11 Fun Ways to Enjoy Thanksgiving at Universal Orlando Resort (2022 Complete Guide)

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.

You may be wondering, Does Universal Studios do anything special for Thanksgiving?

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 and we’re going to go through ALL OF THEM today!

Thanksgiving at Universal Orlando Friends Making Toast

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Where to Enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner at Universal Orlando Resort

I’m so excited to be back in the parks this year to enjoy all of the holiday festivities! This year many of the Universal Orlando Resorts will be offering a Thanksgiving feast for you to enjoy as well!

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

I recommend that you book your reservations before your trip on OpenTable or call 407-503-DINE (3463).

Be sure to read the full guide to know how to conquer your day at Universal Studios on Thanksgiving. Now, let’s take a look at some of the options that you’ll be able to enjoy this year.

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Hard Rock Hotel: Thanksgiving Day Breakfast Buffet in Avalon Ballroom

  • Date: Thursday, November 25, 2021
  • Time: 7 a.m. – 11 a.m.
  • Price: $27* adult; $16* child (ages 3 – 9); complimentary under age 3 [*tax and gratuity not included]
Thanksgiving at Universal Orlando

Hard Rock Hotel: Thanksgiving Day Buffet at The Kitchen

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

  • Date: Thursday, November 25, 2021
  • Time: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
  • Location: The Kitchen in the Hard Rock Hotel
  • Price: $75* adult; $29* child (ages 3 – 9); complimentary under age 3
  • Read full menu here.

Loews Royal Pacific Resort: Thanksgiving Day Breakfast Buffet in Jake’s American Bar

  • Date: Thursday, November 25, 2021
  • Time: 7am – 11am
  • Price: $25* adult; $15* child (ages 3 – 9); complimentary under age 3 [*tax and gratuity not included].
  • Adults (ages 21+) can add all-you-care-to-enjoy mimosa and Bloody Mary cocktails for just $15 more.
Loews Royal Pacific A TOUCH OF THE TROPICS with elaborate landscaping, waterfalls and lagoons. Architecturally influenced by the tropically lush region of the Asia pacific, the Royal Pacific Resort houses nearly 80,000 square feet of meeting and function space, a fitness center, a pool, a business center, retail shops wit location next to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and CityWalk are just a relaxing boat ride away.
Photo Copyright: Universal Orlando.

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

Enjoy a mixture of Asian inspired dishes combined with Island flare for a unique Thanksgiving dining experience at the Universal Orlando Resort.

  • Date: Thursday, November 25, 2021
  • Time: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
  • Price: $62* adult; $30* child (ages 3 – 9); complimentary under age 3 [*tax and gratuity not included] .
  • Adults (ages 21+) can add all-you-care-to-enjoy mimosa and Bloody Mary cocktails for just $15 more.
  • Read the full menu here.

Loews Sapphire Falls Resort: Thanksgiving Day Breakfast in Amatista Cookhouse

  • Date: Thursday, November 25, 2021
  • Time: 7 a.m. – 11 a.m.
  • Price: $25* adult; $15* child (ages 3 – 9); complimentary under age 3 [*tax and gratuity not included].
  • Adults (ages 21+) can add all-you-care-to-enjoy mimosa and Cubanita cocktails for just $15 more.
Thanksgiving at Universal Orlando with Family Around Dinner Table with Food

Loews Sapphire Falls Resort: Thanksgiving Day Buffet in Amatista Cookhouse

  • Date: Thursday, November 25, 2021
  • Time: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m
  • Price: $62* adult; $30* child (ages 3 – 9); complimentary under age 3 [*tax and gratuity not included].
  • Adults (ages 21+) can add all-you-care-to-enjoy mimosa and Cubanita cocktails for just $15 more.
  • Read the full menu here.

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel: Thanksgiving Day Buffet in Trattoria del Porto

  • Date: Thursday, November 25, 2021
  • Time: 11am – 9pm
  • Price: $75* adult; $25* child (ages 3 – 9); complimentary under age 3 [*tax and gratuity not included]
  • Entertainment: Live music and face painters
  • Read the full menu here.
Loews Portofino Bay Resort at Christmas Time Universal Orlando Resort
Photo Courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel: Thanksgiving Menu in Mama Della’s Ristorante

At Mama Della’s Ristorante, you’ll be able to feast on a traditional Thanksgiving Day meal in celebration of the holiday.

  • Date: Thursday, November 25, 2021
  • Time: 5:30pm – 10pm
  • Price: $65* adult; $20* child (ages 3 – 9); complimentary under age 3 [*tax and gratuity not included]
  • Entertainment: Opera singers and strolling musicians

Recommended: 17 Easy Steps to the Best Universal Studios Itinerary

Universal Cabana Bay Beach Resort: Thanksgiving Day Meal Special at Bayliner Diner

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 25, 2021
  • Time: Noon – 11 p.m.
  • Price: $19.99* adult; $10.99* child (ages 3 – 9) [*tax not included]
  • What’s Included: Turkey, stuffing, cranberry compote, broccoli, mashed potatoes, gravy, biscuit. ADD: Pecan or pumpkin pie (+$3.50).
  • Read full menu here
Bay Dining area at Bayline Diner

You’ll also be able to enjoy some fun holiday activities at Cabana Bay only on Thanksgiving Day such as:

Watching the Thanksgiving Day Parades in Bayliner Diner

  • Date: Thursday, November 25, 2021
  • Time: 9 a.m.
  • Price: Complimentary
Cabana Bay Beach Resort Lobby and Check In Desk

Going Bowling for the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Bowling in Galaxy Bowl

  • Date: Thursday, November 25, 2021
  • Time: 3 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.
  • Price: Cost of Bowling

Universal’s Aventura Hotel: Thanksgiving Day Meal Special in Urban Pantry

  • Date: Thursday, November 25, 2021
  • Time: Noon – 10 p.m.
  • Price: $19.99* adult; $10.99* child (ages 3 – 9) [*tax and gratuity not included]
Aventura Hotel at Universal Orlando Resort On-site Hotels
Photo Copyright: Universal Orlando

Endless Summer: Surfside Inn and Suites – Thanksgiving Day Meal at Beach Break Cafe

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

  • Date: Thursday, November 25, 2021
  • Time: 2 p.m. – 10 p.m.
  • Price: $15* adult; $9* child (ages 3 – 9) [*tax not included]
Thanksgiving at Universal Orlando Delicious Golden Pumpkin Pie

Universal’s Endless Summer Resort: Dockside Inn and Suites – Thanksgiving Day Meal Special at Dockside’s Pier 8 Market

  • Date: Thursday, November 25, 2021
  • Time: 2 p.m. – 10 p.m.
  • Price: $15* adult; $9* child (ages 3 – 9) [*tax not included]

*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.

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


Thanksgiving Day at Universal Studios Itinerary for 2021

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

Macys Holiday Parade with Large Minion and Teddy Bear Float Overlooking Universal Studios Roller Coasters
Photo Courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort
  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 the Ride 3:D
  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 Roadside Entertainment Throughout Universal Studios
  16. Do some Christmas shopping at the Holiday Tribute Store
  17. Ride Jimmy Fallon’s Race Through New York
  18. Watch Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s
  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!

What to Know Before Going to Universal Studios on Thanksgiving

Now that you know what food to eat and how to plan your day, let’s go though a few tips and reminders to help you plan out your day on Thanksgiving Day.

Universal Holiday Parade with Macy in Universal Studios Florida
Photo Courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort

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.

Universal Studios guide and tips
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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.

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.

Diagon Alley at Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Photo Courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort

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.

Where Should I Stay at When Visiting Universal Orlando Resort for Thanksgiving Weekend?

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.

Loews Portofino Bay Resort Universal Orlando
Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

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

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.

So overall, these are the Top 11 Things to Do at Universal Orlando Resort for Thanksgiving Day:

  1. Do a foodie tour in CityWalk
  2. Eat at the Hard Rock Hotel for Thanksgiving Day breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  3. Dine at Portofino Bay Resort
  4. Eat at the Royal Pacific Resort
  5. Enjoy mimosas and Cubanitas at Sapphire Falls
  6. Dine at Aventura Resort
  7. Bowl and watch Thanksgiving Day parades at Cabana Bay Beach Resort
  8. Have a Thanksgiving Day meal at Endless Summer: Surfside Inn and Suites and Universal’s Endless Summer Resort: Dockside Inn and Suites
  9. Visit the Holiday Tribute Store in Universal Studios Florida
  10. Hang out with the Grinch in Seuss Land at Islands of Adventure
  11. Enjoy the Universal Orlando Resort holiday festivities such as the Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s
Thanksgiving Day at Universal Orlando Resort. Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure Entrances with Pumpkins.
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What are your Thanksgiving Day plans? Let us know in the comments section below.

If you enjoyed this article, then you’ll love these:

Until next time, Happy Thanksgiving Hipsters!

NikkyJ

(Original article date November 2016/Update November 6, 2021)

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