Thanksgiving2020 Week Strategies


Earning My Ears
Sep 19, 2019
We re-scheduled our "canceled-due-to-COVID" trip to Thanksgiving week. My husband is an essential worker and has been very careful so I was stunned he was willing to go Thanksgiving. He had some conditions, however. We had to stay off-site (ugh. And I'm finding out what a pain this is for dining reservations) because it was so much cheaper and we weren't going to be taking advantage of Disney transportation to the parks. Plus, it didn't make sense for us since we love to Park Hop and won't be able to this trip. No buffets. Outdoor dining whenever possible. And, of course, mask, hand-san, wash hands, and other immunity building strategies.

Where I'm a bit lost is strategies regarding the parks and dining. I think I heard that currently, WDW is operating at a 25% capacity maximum. I know no one out there has a crystal ball but assuming Disney only raises this capacity slightly -

1. What will be the best strategies to navigate the parks without FastPass?
2. Especially Hollywood Studios?
3. What are your best tips for snagging a hard to get (ie. Oga's Cantina) dining reservation? With our off-site disadvantage, I've run into some instances when there are NO available sit-down dining reservations at our park of choice. At all.
4. Do you think it will still feel like there are fewer people than is typical? (We have actually been during Christmas/New Year's and summer (when used to teach) so we are very familiar with packed parks. I just sold my husband on this trip because I told him there would be a lot fewer people this year. :rolleyes1
5. I'm learning I NEVER want to stay off-property again (but we got a 4 bedroom/4 bath condo for $125/night that I couldn't pass up.) What are your best off-site strategies?

I would appreciate any advice you have! Thanks!


DIS Veteran
Mar 11, 2010
We are going Thanksgiving week also, I think dining is going to be tight whether you are on or off site. Hollywood Studios, I would see try to get in the park about 30 mins before park opening. Head to the ride you want the most, while in line remember if you want to go on ROTR to make sure you try to join a boarding group. I also heard that end of the day has typically been pretty good regarding wait times. We are all in the same boat w/o FP this year. Hope you have a great time,, even waiting in line at Disney, is still better than not being at Disney. :earsgirl:


Geaux Tigers!
Mar 2, 2007
Don’t wait to long to make park reservations. I booked mine a couple of days ago. For HS, the only days available were Saturday Nov 21 and Saturday Nov 28.
  • mt mommy

    Jan 5, 2007
    We are headed there Thanksgiving week also. Really hoping they open more food venues. I've heard they might increase capacity for October, any thoughts on increasing for Thanksgiving and Christmas? If so, I wonder how they will handle crowds and lines?


    Apr 3, 2010
    We are going Thanksgiving week too. If they do open up capacity, I really hope they open up more food options and some shows. I did see Frozen Ever After is opening back up. Gives me hope they open the other shows soon. I haven't been since Covid but I can reiterate what others have mentioned.
    Get to the park before opening to ride as much as possible. If it becomes too unbearable, we will leave in the afternoon and head back to the park in the evening for the last few hours. As far as reservations go, I booked some of our favorites for lunch time. But I know this week filled up fast. I would keep trying closer to when you leave as people cancel ressies all the time. I still want a ressie for Yak and Yeti for our AK day and nothing is available. One should pop up before our trip though. They always do because people cancel all the time. My DH thinks there will be fewer people as well. That is what the summer crowds led us to believe. But with distancing, I told him to be prepared for it to look like a mad house with really long waits. Hopefully they won't be as long as posted. We almost stayed off property too, but the bubble kept drawing me in.


    Mar 23, 2019
    The Wave at the contemporary is suppose to have carry out, so that’s my back up plan. I couldn’t get any dining on our magic kingdom days. Figured we could eat quick service and lots of yummy desserts . Epcot had several restaurants with openings, Just enjoy the more relaxed evenings, earlier bed times , and holiday spirit


    DVC Gold
    Sep 15, 2019
    After deciding to bail on our Aulani trip due to Hawaii’s seemingly ever changing Covid restrictions we’ve decided to go to Disneyworld for Thanksgiving instead. That’s to say, I’ve started planning this trip much closer to the actual travel date than I would typically like but I’ve had luck in being able to rent other’s DVC points and some luck in reserving restaurants. I’ve been regularly refreshing the dining options on MDE and every now and then a new one will become available - it’s not always my first choice or the time slot I would like but it’s better than having to do fast service the whole time.

    I’m still looking for good insights on strategies to optimize the time at the parks and would love to hear what others have experienced or are thinking.
  • Skywalker3

    Jun 10, 2018
    We'll be there Thanksgiving week. We often go that time of year and also just returned from a few days over Columbus day weekend. I found parks quite busy. I'd still recommend rope drop. We've always done that. Now, it wasn't as effective to me at HS or Epcot. Epcot opened at 11, so all the sleepy heads had time to get there too. HS: we walked from BCV, and were in line around 8:35/8:40. they let you in a little bit after 9. Hubby and I went to Slinky dog, because we wanted to be in an open area to try for RotR BGs (and were successful sitting in TSL,) kids went to RnRC area, they chose it, as ToT had longer lines. We boarded SDD around 9:40, and were near beginning of the line. MMRR looked insane, we never got to ride it. Wait times for everything were VERY high all day, but got better in the evening, but that night nobody felt like heading back, and with closing at 7PM, didn't allow for much down time in the afternoon. What we plan to do for Thanksgiving (and we are at HS that day and Monday,) is hit rope drop again, ride a few things (ToT, and/or MFSR,) try for BG, and stay or not stay much after lunch depending on BG if we even get one, then plan to leave and head back later in the afternoon, maybe around 5.
    I found Epcot busy on the holiday weekend, We actually changed our second HS day to AK, and we didnt' quite make the rope drop we'd planned. >Rope drop to us means arriving at the park about an hour before opening, because they will let you in early. So we missed the best chance for Fop, but got in a few rides on EE, and Dinosaur, and one of the first safaris, so that was nice. We have 2 AK days at Thanksgiving, and 1 will be FoP early, other will probably be EE. VERY few people head to EE first thing. Also we had excellent viewing of the character boats at the old RoL theater. Ate early. I noticed AK wait times also decreased LATE in the afternoon, but waits by lunch time and early afternoon, are crazy.
    If we do opt to skip a few rope drops (hubby and I are programmed to go early, but kids do NOT want to,) we'll try and just head over to parks much later in the day..
    We didn't do MK, so not sure how that is.
    Oct weather was very hot and sunny, so that also helped us decide to leave in the afternoons, but Nov weather should be milder, not as hot, but still warm.


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