superb as are the food choices. I especially enjoy the Taste of the Northwest Sampler Platter. After dinner you can sit by the wonderful fireplace in the lobby with an after-dinner drink, or wander outside to watch for the geyser to erupt. It's definitely a wonderful choice for this fall holiday. Sharon Sejda

*****

Here's a Thanksgiving Dinner idea for Families with older kids (ours range 14- 22) or adults. This past Thanksgiving we had our meal at The California Grill. The meal was absolutely fantastic! There was a limited menu (no cooking chefs due to the holiday), but that didn't stop us from getting the fabulous food we've come to expect for the California Grill.

The dinner includes appetizer, salad, main dish and dessert. Our main course looked almost too good to eat, but after the first bite we found it too delicious not to eat! The turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and cranberry sauce were all perfection. Also, if you're family is like ours and eats later (or even if you don't I suggest you do) we made our priority seating for a later time so we got to watch Fantasy in the Sky with our desert. It was truly an unforgettable Thanksgiving.

The only problem you may have with this dinner is getting the priority seating. We made ours in mid-September and there were only a few tables left! Also to add to the fun, only the two adults knew the exact location of our dinner. For about a week before we left we started to give the kids obscure hints about where we were going. They were pretty close, they came up with Cinderella's Royal table. They found out only when we got in to the elevator at the Contemporary which gave us old-timers some holiday magic seeing our "grown-up" kids return to being about five. The Marrone Family

*****

Nothing beats watching the parks put up their holiday decorations and having Thanksgiving dinner at Citricos... a relatively new tradition but worth the switch. Disner2

*****

WDW is way too crowded at Thanksgiving, so the last 2 years we have spent Thanksgiving on the Disney Wonder Cruise Ship. Dinner has been at Triton's restaurant and they do have a wonderful "special" Thanksgiving Turkey dinner entree which has also been included in the Chef's of the World menu on the 4 and 7 day cruises. Tony :-)

*****

This may not sound like the most traditional Thanksgiving dinner, but last year my wife and I enjoyed dinner at the ESPN Club on Disney's Boardwalk. Don't laugh, what goes better with Thanksgiving than football. Early on, right after lunch, the place was quiet and we had plenty of room to ourselves. By the time the second game came on, the place was packed but we had a ball. Instead of turkey, my wife and I ate a ton of chicken wings!!! Again, not your traditional Thanksgiving meal, but if you are a football fan, there is no place better to be!! Glenn Wojtusiak

*****

We are going to eat a traditional Thanksgiving dinner in our 2 bedroom "home away from home" at the Boardwalk Villas. My hubby is a gourmet cook and will bring all the fixin's for a fabulous meal that we will share with family and friends at our favorite place on earth! Patti Pozella

*****

We are Disney Vacation Club members and stayed in a condo at Old Key West. We preordered Thanksgiving dinner for our group of 11. It was delivered by two Pilgrims, who helped unpack and set up our feast. The food was delicious and bountiful. We ended up sending a turkey and pie home with our bellman. Eating in our condo made Thanksgiving dinner feel more "homey" than in a restaurant, and the men got to watch sports! Kathy Graback

*****

We were lucky enough to spend Thanksgiving in Disney a few years ago, We were unlucky enough to have forgotten to make dinner ressies early enough to get a Thanksgiving dinner at one of the hotel restaurant celebrations. We ended up eating at the Garden Grill in EPCOT . We had turkey and lots of other wonderful food (Traditional and untraditional) !!! We really enjoyed this dinner because we were not expecting anything special but we had a great dinner and characters for the kids too!! We talked about all the things we were thankful for and even were joined by people at the next table. It was so nice to meet people from a different state and talk on such a wonderful day!!!! Lynda Mueller

*****

My family and I have an unusual thanksgiving tradition (that often coincides with my daughter's birthday) of booking the Hoop Dee Doo dinner show for our thanksgiving supper. We find the meal festive, albeit untraditional, and the entertainment fabulous! In the past we have dined at 'Ohana or Crystal Palace for a thanksgiving breakfast as well. Anywhere there are characters gets my vote! Melissa Luke

*****

We were there 2 years ago for Thanksgiving and am going back this year. Everyone was in a festive mood. Our Family is in NJ so holidays are hard on us. Going to a Disney Park makes it a great day. We enjoyed dinner at LeCellier in the Canada pavilion. They have a special dinner for the holiday. It was like eating dinner with our family. While enjoying the park we spotted our Grandson there with his Mother. This was a great surprise to us as we didn't know they were going to be there. She and our son are divorced and we miss our relationship with our Grandson. We enjoyed a couple of hours with him and this made our day. We would recommend anyone spending a holiday in any theme park at Disney. Shirley & Larry Strouse

*****

There is only one place to eat a Thanksgiving meal in the Magic Kingdom and that is at the Liberty Tree Tavern. It makes you feel as if your were dining at the very first Thanksgiving meal. My wife and I are in our 40's, with no kids, and we both like to go to WDW to escape. Liberty Tree Tavern is one of our favorite places to eat at WDW whenever we go, and extra special at Thanksgiving. John Powers

*****

On Thanksgiving Day I would recommend eating at the Liberty Tree Tavern. The restaurant serves all of the traditional fixings with turkey and dressing and hearkens back to the colonial times to make you think about some very early Thanksgiving celebrations. Wendy

*****

We were thankful to spend Thanksgiving at WDW, eating at the Polynesian Luau and enjoying the show! Quite different from the usual turkey and stuffing and much more enjoyable. Especially nice was not being responsible for the preparation and timing of Thanksgiving dinner! Martha

*****

We have never been for Thanksgiving, but the feast at Olivia's in Old Key West resort sounds fabulous! We are Disney Vacation Club owners there. Roger & Trisha Speegle

*****

There is no better way to spend Thanksgiving than at Ft Wilderness. It's like going back in time. The Trails End Buffeteria has an awesome Turkey Dinner and it's really informal. It's the closest we can get to the Pilgrims at WDW. Cathy

*****

Although we plan to be at WDW this year for Thanksgiving we find that if you want that good old fashioned, "Chestnuts on an open fire feeling" for the holiday there is no place like home! Melise O'Sullivan

*****

Thanksgiving in Disney... so much to be thankful for... Just for being able to go there. There are so many people who would love to and can't go even once. Grab a big drumstick in Adventureland, say a blessing and you're all set!!! SUZANNE

More Reader Tips and Ideas for Thanksgiving!