If you’re planning a trip to Disney during the winter, then you just might be wondering how busy is Disney World in November? Well, we’re going to help you answer this exact question, and we provide you with tons of great information that will best help you estimate the crowd levels at Disney World in November!
How Busy is Disney World in November?
Let’s address this question by first discussing how national holidays in November, particularly Veterans Day and Thanksgiving Day weekend will (or perhaps won’t) affect crowd levels at Disney World.
National Holidays in November
Crowds at Disney World aren’t really a problem most of November—that’s the good news. However, there are a few big holidays that will likely affect crowds. Veterans Day, for example, will often bring in large crowds for the long weekend, as well as Thanksgiving week. Starting on Thanksgiving through the weekend, it’s not uncommon for there to be a massive influx of guests for the holidays.
Thanksgiving is a hugely popular holiday in the Disney parks, not only because many families will have an extended break from work and school, but November also marks the start of the holiday season in the Disney parks. This makes Thanksgiving prime time for a family vacation, to not only enjoy the holiday but get a sneak peak of the Christmas festivities.
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Navigating Thanksgiving in Disney World
If you’re planning a trip to Disney World during Thanksgiving, know upfront the parks and resorts will be very busy. Here are a few quick tips and tricks when planning a trip during the holiday.
Prioritize the parks you want to visit and the attractions you don’t want to miss. There’s the risk that parks may hit capacity, and attractions requiring reservations will be in high demand. Know before you go which rides and experiences you don’t want to miss. This is the perfect time to take advantage of Disney Genie+ to help you plan your day.
Plan your dining experiences and make reservations ahead of time. For quick service options, keep in mind lines will be longer, so plan to be patient or catch these options outside of peak meal times. If you’re planning on character dining or enjoying a nice dinner at one of the resorts, keep in mind guests can book reservations 60 days in advance, and I highly recommend taking advantage of this. There’s no guarantee during the holidays that these restaurants will be able to take walk-ins.
While we’re on the topic of Thanksgiving, you’re probably thinking about Thanksgiving Dinner. These reservations can be tricky to come by, so be sure to plan ahead. Some of the popular sit down restaurants that offer traditional holiday dinner selections include Cinderella’s Royal Table, Crystal Palace and Liberty Tree Tavern at the Magic Kingdom; 50’s Prime Time Cafe, The Hollywood Brown Derby and Hollywood & Vine at Hollywood Studios; and Tiffin’s Restaurant and Tusker House at Animal Kingdom. The World Showcase at Epcot is also a great way to sample from each country. Be sure to check Disney’s website for a complete list of all restaurants offering Thanksgiving inspired meals.
Be prepared for peak pricing, but choose your resort wisely. It’s no surprise holidays bring higher rates, that’s to be expected. But choose a resort that offers activities and amenities your family will enjoy. The parks will be very busy, and you may want to enjoy a little downtime with your family at your resort.
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The Start of the Holiday Season
One of the best parts about visiting Disney World in November is the beginning of the holiday season. The October crowds have dispersed, and Disney is quickly working behind the scenes to transform the parks from spooky season to a winter wonderland. Disney does a good job of announcing the start of the holiday season every year, but you can expect it to happen around the second week of November.
This means the first week of November is typically very quiet. If your number one concern is avoiding crowds, this is something to consider. Even though the park is transitioning, Disney does a great job of hiding the dust and doing as much as they can behind the scenes and outside of park hours.
Popular November Events & Experiences
Holiday programs and experiences draw big crowds starting in November. The good news is that while there are a few times in November you’ll see bigger crowds, a majority of the month is fairly tame. Christmas will bring in some of the largest crowds all year, so it’s not a bad idea to visit at the start of the season and enjoy the festivities before peak season.
Each park hosts its own holiday festivities. With Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom being perhaps the most well known, the other parks also have fun experiences you don’t want to miss! Flurry of Fun at Hollywood Studios brings in a holiday themed projection show and fireworks. The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays celebrates holidays from around the world with stunning decor and specialized food & drink offerings. Animal Kingdom will bring in their own display of holiday decor and theming. Unlike Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, the other parks don’t require separate tickets to enjoy the festivities.
Let’s quickly talk about Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. If this is an event you don’t want to miss, even early in the season it will sell out. This is a separately ticketed event, so whether or not you plan on going to the party, you’ll want to pay attention to the dates. On nights when there’s a scheduled party, Magic Kingdom will close early. This may unexpectedly cut your day in the park short if you plan to visit Magic Kingdom on the day of a party.
Another thing to keep an eye on is Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival. This is such a rewarding experience, with each country in the World Showcase serving up its own bite-sized samples of their native food & drinks. This can only be described as a unique culinary tour across the continents, and is one of the most popular times of the year to visit Epcot.
This is not only a popular event for tourists, but it’s equally as popular for locals, and Epcot will be busier while the festival is happening. Dates change from year to year, it often falls in either October or November. If you’re looking to experience the festival or avoid the crowds, it’s good to keep an eye on the dates.
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Navigating Crowds in November
As you can see, with the exception of a few busy holiday weekends, November is a great time to visit the parks and miss the large crowds. Here are a few tools to help you navigate your way through the parks.
Whether or not the parks will be especially busy when you visit, it’s always a good idea to utilize Genie+, to avoid crowds and be sure you don’t miss out on your favorite attractions. Just because the parks aren’t supposed to be busy, doesn’t mean it won’t happen. I’ve visited many times on days when the parks have projected a low guest count, then it’s gotten unexpectedly busy.
I also highly recommend downloading the My Disney Experience app. This is an excellent way to manage your day, giving you access to a variety of park conditions from wait times to show times, event guides, dining options, and even a reminder of where you parked your car (as someone who spent 2 hours once trying to find my car in the Hollywood Studios parking lot, once upon a time this would have been a lifesaver). You can also access your Genie+ from this app, and even plan your day. The app is free to use, and I highly recommend downloading it before your trip.
What is the Weather Like in November?
November is one of the best times of the year to visit Disney World in regards to the weather. The summer heat has run its course and humidity is lower this time of year. Temperatures range from lows of 50 – 60 degrees, and highs of 70 – 80 degrees with minimal rain. Ideal weather conditions is one of the reasons why families plan their vacations during the fall months, and this could impact park capacity.
In my opinion November is one of the best months of the year to visit Disney World. While my personal favorite is still October (I much prefer Halloween to Christmas), this time is ideal because the holiday decor, characters and experiences have begun, but the crowds haven’t quite arrived yet.
At the end of the day, visiting in November in my opinion requires more prior planning than other months, because of how much is packed into a single month. It’s vital that you decide ahead of time what kinds of experiences you want to be sure not to miss. Is your goal to enjoy a holiday specific party like Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party? Or are you content with taking in the holiday decor and seasonal fireworks?
Are you simply looking for a time of the month when crowds will be the thinnest? Or are you ok with being a part of the hustle and bustle for a busy holiday like Thanksgiving? Or maybe you’re looking to take advantage of weekdays in between busy weekends for slimmer crowds and more economical resort rates. All of these things factor into what time in November you should plan your trip.
As we wrap up here, let’s revisit your original question: how busy is Disney World in November? Well, in my personal opinion, the answer is that Disney isn’t too busy in November at all. Despite a few peak times, crowds are relatively manageable. So long as you plan ahead, download your apps, set yourself an agenda and make your dining reservations and buy your event tickets early, you can expect to enjoy a wonderful vacation in the parks.
November in Orlando is beautiful, the weather is perfect for spending all day in the parks, and it’s the perfect way to kick off the holiday season and what truly is the most magical time of the year in the Disney parks.
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