Lately I’ve had Disney on the brain and it’s with very good reason. Okay, wait, I pretty much have Disney on my brain all the time, but right now it’s because I’ll be visiting the Happiest Place on Earth with my family in less than two weeks. What makes this trip even more special is that we were invited and will be attending the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration over Mother’s Day weekend. I can’t imagine a better place to spend Mother’s Day, especially since I get to do it with my kids. After a particularly challenging few months we are all very much looking forward to visiting our favorite place and experiencing all the incredible magic that goes along with one of the most anticipated blogging events of the year. We are grateful and fortunate and I plan to make sure we don’t take one moment of the experience for granted.
As I daydream, add items to my packing list, and make a few advance dining reservations, I can’t help but think back to our most recent trip this past November. We stayed at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and not only was the view from our room one of the best on Disney property, but we also enjoyed some pretty amazing dining experiences while at Walt Disney World. We ate in our resort at Boma on two difference occasions (once for breakfast and once for dinner) and enjoyed it both times. One of my favorite meals was on my birthday at Chefs de France in EPCOT (which I MUST share more details about soon) and another was on Thanksgiving Day at Tusker House restaurant inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park. Not all restaurants on Disney property offer a traditional meal for Thanksgiving Day, so it’s definitely important to get a reservation as soon as possible when planning your own vacation. In all honesty Tusker House actually wasn’t my first choice, but I didn’t take my own advice and waited too long to make a reservation so there wasn’t a lot to choose from by the time I booked our holiday meal. I mean, we’ve eaten at Tusker House before and really enjoyed it, but it just wasn’t necessarily where I wanted to eat on Thanksgiving at Walt Disney World. I’m so pleased we ended up there, though, because it was a really wonderful experience that included all my favorite traditional foods and hugs from some of our favorite Disney characters.
Thanksgiving at Walt Disney World
- The traditional feast. Of all the holidays, Thanksgiving is literally my food favorite and while I was happy to be at Walt Disney World for the holiday I also wanted to enjoy a feast that reminded me of home. I filled my plate at least twice with all the best fixings, including mashed potatoes with gravy, stuffing, green beans, turkey, and cranberry sauce. You name your favorite Thanksgiving food and they’ve probably got it on the buffet at Tusker House Restaurant, but the best might have been the deliciously perfect slices of pumpkin pie!
- The characters! I’m not even referring to the characters at my table because while they make every holiday special, the ones who visited us during dinner made our day a little more fun. Oh, and don’t worry about missing Mickey, Donald, Daisy, or Goofy while you’re up filling your plate with food because they’ll probably make their way around to your table at least twice during your meal. Just try to be ready for them when they do arrive because they’ve got lots of people (who love them as much as you do) to see, so keep your autograph pen and camera handy at all times.
- The convenient location! While some people might want a more low-key, off the beaten path Thanksgiving dinner while at Walt Disney World, I personally loved that right after we finished our meal we could walk out of the restaurant and into the Harambe Marketplace and be taking a ride on the Kilimanjaro Safaris in just a matter of minutes. Seriously, it doesn’t get much more convenient than that. Of course, if you’re smart (unlike us) and want to walk off some of the calories you just devoured then you might opt to walk a little further and make your way over to Dinosaur for a less relaxing, much more thrilling ride.
- The entertainment! Not only was there fun music, but the characters also led a conga line around the entire restaurant while inviting children (and grown-ups) to join in the fun. We enjoyed this added treat at least twice during our Thanksgiving meal and even though none of us hopped on the line, it was a lot of fun to clap along and watch everyone else who did.
- Fun for all ages! Whether you’re two or seventy-two Tusker House is a great option for everyone, either for Thanksgiving dinner or any other day, really. The all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet offers plenty of options, including specific kid-friendly foods like macaroni and cheese (which some of the grown-ups at my table love), you get to hug a few characters and get their autographs without waiting in long lines in a park, and most importantly you’re able to enjoy some down time with your family before heading back out into Disney’s Animal Kingdom!
While I specifically focused on our Thanksgiving Dinner at Tusker House, I highly recommend dining there any other day, for any other meal, too. Where Disney dining is concerned it’s near the top of my list of favorites, especially if you like to meet characters while stuffing your face with yummy plates of food!
Tusker House Character Dining
P.S. If you’re planning a trip to Walt Disney World for Thanksgiving this year, make sure you mark your calendar for next month and make your dining reservation as soon as possible, especially if you have a specific location in mind because they will fill up fast.
Do you have a favorite restaurant at Walt Disney World? I’d love some ideas for our upcoming visit!