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Why You Should Go to Disneyland at Thanksgiving

Why You Should Go to Disneyland at Thanksgiving

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Wondering if you should spend Disneyland at Thanksgiving this year? Find out exactly what to expect in this post. Scroll for all the info!
This Disneyland at Thanksgiving post was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

There is no place like Disneyland at Thanksgiving. The most magical place on Earth is just as magical, so I can’t blame you if you’re excited to visit Disneyland during Thanksgiving week.

Theme parks are not the go-to holiday destination for most people since a lot of us like to be home with our family during Thanksgiving. But in case you didn’t know, the Walt Disney World chain is one theme park that has table service restaurants with sumptuous meals.

Although seasonal menus abound, Thanksgiving will spur on a particular set of menu options at select restaurants around the resort.

If you plan to visit on Thanksgiving day, then here is a guide to what you can expect for a Disneyland Thanksgiving.

How to spend Disneyland at Thanksgiving featured by top US Disney blogger, Marcie and the Mouse

Disneyland at Thanksgiving

Spending Thanksgiving at The Resort

The Disneyland Resort typically experiences its busiest times in the second week of November and during Thanksgiving weekend, although Thanksgiving Day can exhibit either extreme crowds or near empty.

There is no real way to predict how it will play out in 2019 for Disneyland.

However, attendance has been light all year, and that should continue, relatively speaking, into the holiday season.

Nevertheless, Disneyland’s crowd calendar, which determines ticket prices based on projected attendance, shows November 28 to be a peak day.

Disney California Adventure

While this is a great idea, you might want to check how busy it is there before deciding on a family trip.

Disney’s California Adventure is historically an overflow park, which means if it is busy there, then Disneyland must have reached capacity.

Last year’s attendance at Disney’s California Adventure was only half of Disneyland’s 2018 attendance record.

Their ticket calendar does not distinguish between the two parks on what constitutes a peak day, so the price of admission is the same for either park.

What Thanksgiving Food to Expect

Disneyland Park

Restaurants throughout Disneyland Park will serve slow-roasted Turkey on Thanksgiving Day.

Most notably, it is at Carnation Cafe, Plaza Inn, River Belle Terrace, Blue Bayou Restaurant, and Cafe Orleans. Each of these terrific dining locations features a unique take on the traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

Carnation Cafe features bourbon gravy and cornbread stuffing. The French Market includes a non-specific seasonal Smothered Beef and some decadent Haunted Mansion-inspired desserts.

Cafe Orleans, on the other hand, will offer a special Thanksgiving Monte Cristo Sandwich this year. Plus, they’ll have a traditional Pumpkin Pie.

Perhaps the most unique turkey dinner is Blue Bayou’s turkey and glazed ham dinner with andouille stuffing. Harbour Galley also offers a holiday pozole for the occasion.

River Belle Terrace has the best traditional Turkey dinner for 2019 with Butternut Squash Soup, Oven-roasted Turkey Breast with Country Pork Belly Stuffing, Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Seasonal Vegetables, Bourbon Gravy, Cranberry Sauce, Pumpkin Crème Brûlée Tart. Order these a la carte or as a Prix-Fixe Thanksgiving meal with reserved viewing for Fantasmic!

Disneyland at Thanksgiving means great food like this special Holiday Dinner Pizza at the Disneyland Resort.
The Holiday Dinner Pizza is one of the resort’s limited-time holiday treats. From November 8th to January 6th, Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta in Disney California Adventure Park offers a pizza topped with roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, turkey gravy, bacon, vegetables, and cranberry sauce.
Photo credit: Disneyland Resort

Disney California Adventure

There are lots of fun and exciting ways to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday at Disney’s California Adventure, starting with the festive sourdough bread shapes at Mortimer’s Market.

If you miss it at the entrance of Disneyland Park, you can also find it at the Boudin Bread Cart on Pacific Wharf.

Even the Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta counter service location at Paradise Gardens Park offers a Thanksgiving feast-inspired pizza slice and a traditional holiday meal throughout the season.

Four restaurants around Disney California Adventure have historically offered special menus. One of them was Ariel’s Grotto, which no longer exists.

However, with the new seasonal offerings at Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta and special holiday menus at Carthay Circle Restaurant and Wine Country Trattoria, we still have plenty to be thankful for.

Carthay Circle’s Thanksgiving Menu includes an entree and dessert. The Grilled Sierra Foothills Turkey is served with Creamed Corn, Turkey Chorizo, Cranberry Fritter, and Natural Jus. For dessert, the menu features a Spiced Pumpkin Bar with Dulce De Leche Creme Anglaise and Cranberry Compote.

Wine Country Trattoria offers a traditional turkey dinner with Pumpkin Pie for dessert. The entree includes roasted turkey, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, stuffing, haricot verts, turkey gravy, and cranberry sauce.

Thanksgiving at Disneyland Resort

Spending Thanksgiving at The Disney Hotel

The Disney Hotel Grand Ballroom will host a special Thanksgiving Day feast with a dash of Disney magic provided by Characters to help commemorate the celebratory event.

Aside from the holiday decorations around, their food would make you want to make a Disneyland Thanksgiving trip again and again!

The buffet will feature traditional holiday favorites and even a children’s buffet. The Carving Station will offer roast turkey or prime rib, and the sides will include sweet potato souffle, mashed potatoes, cranberry orange relish, and more.

Plus, the dessert station will feature traditional pumpkin pie among a variety of other sweets.

They will decorate the ballroom in immersive autumn theming to enhance your experience during the extravagant feast.

The feast lasts from 11:30 to 6:00 on November 28, and the price of admission is $180 per adult. Children 3-9 are $70. Children 2 and under are free.

The experience is very lavish and worthwhile for couples or a small group of adults, but larger families, particularly with younger kids (3-6), may choose to skip this event due to its overall cost.

This is how Disneyland at Thanksgiving looks like at the glamorous Steakhouse 55 with ornate tables and chairs.
Steakhouse 55 is located inside the hotel. Photo credit: Disneyland Hotel

Other Dining Options for Thanksgiving at Disneyland

Steakhouse 55 has a popular menu that is returning for the occasion, as well.

A three-course meal will include butternut squash soup with crispy skirt steak and maple clabbered cream; roasted turkey wellington with brioche stuffing, cranberry, swiss chard, and wild mushroom gravy; and a dessert trio including sweet potato mousse parfait, pecan cake pop, and pumpkin whoopie pie.

Additionally, the restaurant and lounge provide wine pairings.

Starter course – butternut squash soup with crispy shredded skirt steak and maple clabbered cream; Entrée – roasted turkey Wellington, brioche stuffing, cranberry, Swiss chard, wild mushroom gravy; Dessert – trio of sweet potato mousse parfait, pecan cake pop, and pumpkin whoopie pie. Wine pairings are available.

And it’s also available in the Steakhouse 55 Lounge.

Character Buffets

Although the big Thanksgiving event takes place at the Disneyland Hotel Grand Ballroom, the character buffets at all three Disneyland resort hotels are still serving guests all-you care-to-enjoy banquets.

The Character Experiences take place exclusively in the morning, although Goofy’s Kitchen has a dinner service, which includes turkey at the carving station for Thanksgiving.

Storyteller Cafe has modified Thanksgiving Dinner buffets as well, although there will not be characters at the Paradise Pier and Grand California locations for dinner service.

Grand Californian Hotel and Spa Thanksgiving

Chef Andrew Sutton will have a Four-Course Wine Country Feast for Thanksgiving day with two seatings.

The first dinner seating will be at 4:00 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 5:00 p.m., and 5:30 p.m. The second seating will be every half hour from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

This is a $125 per adult dinner. However, the price for children drops dramatically to only $25 per person. Wine flights are an additional $55.

With this Thanksgiving dinner, you can park your vehicle for free for up to 5 hours at the Grand Californian. Although making dining reservations is recommended, they will seat guests on a first-come, first-served basis.

Celebrate Thanksgiving at Disneyland Wrap-up

Spending the holidays in a theme park is not the ideal Thanksgiving for most families, but it doesn’t mean it is less fun and meaningful for your family.

Visiting Disneyland may be the unique celebration you need this holiday season, especially if your kids enjoy it. To have a stress-free experience, make sure to check the Disneyland Thanksgiving crowds situation in your Disneyland app.

Who knows? This Disneyland vacation may just be the perfect place to experience holiday magic!

What are you most looking forward to at Disneyland at Thanksgiving? Let me know in a comment below!

Looking for other Thanksgiving content? Here are 17 Savvy Holiday Tips, including this Thanksgiving Travel Essentials for Babies and Toddlers.

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