Crowd BlogIn the Parks

The Thanksgiving Crowds Are Here: Here’s How to Navigate This Busy Week

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It comes as no surprise that this week is a busy one at Walt Disney World. Every day we are in the parks to ensure our resources and tools are as up to date and as accurate as possible. We are seeing some of the largest crowds we’ve seen, though still at very limited capacity, since the parks reopened in July. Let’s look at the crowds, how wait times are shaking out, and some tips for how to navigate this busy time.

So far this week we’ve seen each of the four Walt Disney World theme parks have their busiest days of the past month. Every day we recap the day’s wait times and compare them again lots of other data. We also indicate what the actual wait times were when we’ve received such data that day.

Spaceship Earth Crowds 11-23-20
Frontierland Crowds 11-24-20

With such a busy week, here are some tips for navigating it all.

  1. Get to the parks for “rope drop”.
  2. Take a midday break outside of the park, and come back for the final hour or two of operation.
  3. Be prepared to be outside more, including in extended queues.
  4. Be prepared to be stationary in order to eat or drink; no roaming around.
  5. Talk to your family members, including kids, ahead of time to set expectations about masks, distancing, and other changes.
  6. Mobile order your meals well in advance. The earlier in the day, the more time slots for pick up are available.
  7. Take frequent breaks and hydrate.
  8. Since FastPass+ is no longer available, use our Lines app to make a Touring Plan and to know which attractions to visit when.
  9. Use our Disney restaurant ratings on our site and our Lines app to know the best places to eat.
  10. If you’re trying to snag a last-minute dining reservation use our Reservation Finder – it’s free!
Haunted Mansion Line in Frontierland 11-24-20

In the past we’ve talked about extended queues and how they spill into the parks. It can make the lines for popular rides seem endless (like The Haunted Mansion line shown above that extends into Frontierland). It’s just important to keep in mind that these lines extend so long because of social distancing.

In order to keep your stamina and your sanity, we highly recommend taking a break outside of the park. Our tips for park hopping alternatives can give you some pointers are how to change up your day so the grind of the busy theme parks doesn’t wear you down.

Angus Bacon Cheeseburger at The Sand Bar at Disney’s Contemporary – a great way to break up your Magic Kingdom day

Most quick service restaurants and dining locations use mobile ordering through the MyDisneyExperience app. Make sure you’ve read our steps on how to use mobile ordering. Then, on the day of your park visit, get the exact timeslot you want by placing your order well in advance. As the day goes on the time slots book up and there can be a 45 minute to hour long wait for a time to pick up your order. Meaning, when you sign into the app to select an Arrival Time to pick up your order the available arrival times can be an hour or later past the current time.

Arrival Window – Disney’s Mobile Ordering

Our site and Lines app collect real-time data constantly. We’re able to collect Disney’s posted wait times as well as measure expected wait times. Even though there’s never been a period like this at Disney before, the data repeatedly shows us how visiting any park at its opening will give you the ability to ride multiple attractions with minimum waits during the first hour. It also shows us that the last hour of operation is a good opportunity.

Adventureland Crowds 11-24-20
Test Track Crowds 11-23-20


You can create your own Touring Plan, or use one of ours that is ready to go. You can also visit without a plan, but view Expected Wait Times in our app and know whether you should wait until later in the day to ride any particular ride.

Finally, the holidays wouldn’t be the holidays without some good eating. The bad news is most of the popular restaurants are already booked up for dining reservations. The good news is you can use our Reservation Finder for free. This tool will alert you when an opening at your preferred restaurant and timeslot becomes available so you can go snag that desired reservation.

Have you visited on a busy holiday before? What are some of your tips?


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Born and raised in the land of sunshine and dreams come true, Dani is a proud Orlando Native who loves sharing her hometown with others. She's worked in nearly all of Orlando's theme parks, on board Disney Cruise Line, and in hotel management. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @thisfloridalife