Walt Disney World Thanksgiving Day Parade

by Todd Bowerman

Though the fall is often considered an “off” season for Walt Disney World, the months between Thanksgiving and Christmas are still packed with family-friendly events and crowds of people. Disney World is open on Thanksgiving Day but does not offer any specific parade to mark the occasion. However, there are two daily Disney parades that occur on Thanksgiving Day, in addition to the wide range of other activities available to Thanksgiving visitors. If you are heading to Disney World on Thanksgiving, you should have no shortage of things to do.

Extra Magic Hours

All Disney theme parks offer what they call “Extra Magic Hours” during certain times of year. Extra Magic Hours allow guests staying at official Walt Disney World resorts more time to explore the park by extending the usual operating hours. Thanksgiving Day utilizes Extra Magic Hours by allowing visitors into the park one hour early. Traditional operating hours are 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., but with Extra Magic Hours, you can enter the park at 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving day. Check your Disney calendar if your trip spans multiple days, as Extra Magic Hours are on a day-to-day basis.

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade

The Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade features all of your favorite Disney characters. Mickey, Snow White, Aladdin, Goofy and a variety of others all march down Main Street, U.S.A. alongside floats and accompanied by familiar Disney songs. This parade happens every day; on Thanksgiving 2011, you can catch it at 3 p.m. It is best to start lining up early as the event is very popular and it may be hard for your kids to see through the crowd.

Main Street Electrical Parade

The Main Street Electrical Parade is the other daily parade down Main Street, U.S.A. and features colorful floats lined with thousands of LED lights. Tinker Bell leads the parade, and each float is inspired by a specific Disney story. Like the Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade, the Main Street Electrical Parade typically draws quite a crowd, and you should get there early to land a good viewing spot. This parade starts at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day in 2011.

Other Shows

While there are only two parades in the Magic Kingdom on Thanksgiving, you still have access to everything else the park offers. Catch the Dream-Along with Mickey live stage show featuring Cinderella, Peter Pan and Captain Hook, which is presented every 15 to 20 minutes throughout the day starting at 10:35 a.m., as of 2011. You will find it on the Castle Stage in Fantasy Land. At the end of the day, watch the Wishes Nighttime Spectacular fireworks show, which, according to Disney, is the largest fireworks show the park has ever seen. This show starts at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, as of 2011.

Photo Credits

  • Chris Hondros/Getty Images News/Getty Images