November 2023 at Disney World: Crowd Calendar & Info
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.
For timing info, see When Do Christmas Decorations Go Up at Walt Disney World? That covers when decorations typically go up around each of the parks, resorts, and Disney Springs. Note that this starts before the official start of the holiday season, which begins on November 10, 2023.
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.
Experiencing the new ride is a bit complicated, so be sure to check out our How to Ride Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind & Virtual Queue Speed Strategy to improve your chances of success for joining the free virtual queue. (This will hopefully be retired long before November 2023, but nothing is official yet!)
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.)
The following week (beginning November 26, 2023) marks a return to more moderate crowds, and this is also our very favorite week of the year to visit Walt Disney World. 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. 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!)
Although Magic Kingdom closes earlier to regular guests on MNSSHP days, it also opens earlier. This is a huge advantage, as covered in Photo Report & Strategy: Magic Kingdom Early Entry at 7:30 am on Party Days. We’ve also covered the upside to the full day at Magic Kingdom on the shortened days in our new My “Party Day” at Magic Kingdom WITHOUT Genie+. Those are specific to the Halloween Party, but the exact same idea applies with Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
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.
November Discounts & Pricing
Discounts of up to 25% off rooms at Walt Disney World for APs were released for most nights through December 25 last year. There was also the Christmas Deal for Disney+ Subscribers. Those are simply the promos available last year as examples–nothing has been released yet for November and December 2023.
For everything else, see All Current Walt Disney World Discounts. You can also save with last-minute deals on 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.
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 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!
I am wondering if Wdw is still offering free dining for Nov 29 thru Dec 6 ?
The calendar for Nov 2017 says on 11/30/17 MK closes at 4:30pm is this an error or why is this?
From what I have read online, it is for a cast member appreciation event. I was hoping it would be for the taping of the Christmas specials…..guess not. 🙂
will the castle be lit up the day after the last halloween party like last year?
we are hoping so – we will be there 10/28-11/3
Hi Colleen, Was the castle lit yet when you were there? Thanks
When I click on the November calendar link provided above, it also lists the hours of closing for the Magic Kingdom on Christmas Party dates as 6pm. Do you still think this is an error?
No, they close an hour earlier for the Mickeys very Merry Christmas Party. This is earlier then previous years, it used to be 7 pm on party nights.
Why do you prefer the room discount to the free dining discount? I’ve heard a few people say that the dining discount is only worth it if you have kids, is this also true for you? We have booked our trip utilizing the free dining promotion but now after reading this, wondering if we should change to room only discount. Also, when is the room only discount typically released for November dates? Thank you!
Hi Shelly – I can answer this, although it might be too late. I have always loved free dining, b/c it’s convenient and you “feel” like you’re getting all this food, for free. However, you overeat. You plan your trip around dining reservations. We have done free dining, many times. But free dining, does increase your room stay. We just returned from Disney and for the first time, did not plan our trip around dining. We did not get a dining plan. The dining plan would have cost us an additional $1500. We spent about $600 on food, for 8 days for 2 adults and 2 kids. We still ate. We just didn’t feel the need to get a full lunch with dessert and a full dinner with dessert, every single day. So for us, it was a win. But I guess it’s a personal preference and how much you really plan to eat. Hope this helps.
Regarding the MK 6pm closing time on Party nights, I noticed when I went to make my dining reservations on Saturday for November, it wouldn’t let me book past 6pm. So it looks like the the 6:00 “closing time” is real. Glad I’m plannning on attending the party!
Hi Tom is fantasmic not showing from November 17 through the 24th?
It’s now listed as showing every day in November on the schedule he posted, 8:30pm for the days you mentioned.
My wife, granddaughter, and I are in the first picture with the Gingerbread men, this just blows me away! I’ll be back same time 2017, Life is Good!
Noticed that you compiled the remaining park hours for November 2017 (thank you for that), we noticed that on 11/30/17 Magic Kingdom shows that it will be closing early at 4:30pm. What is the reason for this, do you know?
I believe that’s an event to recognize Cast Members. Not 100% sure, but I think that’s it.
Does anyone have any thoughts on the consistent 7 pm closing of animal kingdom in November? We will be there the week after thanksgiving week and I was hoping to have dinner at boma one. Ought at 5 then head to AK for rivers of light/ pandora at night , but s 7 pm close makes that impossible. Seems strange that with all the new night time offerings they still aren’t keeping it open at least a couple nights / week.
Those hours for Animal Kingdom will almost certainly be extended, at least for some nights. I think they are taking a wait and see approach with Pandora before bumping them up.
Just a reminder for anyone else reading this: the initial hours that are posted are often not the final hours. Park hours are frequently extended (but almost never reduced) from the initial schedule.
Good to hear. I was having similar feelings about missing Rivers of Light!
What is the deal with 11/30? Magic Kingdom closing at 4:30? This is my last day there and I planned on going to the Magic Kingdom! May need to rethink my days!
I was there in November in 2014 and the park closed at 4.30pm one afternoon and it was because they were holding some sort of employee event, so I’m guessing it’s the same.
I talked to Disney directly; I was told the 6 pm time is a crowd control thing they are trying this year. Park will “officially “close at 6 pm to non participates of the Christmas Party.
But the party still begins at 7pm “officially”.
The person I talked to stated they had lots of complaints that people who did not pay for the Christmas Party were allowed to stay and this is why they are having the window of time to try to clear the park of none Party attendees…now we all kniw if you talk to 10 people On the phone , you will get 10 different responses to the same question.
We will see if in fact this is the difference or not.
Thanks for the info on this. I’m curious as to whether this is really the reason for the difference, or if this is just that particular Cast Member’s speculation. On the one hand, it certainly makes sense to help clear the park, but on the other hand, closing Magic Kingdom at 6 p.m. that many nights is somewhat extreme.
It’ll be interesting to see whether those 6 p.m. closings extend to mid-December when the parks really start to get busy…
We are Grandparents, never been to Disney but planned surprise visit to take grand daughter for Frid to Thurs of Thanksgiving. Staying at Hilton. Clueless on Disney system but have bought 5 day Admission to 1 Park per day – and not sure which days to go where as seems like some parks close early on certain days – want to make the most of opportunities – (from Scotland so really new kids on the block)
Will we be able to see the Christmas lights ?- been my dream since I was young- if so, where and when is best (my budget is already stretched so are just taking money for gift card to use for meals) so can you guide me please.
Thanks for all the great information. We are going in November for the Wine and Dine half marathon and staying the whole following week. It will be great to see all the Christmas decorations. Do you know when they are doing the taping for the Christmas day Parade? I know they usually tape it in November. Also do you know when they have the gingerbread house up at the Grand Floridian? We would love to see it and buy a gingerbread house to take home with us.
Hi Tom arriving the Saturday after thanksgiving 11/25 and staying until the following Saturday 12/2 can we expect crowds to be low that week? Attending Christmas party that Tuesday ! Thanks for the tips love your blog!
I clicked on the 30% off link for November. I couldn’t find an offer past this summer. Is it already gone? Love your blog, by the way!
I don’t think the 30% off rates for November are up yet. I think they usually go up in the summer, but I don’t know exact dates.
Christmas time at Disney is one of my favorite times too!
I am interested in when they will make the switch from Fall/Halloween to the Christmas themes? Any ideas on how or when that happens?
We will be there from 11/1-11/8… I’m hoping we will end up getting a taste of both fall and Christmas at the parks!
Hi, I’m 13 and my family and I are going to go to Disney World in November!!! We’re wondering if anything new is opening in November 2017. Do you know or is there a website we could read?
I don’t know of anything new opening in November, but there are new things opening this summer that you’ll get to see when you’re there in November. There’s the World in Pandora in Animal Kingdom, and a new fireworks show in Magic Kingdom. Animal Kingdom has also been adding evening/night time experiences too (Rivers of Light, a light show on The Tree of Life). I’m planning on checking all of these things out when I go in November. Hope you and your family have an awesome trip!
Absolutely agree. The new firework show is awesome but get a good seat by one of the fences if possible. The new fireworks show has a lot involving the castle and crowds can tend to block your view.
I also agree about the new Pandora but expect serious lines if you don’t have a fast pass. If you don’t, don’t fret. Get to AK as early as possible and go straight to Pandora. I recommend Flights of Passage over the Rivers of Navi. Both are good but Flights of Passage is so much more. Good luck and have a magical trip!
With the new water ride at typhoon lagoon do you still see it closing as it usually does orc would they keep it open possibly a bit longer?!
We’re looking into Nov 2017, like arriving the evening of 15th ,Wednesday BEFORE Thanksgiving, and leaving the Tuesday of Thanksgiving week the 21st. Would crowds be too big of an issue then you think? We haven’t been since 2011, and are trying to limit days out of school and little, it’s hard on our 5th grader with sooooo much makeup work and grades are at a max of 70 for unexcused absence! Would park hoppers be worth it, or just commit each day fully to one park?
I’m doing a trip in that same time frame. From what I’ve been reading on crowd projection calendars, the crowds start to pick up the weekend prior to Thanksgiving, but are the worst the day before Thanksgiving through the weekend after. So I think crowds will be heavy part of the time you’re there, but doable if you plan things out (use FastPass+, making dining reservations) and are flexible. That’s just my opinion based on my research so far.
Love your site! You have answered all my questions except I need to clarify what days Thanksgiving week includes. Do you mean the week before and including the Thursday of Thanksgiving this year on the 24th or the following week up to the next Sat.? We have had a change in our plans and will now be in Orlando from Nov.21 to Dec.1 What would be the quietest days to tackle Disney World? Our daughter was in a bad car accident but is finally able to travel with us but not able to go on any roller coaster type rides, so we have not booked any fastpass times. Any suggestions or tips on the quietest days and rides.
Thank you in advance.