Our guide to November 2020 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. (Updated October 26, 2020.)
A lot has been cancelled, cutback, or changed at Walt Disney World following the reopening of the parks, and that remains true in November. Nevertheless, it’s 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 2020 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!
Before we get into everything concerning weather, special events, crowd calendars, and everything else you can expect in November at Walt Disney World, let’s start with park hours. While park hours were originally reduced dramatically, Walt Disney World has increased hours (see here and here) in recent weeks, including for almost every single date in November. So that’s good news!
The bad news is the reason for extended park hours: projections of higher attendance, and more guests starting to get comfortable traveling. While Disney claims Walt Disney World Capacity Is Still Capped at 25%, that’s disingenuous and misleading. Crowds, wait times, and lines throughout the parks are all noticeably longer as of late October 2020 than they were in July or August. Our expectation is that crowds will continue increasing closer to Christmas.
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.
November 2020 Special Events at Disney World
Walt Disney World has a lot of special events, but none compare to the Christmas season. Unfortunately, a lot of what makes the holiday season special will be absent this year. Full details are covered in 2020 Christmas Cancellations & Entertainment at Walt Disney World. Still, November and December remain the best two months of this year from an entertainment, atmosphere, and special offerings perspective.
While November is a very good month to visit because of the Christmas offerings, it also falls short of being a great month because of the Christmas offerings. This may seem counter-intuitive, but it is the case because it scores points for the Christmas entertainment that is available during the month, but loses points as compared to December for the Christmas offerings that haven’t yet started in November.
For timing info, see When Does Christmas Start at Walt Disney World? That covers when decorations typically go up around each of the parks, resorts, and Disney Springs. It also offers more insight on what to expect given the modified and scaled back plans for Christmas 2020.
Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival runs through November 22, 2020, 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. If you’re visiting on or around November 26, 2020, be sure to consult our Tips for Thanksgiving at Walt Disney World post for dining recommendations and more you should know.
Almost as soon as Food & Wine ends, the park transitions over to the 2020 Taste of Epcot International Festival of the Holidays, which runs through December 30, 2020. 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. (Most/all of those are likely cancelled for 2020.)
November 2020 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 major projects at Magic Kingdom and Epcot won’t be finished until 2021 or later.
Epcot’s construction project that will have the most noticeable impact on the guest experience is the massive reimagining at the front of the park, which will eliminate Future World and replace it with 3 new neighborhoods. This means the front of the park is a veritable maze of construction walls and will be through 2022. This unprecedented overhaul has led us to address the question Should You Visit Epcot?
In another blow for Epcot, two major projects originally scheduled to debut this year have been delayed, and are unlikely to open until 2021 now. First, Space 220 Restaurant adjacent to Mission: Space. Second, a huge expansion to the France pavilion that includes the family-friendly trackless dark ride, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.
Outside of Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios has two attractions that will still be fairly new come Fall 2020. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway opened this spring, and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance debuted late last year. The latter is literally the best Walt Disney World attraction in decades–better than Avatar Flight of Passage.
November 2020 Crowd Calendar for Disney World
There’s no color-coded November 2020 crowd calendar for Walt Disney World at the top of this section because it wouldn’t tell the full story of attendance trends. 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.
This is doubly true for November 2020, as the reopening and capacity restrictions have thrown another monkey wrench into things. We can still forecast general trends, but that’s about it. With all of that in mind, here are our crowd calendar predictions for the best and worst weeks at Walt Disney World in November 2020…
November 2020 will be a month of peaks and valleys on the Walt Disney World crowd calendar. The first week begins with a bang, thanks a few factors: Election Day (November 3, 2020),
Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend (November 5-8, 2020), and Jersey Week. Consequently, November 1-8, 2020 will be very busy. (Due to the aforementioned cancellations, the first week will likely be the slowest of the month, aside from that first weekend, which is the kickoff to Christmas.
The following week on November 11, 2020 is Veterans Day. This means the entire week, through November 14, 2020 could also be elevated. Normally, Veterans Day results in a pronounced spike, but it’s also frequently observed on a Monday. Regardless, the second week of November 2020 should be avoided as moderate to high dates on the crowd calendar.
The following week (November 15 to 21, 2020) is one of the aforementioned valleys. This will mark a return of moderate crowds, the best since late September. If crowds are your primary concern, this is the sweet spot during the entire Christmas season.
From that valley, crowd calendars peak the following week thanks to Thanksgiving on November 26, 2020. This is one of the worst weeks of the year and definitely the worst of the month on the Walt Disney World crowd calendar. If at all possible, avoid this holiday.
The following week (beginning November 29, 2020) marks a return to below average crowds, and this is also our very favorite week of the year to visit. We base this on a mix of crowds and seasonal offerings, as this is the best mix of Christmas and crowds. This is not off-season, but it should be good.
There are also roller coaster crowds throughout each day in November 2020. 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.
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 2020 crowd calendar vacillating between 4/10 and 9/10 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.
November 2020 Discounts & Pricing
Discounts continue into November, with the up to 40% off “Rediscover the Magic” discount for Annual Passholders and Florida residents, plus the “Southerner Savings” for residents of certain states, offering solid deals lasting through Christmas 2020.
The only general public offer for November 2020 is the abysmal Magic Is Here “deal” (air quotes around deal) which is a discount in name only. However, Walt Disney World did send out a widely-targeted PIN Code and you can save much more with DVC point rentals or Priceline Express Deals. (Just be mindful of the flexible cancellation policies on both of those options–they’re not nearly as flexible.)
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. We have more tips for traveling frugally that might be worth reading if you’re trying to do Disney on a Dime.
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.
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
Do you like Walt Disney World in November? Planning a November trip around 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!