Theme Park Thursday - Thanksgiving celebrations & Black Friday deals at the parks

By: Shelley Caran

Updated:

Orlando, Fla. - We are just a week away from Thanksgiving, and in this week's Theme Park Thursday I wanted to talk about how you can celebrate Thanksgiving in the parks with a great meal and then how you can take advantage of some great offers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Dealing with the crowds

First things first, let's talk turkey about the parks during the holiday.

Starting the week of Thanksgiving the theme parks of Central Florida crowds increase, and to help you have the best day ever you are going to want to check out our Nine Ways to Successfully Handle Crowds in the Theme Parks.

Walt Disney World Resort

While many of Disney Parks and Resort restaurants are serving turkey day feasts, there are a few that are offering one-of-a-kind ways to enjoy a not so traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

If you’re traveling to the Valley of Mo’ara at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you’ll find that the Satu'li Canteen will be serving wood-grilled roasted turkey breast with gravy, apple and sage stuffing, green beans, orange marmalade glazed sweet potatoes with candied pecans, mashed potatoes and cranberry boba pearls that will be available in both adult and kids’ portions. And for dessert, you’ll find a delicious pumpkin cheesecake mousse.

At Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort, Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Inn and Cafe is offering the finest feast in Frontierland that includes turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, cranberry sauce and gravy. 

Sunshine Seasons in Epcot will also be serving a Thanksgiving plate for lunch and dinner consisting of turkey with gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans and cranberry sauce.

Morimoto Asia, Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto's first Pan-Asian restaurant located in Disney Springs at Walt Disney World, will be serving a special Thanksgiving treat for those looking for an Asian twist. This Thanksgiving enjoy a spin on the traditional holiday staple and try the Peking Turkey Dinner, served with roasted pork fried rice "stuffing," Japanese-style candied yams, cranberry-litchi chutney and Szechuan peppercorn gravy round out the dish.

Joining in on the Thanksgiving fun this year is Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World. On Thanksgiving Day only, you’ll be excited to find a roast turkey special. And through the month of December, make sure to try their delicious seasonal dessert, a pumpkin bread pudding served with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.

Need help picking a wine? On Instagram, Master Sommelier and owner of Wine Bar George coming soon to Disney Springs, George Miliotes shared some fantastic tips for choosing the right wine for your Thanksgiving Feast.

Thanksgiving at the Universal Orlando Resort

We talked about ways to celebrate Thanksgiving in a previous Theme Park Thursday, but there is still time to get a space at one of the many Thanksgiving celebrations taking place at the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Hard Rock Hotel, Cabana Bay Beach Resort, and Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando.

At these resorts you will find sumptuous holiday buffets with live entertainment to the magnificent tree-lighting at Holiday Harbor Nights, the resorts will glisten with holiday decorations and the spirit of the season.

  • Trattoria del Porto at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel - Savor the tastes of Italy at our Thanksgiving Day Buffet from 11 am – 6 pm.Entertainment includes appearances by Universal Orlando characters, kids' holiday crafts and activities table, face painter, balloonist and live music. Adults $65, Children (ages 3 – 9) $20, under 3 free. Reserve online at OpenTable or call 407.503.DINE (3463).
  • The Kitchen at Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando - Join us for a rockin’ Thanksgiving Buffet from 11 am – 4 pm and 5 pm – 10 pm. Entertainment includes appearances by Universal Orlando characters and Magic Man. Adults $62, Children $22, under 3 free. Reserve online at OpenTable or call 407.503.DINE (3463).
  • Islands Dining Room at Loews Royal Pacific Resort - Enjoy our Thanksgiving Holiday Buffet among the sights and sounds of the South Pacific from 11 am – 9 pm. Entertainment includes a face painter, balloonist and appearances by Universal Orlando characters. Adults $58, Children (ages 3 – 9) $26, under 3 free. Reserve online at OpenTable or call 407.503.DINE (3463).
  • Amatista Cookhouse at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort - Join us for a Caribbean-style Thanksgiving Day Buffet from 11 am – 9 pm.Entertainment includes a face painter, balloonist and appearances byUniversal Orlando characters. Adults $58, Children (ages 3 – 9) $26, under 3 free. Reserve online at OpenTable or call 407.503.DINE (3463).

After Thanksgiving, you can also take part in two special events.

During the Loews Hotels at Universal Orlando & Feeding Children Everywhere - It’s the season of giving back! You'll help with the assembly of 375,000 meals for Feeding Children Everywhere, a local charity that empowers and mobilizes people to assemble healthy meals for hungry children. Of that total, 175,000 will benefit children right here in Central Florida, 100,000 will be sent to Puerto Rico and 100,000 will be sent to the Houston, TX area, by volunteering for a one-hour shift at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Cabana Bay Beach Resort or Loews Sapphire Falls Resort between 9 am and 1 pm. Click here to sign up to volunteer.

Holiday Harbor Nights at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel will kick off the holiday season at their popular food and wine event on Friday, November 24 from 6:30 pm – 9 pm. Enjoy select wines and sparkling wines, expertly prepared gourmet foods and live music, plus the grand illumination of Portofino’s Christmas tree and more on the picturesque Harbor Piazza. General admission $55, VIP $90 (plus tax and ticketing fee). Purchase tickets online at LoewsHotels.tix.com.

Now that you've had your fill of fantastic food, let's switch our attention to the deals you can find for the parks on Black Friday and Cyber Monday!

Give the Gift of a Walt Disney World Vacation

Walt Disney World always has some great offers exclusively for Florida Residents as well as multiple special offers, but this holiday season you can Give the Gift of Disney with a new website that has exclusive offers that extend well beyond the theme parks.

On the new website you can find offers for theme park tickets and vacation packages for both the Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort, purchase gift cards, and even book spectacular getaways with Disney Cruise Line and Adventures by Disney, purchase Disney Vacation Club points, and even the chance to pamper yourself with a tropical getaway at the Aulani Resort in Hawaii. 

Universal Orlando Ticket Offers

Nothing has officially been announced for Black Friday or Cyber Monday, but right now they have a fantastic ticket offer that is exclusively for Florida Residents!

From now until December 17, 2017, you can purchase a 3-Park, 2 Day Park-To-Park pass, and receive an extra two days free of unlimited admission to Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal’s Volcano Bay for a total savings of $93!

There are also savings for Florida Residents on Annual Passes, and you can check out all the savings on the Universal Orlando Resort website.

Blue Friday Savings at SeaWorld Orlando

Holiday shoppers are invited to dive into SeaWorld’s biggest sale of the year as early as Thanksgiving day with new “Blue” Friday deals. From tickets and passes to unforgettable park experiences, guests can take advantage of limited-time pricing and save big with these exclusive online offers.

Blue Friday deals kick off the holiday shopping season by providing the best value to experience all that SeaWorld has to offer year-round, including SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration and other special events coming soon in 2018.

Online-only deals include the following buy one, get one (BOGO) offers:

BOGO Offers:

  • BOGO Free: SeaWorld Orlando Single-Day Ticket
  • BOGO Free: 2-Park Tickets  (SeaWorld and Aquatica)
  • BOGO 50% off: SeaWorld Orlando/Aquatica One-Year Annual Pass
  • BOGO Free: Beluga and Walrus Up-Close Tour, which now includes a special opportunity to see Ginger, the baby walrus born at SeaWorld this summer.
  • BOGO Free: Quick Queue Unlimited at SeaWorld
  • BOGO Free: Dine With Shamu
  • BOGO 50% off: All-Day Dining

Additional Offers:

  • Save up to $110 on Discovery Cove Gift Admission Packages
  • Save 30% on all merchandise from SeaworldShop.com

To learn more about this year’s Blue Friday deals, visit seaworldorlando.com/bluefriday and become an email subscriber for early access to these limited-time offers. Fans must subscribe by Wednesday, November 22 to gain early access at noon on Thursday, November 23.

These online-exclusive deals are available for purchase starting from 6:00p.m. on Thursday, November 23, until 11:59p.m. Monday, November 27, 2016.

LEGOLAND Florida BRICK Friday Savings

While there hasn't been an OFFICIAL announcement, I can give you the inside scoop on what you can expect to find!

This year their BRICK Friday offers will include theme park admission as well as awesome savings for their two resorts.

I expect the official announcement to come sometime in the next week before Thanksgiving, but until then you can visit the LEGOLAND Florida website to sign up to be notified when the offers go live.

Gatorland Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals

Gatorland, the "Alligator Capital of the World," has announced a series of special offers for Black Friday and Cyber Monday offering up to $10 off annual passes and half off the park's popular Screamin' Gator Zip Line, which was voted Best Zip Line in the USA by AOL Travel.

Starting at midnight on November 23, Adult and Senior Annual Passes will be $34.99 plus tax, a $10 savings from the regular adult price of $44.99 plus tax, and the Children's Annual Pass, ages 12 and under, will be just $24.99, a $5 savings from the regular price of $29.99 plus tax.  Passes can be purchased on line or at the admissions gate.

Also starting at midnight on November 26, tickets for the Screamin' Gator Zip Line will be $34.99 plus tax, a $35 savings from the regular price of $69.99 plus tax. Valid for use through December 20, 2018, with some blackout dates.  Must be purchased online.

Black Friday Shopping Around Orlando 

If you are looking for a way to work off your turkey and pumpkin pie, shopping can be a great workout as the deals are worth moving quickly for in the outlets and malls around town!

Orlando International Premium Outlets and Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets will have extended hours starting at 10 am  onThanksgiving day through 11 pm on Black Friday evening to greet shoppers and families eager to begin their holiday shopping.

The Florida Mall will be open from 6 pm on Thanksgiving, November 23 through 1 am, Black Friday, November 24 to kick off the holiday shopping season.  The Florida Mall will re-open at 6 am on Black Friday and will close at 10 pm that evening.

Also don't forget to join the VIP Club for even more ways to save!

Then over at Disney Springs there is more to enjoy than ever before with expanded entertainment and décor, it is the perfect place to do your holiday shopping.

New this year is the Disney Springs Gift Guide, that is full of great gift ideas that you can build a list from for easy shopping!

One thing that I know I've said before, but it is worth saying again. If you are worried about the pricing at Disney Springs being more expensive than other shopping venues, you really shouldn't be! A lot of the stores will be offering special holiday promotions and have loyalty programs.

That's it for this week's Theme Park Thursday! Next week there won't be a Theme Park Thursday, so I want to wish you all a very lovely Thanksgiving and I look forward to talking about all of the Christmas celebrations in the parks when we return. 

Until then make sure you follow @icFloridaEvents on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram for the latest theme park news and tips. Thanks for joining us and we'll see you next week!

 

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