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Planning for Disney World in January

by Leap on January 1, 2017 54

After the merriment (or madness) of the holidays that accompanies December, Disney World in January is a relatively relaxing time. We can think of no better place to make (or break) a few New Year's resolutions than at the theme parks.

Overview of Disney World in January

Disney World in January - Walt Disney World Marathon

If you pick the right days, January can be a terrific time to visit Walt Disney World. The majority of the month historically has seen low to medium crowds, especially after the first week of the year, when the kids are back in school. Although the temperature can be chilly in the early mornings and evenings, and there are occasional "cold" days that close the water parks, Orlando is nowhere near as cold or as dark as the rest of the country this time of year. There is still plenty of Florida sunshine, and with the pools heated, you might forget that it's still winter!

Crowds at Disney World in January

As far as crowd levels go, January is divided. The week of New Year's Day sees some of the highest crowd levels possible. After that first week, the crowds are overwhelmingly neutral with a handful of low days sprinkled in. If you're considering taking the kids out of school for vacation, the second half of the month is a better time than the first. We know this is a personal decision, and we won’t judge you either way (here are a few questions to ask yourself before you do).

Before you book your trip to Disney World in January, we recommend you check out the Crowd Calendar to find the best travel dates and then revisiting it again as you get closer to your actual trip to pick the recommended park by day.

Weather at Disney World in January

Disney World in January - Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Beach Area

Rainfall chances in January are low; the average high is 74 and the low is 49. Disney's Blizzard Beach and LEGOLAND’s Water Park are typically closed for the season (Disney's Typhoon Lagoon, SeaWorld by Aquatica and Wet 'n' Wild are open and heated). The Disney resort pools and most Orlando hotel pools are heated! Here is the packing list for this time of year.

Events at Disney World in January

There are a few events happening at Disney World in  January. Here’s the rundown of the major theme park events that usually take place in January. Be sure to check out special events pages for Disney WorldUniversal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando & Busch Gardens Tampa for full details.

  • Walt Disney World Marathon
  • A Celebration of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando

Are you planning to visit Disney World in February? Share any questions you have in comments below! You'll find more resources to help you plan your Disney World vacation on our When to Visit Orlando page inside the Orlando Planning Guide.

Keep hopping!

Keep hopping, Leap!
View Comments
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Feb 19, 2020 at 1:40 p.m. Jessie Says...

We are arriving Jan 10th 2021, any chance the decorations will still be up?

Reply
Feb 19, 2020 at 9:25 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jessie!

We don't have next year's holiday dates just yet to know for certain, but decorations are usually down before the Walt Disney World Marathon, which will be taking place beginning Jan. 6, 2020 - so we'd guess it's unlikely that decorations will still be up on the 10th. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Nov 21, 2019 at 6:48 a.m. Mary Says...

My family, 2 grown children and 4 granddaughters will be leaving for Disney World on December 30th-January 5th. It is a surprise trip for the girls. We realize that it's going to be crowded for a few days. We are just hoping for warm temps and maybe just maybe the last couple of days the crowd level goes down! It's the oldest granddaughters 10th birthday and she's the only one that has a winter birthday so she has been begging to be somewhere warm for her birthday. So please God let it be warm for Alivia!!!

Reply
Nov 21, 2019 at 8:31 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Thinking warm thoughts for Alivia (and your whole fam!), Mary! Even if it's a bit chilly, it may be the perfect time to splurge on a new Spirit Jersey ;) Have a wonderful trip!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jun 14, 2019 at 7:53 p.m. Lisa Says...

We are visiting in Friday, 1/3/20 - Friday, 1/10/20 & from what I am reading it looks like it may be busy. Someone told me the 1st week is empty. Is this true?

Reply
Jun 19, 2019 at 3:13 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Lisa,

That first weekend could be busy due to leftover crowds from the holidays, but once schools are back in session the following week, crowd levels generally fall back down. Check out our Crowd Calendar for further planning!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 3, 2019 at 6:52 p.m. Joanne Says...

We are doing only one day..probably at the Magic Kingdom on Jan. 17th. They told us that all of the parks close at 8 that day, except Epcot, which closes at 9. Why no discount on price if they are closing early?

Reply
Dec 29, 2018 at 4:53 p.m. Russ Says...

We're going Jan 27-31, looks like crowds overall should be great. When the crowd level is 3/10 or 2/10, but an individual park is marked with `!`, does that mean that park is expected to be crazy buy or just busier than the rest that day?

Reply
Dec 30, 2018 at 7:45 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Russ,

The overall crowd level is the best indicator of crowd levels. Low crowd levels are expected overall with a 2 or 3. If a park has the !, it is expected to be more crowded on that day in relation to the rest of the parks.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Dec 26, 2018 at 9:24 p.m. June Deisenroth Says...

Will be at Disney Jan 9, 2019. Crowds? Appropriate dress? Recommendations?

Reply
Dec 27, 2018 at 9:35 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi June,

This should be a great time to visit as you can see on our Crowd Calendar. We would recommend layers as it can get chilly this time of year.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Dec 3, 2018 at 6:46 p.m. JH Says...

Planning on taking little one for first time to the parks January 16-19th....I remember they used to have a special ticket for Florida residents in January I think like a 3 day ticket for like $140 do you think they will have this again?

Reply
Dec 3, 2018 at 4:53 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi there!

We're not sure if Disney World will be bringing back its Discover Disney, but we sell discounted tickets for Florida residents, too!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Nov 15, 2018 at 8:43 a.m. Dan Says...

Hey! Arriving Jan 12, 2019 and planning to go to Epcot that same day. Do you anticipate that to be a crowded park that day with it being marathon weekend?

Reply
Nov 27, 2018 at 4:31 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Dan!

You can check out our Crowd Calendar for details, but it does look like Epcot will be quite crowded that day.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Nov 4, 2018 at 4:22 p.m. Heather Ervin Says...

Iit's our very first trip and will be a surprise for our 14 year old and 5 year old. January 1-5. Two days at Disney. Which two parks do you recommend visiting for those two days. Are they're any events we need to be sure we go to?

Reply
Nov 15, 2018 at 6:25 p.m. liz froder Says...

Animal is super fun but not enough to do for a whole day, I usually park hop the day I do animal to epcot at night for the food and beverages, my kids love them both in one day. If I could only go for 2 days with a 14 and 5-year old I would say magic kingdom and Hollywood studios. there are rides for all ages, including you!

Reply
Jun 3, 2019 at 4:34 a.m. Cassandra Rivera Says...

I'm wanting to visit walt Disney world in January. My bday is the 16th. Should that be a great time?

Reply
Nov 4, 2018 at 6:10 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Heather!

That's a tough call - all of the parks are amazing! Animal Kingdom is our top recommendation for that combination of ages - tons of animal fun for the little one, and adventurous rides for the teenager! Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom are all great choices for your second day. We LOVE the Happily Ever After fireworks at Magic Kingdom. Oh, and be sure to check out our discounted tickets.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Oct 29, 2018 at 7:40 p.m. blany bridges Says...

I plan on coming in January. do they have the parades and fireworks in january

Reply
Oct 29, 2018 at 9:59 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi there!

All fireworks, parades and shows run in January the same as they do the rest of the year - weather permitting :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Oct 20, 2018 at 10:09 a.m. Mama Penguin Says...

We are planning a complete surprise trip to Disney and Universal Jan 29-Feb 6 for our kids, they will be 10,7 and 1 at the time of travel. How would you suggest packing for the weather? I don't want the kiddos to be grumpy frozen kids at the parks but I also don't want to pack the heavy winter things if not necessary.

Thanks!

Reply
Oct 28, 2018 at 7:37 a.m. Ell Says...

We go in late January often due to my birthday. Long sleeves! Light jackets! It gets a bit chilly but I am from California so your mileage may vary, I'm a wuss.

Reply
Oct 25, 2018 at 6:44 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi there!

We definitely suggest bringing lots of layers! Temperatures can fluctuate a lot during the early months of the year. We recommend wearing pants and t-shirts, and bringing along sweatshirts and jackets.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Oct 25, 2018 at 6:44 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi there!

We definitely suggest bringing lots of layers! Temperatures can fluctuate a lot during the early months of the year. We recommend wearing pants and t-shirts, and bringing along sweatshirts and jackets.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Oct 8, 2018 at 4:12 p.m. Aimee-Lee Says...

Hi me and my Bf are visiting 8th Jan 2019-22nd Jan do think the crowds will be really busy or okay?

Thank you in advance

Reply
Oct 9, 2018 at 11:57 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Aimee-Lee!

You can check out our Crowd Calendar for details, but it looks like there will be a variety of crowd levels during these dates, with plenty of low-moderate crowd days ... a great time to visit and enjoy the nice weather!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 27, 2018 at 12:54 a.m. Janet Feyerisen Says...

Can you tell me why the Crowd Calendar for

January 26th is 8/10?

Reply
Jul 30, 2018 at 10:09 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Janet!

We factor is a variety of variables such as holidays, school breaks, park events, historical crowds and more.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 30, 2018 at 3:41 a.m. Ceecee Says...

Headed down the weekend on Feb. 9th. What is Blizzard Beach like around this time? I know the water is heated but what about when younget out of the water? Temps are supposed to be in the mid 70s. I imagine it’s not crowded this time of year? Thank you!

Reply
Jan 30, 2018 at 9:02 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Ceecee,

Looks like temps have historically been in the low 70's. Us frogs aren't huge fans of hitting the water parks unless it is well into the 80's, as it can get a bit chilly once you get out of the water and are walking from slide to slide.

You can certainly expect low crowds at Blizzard Beach this time of year. However, Typhoon Lagoon (Disney World's other water park) is closed for refurbishment during this time, so those guests will head to Blizzard Beach instead. Still, you can expect a fairly empty Blizzard Beach!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Jan 26, 2018 at 2:26 a.m. Ohara Says...

Typically the marathon is the first weekend post NYE but in 2019 it is scheduled the second weekend. Do you think it will lessen the crowds on Jan 2,3,4,5 to have the marathon the following week in 2019?

Reply
Jan 26, 2018 at 9:52 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi there,

Absolutely! While New Year's crowds will still be dwindling, it should definitely be less busy without the marathon crowds.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Jan 19, 2018 at 2:18 a.m. Cat Says...

Considering flying down Saturday January 27- going to MK. Sunday January 28 going to AK or MK again, depending. Flying home first thing Monday AM. I'm nervous crowd wise. I looked at the calendar already but what exactly does it mean in terms of wait time? are we looking at 30 min+ waits? (Not talking FOP, test track etc) Traveing with little ones (2&5)

Reply
Jan 23, 2018 at 10:29 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Cat,

If you aren't planning on tackling any of the big rides, don't stress too much about wait times. Crowd levels are anticipated to be high, but wait times depend on a variety of additional factors. We recommend using your FastPass+ selections wisely to make the most of your time!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Jan 16, 2018 at 12:42 a.m. Beth Says...

For a variety

Reply
Jan 14, 2018 at 2:46 a.m. Mike Says...

Was at Wdw Jan 8 - 12. Crowds were comparable to trips taken in mid June. Would not go back nor would I recommend this week. Crowds were much better in October and November. Only positive was the weather. Long lines for everything.

Reply
Nov 14, 2017 at 10:22 a.m. Charlotte Says...

Hi, It is our first time visiting orlando in January. Discovery cove is one of my favourite things to do in orlando but would you recommend booking this for January? Thank you

Reply
Nov 15, 2017 at 11:09 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Charlotte,

The water is heated and there are wetsuits available. Keep in mind, the average temperature for January in Orlando is around 69 degrees. It all depends on what your idea of cold and warm is!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Sep 13, 2017 at 9:33 a.m. ashley Says...

curious on crowd levels at the waterparks in janauary. It shows blizzard beach opens up on the 6th. we would probably go on the 7th pending weather. We were thinking of going later in the day. what are peoples experiences with water parks in january?

Reply
Jan 4, 2015 at 5:37 a.m. Tanya Says...

My family is visiting from Jan 12-22. Is it worth purchasing the universal express pass during this time? Thanks.

Reply
Jan 5, 2015 at 8:49 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Tanya,

Most of the days during your visit should be medium, with the exception of Jan. 17 and 18. Check the Crowd Calendar for all of your dates.

Best,

Leap

Reply
Nov 18, 2014 at 7:43 p.m. Sarabeth Says...

Im weighing the pros and cons of staying at a Disney resort. I can stay at a nearby hotel for 1/2 the cost of staying at a Disney resort but my main question was about the extra hours Disney resort guests are offered. Is it really worth staying at a resort just for those few extra hours. Im not planning on purchasing a meal plan and the extra hours are really the only incentive I have for staying at a Disney resort.

Reply
Nov 19, 2014 at 8:44 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sarabeth,

It depends on when you are heading to the parks, but most of the time we recommend avoiding the park with the Extra Magic Hours. That said, staying on site is a fantastic experience and keeps you surrounded by the magic. We highly recommend it.

Leap

Reply
Jan 7, 2013 at 6:01 p.m. Cindy S Says...

Planned our WDW vacation using your crowd calendar for Jan 22-28. (all 2 and 3s) Was disappointed to see the calendar changed just a week ago to all 4s. What happened?

Reply
Jan 7, 2013 at 7:56 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Cindy,

On the crowd calendar, there can be slight tweaks as we get closer to an actual date, sometimes when Disney adjusts park hours or special events are added. Overall, the crowd level for all of the parks during your visit is neutral, so it should be a pleasant experience.

Let us know how the trip goes!

-- Leap

Reply
Jan 7, 2013 at 3:42 a.m. Jennie Says...

Planning hard. This is a lot of work but that's half the fun. My "kids" all in their 20's and I are revisiting WDW and Universal now that they're grown. I so appreciate all of your information, time saving and cost saving tips. We'll be park hopping and jumping for joy.

Reply
Jan 7, 2013 at 3:33 a.m. Marcia Says...

Sim,estarei com a família na última semana de Janeiro e primeira de fevereiro.Usarei seu calendário de multidões para escolher os parque por dia.Obrigada

Reply
Jan 5, 2013 at 4:45 p.m. Bob Says...

Are the extra magic days(nights) crowded in January? I looked at your attendance cal and it shows Magic Kingdom as yellow on Sundays. Would it be safe to visit in the morning and afternoon and leave early or is the park crowded all day?

Reply
Jan 7, 2013 at 2:04 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Bob,

This is a great question! Since the overall crowd levels are neutral, I think you could plan a visit to MK on a Sunday. The park crowd levels will be elevated because of extra magic hours, but if you plan on getting to the park at opening, you should have low crowds for the first few hours until peak hours in the afternoon.

New Fantasyland is seeing higher traffic than other areas of the park. If you want to experience those attractions, I would suggest doing them first thing.

Hope this helps!

-- Leap

Reply
Jan 2, 2013 at 11:39 p.m. Lisa Says...

Yes, my friend and I will be visiting Walt Disney World at the end of January. We will hit all 4 parks at least once plus revisit a few. We have some dining reservations but I think the crowds will be so low that we'll be fine walking up to a few places. We plan to pack sandwiches, snacks, jackets, and sunglasses for varying weather conditions And yes, we're going to Extra Magic Hours nights.

Reply
Jan 3, 2013 at 1:45 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Lisa,

Sounds like a great plan! Have fun, and let us know how it went when you get back.

-- Leap

Reply
Jan 2, 2013 at 6:42 p.m. Ernest Says...

There's an error 404 on the refurbishments link.

Reply
Jan 2, 2013 at 7:26 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Thank you! Here's the link.

http://blog.undercovertourist.com/2013/01/refurbishments-closings-walt-disney-world-universal-orlando/

-- Leap

Reply
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