Question: Hey, was wondering if you could advise of crowd levels in November? Particularly between 6th till 20th. If you could advise it would be great, this would be over all Parks including Universal & WDW and everything in between!
You have picked a pretty great time to go! Crowd levels in November are typically some of the lowest, with one very big exception - Thanksgiving. In 2011, Thanksgiving is November 24th and in 2012, Thanksgiving will be November 22nd. Thanksgiving day itself is one of the busiest of the years for all the theme parks, and is one of the few days where Magic Kingdom can reach capacity and they stop admitting guests. The weekend following Thanksgiving is also extremely busy – but with the dates you’ve indicated, whether you’re considering 2011 or 12, you won’t need to worry about that. The week running up to Thanksgiving will also be quite busy and you will notice some increase in crowd levels towards the end of your holiday – I would definitely recommend doing the parks that are most important to you at the start of your trip as you’ll find them much quieter and easier to navigate, with less queues. Having said that, while it may get busier towards the end of your holiday, it will still be more than manageable.
The other date you may find has an increased crowd level is the weekend around November 11th. November 11th is Veterans Day (the same as our Remembrance Day) and is a federal holiday. In 2011 this is a Friday, making a long weekend, which will definitely increase the crowd levels. In 2012, this is a Saturday so is likely to have less of an impact. You should also know that at any time the Americans are far more patriotic and vocal about their soldiers and veterans than we are typically used to in the UK and this will be even more pronounced on Veterans Day – it is in no way a bad thing, I just think it helps to know what to expect!
Where the crowds increase over a weekend, such as Veterans Day, this is fairly easily managed. As you’ll be there for a length of time, you have the option to avoid the busiest park on these busier days. I would recommend that you avoid Universal and Magic Kingdom which get very busy and perhaps take these days to visit a water park, or Epcot (which is huge and manages crowds better) or even Sea World, or take a day out to go shopping, or have a ‘pool’ day.
One event that I thought I’d mention as you might not know about in November is Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. This is a ticketed event on specific nights throughout November and December (i.e. you buy tickets in advance, and can’t use your usual park ticket). The Magic Kingdom closes early to non-party guests (usually around 7pm) and then the Christmas Party starts. There is a special parade, special holiday themed fireworks, character meet and greet opportunities, cookies and cocoa and ‘snow’ on Main Street. I’ve not been myself but if I had kids, I’d definitely take them. An extra advantage to it is restricted numbers, meaning the rides and queues are much quieter – especially towards the start of these parties (typically in early November) when they are often not sold-out.
The fact that it is out of school holiday times, the resulting lower crowd levels and the slightly lower (but still warm) temperatures make November a fab time to visit Orlando, as long as you can avoid Thanksgiving! Personally, I would definitely consider booking a holiday around the dates you mentioned.