Disney World in January

Disney World in January -  Crowd Information, Ride Closure & Refurbishments and Special Events Information in one easy list.

Disney World in January -  Crowd Information, Ride Closure & Refurbishments and Special Events Information in one easy list.

January is a month of extremes at Disney World; you have crazy crowds until everyone heads home from Christmas vacation followed by some of the lowest crowds of the year with a short spike in the crowds for Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend. Here's what you need to know before you go!

Average High: 71° f
Average Low: 47° f
Average Monthly Precipitation: 2.39"

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Disney World Ride Closures & Refurbishments in January 2016

  • We will update this section as more information is released
  • Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort - Old Port Royale Food Court, Shutters restaurant, Cabana Pool Bar & the Calypso Trading Post will be closed from May 1, 2017 to June 18, 2018.   Dining options will be available for breakfast, lunch & dinner.  Centertown will serve breakfast & dinner.  Grab-and-Go meals like pastries, salads, fruit, and sandwiches will be sold in the Aruba, Jamaica and Aruba sections of the resort.   In-room dining will still be available. 

Don't Miss Out on Great Experiences at Disney World!

We want to help you have the most wonderful, most memorable Disney vacation possible. We know that giving you good, up-to-date information and a few simple tools will make a huge difference in your Disney vacation. Long lines become short lines and you will have great memories of shared experiences instead of missed opportunities.  That's why we're called Build A Better Mouse Trip.

Here’s how we help you have a great vacation:

  • Your travel agent – You have one agent from start-to-finish who knows your name and your priorities and who wants to do everything possible to help you have a wonderful experience.
  • “Best Days” Itinerary – We’ll help you build an itinerary that includes your priorities for fireworks, parades, crowds and shows. Then we help with dining & Fastpass+ reservations.
  • Saving Money – Of course we watch for discounts and promotion and automatically apply the best available offer to your reservation but we also help you avoid up-sells and options you won’t use.
  • We Are Fee-Free - We book directly through Disney and we never charge a service fee so you never pay any extra to use our services when you book your trip through us.  You can have all the benefits Disney offers PLUS all the services we offer.  You can also purchase planning services through us if you've booked on your own or through another travel agency. 

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Special Events at Disney World in January:

  • WDW Marathon Weekend - January 4 - 8, 2017.   While the marathon events don't really affect the theme parks, expect the hotels to be very full so book early. 
  • The Epcot International Festival of the Arts will debut on January 13, 2017 and will run for six weekends (Fridays through Mondays).  Guests will get to enjoy the works of past Disney artists like Mary Blair as well as works by current artists like Joe Kaminski and Costa Alavezos, including live demonstrations. Disney Theatrical will bring an exciting new showcase of favorite music and Broadway talent to the America Gardens Theatre stage, including songs from Disney on Broadway's award-winning shows The Lion King, Newsies and Aladdin.  The culinary arts will also be celebrated in the Food Studios area of the festival.

  • Disney Springs - Lego Store Events - The Lego Store offers periodic activities like building events or Lego Club meetings, and special offers.    Click here for the current month and next month's calendar. 

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Crowd Warnings for Disney World in January:

  • Christmas / Hanukkah Break - December 17, 2016 - January 7, 2017. Christmas is insanely busy at Disney World, giving you lots of opportunity to practice your "good will to men". The great thing is that the temperatures are cool, the parks are at their festive best, and Disney always extends the hours, but you absolutely, positively need a good touring plan to avoid lines that routinely are 1 - 3 hours long. Get one of our Disney-focused travel agents to help you manage all the special issues that affect this busy season. Important Tip: The lines will be shortest in the first hour or two that the park is open so plan to arrive at least 20 minutes before opening to have the most fun in the shortest time. It is better to arrive early and take a mid-day break than to arrive late and suffer through the long lines. Book dining reservations as soon as possible!
  • Parks Open Early to Everyone - The Disney World theme parks typically open to the general public at 9:00PM but there are days during the holiday season where one or more of the theme parks will open to everyone (not just guests of the Disney World hotels) at 8:00AM.   The early bird gets the shortest lines so this is a great opportunity.   The Magic Kingdom will open at 8:00AM on To Be Announced.   The Animal Kingdom will open at 8:00AM on To Be Announced.   Disney's Hollywood Studios will open at 8:00AM on To Be Announced.   Epcot will open at 8:00AM on To Be Announced.   
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend - January 13 - 16, 2017. Expect higher crowds just before, during and right after Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. Arrive at the parks early and use a good touring plan and you'll be fine.
  • Thoughts on Extra Magic Hours - Extra Magic Hour(s) is when one of the Disney theme parks opens an hour early or stays open two extra hours after closing for guests staying at one of the official Disney hotels. Because Disney has 33,000 hotel rooms, the Extra Magic Hour Park will always be the most crowded park of the day so please avoid the parks on these days during the crazy crowds of Christmas. Low crowds often mean shorter park hours in the later weeks of January so the Extra Magic Hours can give you the time you need to enjoy the parks when crowds aren't a factor. Important - Guests staying at a non-Disney hotel still need to know which park has Extra Magic Hours so you don't end up in line behind people who got in an hour before you. Check here to see the schedule for Extra Magic Hours during your Disney vacation.
  • Be smart about Character Breakfast reservations - The theme parks are at their least crowded and the lines are shortest when the parks first open for the day.  Please don't sit in a restaurant when lines are short and then head out to the attractions just in time to get in a long line. Book a character lunch or dinner instead. Besides that, character lunches and dinners give you more bang for your buck when you're on a Disney Dining Plan. If you love character breakfasts, consider booking a late character breakfast seating and treat it like brunch; this will still let you enjoy the short lines just after park opening before sitting down to eat.  Another good option is to save character breakfasts for a water park day, a relaxing-at-the-resort day, or departure day.
  • Fantasmic! at Disney's Hollywood Studios - Fantasmic! will have at least one performance every night in January, except To Be Announced.  Warning: This show is excellent but it does feature villains for a good 8-10 minutes and the lake catches fire, which can be frightening to some small children.
  • Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend - January 4 - 8, 2017.  These events do not take place in the theme parks but you will notice runners and their families in your resort and, at times, visiting the parks.
  • Save time and money by having snacks, bottled water and other food items delivered directly to your resort by Garden Grocer - Click HERE for more information.
  • Don't get overwhelmed by the details - let us help: High crowds/ low crowds. Long hours / short hours. It can be a lot to think through but vacation planning is always a lot easier when you have one of our Disney-focused travel agents to help. Imagine how much better your vacation will be when we give you a "Best Days" itinerary that puts you in the best theme park for each day of your trip, book dining reservation on your behalf (subject to availability) at times that don't interfere with parades and fireworks, and by give you excellent theme park touring plans that keep lines to an absolute minimum. We are Authorized Disney Vacation Planners and you get all of this expert service at no extra charge when you book your Disney vacation through Build A Better Mouse Trip.

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The Magical Extras Savings Card is included in every Walt Disney World Resort vacation package and provides discounts at several restaurants, shops, and activities.  Click here for full details.

Use the month buttons below for lists of Disney World ride closures, attraction refurbishments, special events and crowd warnings by month.  We hope this information helps you have a wonderful and memorable vacation.