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The Disneyland Resort in November: Thanks & Happiness

It’s no secret that we have a strong love for the magic of Disney. In fact, between my writing gigs in travel, parenting and entertainment, not to mention social good and blatant fandom, I’ve penned several hundred articles about the company and the happiness therein. It’s a living.

That being the case, I often find myself trying to think of the things I’ve missed; after all, Disney is built upon attention to detail, so why shouldn’t my coverage be the same? Then, standing in the middle of the Disneyland Resort Esplanade (the big square between Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park, respectively), our feet around our brick like we always do, it hit me: I’ve been writing about Halloween and Christmas at Disneyland for years, but what about that sweet spot in November between the candy coats of corn and cane? What about Thanksgiving?

Last year, we used our Disney Vacation Club membership to spend Thanksgiving at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawai’i, and it was amazing (you probably could have guessed that). We would love to do it again, and perhaps someday we will, but Hawai’i ain’t cheap, y’all.

However, the Disneyland Resort is a whole lot closer, especially since we were, you know, already there, and the seasons were swirling with ghouls that scare and gifts that care, as seasons are prone to do. At the Disneyland Resort, the Halloween season generally has a hard out on October 31, and the winter holidays officially kick-off on November 10, but somewhere in that Venn mouse-eared diagram there is a lovely visit to the parks, with a little of everything lingering in the air.

November Disney

I think our favorite thing about November at Disneyland Resort is that the parks are relatively quieter, crowd-wise, than they are in October and December (although the actual week of Thanksgiving is pretty packed), but you still have access to themed foods, merchandise and the awesome Nightmare Before Christmas takeover of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion.

Basically, it’s the best of both worlds (like the aforementioned Nightmare Before Christmas) in that you get to see the fading of one holiday into the next, without losing the magic of either. Each visit becomes a montage of calendars flipping and something close to weather. The nights come faster, the lights shine brighter, and the magic of the moment is crisp and festive.

And, as you know, it’s not like November is holiday-less in all of this. Thanksgiving Day at the Disneyland Resort is the real deal. Whether you’re interested in the traditional splendor of the Disneyland Hotel’s ballroom feast or one of the several dining options in the parks, there are numerous ways to celebrate with your friends and family (note, some dining options require reservations). What could be more magical than giving thanks at the happiest place on Earth?

Honestly, there’s no such thing as a bad time to visit Disneyland Resort with your family, but if you like to put a scarf on it, then November is for you.


I received two 1-Day Hopper Passes (Press) from the Disneyland Resort on this visit. We paid for everything else (technically we’re still paying for it, but it was worth it!).


Whit Honea is the author of “The Parents’ Phrase Book” and co-founder of the philanthropic organization Dads 4 Change. He is the Social Media Director/Community Manager of the Dad 2.0 Summit. His writing can be found at Fandango, GeekDad, Disney, Today, Good Housekeeping, City Dads Group, Stand Magazine, The Washington Post and several other popular publications. He previously covered travel for Orbitz, CBS and AOL, and served as Editor of Family Travel for UpTake. Deemed “the activist dad” by UpWorthy and one of the “funniest dads on Twitter” by Mashable, Whit has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and is the 2015 winner of the Iris Award for Best Writing.

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