Thanksgiving takes place on the fourth Thursday in November, and it’s a big deal in the U.S. since it’s American history and food wrapped up in one delicious package. There are few things cosier than imagining our ancestors from England, in their pilgrim hats and gigantic white shirt collars, being saved from starvation by the natives, who taught them what they could – and could not – eat, and how to plant some basic crops (you’d think we would have thought that through a bit more before we set sail, but hey…we were adventurous!). If you’re in Orlando over 23 November, make it a point to dive into the feast.
Here are some of the best locations for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner (which usually means turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes with marshmallow topping, stuffing, cranberries, and pumpkin pie). Click on each one to see their Thanksgiving Day menu, and be sure to book in advance!
Walt Disney World Nearly every resort and many dining locations in the parks and at Disney Springs will have a Thanksgiving menu. If you haven’t got a booking yet, try for off-peak dining times and don’t give up if you can’t find anything. Keep trying, even on the day. Good luck!
Universal Orlando Each of the Universal resorts will offer a Thanksgiving dinner, and some have a special breakfast buffet.
Many other resorts, such as Marriott World Center, Renaissance Resort at SeaWorld, and the Ritz-Carlton have special menus for Thanksgiving, but if you can’t get a reservation or you want the real at-home family experience, order an entire pre-made feast from Fresh Market and do the cooking (warming up!) in the comfort of your own accommodation (select the Florida, Orlando, 5000 Dr Phillips Blvd location for the closest one to the main tourist area).
But the fun doesn’t stop once the turkey has been stripped to the bone. Not by a long shot. The day after Thanksgiving is Black Friday, the United States’ biggest shopping day of the year. If you’ve done it, you know. If you haven’t, you should.
Now, listen carefully because we mean it. Black Friday is a shopping marathon like no other, and there are people who are as serious as a heart attack when it comes to grabbing (and we do mean grabbing!) the best deals. So you need a strategy.
Once the carnage from dinner has been wrapped up and thrown in the fridge, a fair number of people will grab their pillow and head to the store that’s selling a Door-Buster Deal they can’t live without. Usually these deals are mega-low priced televisions, computers and the like, and there are a limited number (sometimes just 2 or 3). If you want one, you’re camping out at the store overnight. But that’s probably not you, so let’s move on to the second option: get up and get out early.
You’ll want to arrive well before the store opens, and many places will have a roped-off area for people to queue up to get in. If you’re there for the experience more than the merchandise, just enjoy the atmosphere, chat with your fellow bargain-hopefuls, and don’t forget to bring along a cup of coffee or tea. It might be a while before you go anywhere once you’ve queued up, especially at stores that allow a limited number of people in at one time.
Once you’re in the store, guard your goodies (the ones in your cart!) like the precious uber-deals they are. It is not unheard of for people to reach into a cart and nick anything that’s ‘sold out’ and no longer on the shelves. And try to be brave; die-hard Black Friday-ers can smell fear from several aisles away.
A third option, if you ate way too much on Thanksgiving and can’t move until noon or later on Black Friday, is to stroll on out to the shops at your leisure and just soak up the atmosphere. The maddest of shoppers will be at home wrapping up their swag, making early afternoon a fantastic time to enjoy the tail end of the insanity and maybe find a decent sale item or two.
No matter how you plunge into the fray, it really is a day you’ll want to experience, if for no other reason than bragging rights when you get home. Your chances of coming out of it unscathed are about 99.9%, so jump right in, have fun, and don’t forget the wrapping paper!
And, before you cry ‘Foul!’ over being wished “Happy Holidays” while you’re in the States, let’s have a little lingo lesson, shall we? “Merry Christmas” is the phrase to use if you’re wishing someone a merry Christmas (obvious, isn’t it?). “Happy holidays” is a two-fold phrase, first to wish someone happiness over the holiday season (which includes Christmas AND New Year) and second, to acknowledge there are other holidays being celebrated besides Christmas.
Orlando is rich in its diverse cultures and beliefs, and while we’re taking time to recognise the “biggie” in December, it is respectful to bear in mind it’s not the only one. So use either phrase, and if you’re wished “happy holidays,” remember it’s a wish for good things in the New Year, too. How great is that?
Enjoy this special time of year, and don’t forget, the Christmas decorations start going up even before Black Friday, making a November or December Orlando holiday even more magical!
If you have questions about Thanksgiving or Black Friday – or anything else about the wonders of Orlando – be sure to join us on the ATD forums, on this link: https://www.attractiontickets.com/forum/forum.php.
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