There are a whole host of considerations to make when planning a Disney World vacation. When is the best time to visit Disney World? November is a top contender for a variety of reasons. As long as you avoid visiting Disney World on Thanksgiving Day, your trip will be fantastic: you’ll experience the joy of visiting a Disney park during the holiday season, but you won’t have to deal with the crowds Christmas vacation or New Year’s Eve might bring. The weather will be nice and mild as the Floridian summer gives way to cooler temperatures. Read on to learn more.
November Offers Unique Seasonal Experiences
November in the United States is an exciting time. November falls between Halloween and Christmas, and Disney World celebrates the spooky silliness Halloween brings, the bountiful harvest symbolized by Thanksgiving, and the festive, wintry joy of Christmas time. Depending on when you visit during the month, you can catch a little bit of all three holidays (although if you’re looking to avoid heavy crowding, opt not to go during the week of Thanksgiving). This is a list of seasonal activities hosted at Disney World parks during the month of November.
Epcot International Food and Wine Festival: This festival at Epcot celebrates cuisines and traditions from countries all over the world. This event concludes on November 12th. Activities are not limited to food and wine samplings and seminars; there is also dancing, live music, and a variety of different cultural offerings and experiences. Celebrity chefs will also be in attendance this year. All sorts of commemorative souvenirs will be offered as well: hats, shirts, limited edition Disney pins, and of course dining ware.
Epcot International Festival of the Holidays: This event begins November 18th and concludes December 30th. Experience Christmas and Winter Holiday traditions from all over the world, including candlelight vigils complete with a live choir and orchestra, a Kwanzaa celebration, and the Christmas version of IllumiNations, an amazing nighttime spectacular featuring fireworks, original music, and a beautiful Christmas tree.
Flurry of Fun at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: This event begins on November 8th. Hollywood Studios and the Hollywood Tower get a nightly Christmas makeover (complete with falling snow), Santa will be available for consultations (and photo opportunities), and Toy Story Land will be all dressed up and ready for the holidays.
Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Show and Dessert Party Package: Dessert parties are a fantastic way to experience Disney World’s many dazzling shows. Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! is one of Hollywood Studio’s new productions opening on November 6th. The show itself is focused on an epic search to find a suspiciously missing Santa Claus, and features characters from ABC’s Prep & Landing. The associated dessert party gives guests VIP access and seating to both Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! and Disney Movie Magic, another Christmas-themed production which stars all of Disney’s most popular characters. The dessert party menu includes gourmet snack items ranging from luxury fruit and nut mixes to decadent yule log cake and signature Disney cocktails. Other drinks such as sparkling wine are also included in this package. Reservations are required. The cost per dessert package is $79 per adult and $47 per child for the month of November (prices are subject to change; always check the Disney World website before planning your trip).
November is Less Crowded Than Other Peak Months
While the kids might be on vacation from school, the rest of the country isn’t. Adults don’t often have huge periods of time off, even if Thanksgiving is observed by the institutions they work at. Disney World is always more crowded during months like December or July, because schools aren’t in session.
Crowd Tracking for November: Great Month to Visit
There are numerous Web Resources available to guests who are planning to visit Disney World. These are a few of the best.
Orlando Crowd Calendar: An easy-to-navigate and informative site laid out in calendar format. Theme parks and attractions are listed day by day and include attraction closures and peak visiting times, allowing you to plan when you would like to attend which park and what you will do/be able to do while you’re there. This is a fantastic resource for anyone who wants to compare multiple parks at the same time.
WDW Prep School: This is a no-frills site that includes all sorts of information relating specifically to Disney World parks. This site features seasonal attractions, an updated day-to-day crowd meter, and related links. The site is also laid out in calendar format so it’s extremely easy to compare one day to the next.
Disney Tourist Blog’s November Crowd Calendar: Disney Tourist Blog is fantastic for all sorts of information on Disney World, including in-depth attraction reviews, insider discount information, and dining menus. Their crowd calendars are nothing to sneeze at, either. This page includes a day-to-day calendar that marks peak visiting days in red, light crowds in green, and moderate crowds in orange. It also gives an extremely detailed review of seasonal offerings available at Disney World during the month of November.
Disney World guests can also utilize the following Crowd Tracking Smartphone Apps:
My Disney Experience: Disney World’s official trip planning app.
Disney World Lines: Track lines for Disney World rides in real time.
Wait Times at Disney World: Another wait-times app for Disney World rides. This is a fantastic free option that will help you compare what you want to do at Disney World and when you want to do it.
General Tips for Avoiding Crowds
Obviously weekdays are going to be less crowded than weekends. The best days to visit are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday if you want to experience the absolute fewest number of people the park will host. Granted, it really is worth it to take an entire week to visit Disney World, as it has so many incredible parks; if you want to participate in The Epcot Food and Wine Festival, for example, plan to arrive during the week and catch at least one weekend at Epcot. Epcot and Hollywood Studios tend to be less crowded than The Magic Kingdom and The Animal Kingdom as a general rule, so it might be advisable to plan your trip this way:
Tuesday: The Magic Kingdom
Wednesday: The Magic Kingdom/The Animal Kingdom
Thursday: The Animal Kingdom
Friday: Hollywood Studios
Be sure to spend some time at the resorts as well; if you have the chance, perhaps spend an evening or two on the park’s business nights having dinner at The Grand Floridian or Disney’s Polynesian Resort, as the crowds will be slightly lighter than they will at the parks.
Again, avoid the week of Thanksgiving. While it’s a beautiful time to visit the park and there are many holiday themed activities taking place, if you don’t want holiday crowds, avoid visiting on an actual holiday.
If You Can’t Avoid Thanksgiving Week:
In the event that you just can’t go at any other time, there are strategies you can use to keep you from wasting hours in line that you could otherwise spend doing stuff you love.
Get to the parks EARLY. Fewer people are at the park in the wee hours of the morning. If you don’t have breakfast reservations, bring something small and light with you that will tide you over until you can eat a bit later. Don’t worry about missing out on some sleep; if you head over to Space Mountain as soon as the Magic Kingdom opens, the line will be shorter, or you’ll have a much better chance at getting a decent Fast Pass.
Get your Fast Passes EARLY! Have a plan. Rides like Space Mountain and The Hollywood Tower of Terror fill up fast, especially during peak holidays. Try to get your Fast Passes as early in the day as you can. If you’re using a Fast Pass to see a show like IllumiNations or Fantasmic, make sure you get those Fast Passes first. A Fast Pass basically functions as a ticket that assigns you a time later in the day to return to the ride and enter the Fast Pass line, which is (ideally) shorter than the regular stand-by line. Make sure to check an app like My Disney Experience to see what daily line wait times look like, and plan accordingly.
The newest rides in the park are always the busiest. If you have to ride these, ride them early in the day. Save smaller, less popular rides for later on. Crowds are heaviest in the afternoon.
If you want to watch a parade or the fireworks and you don’t have a dessert party or dinner party reservation, maybe skip out on sit-down restaurant dinner reservations for the evening and instead eat as you’re waiting for the show to begin. Seating for a lot of the fireworks shows, for example, is first come first serve. When the park is extremely crowded, some guests prefer to snag seats far, far in advance…it isn’t unheard of for guests to start waiting for the fireworks two hours early. If you’re in a group with multiple people, have one party member stake your party’s claim in the parade seating, and send someone else to go grab some eats from one of the numerous food carts or quick-serve restaurants around the park to bring back. That way you don’t waste a whole load of time waiting to eat and missing the opportunity to get a great seat for the evening’s production.
Take advantage of restaurant reservations and dessert and dinner party reservations! These little extras often cost more, but it’s so worth it. For example, take The Festival of the Lion King Dining Package into consideration. Wait times for this popular show can be hours long. If you reserve a dining package in advance by calling Disney World’s dining reservation line, you will save yourself hours in line for dining reservations, VIP show seating, and you’ll get yourself an exclusive safari as well. Another package to consider is the Frozen Ever After Sparkling Dessert Party, which includes VIP seating to IllumiNations, direct seating for the new Frozen ride, Frozen Ever After, and an all you can eat gourmet dessert buffet complete with access to its own exclusive terrace. We’re talking saving over three hours of your day by shelling out maybe a couple hundred bucks. It’s well worth it.
Walt Disney World Weather in November
Florida has varying weather, so assume that the weather at Walt Disney World will be changeable as well. The state sometimes experiences overbearing heat and can be quite chilly in the winter months. It also rains in Florida…a lot. Rest assured that Disney World doesn’t shut down unless serious hurricanes are expected, although in the event of heavy rain shows involving fireworks, bombastic pyrotechnics, or water screen projections can be canceled. No need to worry, though; showtimes are updated daily on the Disney World website.
The average high temperature in Orlando, FL is around 75 degrees fahrenheit/21 degrees celsius. The average low is around 57 degrees fahrenheit/14 degrees celsius. There are ten average rainfall days in the month, and monthly rainfall averages measure in at about 2 inches. It is much less rainy in November than it is during other months, so although there is always the chance that it might be a bit rainy, that chance lessens in November. Expect generally mild, somewhat humid weather with a mix of sunshine and clouds, with mild afternoons and sweater-weather nights.
When planning your Disney World wardrobe, bring clothes that you can layer with you. If rain is expected, a light jacket is beneficial. Always check local weather reports before you leave for the park. Make sure to have a backpack or bag where you can stow any layers you’re not using; lockers are available at the park, but it’s far easier to keep your extra clothes on hand if you need them, so you don’t have to walk back and forth…or worse, waste time moving from park to park to resort to retrieve them. If it begins to rain heavily, luckily Disney World is great at supplying ponchos…but expect to pay extra if you want one of the cool vinyl ones with Mickey on them.
The Bottom Line: Visit Disney World in November!
- Fun new holiday-themed attractions that will be more crowded in December
- Pleasant weather
- Shorter wait times for popular rides like Space Mountain, Frozen Ever After, and safaris at The Animal Kingdom
- An array of fantastic dining and dessert party exclusive packages available to make your stay easier and more enjoyable
- Easier to get accommodation at Disney World Resorts
- Crows will be especially thin on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday
- Halloween-themed attractions are only available for the first week or so
- The week of Thanksgiving can be VERY crowded, so it should be avoided
- As you can see, the pros far outweigh the cons. If you want a fun holiday-themed experience that will be stress-free and full of fun, with a little planning, November is a fantastic month to visit Disney World.
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