As Halloween season comes to a close, it’s time to welcome November to Disney World!
This month brings a lot of exciting changes to the parks and resorts for Christmas and the holidays, plus popular events and offerings are returning. There’s a lot you need to know if you’re coming to Disney World this month, so let’s break it down!
The Holidays Are Here!
It’s November, and in Disney World, that means the kickoff of the holiday season! The celebrations officially start on November 12th, although some snacks will arrive earlier than that and the Very Merriest After Hours starts on the 8th (more on that in a minute). There’s going to be quite a bit of excitement to check out, and we can’t wait to share all of it!
The resorts will be fully decked out again this year, and the lifesize gingerbread displays are returning. Decorations will adorn the four theme parks and Sunset Seasons Greetings and the holiday Tree of Life Awakenings will both be lighting up the night sky. We’ll even be able to check out some festive flotillas and motorcades!
Very Merriest After Hours Begins
While Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party isn’t coming back this year, we WILL be able to experience the Very Merriest After Hours instead. This new holiday event runs on select nights from November 8th to December 21st after Magic Kingdom closes for the day. You’ll need a separate ticket to attend, but good news — only a few nights are sold out so far!
The event will offer special entertainment, including the return of Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks, the Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, and a brand-new stage show! You’ll also be able to check out special treats during your visit and enjoy low crowds and shorter wait times for many attractions. We’ll be there on opening night to share all of the fun!
Modified Character Meet & Greets Are Back
Even though we’ve already seen some come back, November marks the return of character meet and greets in a modified way! These new “character sightings” are available in many locations around the parks (like Town Square Theater and Princess Fairytale Hall) with fan-favorite friends like Cinderella, Rapunzel, Tiana, Elena, and of course, Mickey Mouse.
In November, we expect to see Minnie Mouse return to Red Carpet Dreams and Disney Junior characters back in Animation Courtyard. With the character sightings, guests can get some one-on-one time with their Disney pals, snapping socially-distanced selfies. Hugs and autographs aren’t back just yet, but it’s certainly exciting to see these characters back in their old meet and greet locations!
The Food & Wine Festival Ends
If you haven’t yet had the chance to complete your 2021 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival to-do list, then you’ll want to hurry — the festival ends on November 20th!
You still have time to check out the festival-exclusive entertainment, enjoy the more than 30 food booths, and try your hand at Remy’s Hide and Squeak Scavenger Hunt. Festival merchandise is still available as well at many gift shops around the park, so make sure to get in as many visits as possible in the next few weeks!
The Festival of the Holidays Starts
But don’t worry, another festival is coming soon after Food & Wine ends! The EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays starts on November 26th, the day after Thanksgiving. This (much shorter) festival runs until December 30th and kicks off the holiday season in EPCOT.
Throughout the festival, you’ll find food booths with holiday eats from around the world, special decorations for the season, and fan-favorite entertainment like the popular Candlelight Processional. You know that we’ll be there on opening day to try EVERYTHING and bring you our reviews of all the food booths, so make sure to stay tuned for that coverage!
runDisney is Returning!
Ever since the parks closed in March, runDisney races have all been held virtually, with participants running at home. But on November 4th-7th, the Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend is returning to Walt Disney World!
Registration for these races filled up months ago when it opened up in July, so expect some crowds during the race weekend at the parks. And on November 7th, the Wine & Dine Post-Race Party will be happening at EPCOT in the evening, so keep that in mind when formulating your park plans. For those who’ve been waiting to run in Disney World again, this is a very exciting event!
Some Things Are Under Refurbishment
If you’re heading to the parks this month, there are a couple of refurbishments that you should know about. The Walt Disney World Railroad has been closed since 2018 for Tron coaster construction in Magic Kingdom, and that closure will continue throughout the month of November.
Also, Kali River Rapids at Animal Kingdom will be temporarily unavailable for its annual refurbishment from November 1st through mid-December. No specific end date for this closure has been given yet, either.
Crowd Levels Will Fluctuate
And finally, let’s discuss crowd levels! November typically brings lower crowd levels at the beginning of the month, but those traveling during the week of Thanksgiving should prepare for some very busy parks.
You can likely expect higher than usual wait times and crowded walkways during the entire week of November 20th-28th. Some park passes for select days are already full, so you’ll want to go ahead and make those park reservations if you haven’t already. And if you’re concerned about waiting in long lines, you may want to consider investing in the new Genie+ system!
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Are you heading to Disney World in November? Let us know in the comments!