Our guide to November 2023 at Walt Disney World features a free crowd calendar, tips for when to visit & avoid, weather, new attraction openings & closures, Thanksgiving & Christmas info, and more. We also cover what’s happening at Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios.
In general, the first half of November will be a continuation of what’s described in our Guide to October 2023 at Walt Disney World. Crowds will remain elevated across the board as Halloween transitions to Christmas. However, attendance won’t be as high as Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Nevertheless, November is a good month to visit Walt Disney World due to mild weather, moderate crowds much of the month, and the start of the holiday season! There’s a ton going on at Walt Disney World in November, with festivals at Epcot, Christmas offerings in the other three parks, Disney Springs, resort hotels, and more.
We’re big fans of Walt Disney World in November. It used to be when we took our annual Christmas trip to WDW, and this is reflected in its ranking on our 2023 Best & Worst Months to Visit Walt Disney World. November isn’t just one of the best months to visit–it has our favorite week of the year, too!
With that said, one thing we do want to note up front is that although we love November, it has gotten increasingly busy in the last several years. It’s a subjectively great time to visit, but there are few–if any–truly “low” crowd level days. However, it’s still possible to beat the crowds by utilizing Genie+ and Lightning Lanes, Early Entry, Extended Evening Hours, and other savvy strategy. We cover the best & worst approach for each park in Best Time-Saving Strategies for Walt Disney World.
Beyond that, we recommend utilizing our 1-Day Disney Park Itineraries & Touring Plans to make the most of your Christmas-time experience at Walt Disney World. These will help you avoid the crowds, but more importantly, save you time waiting in line (since crowds and wait times are not the same). Truth be told, using sound strategy almost always beats choosing the “best” days to visit!
Let’s take a look at what else is going on at Walt Disney World in November, and how you can make the most of your November visit…
November Weather at Disney World
Weather at Walt Disney World in November is unpredictable. On paper, if you just go by historical averages, November is a great month to visit. In reality, the weather you experience likely won’t be a historical average, and packing can be tricky because you might experience weather in the high 80s or you might experience a cold front with frosty mornings.
Because of the potential for cold weather, one water park always closes for the season before November. We recommend packing for a wide range of weather conditions and paying close attention to the extended forecast before your trip. Read our Ultimate Disney Packing Guide & Checklist for clever things to bring year-round, and our Packing for Winter at Walt Disney World for specific cold-weather recommendations.
I still “fondly” remember our late-November/early-December trip a few years ago when I packed all shorts and polos and we unexpectedly had lows in the 30s and highs in the 50s. Purchasing new outfits from The Emporium is neither fun nor cheap! More likely than not, you’ll have pleasant weather, but let that serve as a cautionary tale.
With that out of the way, let’s cover what’s happening at Walt Disney World in November 2023…
November Events at Disney World
Walt Disney World has a lot of special events, but none compare to the Christmas season. November and December are the best two months of the year from an entertainment, atmosphere, and special offerings perspective. See our Ultimate Guide to Christmas at Walt Disney World.
The bigger deal this year is the return of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP). This hard ticket event has a ton of dates in November. This also begins before the official start of the holiday season, with the first MVMCP likely to occur on November 6, 2023.
Magic Kingdom opens and closes earlier on Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party days. As discussed below, this causes roller coaster crowd conditions in the park that might seem counterintuitive. One of the best things you can do when planning is working around those events, as that’ll save you more time than anything else.
Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival runs through mid-November, so you’re in luck if you’re visiting during the first few weeks of the month. Just keep in mind that the cost of grazing around kiosks adds up quickly. Read our Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival Guide for booth menus & reviews, plus what we recommend eating (and what we recommend skipping).
Although Thanksgiving occurs in November, Christmas is the star of the show. Be sure to consult our Tips for Thanksgiving at Walt Disney World post for dining recommendations and more you should know if you’re visiting for that holiday.
Almost as soon as Food & Wine ends, the park transitions over to the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays, which runs through December 31. This features seasonal foods and other entertainment. It’s like a scaled back version of Food & Wine, with a seasonal twist.
In addition to this, there are a few events on the ESPN Wide World of Sports November Calendar, but these are the types of youth events that only really are a draw for parents with kids participating in them. In other words, if you don’t already know about these events, they probably won’t be a draw for you.
November 2023 REFURBISHMENTS & NEW ATTRACTIONS
In terms of attractions, consult our Walt Disney World Refurbishment Schedule to see what’s planned for November. That might be a bit deceptive, as there’s a lot of ongoing construction throughout Walt Disney World, and will be for the next several years.
The construction project that will have the most noticeable impact on the guest experience is the massive reimagining at the front of Epcot. This is starting to look better, but the front of the park is still a sea of construction walls with a giant dirt pit in the middle. On the plus side, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Space 220 Restaurant, Creations Shop, Club Cool, Connections Cafe, and Harmonious all already having debuted in the last year.
Walt Disney World’s blockbuster addition last year was Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. It’s unclear whether it’ll have its Cosmic Rewind Holiday Remix overlay again for Christmas 2023. That wasn’t very good, and we won’t be disappointed if it was a one and done.
Another alternative is buying line-skipping access via the Individual Lightning Lanes. Those posts explain each option, their pros & cons, and everything else you need to know. Suffice to say, do not just show up to EPCOT expecting to join the standby line–as there isn’t one.
Then there’s the next big addition to Walt Disney World: TRON Lightcycle Run. Walt Disney World has already revealed that this will debut in Spring 2023, which means it’ll be several months old by November 2023. Our expectation at this point is that the ride will open in March 2023, and if so, it might even drop its virtual queue by the holiday season.
Beyond that, there are several attractions that have not yet opened and likely won’t until later in Fall 2023. This includes Moana’s Journey of Water at Epcot, which is likely to open in the second half of the year according to Disney. (Judging by the current pace of work and the fact that it’s a water walk-through, it debuting in late summer is possible.) Other smaller scale additions are likely later in 2023. We expect all of these to be open by Thanksgiving at the latest.
November 2023 Crowd Calendar for Disney World
There’s no color-coded November crowd calendar for Walt Disney World at the top of this section because it wouldn’t tell the full story of attendance trends–and individual days are almost impossible to predict right now. If you spend the ~5 minutes reading this section from beginning to end, you’ll be far better prepared to avoid November crowds!
Unfortunately, crowd calendars are less reliable due to how Walt Disney World manipulates Park Pass reservations, staffing, closures, and ride capacity. Since Disney doesn’t release official attendance numbers, crowd calendars use school schedules, airport traffic statistics, hotel pricing & occupancy, etc., as proxies for crowds. This approach worked and made crowd calendars reliable for years.
With all of that in mind, here are our crowd calendar predictions for the best and worst weeks at Walt Disney World in November 2023…
November 2023 will be a month of peaks and valleys on the Walt Disney World crowd calendar. The first week begins with a bang, thanks to two factors: Halloween and Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend. Consequently, the end of October into the beginning of November will be pretty busy. Our expectation is crowd levels in 7/10 to 8/10 territory for the week.
It won’t get any better the second week. If anything, it’ll be even worse due to Jersey Week and the Veterans Day holiday weekend.
Normally, Jersey Week would occur the first week of November, so moving that to the second week will exacerbate crowds. Even though it’s only one state, families from those school districts descend upon Walt Disney World in large enough numbers to impact crowds in a meaningful way.
Typically, the entire week of Veterans Day sees a slight spike in crowds, as enough people take the whole week off to impact attendance. With this holiday being observed on a Friday in 2023, it’ll be a long weekend for many people, resulting in even larger crowds than normal that weekend. Throw Jersey Week into the mix, and we’re expect crowds in the 8/10 to 9/10 range that week and 10/10 over the weekend.
The following week (November 12 to 18, 2023) is one of the aforementioned valleys. This will mark a return of moderate crowds, probably the best since early October before fall break. If crowds are your primary concern, this is the sweet spot during the entire Christmas season. Expect crowds in the 6/10 to 7/10 range.
This should be a great time to visit Walt Disney World in 2023. However, we fear attendance could be worse, especially if reservation availability (or lack thereof) pushes people from the popular Thanksgiving week to this earlier range. Last year, crowd levels were 7/10 this particular week, and we’re expecting November 12-18, 2023 to be about on par with that–probably slightly lower.
From that valley, crowd calendars peak the following week thanks to Thanksgiving on November 23, 2023. This is one of the worst weeks of the year and definitely the worst week of November 2023 on the Walt Disney World crowd calendar.
If at all possible, avoid this holiday–it’ll be a week of 10/10 crowds. We expect Thanksgiving week to be one of the 4 busiest weeks of 2023. Hardly a bold prediction, as that has been the case for the last several years. (It was 10/10 and the fifth-busiest week last year.)
This is not off-season, but it should be good. Whether it’s higher or lower than the previous valley really depends on the year. For both of the last two years, it’s been in the 4/10 range. However, we do not necessarily expect a repeat of that–4/10 is low by historical standards, and 5/10 or 6/10 is more on par with what’s normal for this week.
There are also roller coaster crowds throughout each day in November 2023. Epcot will be significantly more busy on weekends, especially when Florida colleges like UCF have away football games. Epcot’s attendance will be lightest on weekdays before 4 pm, with heavier crowds after work as locals turn out to graze at the festival booths.
Disney Springs, resorts, restaurants, and bars at Walt Disney World all are busier during the Christmas season. This is due to a mix of holiday dinners and locals wanting to enjoy the free Christmas decorations and entertainment. Be sure to make ADRs for any fine dining outside the parks, and be aware that you’ll encounter heavier crowds in Disney Springs.
On Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party nights, Magic Kingdom closes to regular ticket holders at 6 pm. Consequently, the park is less busy during the day time hours on dates when MVMCP is held, and more busy on non-party days. This might seem counter-intuitive, but it’s because the party is separately-ticketed.
Last year, Magic Kingdom crowd levels were 8/10 to 10/10 most non-party days in October and November, whereas crowd levels were 3/10 to 4/10 on party days. That amounts to an average wait time differential of about 15-20 minutes per ride, which adds up over the course of the day to the point that you can accomplish more in the party-shortened days when Magic Kingdom closes at 6 pm.
Once again, we strongly recommend doing Magic Kingdom during the days shortened by MVMCP, and then hop to another park by ~4 pm. Even with 4/10 or 5/10 crowd levels, you’ll still come out ahead by avoiding Saturdays, Mondays, and other non-party days. (So long as you’re fine skipping fireworks or evening in Magic Kingdom–but you can always Park Hop over on a different evening!)
This should all underscore why we don’t really care for traditional color-coded or numerical Walt Disney World crowd calendars. None of the above trends could be adequately conveyed by a simple graphic, and it’d be easy to become frustrated if we simply had an November 2023 crowd calendar vacillating between 7/10 and 10/10 days.
Instead, we’ve explained the how and why of November crowd flow so that you can plan accordingly. While you’ll still encounter congestion and long waits, by zigging when others zag, you should have a pretty pleasant visit in November. This strategic park hopping advice is more practical than a numerical crowd calendar.
If you’re booking a room-only discount, you can decide for yourself which hotel might be best by reading our Walt Disney World Hotel Reviews. If you’re looking to save money on airfare, visit ITA Software to search for the best prices.
November is one of the best months of the year to visit Walt Disney World if you’re comparing it to every month of the year, especially those two sweet spots of low crowds. The downside is that some Christmas offerings don’t kick off until around Thanksgiving, which makes that week right after Thanksgiving (straddling both November and December) the very best time to visit. It has all of the upsides of a November visit in terms of crowds, discounts, weather, and it has a better slate of Christmas entertainment.
Do you like Walt Disney World in November? Planning a November 2023 trip to see WDW during the holiday season? Which month is your favorite for Walt Disney World vacations? Do you prefer December or November? Agree or disagree with our assessment of November at WDW? Any questions? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!