Fun Ways to Enjoy Thanksgiving at Universal Orlando Resort 2021

If your idea of Thanksgiving Day is spending time in Orlando with family at a Universal Orlando Resort, then you’ve chosen the perfect place.

Among the coasters, magic, and fairy-tales are some of the best fall festival feasts right here in the theme park capital of the world. 

Thanksgiving at Universal Orlando Friends Making Toast


Listen to Full Podcast Episode 58 of Thanksgiving at Universal Orlando Below

Thanksgiving Dinner at Universal Orlando Resort

Because of the 2020 pandemic, many of the traditional buffet options will be offered in a family feast style and with precautions taken.

Hard Rock Hotel Universal Orlando Resort
Hard Rock Hotel Photo Cred. Universal Orlando Resort

Thanksgiving Day Buffet at The Kitchen: Hard Rock Hotel

The Kitchen Thanksgiving Buffet will have an acoustic guitar player providing you will live entertainment in this family feast style dinner.

  • Date: Thursday, November 26, 2020
  • Time: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
  • Location: The Kitchen in the Hard Rock Hotel
  • Price: $59* adult; $24* child (ages 3 – 9); complimentary under age 3
  • Read full menu here
Thanksgiving at Universal Orlando

Loews Royal Pacific Resort: Islands Dining Room – Thanksgiving Day Buffet

The Royal Pacific Resort will be taking safety measures to make sure your dining experience is as safe as possible. Precautions such as plexiglass around food and prepackage food.

  • Date: Thursday, November 26, 2020
  • Time: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
  • Location: Islands Dining Room at Loews Royal Pacific Resort
  • Price: $59* adult; $27* child (ages 3 – 9); complimentary under age 3
  • Read full menu here

Adults (ages 21+) can add all-you-care-to-enjoy mimosa and Bloody Mary cocktails for just $15 more at Islands Dining Room.

Thanksgiving at Universal Orlando with Family Around Dinner Table with Food

Universal Cabana Bay Beach Resort – Thanksgiving Day Meal Special

Enjoy a Thanksgiving special at Bayliner Diner with traditional fall festival favorites including turkey, stuffing, cranberry compote, mashed potatoes, gravy, candied yams and biscuits.

  • Date: Thursday, November 26, 2020
  • Time: Noon – 11 p.m.
  • Location: Bayliner Diner
  • Price: $18.99* adult; $9.99* child (ages 3 – 9)
  • Read full menu here
Bay Dining area at Bayline Diner

Endless Summer: Surfside Inn and Suites – Thanksgiving Day Meal

Here you’ll enjoy another traditional Thanksgiving Day meal before or after your Universal Orlando theme park visit.

Thanksgiving at Universal Orlando Delicious Golden Pumpkin Pie
  • Date: Thursday, November 26, 2020
  • Time: 12 p.m. – 11 p.m.
  • Location: Beach Break Cafe
  • Price: $15.99* adult; $8.99* child (ages 3 – 9)
  • Read the full menu here

*Please remember that tax and gratuity is not included in the prices. You can make your Thanksgiving reservations at Universal Orlando Resort by calling 407-503-DINE.

Thanksgiving Day at Universal Studios Itinerary

Now that you know all of the holiday happenings at Universal Orlando Resort, it’s time to jump into you’re your Thanksgiving Day itinerary.

Things to do at Universal Orlando
  1. Purchase Express Passes Before Thanksgiving Day
  2. Have Breakfast at One of the Resort Hotels
  3. Head to Universal Studios
  4. Ride Despicable Me
  5. Party on the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit Roller Coaster
  6. Join the Cause and Ride Transformers
  7. Dive deep into the Revenge of the Mummy Ride
  8. Ride Fast & Furious Supercharged
  9. Explore the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley
  10. Ride Men in Black Alien Attack
  11. Explore Springfield
  12. Snack Time: Grab a Chicken and Waffle sandwich from Cletus’ Chicken Shack
  13. Ride the Classic E.T. Adventure
  14. Experience Universal’s Horror Make-Up Show
  15. Enjoy the Shopping and Roadside Entertainment Throughout Universal Studios
  16. Watch the Shrek 4-D show
  17. Ride Jimmy Fallon’s Race Through New York
  18. Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s balloon displays and floats
  19. Have Thanksgiving Day dinner at one of the resorts

Ready to plan your theme park trip? Watch the best vacation planning tips on YouTube. Get started here!

How Crowded is it at Universal on Thanksgiving Day?

Holiday peaks, crowd sizes, weather, and a few other factors have a lot to do with your Universal Orlando experience, including how long you’ll be waiting in line for your favorite rides.

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem Universal Studios Orlando Tips
Despicable Me Minion Mayhem Universal Studios Orlando

Because of this, expect high crowds both on Thanksgiving Day and the weekend following the holiday.

Since this will be a major holiday, I recommend purchasing the Express Pass.

Depending on the time of year you go, you’ll may want to think about getting an Express Pass. Universal Studios has some of the most innovative rides with wait times to prove it.

Universal Studios guide and tips
Sign up and get your FREE Universal Orlando Resort Theme Park Traveler’s Planner and Guide. Click the image to get started.

Are the Universal Express Passes worth it?

It depends on a few factors.

For instance, if you’re only going to be at Universal Studios for a day and you came on a crowded daythen I’d say definitely get the Express Pass.

Universal Orlando on a budget. #universalstudios #universalorlando #themeparks
Sponge Bob Parade Universal Studios

On those peak days, it gets extremely hard to do and see each attraction available at the park.

If you’re not into the whole ride thing and you’re just fine doing a ride here-and-there, then pass on the Express Pass and spend that money on some theme park food and merchandise.

Hipster Power Tip: A cool Universal Orlando Express Pass hack is to check pricing online before your trip. Based on the price of the Pass, you can predict the crowd level of your day. The higher the price, the higher the crowd level expectation.

Stay at a Universal Orlando Resort Hotel

If you can make it work, then I recommend staying at a Universal Orlando Resort during the Thanksgiving holiday. Not only can you enter the parks early, but if you stay in a higher cost resort, you’ll be able to use your room key as an Express Pass.

Be sure to play with your budget to see if this tip can work in your favor.

Universal Orlando Cabana Resort Famous Entrance

Final Thoughts on Thanksgiving at Universal Orlando

Overall, you’re going to have an incredible Thanksgiving holiday at Universal Orlando Resort. Just make sure that you book your Thanksgiving dining reservations in advance by calling 407-503-DINE.

Thanksgiving Day at Universal Orlando Resort. Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure Entrances with Pumpkins.
Pin for Later!

What are your Thanksgiving Day plans? Let us know in the comments section below.

If you enjoyed this Packing List for Universal Orlando article, then you’ll love these:

Until next time, Happy Thanksgiving Hipsters!


(Original article date November 2016/Update November 19, 2020)

Share this article!

Leave a Comment