#TBT: Thanksgiving Dinner at the Magic Kingdom

[This post originally ran in November 2014, which is when the Bloom family celebrated Thanksgiving in the Magic Kingdom. Wherever you are, have a Happy Thanksgiving. If you are not in the United States, you can go ahead and enjoy your day too.]

There are many choices for Thanksgiving dinner at Walt Disney World. Most every resort restaurant has some option, and within the parks many of the sit down restaurants offer a Thanksgiving meal. We decided to do something a little bit different. We brought our own Thanksgiving dinner into the Magic Kingdom.

WDW Pilgrims
WDW Pilgrims

When my parents invited us down to Orlando for Thanksgiving this year, the first thing I thought about was pulling off this stunt. For ten years Len Testa has been saying that Disney allows people to bring food into the parks. To make his point he’s said that guests could even bring in a full Thanksgiving meal. So we did.

We followed all of Disney’s rules. Guests are allowed to bring food items into the theme parks. We avoided any restricted items. We were staying at an off-site timeshare unit, so we had a full kitchen to store and heat the turkey dinner we purchased at a Publix supermarket. We had two soft sided coolers, one for the hot foods and one for the cold foods. We used hot and cold packs to keep the food at proper temperatures. We also used two backpacks to bring in all the non-food items. We used only plastic containers and tableware. Since Thanksgiving is not complete without canned cranberry jelly, we opened the can at the timeshare and put the tangy goodness in a plastic resealable container.  Some afterthought items (not pictured) came in very handy: we brought paper towels, wet wipes, and 2 gallon zip lock bags. Also, some kale, of course, as a garnish for the turkey platter.

We purchased most of the dry-goods prior to driving to Orlando.

Thanksgiving Supplies
Thanksgiving Supplies

We did a last minute run to a store, to get a few final items.

The next decision was where we should eat our Thanksgiving dinner. Disney guests are allowed to eat at any counter-service restaurant or public area around the park. Prior to Thanksgiving we scouted out possible locations (see pictures below). We decided on the Main Street Train Station for multiple reasons. The area is not crowded at 8:30 am, we could have a view of the castle, and it is close to the entrance.

Sleepy Hallow
Sleepy Hallow
Tomorrowland Terrace
Tomorrowland Terrace
Main Street Train Station
Main Street Train Station
Liberty Square
Liberty Square
Frontier Land
Frontierland
Adventureland - next to Island Supply
Adventureland – next to Island Supply
Adventureland - Sunshine Tree Terrace
Adventureland – Sunshine Tree Terrace

 

Many people asked how we “smuggled” everything in. We did not smuggle anything in. We went through security with all our things. The security guard looked through our bags and asked, “What time is lunch?” We were hoping a cast member would ask why we were doing this. We had the response: “We could not get a Thanksgiving reservation at any Magic Kingdom restaurant.” After we had our Thanksgiving table set-up, we had no problem finding a fellow guest to take our picture. We even let people to sit at our table so they could get their picture taken. At one point a group of excited cast members (who had been told by other cast members that there were “some pilgrims at the train station”) came to see us. They said that we won the best Thanksgiving family. Unfortunately, there was no prize (we asked).

We are so grateful to have been able to share this magical Thanksgiving experience as a family. It’s unlikely it’ll become a Bloom family tradition, but the memory will sure live on.

Steve Bloom

By helping TouringPlans.com continue to reach the most accurate crowd level predictions, Steve finally found a way to meld his training in statistical analysis with a lifelong passion for Disney. He first visited the Magic Kingdom in 1972, just a few months after it opened. Now he enjoys frequent trips with his two kids. At age four his son insisted on wearing cowboy boots to reach the height requirement for Test Track, and his daughter believes that a smoked turkey leg and Dole Whip make a perfectly balanced meal. Even though she doesn't quite get it, Steve's wife is supportive of his Disney activities.

11 thoughts on “#TBT: Thanksgiving Dinner at the Magic Kingdom

  • November 29, 2014 at 12:48 pm
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    In a word… Brilliant!

  • November 29, 2014 at 1:23 pm
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    LIKE button!

  • November 29, 2014 at 5:10 pm
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    I bow down before you, sir.

  • November 29, 2014 at 6:11 pm
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    Possibly the best post ever. LOVE

  • November 29, 2014 at 7:09 pm
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    I think it’s awesome BUT I wonder if this will start a game of one-upmanship and people will start seeing how elaborate of a meal they can stage in a park…and of course it will eventually go too far and Disney will crack down on it…

  • November 30, 2014 at 6:12 am
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    Brilliant. So how did you carve the turkey without a big knife?

  • November 30, 2014 at 9:03 am
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    So cool that you adhered to all of the rules to make this amazing Thanksgiving Dinner!
    Definitely one of the most memorable blog posts of the year so far. Thank you!

  • November 30, 2014 at 9:21 am
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    The best memories at Disney are the ones people make on their own. You have to be among the most brilliant ones of the century!

  • December 1, 2014 at 4:23 pm
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    This is the greatest thing ever. If ever something “deserved” to go viral, this is it.

  • November 30, 2015 at 11:36 pm
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    So much fun! Great way to make unforgettable family memories 😀

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