If you’re anything like us, you’re already thinking ahead to your next Walt Disney World vacation. If you’re planning to enjoy the parks during the holiday season, you might be wondering what it’s like to celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas in the World.
First of all: Lucky you! What a fun way to spend the holiday season — with so much to be thankful for in such a cool place!
As you can imagine, the crowds tend to swell at Disney during holiday weeks like Thanksgiving and Christmas as lots of Disney fans choose to celebrate their holidays in the parks. And Disney answers the call with tons of Thanksgiving spirit throughout many of their restaurants. In fact, most table service restaurants in the World will mark the holiday with special holiday menu items!
So whether you’re looking for a traditional meal, a gourmet twist on familiar favorites, or something that’s a complete departure from established customs, you’ll find lots of options for celebrating these special food days. Let’s check out a few of our favorites.
The Traditional: Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom
We all know it’s true. When you’re craving Thanksgiving dinner at Disney, there’s one spot you can always count on to deliver: Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square.
And we’re not just talking about on Thanksgiving Day or merely around Thanksgiving. You’ll find the traditional feast on the lunch and dinner menu, every day of the year.
If you’re stopping by for dinner, you’ll dine family style and all-you-care-to-enjoy. Start with a Declaration Salad — a guest favorite.
The centerpiece of the meal is the Patriot’s Platter, where you’ll find three meats — Roasted Turkey Breast, Pot Roast, and Oven-Roasted Pork. Nestled beneath the turkey is a generous helping of Herb Stuffing.
But that’s not all there is to this meal. Rolls with Butter plus Sides of Veggies (usually Green Beans), creamy Mac and Cheese, and Mashed Potatoes round out the offerings. And yes — there’s also plenty of Gravy!
And don’t fret if the Cranberry Sauce doesn’t come to the table automatically. It’s always available by request!
And you’ll get to enjoy one of our favorite desserts in the World: Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake!
But Lunch is a great time to dine at Liberty Tree Tavern if your group wants options — because it’s the best of both worlds! TG Traditional Types can now enjoy the all-you-care-to-enjoy Lunch Patriot’s Platter! It offers all the same items as dinner — including Declaration Salad, Meats, Sides, AND Dessert — but it’s scaled to the number of folks who are enjoying this option.
In addition to the Patriot’s Platter, there’s an a la carte menu as well, although it’s been reduced in size. Fan favorite New England Pot Roast is on the menu as the Our Tavern Keeper’s Favorite, and the Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake is also available for lunch!
Tradition on the Go: Earl of Sandwich in Disney Springs
A Walt Disney World vacation can be a busy time, and being there for a major holiday is no exception!
Sure, if you were celebrating at home, it would be all football watching, kitchen cleaning, and a hearty dose of friends and family fun. But when you’re at Disney, there’s an agenda to keep. So how about the holiday meal on the go? I thought you’d never ask!
Head to Earl of Sandwich…
…And get a load of THIS!
Make your way up to the counter and go for the Holiday Sandwich. This one has it all — Turkey, Cornbread Stuffing, Turkey Gravy, Cranberry Sauce and Mayonnaise. And best of all, you won’t be waiting around for your Thanksgiving Feast. It will be ready in moments, and you can even eat it on the go!
Now if they could just figure out how to get the Sweet Potatoes into the mix, it’d be just about perfect!
International Flair: Biergarten Restaurant in Epcot’s Germany Pavilion
Maybe you love the idea of a bountiful spread, but you’d like a little continental flair to go with it. We think that the Biergarten Restaurant in Epcot’s German Pavilion is a great option for a holiday meal. After all, it’s the celebration of another amazing food festival — Oktoberfest!
Step into Biergarten and you’re transported to Munich. A jolly town square is the setting for the entertainment.
Before things really get underway, there’s business to attend to. First and foremost, you’ve gotta tap that keg!
The band and performers have been around forever, and they’re incredibly talented. You’ll enjoy traditional music, and if the notion strikes, feel free to get up and utilize that big ol’ dance floor down front!
Service here is buffet-style, and you’ll help yourself to a practically endless array of hearty Roasts, Meats, and Sausages. To go alongside, look for traditional German favorites like Spätzle, Braised Red Cabbage, and Roasted Potatoes.
And whatever you do, don’t forget the Beer!
Black Forest Cake and Rote Grutze, or Fruit Compote served with a Vanilla Sauce, are some of our favorite desserts. And you can’t go wrong with Apple Strudel.
It may not be your traditional Turkey and Dressing, but I promise the sheer volume of rich food will take you to the same Happy Place.
Turkey and Mistletoe at Hollywood & Vine: Minnie’s Holiday Dine Dinner in Disney’s Hollywood Studios
I have a lot of friends who are perfectly fine with the fact that Thanksgiving has been sorta kinda swallowed up by Christmas and the winter holidays. Well, guess what? If you’re firmly in that camp, then Hollywood & Vine is the place for you!
That’s because beginning in early November (the 9th, this year!), the restaurant will host Minnie’s Holiday Dine Dinner each evening.
The festive event features lots of up close and personal face time with THIS gal, plus her famous boyfriend. 😉
Other pals, like Santa Goofy, Donald, and Daisy — all decked out in their holiday finest — are on hand to make your dining experience extra special.
While there’s no telling what delights that Minnie has in store for her special guests this year, we can tell you that the spread was extra special the last time we enjoyed Holiday and Dine. With seasonal favorites like Cranberry Butter, Cornbread Stuffing, Sweet Potato Casserole, and this enormous Ham with Cherry Port Glaze, you can’t go wrong.
Ha! Don’t you love this cake? It’s just for display, but there are plenty of goodies to end your meal.
Even if you can’t have half of a giant Mickey Cake, there’s always Hollywood and Dine’s famous Chocolate Fountain…
Can you resist?? I cannot.
Old World Meets New: Raglan Road in Disney Springs
We always enjoy a visit to Raglan Road. The authentic Irish Pub continues to offer a fresh, modern take on Irish food and drink. Whether you’re in the mood for classic dishes like Fish and Chips (try their amazing Gluten Free version too!) and a pint of Guinness, or you fancy something new from their ever-changing seasonal menu, you’re in for a treat.
And with incredible entertainment, including the recent debut of their new show, Rhythms of Raglan, the restaurant also represents incredible value.
But did you know that they also offer special menus for Thanksgiving and Christmas?
We’ve had the stuffing, and it’s fantastic.
Do. Not. Miss. It.
A Fun Departure: Splitsville Luxury Lanes in Disney Springs
We get it. We totally understand that there are some of you out there who’d like to say, “Hey. Holiday. I’m just not that into you.”
Or if you’re like a lot of Americans, you may love to hit the lanes after that big giant dinner! Then consider Splitsville Luxury Lanes at Disney Springs.
Sure, you’re already at Disney, and that’s pretty special. But I promise you, those parks are going to get busy, and FAST. An afternoon of bowling may just be the tradition that you and your family have been looking for!
Take a look at Splitsville’s vast and varied menu, and you’ll see something that will please every palate. From Sushi to Salads, from Pizza to Chicken Parm — you’ll find a little bit of everything here.
And guests who are looking for Gluten Free dining will appreciate menu offerings — including Pizza and Cupcakes — that are just for them!
Holidays, Florida Style: Mickey’s Backyard BBQ at Disney’s Ft. Wilderness Campground
offers a fun and relaxed version of the holiday meal.
Getting to this combo Character Dining and Dinner Show will take you some time, as it takes place at the far (read: back) end of Ft. Wilderness, which is opposite of where you park. Plan extra time to get there if you’re taking your car, or do what I do — catch a boat from Magic Kingdom, the Contemporary Resort, or Wilderness Lodge.
But once you’re there, hold onto your hats! Because you’re in for a great time, as performers entertain you with plenty of music, dancing, rope tricks, and general cowboy merriment. Characters interact with guests before, during, and after the show, signing autographs and posing for pics.
The entire event — both meal and show — take place in a covered, outdoor pavilion.
For Thanksgiving, expect the buffet to include all of the traditional favorites — Sliced Turkey, Ham, Cornbread Dressing, Candied Yams, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Cranberries, and lots of Veggies. Soup, Salad, and Cornbread round out the meal.
And don’t forget the Pumpkin Pie! We sure won’t! 😀 Final note: Mickey’s Backyard BBQ is not bookable past the end of 2018, so this very well might be the last opportunity guests will have to enjoy the holidays here!
The Upscale Version: California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
If you’re looking for your Holiday Dinner with the refinement of a signature dining option, then consider our final recommendation, California Grill.
California Grill is one of our favorite Disney restaurants in terms of atmosphere; you just can’t beat the sweeping panoramic views from high atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
And if you time your advance dining reservation just right, your holiday meal will come with a side of spectacular fireworks. (If you can’t get that coveted time slot, no worries; you’ll still be able to come back and watch the fireworks later in the evening.)
No doubt that if you book your table for Thanksgiving or Christmas at California Grill, you’ll still experience the traditional favorites. But we’re confident that the crack culinary team will also have a few tricks up their sleeves to make this a memorable meal.
Disney Springs-Style: A Little Bit of Everything!
If you want to avoid the parks on the busy holidays but you’re still jonesing for some Disney spirit, the many restaurants and kiosks of Disney Springs may be just right for you! Aside from the tasty options we mentioned above, you can also grab tons of seasonal eats at just about every spot in the Springs!
Even sweet shops like The Ganachery produce fall-flavors-inspired treats, like these Apple-Cinnamon Ganache chocolates!
Of course, if it’s not Thanksgiving without a pumpkin-filled dessert, Sprinkles Cupcakes might very well fit the bill! Last year they had these lovely Pumpkin Cupcakes!
The list of Thanksgiving-ready eats and drinks abound at Disney Springs — and there’s something for everyone!
So there you have it — Disney Food Blog’s recommendations for Thanksgiving and Christmas Dining at Walt Disney World! If you don’t already have your advance dining reservation, you may find it difficult to secure a table this late in the game at some of the spots. Nevertheless, try calling 407-WDW-DINE, and hopefully they can hook you up.
And if you don’t have success… Well — there are always Jumbo Turkey Legs! 😀
Pin it for later!
But now I’d really love to hear from you! Would you like to be in Walt Disney World this year for Thanksgiving Dinner? Leave a comment and let us know which spot gets your top vote!