Disney World in November 2020: Tips on Holiday Magic, Weather, and Crowds

Disney World in November kicks off the holiday season including festive decor, holiday treats, and characters dressed in their Christmas best. But not just Magic Kingdom gets into the holiday spirit, you will see holiday magic inside each theme park at Disney World beginning in November.

Everyone has personal preferences to consider when planning the date of their Walt Disney World trip- each season will have its pros and cons and guests' choices will vary based on those. Make sure to read our Walt Disney World crowd calendar to get an idea of what to expect when picking a date to visit Walt Disney World.

Keep reading for everything you need to know about visiting Disney World in November including current events, what weather to expect, crowd level predictions, and what to pack!

Disney World Events in NovemberChristmas decor in front of epcot

Here are all the current events to know about impacting Disney World in November!

Thanksgiving at Disney World

There are a variety of restaurants in Disney World that offer a traditional Thanksgiving meal for you to choose from. Enjoying Thanksgiving dinner at Disney World is a popular way to celebrate so make sure to book your reservation ASAP so you don't miss out!

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival 

One of the most popular Epcot festivals, the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, runs until November 23rd so you can expect to see some higher crowds at Epcot during this time. You can read all about this delicious festival in our guide on Mickey Visit. You can expect to see a large variety of wine, international foods, concerts, culinary demonstrations, and other special themed events.

Holiday Events & Celebrations at Disney World

The holiday season officially begins on November 6th and runs until December 30th at the Walt Disney World Resort. This year will look different as Disney gets creative in bringing holiday magic to the theme parks while also maintaining health and safety standards.  Read our full guide to celebrating the holidays at Disney World to find out everything about how each park celebrates, meet and greets, special events, food, and more.

The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays

The festival is a celebration of international holiday traditions from around the world. This festival experience includes an International Yuletide Extravaganza: featuring 11 holiday traditions of the 11 World Showcase nations, seasonal food from around the world, and holiday music from select singers/live bands. The festival starts this year on November 27th.

Reservations Required- Park Pass System

Advance reservations for park admission is required for Walt Disney World upon reopening as Disney navigates limited capacity restrictions to ensure a safe environment for guests and cast members.

How to Make a Reservation 

  1. Link your park tickets/admission to your Disney account. You will need valid park admission to make a reservation.
  2. Create your party. Before you make a reservation, you'll be prompted to create a party from your Family & Friends list on your account. This ensures your group has the same reservations for your trip.
  3. Select a date and park. Choose the date and time you'd like to visit from the available reservations.
  4. Review and confirm your plans. You will also be prompted to agree to a COVID-19 liability waiver.

Important Details for Making Reservations

Everything looks a bit different right now for visiting Disney World so it's important to be aware of these new policies for the reservation system and the state of the parks when they open.

  • Reservations are limited and subject to availability and are not guaranteed until a reservation is finalized.
  • At this time, Guests will be able to select one park per day; visiting more than one park per day will be temporarily unavailable upon the reopening of the theme parks due to attendance limitations.
    • Guests with existing tickets that include the Park Hopper Option or Park Hopper Plus Option have options available to them for ticket modifications and cancellations.
  • A park reservation must be made for each day of entry. If you have a multi-day ticket, you will be required to make a park reservation for each date of your visit.
  • It is highly recommend that you make your park reservation as soon as you complete your ticket purchase, as availability can change until the reservation is finalized.

You can read more about how to make a reservation in our opening guide. You will NOT be able to enter the park without a theme park reservation.

New Safety Policies

It's crucial to be aware of the new health policies in place from required face coverings for guests to reduced capacity measures. Here are some highlights of the new policies to help you prepare:

  • Certain Experiences Temporarily Suspended: Experiences that draw large group gatherings– such as parades and nighttime spectaculars – will return at a later date. In addition, “high-touch” experiences such as makeover opportunities, playgrounds and character meet and greets will remain temporarily unavailable. Characters are still in the parks to greet guests from a distance.
  • Reduced capacity: Walt Disney World has reduced guest capacity and an advanced reservation system in place to manage attendance. All guests are required to obtain a reservation for park entry in advance.
  • Screening and prevention support: Guests 2 years of age and older and cast members are required to wear appropriate face coverings in theme parks and common areas of resort hotels. All guests and cast members will also undergo temperature screenings prior to entering a theme park.
  • Physical distancing: Managing guest density in queues, restaurants, hotels, ride vehicles and other facilities throughout the park and across the resort.
  • Mask Relief Areas: There are designated ‘guest relaxation' areas for guests to safely remove their masks and get a break from wearing them throughout the park.
  • Reduced Operating Hours: Disney World has currently been operating with reduced hours with most of the parks closing prior to 7PM.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom-Returning in 2021

The tickets range in price from $109 to $139 depending on the date you select. We recommend buying them in advance as tickets do tend to sell out. Admission into the party includes special themed entertainment options like a Christmas parade, holiday fireworks, lower wait times for key attractions, seasonal food options, and more.

It's important to note that if you do not have a ticket to the party you will have to leave once the party starts! Make sure that you have a park hopper ticket so you are not left without somewhere else to go. If you plan on attending on one of the party nights then I recommend arriving as early as Disney World will let you in the park so you can get full access from your party ticket to the Magic Kingdom. Make sure to read our full guide to the Christmas party to find out all the details about this special event.

Epcot Candlelight Processional- Returning in 2021

The Epcot Candlelight Processional tells the biblical story of Christmas typically told by a celebrity narrator and accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra and massed choir.

“Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” and Sunset Greetings at Hollywood Studios- Returning in 2021

“Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” is a nighttime spectacular holiday show featuring festive music, special effects, celebrity stars, and Disney entertainment centering around the theme of Santa going missing.

Sunset Greetings is a holiday themed laser projection show that takes place on the Hollywood Tower. After dark, the billboards transform into real life characters and tell a holiday story. The characters include: Mickey and Minnie, Toy Story characters, The Muppets, and Olaf.

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Disney World in November Crowd CalendarFireworks at Walt Disney World

Since Disney World is managing all theme park capacity with an advance reservation system, you don't have to worry about crowds this holiday season. All of our well speculated crowd predictions have flown out the window with the current situation the world is dealing with right now. However, the crowds do tend to behave in a predictable manner at so far at Disney World we've seen that the first hour of the morning proves to show higher risk for bottlenecks in certain park areas and that Hollywood Studios remains the most popular since it holds all the newest attractions.

  1. Arrive later- this normally goes against all our Disney park advice but we're living in unusual times! There's no need to arrive early and rope drop with such limited crowd levels. If you show up at hour after the parks open you can miss getting caught up in early morning bottlenecks as guests first arrive. This is definitely personal preference though, with shorter hours guests might not be as keen to arrive later or waste any park time. But if you want to avoid people the best you can, skipping the first hour is best.
  2. Stay until closing- since many guests seem to be arriving right when the gates open, they end up leaving 1-2 hours before the parks officially close since wait times are so low you can get everything done before the end of the day quite easily. This is when you will see the absolute lowest wait times for rides that may be pushing that 30+ minute plus range which seems to only be an issue in Hollywood Studios.
  3. Be prepared for Hollywood Studios- since Disney's Hollywood Studios has Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, Toy Story Land, and the newly opened Mickey's Runaway Railway attraction it is by far the theme park that feels the most crowded at the moment. The reason lies not in larger attendance than the other parks but smaller walkways and fewer hit attractions (plus lack of entertainment) to evenly disperse guests. Consider arriving later in the day and staying until close for this theme park.
  4. Avoid weekends- weekends so far have been the days that feel more crowded so if you can avoid them on your trip then do so. Keep in mind that the crowds truly won't be returning, not in the way we're used to, but Disney World has increased guest capacity a little bit at at time.

Disney World's hours for November are :

  • Magic Kingdom: 9AM to 6PM
  • EPCOT: 11AM to 7PM
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 10AM to 7PM
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom: 9AM to 5PM

For a typical November crowd predication, keep reading below to help you plan for the 2021 year

The good news is that the crowds really don't kick off until Thanksgiving week and into December. If you can avoid Thanksgiving week, you will avoid a big crush of crowds. Thanksgiving week is one of the busiest weeks of the year at Disney World. The moderate crowds combined with the mild weather makes November a great time to visit Disney World.

Guests visiting the Magic Kingdom in November will have to be aware of Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. If you don't have a party ticket, you will be asked to leave the park around 5pm on party days. It's important to plan ahead for those dates so you have a plan in place for once the party starts. In the past the first start of the day before the Christmas party is actually low in crowd levels as many party goers don't enter the parks until later in the day when their Christmas party ticket allows saving them the cost of a full day ticket. It can actually be a wise decision to start off the day early at the park hosting the Christmas party to beat some of those crowds.

Disney World Weather in NovemberSunset Seasons Greetings

The weather at Disney World in November is fairly warm and dry making it a great time of the year to visit. The average high for Orlando in November is 78 degrees with the average low being 59 degrees.

Chances of rain in November are the lowest you typically see all year with only an average three days of rain in the month. For guests that love Disney World but are not a big fan of the rain, this makes November a great time to visit.

Tips for Visiting Disney World in NovemberMickey in a pilgrim outfit posing next to turkeys

When it comes to visiting Disney World in November, we have some tried and true hacks for having a magical time on your vacation.

What to Wear 

One of the most frequently asked guest questions is: what should I wear to Disney World? Always check the weather leading up to your trip. The good news about visiting Disney World in November is that the chance of rainfall is greatly reduced making it less necessary to wear a rain poncho daily to the parks. We still recommend bringing one because you just never know! I recommend dressing in layers and come prepared for some chilly mornings. Once the sun goes down, the evenings will feel chilly (especially when you factor in humidity) so bring some lightweight hoodies or jackets. You can always rent a locker to store jackets in during the day and go back to grab them once the day cools down.

What to Pack 

Even though the average high temperatures start dropping this time of the year, the temperatures can still be pretty warm especially if you're not used to hot climates and humidity. Because the weather can vary so much day by day, check the weather each day leading up to your trip. Come prepared based on what the forecast says. Dress in layers so you're prepared for sunny afternoons and chilly nights.

Always bring the hot weather necessities like sunscreen, portable fans, cooling towels, and other items all aimed at keeping you cool on hot days. If you find yourself wanting one of these while you're there, you'll end up paying a high price in the parks or at your hotel.

You can read our giant packing list here to make sure you show up prepared for literally anything you need while you're visiting Disney World.

What to Expect

There are a few things you should expect when choosing November as your month to visit Disney World:

  • Rise of Resistance- there is a virtual queue in use for the popular Rise of Resistance attraction in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge where guests will have three chances throughout the day to secure a Boarding Group to ride. This ride is more popular than ever so be prepared so you don't miss out.
  • New safety policies- temperature checks upon entry, face coverings required, social distancing in line queues, reduced dining capacity, and modified character experiences are all changes you can expect on your visit. You can read in full detail all about the new reopening safety procedures in our guide.
  • Know the Christmas Party Dates(Cancelled for 2020)- being prepared for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is essential for guests looking to visit Magic Kingdom. You should plan on park hopper tickets so you can hop over to the other theme parks when the party starts if you don't have a ticket. If you plan on attending, we recommend not buying a park ticket that day as your party ticket will allow you into the party! Party days tend to reduce crowds in the mornings before the party starts so we also recommend taking advantage of those mornings to ride those popular rides.
  • Prepare for Possible Construction- at the recent D23 Expo, Disney Parks announced a huge project to completely reorganize and add to Epcot in preparation Disney World's 50th Anniversary in 2021.
  • Holiday Tips and Tricks- there is so much to see and do between the four theme parks for the holiday celebrations at Disney World. I recommend looking through our extensive Disney World Christmas guide to plan out what you want to see the most and make any applicable dining reservations for must do experiences.
  • Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Tips- some experiences at this festival require advanced reservations so be prepared to schedule some activities in advance that you may be interested. Read our full guide to Epcot International Food & Wine Festival to prepare yourself for what to expect and how to make any reservations.

But most of all, remember to enjoy your time at the most magical place on earth!

Plan Your Disney World Vacation!

Keep reading our blog to keep you updated on everything you need to know to prepare for a Disney Parks vacation! We have a team of writers working hard to keep you updated weekly on events in the parks and tips for navigating the magic. Subscribe to our free deals newsletter to receive helpful planning information, exclusive Disney deals, and access to the lowest priced Disney tickets anywhere. You can find more information on planning your vacation here:

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