Thanksgiving doesn’t have to just be about a feast, so here are a few things around the holiday to help you take advantage of the festive time. But don’t worry, we’ve also included some flavorful food-centric listings for those of you still looking for some tasty bites to savor.
1. Stock up on free food or donate seasonal goodies before the holiday at Knights Pantry
Where: Ferrell Commons on main campus or Room 213 in Building 150 at the Daytona campus
When: Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Using your UCF student ID, you can pick up five free items each weekday from Knights Pantry, but note it will be closed on Thanksgiving and the Friday following. If you have extra holiday treats or are feeling generous, donating nonperishable goods to the resource center is a great way to support your fellow Knights during the holidays. For more information, visit Knights Pantry’s website.
2. Enjoy a vegan or non-vegan Thanksgiving dinner at Drunken Monkey
Where: 444 N. Bumby Ave.
When: Nov. 28, with limited seating at 1, 4 and 7 p.m.
Price: $29.99 for adults; $16.99 ages 12 and under; kids under 5 eat free with the purchase of an adult meal.
Whether you’re vegan or a meat eater, Drunken Monkey will have a full spread of delicious food available on Thanksgiving Day. The feast includes: traditional turkey, turkey alternative, mashed potatoes and gravy (with a vegan option), stuffing, creamy green peas, ginger carrots, soups, pumpkin pie and other holiday desserts, and beverages. During each dining session 30 seats are available, so it’s best to call ahead and make a reservation.
3. Burn some calories at Avalon Park Foundation’s Turkey Trot
Where: 3680 Avalon Park East Blvd., Suite 300
When: Registration starts at 7 a.m. and the run begins at 8 a.m. on Nov. 28
Price: $20 until Nov. 13 during online pre-registration; $25 Nov. 14-25; $30 day of event
If you’re looking for a reason to justify indulging in all the food during Thanksgiving dinner, the Turkey Trot might be a perfect start to your holiday. The first 500 runners to finish the 5K will receive a medal. You can also purchase a specialty T-shirt for the event for $10, with prices increasing closer to the run. Bring along nonperishable and baby food items to donate to the Woodbury Food Pantry before the race begins. Preregistration packets can be picked up at organization’s SOHO office Nov. 26-27. For more information call 407-658-6565 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Celebrate as a true Floridian and visit Disney
Where: Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort
Price: $88 for Nov. 24-29 and $130 for Nov. 30, tickets available at the SGA ticket center on campus.
Take advantage of some shorter wait times and visit one of the four theme parks at Disney World. If you’re not an annual passholder, you can take advantage of discounted tickets through the SGA ticket center with a limit of two tickets priced at $88 each. Premium ticket pricing is in effect for the Saturday following Thanksgiving at $130. On Thanksgiving Day, various restaurants throughout each park will be serving holiday-inspired meals, so be on the lookout for special menus.
5. Take a waterfall trip with UCF’s Outdoor Adventure Program
Where: Northern Georgia
When: Nov. 27-Dec. 1
This is a great opportunity for students to do something different for Thanksgiving. Venture out to northern Georgia and explore a beautiful and different waterfall each day. On Thanksgiving, you and your travel companions will enjoy a feast among the gold, orange and red fall leaves in the great outdoors. Outdoor Adventure will provide experienced leaders, transportation, accommodation, meals and gear. Holiday travelers must attend and be registered before the pre-trip meeting at 8 p.m. Nov. 20 in the Outdoor Adventure Center. This is for a small group, so be sure to sign up ASAP.
6. Enjoy a hassle-free meal at Tapa Toro
Where: 8441 International Drive, No. 260
When: Nov. 28 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
If you think turkey is overrated, Tapa Toro has a Thanksgiving meal made for you. It starts with a couscous salad, followed by an herb-roasted chicken, Spanish ratatouille and roasted garlic potato puree. No Thanksgiving meal would be complete without pie, so the chefs have combined two for you in a pumpkin pecan pie served with vanilla ice cream. We recommend calling ahead or visiting their website to make a reservation so your experience is even easier to enjoy.
7. Fight off a food coma by watching a new flick
Where: Your couch, bed or a theater near you
When: Varying releases Nov. 26-28
Price: Included in your streaming-service subscription; theater tickets vary
Whether you spent hours laboring over your Thanksgiving meal or lifting your fork from your plate to your mouth is already enough work for you on this holiday, the perfect post-meal activity is movie watching. Some new releases on Hulu include El Astronauta, Meeting Gorbachev and Mike Wallace is Here. Netflix is dropping a few family friendly films, Super Monsters Save Christmas and True: Winter Wishes. The highly anticipated Martin Scorsese crime tale, The Irishman, starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and other stars, is available for streaming on Netflix Nov. 27.
If you have enough energy to leave the house, there are two new movies you can catch on the silver screen. Queen and Slim is a drama about a first date gone wrong that takes the couple, Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out and Black Panther) and Jodie Turner-Smith (Nightflyer) on a journey across the country. There’s also the comedic Knives Out, in which a detective played by Lakeith Stanfield, tries to uncover who killed the patriarch of a family, including characters played by Daniel Craig, Chris Evans and Jamie Lee Curtis.
8. Cheer on the Knights Against USF in the War on I-4 Football Game
Where: Spectrum Stadium
When: Nov. 29
Price: Free for students who claim tickets through UCFStudentTix.com; $60+ for others
Get plenty of rest the night before because you’ll need to rally and make the Bounce House do its thing as UCF takes on the USF Bulls. For the past two years, UCF has secured the football War on I-4 trophy and for three consecutive years the university has taken home the season-long competition honor. The Knights are sure to put up a fight to hold onto bragging rights.
9. Spend some time giving back to others
The holiday season often spurs a generous spirit and inspires people to give back. While it certainly is great to spend time on Thanksgiving at a soup kitchen or other service organizations, also consider spending some time now and next month helping those in your local community when fewer volunteers usually are available. VolunteerUCF is a student organization that can connect you to service opportunities and events, so be sure to check out their event page.