Orlando Sounds the Alarm, Warning Issued for Disney World Travelers

Disney World Thanksgiving travel
Credit: Disney

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, Orlando beckons visitors to Walt Disney World for a festive escape. However, the enchantment has practical challenges, particularly with the increased crowds and heightened activity during this peak season.

Many people plan their vacations to “The Most Magical Place on Earth” for times when children are out of school. This means holidays and summers are a volatile time when it comes to heading to Disney World. However, the Thanksgiving holiday week is even more notorious for having intense crowds and travelers.

orlando international airport sign

Credit: Orlando International Airport

Orlando International Airport Advisory

For travelers heading to Orlando, knowing that the Orlando International Airport (MCO) has issued an advisory is crucial. Over 2 million vacationers are expected to pass through the airport in the next 12 days, making it busier and more chaotic than usual. Travelers should plan accordingly, allowing extra time for security checks and potential delays.

Today members of our airport leadership team held a press conference to advise travelers of travel tips for the upcoming holiday season. The #Thanksgiving travel period kicks off tomorrow and we’re expecting over 2 million travelers passing through the next 12 days.

The projected numbers paint an even larger image of what to expect during the week. While Saturday, November 25, is expected to see the largest number of travelers, people are likely leaving Orlando and not coming to the city. Orlando International Airport expects around 186,688 travelers to pass through on this date.

Many vacationers will be entering Florida on Saturday, November 18, for the week to visit family or head to Walt Disney World Resort and the surrounding theme parks. However, it is vital to note that the number stays relatively consistent the entire week. There is no escaping it, regardless of the date. Even Thanksgiving Day is busy.

Disney World Thanksgiving Travel

Thanksgiving week transforms Disney World into a bustling hub, with crowds and long queues becoming the norm. Navigating through the parks requires strategic planning.

The park sees a significant influx of visitors, resulting in crowded parks, longer wait times for attractions, and increased overall activity. Patience and flexibility are crucial for an enjoyable experience.

walt disney world tickets on sale event mickeys very merry christmas party jollywood nights

Credit: Disney

Arriving early is key to beating the crowds, as the parks experience peak attendance during the day. Utilizing Extended Evening Theme Park Hours, available to Disney resort guests, provides exclusive access to certain attractions before regular opening hours.

The Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane system helps minimize wait times for popular rides if you are willing to pay for it.

Planning your itinerary in advance and securing ride reservations for must-see attractions can significantly enhance your experience at a Disney park. However, be advised that the popularity of this service may make it less of a perk, as many people will most likely be taking advantage of it during the week.

Advance Reservations and Special Events

With increased demand during Thanksgiving, advance reservations are essential, especially for dining experiences and character meals. Popular venues book quickly, so plan and secure reservations ahead of time. However, it may be too late when you head to Orlando.

Disney World decks its halls with festive decorations and offers special events for Thanksgiving. Be sure to check the schedule for parades, character meet-and-greets, and other holiday-specific activities. Specific experiences like Jollywood Nights or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party might also shut the parks down early.

Hollywood Studios Christmas Jollywood Studios

Credit: Disney

Consider exploring other attractions in the Orlando area to diversify your experience and potentially escape the peak crowds at Disney. Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando, and local events offer alternatives to the Disney magic. However, they will likely be busy as well.

Disney World Thanksgiving travel offers a unique experience, but preparation is key to navigating the crowds. Strategic planning, early arrivals, and utilizing available resources can help you maximize your visit.

Additionally, travelers should be mindful of the increased activity at Orlando International Airport and plan accordingly to ensure a smooth Disney vacation and happy turkey day.

About Michael Stoyanoff

Michael is a goofball with an entertainment background and a passion for writing. He has a long history of being a Disney fan and is still a lost boy at heart. In his free time, he enjoys running, playing video games, and traveling the world. He is also unnaturally obsessed with pugs and spends a lot of time with his dog Mr. Pippers the Pug.