A Disneyland Thanksgiving is festive and exciting, yet it can be a little stressful. One reason for the popularity of Disneyland is its holiday attractions. Before you book your tickets, you need to know what to expect.
The happiest place on Earth is waiting for you! 18.8 million people visited Disneyland in 2019, making it one of the most popular theme parks in the world.
What is Disneyland like during Thanksgiving? What are the Disneyland Thanksgiving events? How can you avoid crowds and headaches while enjoying the park?
Answer these questions and you can have a great Disneyland Thanksgiving in 2022. Here is your comprehensive guide.
Deal With the Crowds
Disneyland Thanksgiving is one of the busiest times of the year. Many people go to the park thinking that other people are at home with their families. This can make the lines extremely long, and it can create trouble if you’re trying to get reservations.
Crowds may be a little thinner at the very start and end of the day. Arrive at the gates an hour before the park opens so you can get to your favorite rides without waiting in lines. Plan to stay late and visit the most popular rides after 5:00 p.m., as many people leave the park to get dinner.
You can visit Disney California Adventure (DCA) by itself or with a Park Hopper ticket. The crowds are a little thinner in DCA, though DCA is less popular throughout the year than Disneyland.
You can go on weekdays earlier in the month when there are fewer people in the park. Don’t go during December, as Disney’s Christmas celebrations draw thousands of people in.
Order Your Tickets Early
Tickets for Disneyland Thanksgiving weekend are now available. You should buy your tickets as soon as possible, as the park may be booked up before September.
Because Thanksgiving is so popular, the tickets tend to be more expensive. You may need to pay more than $250 per adult. A Park Hopper ticket can cost more than $300.
You can save money by applying for discounts. Military personnel can receive discounted tickets through their military base ticket offices. You can also receive discounts on hotel rooms if you qualify for discounted tickets.
Costco and Sam’s Club offer Disney gift cards you can use to save money on your tickets. You can use your membership with Target and other organizations when you pay for tickets as well.
If you have a Magic Key annual pass, you can get cheaper tickets for Thanksgiving weekend. You still need to make reservations so you can get into the park during those days.
You can buy tickets from a reseller or a third party. Some organizations like Undercover Tourist offer tickets you can buy at a low expense. You can buy a travel package from them, saving money on your airfare, hotel, and food.
Enjoy the Disneyland Thanksgiving Food
The biggest Thanksgiving attraction at Disneyland is the food. All of the resort’s restaurants are open during Thanksgiving, and you can enjoy a number of special dining options.
Several restaurants during Disneyland Thanksgiving time offer authentic foods. Carnation Café, the Blue Bayou Restaurant, and River Belle Terrace serve traditional turkey dinners on prix-fixe menus. You can order vegetarian options at River Belle Terrace as well.
Jolly Holiday Bakery is well-known for its Holiday Sandwich, which contains roasted turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, and stuffing. Lines can last longer than 30 minutes, so order your sandwich through online apps and try to go before peak dining hours.
Many of Disneyland’s hotels have restaurants that serve dinner on Thanksgiving night. You should go to these restaurants if you want a cozier and more traditional Thanksgiving experience. You can bring your children to these restaurants, but they are intended more for adults.
Some of the quick-service restaurants also offer specialty foods. Earl of Sandwich offers a Holiday Turkey Sandwich, which is similar to Jolly Holiday Bakery’s Holiday Sandwich. You can buy a smoked turkey leg at different food stalls and walk around the park eating it.
You may qualify for discounts for these meals if you order them as part of a Thanksgiving package. You may also pay less if you are already staying at the hotel the restaurant is in.
Use Mobile Apps
Disneyland has many mobile apps you can use to make your park experience easier. For food, you should use the Disneyland app.
You can place orders at quick-service restaurants on the app and view the wait times. When your food is ready, you will receive a notification, and you can walk to the restaurant to get your meal.
You have to hit a button saying you are there to pick up your food. You should hit this button as you are starting to walk over to the restaurant. Servers can take more than 15 minutes to serve your food, especially if the lines are long.
The Disney Genie app lets you make an itinerary and research attractions. You can input your top interests and the app will produce a schedule that lets you enjoy your interests. You can also receive reminders about when to make reservations.
Disney Genie+ offers additional features. You can purchase Lightning Lane passes that let you wait in a shorter line. You do not have to reserve your passes in advance, and you can select as many rides as you want.
MouseWait is a free app that lets you see how long the lines at rides are. Disney Genie can also give you this information, but the app costs money to use.
Celebrate Christmas Early
There aren’t very many Disneyland Thanksgiving-themed decorations. You may spot some wreaths scattered throughout the park and Disney characters dressed as pilgrims.
Disneyland’s Christmas celebrations begin on November 11, so you are going to see far more Christmas decorations than Thanksgiving ones. Feel free to go through the park and see them for yourself.
You can also enjoy other holiday-themed events. The Disneyland Band plays holiday medleys and songs on Main Street. Disney characters dress as different holiday characters, and you can take photographs with them.
Disney California Adventure has a number of Christmas events. You can visit the Festival of Holidays, which commemorates Three Kings’ Day, Diwali, and Kwanzaa in addition to Christmas.
Fireworks shows take place at Disneyland after sundown. You can enjoy Christmas songs alongside incredible fireworks, but these shows are extremely popular. You need to get to Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle early and find a spot where you can see the show clearly.
Make a Weekend Out of Your Stay
It is impossible to see everything during Disneyland Thanksgiving time in one day, especially when the crowds are thick. On Thanksgiving at Disneyland, you may only be able to go on a few rides out of the dozens at the park.
If you want to see a lot of different things, you should make a weekend out of your visit. Many organizations let you buy packages so you can stay multiple nights in the park.
Take a look at the attractions and see which ones you want to do. You should read guides on the best rides at Disneyland so you can see what the most popular ones are. Pick the ones you want to visit first in the morning so you can head straight there.
If you’re new to Disneyland, you can spend your first day getting a feel for the park. Walk around and take a look at attractions that interest you and then head there the next day.
Set aside one day for live shows. Many people like to see Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln on Thanksgiving.
You can spend one or two days at DCA and then spend the rest of the weekend at Disneyland. Downtown Disney offers stores that you can spend a few hours in.
You still might not see everything you want to see in a three or four-day weekend. Take note of what you missed and prepare for another vacation in the future. Wait until after the holiday season is over so you can go when the park is less crowded.
Have a Great Disneyland Thanksgiving
You should start preparing for your Disneyland Thanksgiving today. You need to order your tickets as soon as possible, and you need to be ready for long lines. Plan for long days at the park and hit your top attractions first.
Disneyland offers Thanksgiving food throughout the park, including formal dinners. Book your reservations for this now. There are no other major Thanksgiving events, but you can enjoy Christmas decorations early.
Do not stop preparing for your vacation. Fun Park Go provides informative Disneyland guides. Read our guide on how to save money at Disneyland.