How To Celebrate Thanksgiving at Disneyland
If you’re going to be spending the Thanksgiving Holiday at Disneyland you’ll probably want to know where you can get a good Thanksgiving meal. I’m creating a short list of the best places to find that warm turkey dinner while you’re at the park. Some places require advanced reservations so always make sure a check ahead of time if you’ll be dining at one of these. Disney offers experiences from fine-dining down to quick-service during the holiday seasons.
It may not surprise you that Disney actually “skips” over celebrating Thanksgiving when it comes to dressing up the parks and bring out the decorations. That’s because they go straight from Halloween to the Holidays which is fine with me since the Holidays are my favorite time of year at the parks.
So while you’re celebrating Thanksgiving at Disneyland you’ll also be celebrating the Holidays including wreaths, garlands, giant Christmas trees, lights, parades, food and more. Of course there are several places that offer Thanksgiving dinner at Disneyland which I’ve outlined below. They are great options!
Also be sure to checkout the deals for Disneyland during Thanksgiving including tickets and packages.
Disneyland Hotel Ballroom
I’ll start with the biggest and the most delicious, the Disneyland Hotel. This is easily the best of the best when it comes to Thanksgiving meals at the park, it’s also the first to fill up so you’ll want to make reservations as soon as you can, they open 60 days in advance. Don’t be afraid to inquire about cancellations, they happen all the time! The first meal of this enormous buffet is from 11:00am to 2:00pm then 4:00pm to 7:00pm and serves carved roast turkey, homemade stuffing, sweet potato soufflé (my personal favorite), cranberry-orange relish and more! Dessert includes pumpkin pie and a make your own sundae bar which my kids could not get enough of! They had a hard enough time eating with all the Disney characters roaming around but it made for some great pictures and even greater memories! Adults $180 and $70 for Kids (ages 3-9). The price includes one specialty drink or cocktail and a family PhotoPass.
I’ll be honest, the only time I really went to Steakhouse 55 was to get a slice of their amazing 24-layer cake! Though they no longer serve the cake, I know that they also have really good food and that they serve a holiday meal so I’m adding it to the list. For those of you who have never been, Steakhouse 55 is located in the Disneyland Hotel and is known for their delicious steaks and desserts. Their Thanksgiving meal is only served on November 28th and comes under the Chef’s Tasting Menu which includes: Butternut Squash Tortellini, Roasted Turkey Wellington, and Pumpkin Brulee. No reservation required but I would call at least a few days in advance and see how busy they’ll be. Three-course dinner for $75 per person or add a wine-pairing for an extra $35.
For a more relaxed atmosphere head over to Goofy’s Kitchen (also located in the Disneyland Hotel) and check out their Thanksgiving buffet! Between the 5 large stations you’ve got all your bases covered, carved meat, fresh fish, salads, pizza, dessert and more. For the holiday they add turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and seasonal desserts. I personally haven’t been here during the Thanksgiving holiday but I’ve heard good things not only about the food but that it’s a fun place for the kids to relax and enjoy their meal while Disney characters help them out! Adults are $49 and Kids are $29.
My personal favorite, the Blue Bayou always has something good to offer with of course the most incredible atmosphere anywhere in the park! You’ll definitely want to call and make reservations as soon as possible! Remember to ask for a table near the water’s edge for that added feeling of serenity and an up-close look at the Pirates ride. Their Thanksgiving meal is offered on November 28th for both lunch and dinner. They’ll be serving Oven-roasted turkey with home-style gravy, pineapple glazed ham, Yukon gold mashed potatoes, green beans, andouille sausage stuffing and cranberry sauce! For dessert they have a pumpkin crème brulee! They also offer a kids turkey dinner. We always enjoy eating at the Blue Bayou especially during the holiday season, it gives us a chance to try something that’s not normally on their menu.
If you’re not looking for a fancy sit-down restaurant for Thanksgiving at Disneyland or you just want to save a few dollars, stop by Café Orleans! This year they’re doing a fun take on one of my favorite sandwiches, the Monte Cristo. They serve the Monte Cristo throughout the year but for Thanksgiving they make a few changes. This year they’re serving a Turkey and Cheese Monte Cristo with Cranberry sauce and Home-style gravy! Instead of the berry puree it normally comes with it has an amazing cranberry sauce to dip into! There’s also a kids version of the Monte Cristo and at the end everyone will enjoy a slice of Pumpkin Pie for dessert! If you don’t want to stick to the holiday meal try something off their regular menu, it’s full of delicious items. Available November 28th.
The restaurant is home to some of the best fine-dining and for Thanksgiving they’re sparing no expense! Award-winning Chef Andrew Sutton has created a four-course prix fixe dinner with optional wine pairing. Kids are welcome to come and enjoy a menu just for them. First seating times are at 4:00pm, 4:30pm, 5:00pm and 5:30pm. Second seating times are 6:00pm, 6:30pm, 7:00pm, and 7:30pm. Cost is $125 per Adult with an added $55 for Wine Pairing. Children are $25. Beverages, taxes, and gratuities not included.
If you’re not in the mood for very fine upscale dining, stop by the Storyteller’s Café where they’ll be adding seasonal tastes to their buffet. Kids will have a fun time celebrating with the Disney Characters. Make sure and get there early before the characters take off for dinner! I’ve never been a huge fan of Storyteller’s Café, I never saw how the experience justified the price but during Thanksgiving it is totally worth the money. My kids had an amazing experience and got plenty of photos with the characters. Adults are $49 and Kids are $29.
Located in the heart of Main Street, USA the Carnation Café has some prime covered seating that everyone wants to get their hands on! The restaurant boasts an American style theme throughout the year so it’s a simple addition for the Thanksgiving at Disneyland holiday. Lunch and dinner delivers oven-roasted turkey with bourbon-gravy, cornbread stuffing and pumpkin pie! I’ve found the best time to go is right as it starts getting dark outside. The lights on Main Street start to turn on and the view becomes incredible! You may also be able to catch a parade if you time it right. No reservations needed.
If you happen to be in Disney’s California Adventure and are looking for a great Thanksgiving meal stop by Carthay Circle where Hollywood’s elite use to dine! I’m a big fan of Chef Andrew Stanton so this is one of my favorite go to places especially during the holidays. For Thanksgiving they offer a grilled Sierra Hills turkey with creamed corn, turkey chorizo and cranberry fritters! Instead of regular pumpkin pie they have an incredible spiced pumpkin bar complete with dulce de leche crème anglaise and cranberry compote. This is the first place I try and get reservations to because the food is always so amazing! It’s not the most kid friendly of all the options but you can always grab a quick service for them.
If you can’t make it to any of the listed restaurants I highly recommend grabbing a nice warm turkey leg and sitting down in one of your favorite spots in the park and enjoy! Turkey legs have become so popular that Disney sells over 2 million every year! You can’t go wrong with a turkey leg or a fine-dining experience, as long as you’re in the parks for the holiday season you’re sure to have a memorable experience! Remember to make those reservations as soon as you can and if they’re all filled up keeping checking for cancellations. Thanksgiving is on November 28th so most holiday themed meals will be available that day.
Dean has been writing and blogging for over 10 years. He specializes in Disney theme park news including updates, openings, special events and general advice for travelers. He doesn’t shy away from the good, the bad and the ugly. His previous work includes being a Cast Member at Disneyland and working as a travel agent.