Welcome to our series on what to expect during each month at Walt Disney World. We break down the essentials month by month so you know how to best prepare for your trip or to help you chose which month you want to take a trip to Disney World. Here is what to expect when visiting Disney world in January.
Disney World in January lacks a lot of the urgency and fervor associated with the spring and Holiday seasons. You could even call it quiet. It has mild temps and for the most part mild crowds as well. It is important to note that Disney often uses this time for refurbishment. Therefore, search for temporary closures before a January trip. This avoids any heartbreak on your favorite ride being closed when you arrive.
The Weather in Disney World in January
When visiting during this month it’s important to keep a close watch on the weather forecast leading up to your trip. The weather on average ranges from the mid-50s to the low 70s. Be warned, much like December, we have seen unseasonable heat waves as well as freak cold snaps that included a hard frost. Needless to say, it’s best to pack at least one pair of shorts in that suitcase along with several sweaters and a winter coat if you can squeeze it in. Really, unfortunately, packing light is harder during this month and you will need to pack for a wide range of weather possibilities.
Once you have checked the weather forecast and packed your luggage, continue to check for updates so you can adjust your plans accordingly. It’s a good idea to download a reliable weather prediction app that gives day-of forecasts revealing the hourly impact on your area. It can give you the opportunity to adapt and optimize your experience by staying ahead of undesirable changes.
For more on what to pack check out our FREE: The Ultimate Disney Packing List.
Disney World in January Events
Special Holiday Events
Believe it or not some holiday events do spill over into the beginning of January. If you visit during the first half of the month many of the Christmas decorations will still be up as they slowly start to remove them from the resorts. There are so many holiday events happening at every park, the hotels and Disney Springs that we had to move it all over to its own article to give it proper justice. To find out what events are running into January read A Complete List of Walt Disney World Holiday Offerings.
Epcot’s International Festival of the Arts
This event returns for the third year in a row! This year the festival begins on January 17th to run throughout the month and until February 24th at Epcot. The festival, which used to be held on weekends only, now operates full-time during this season.
If you missed the event in previous years, it includes phenomenal artists, food booths around World Showcase, Broadway musical performances, stage productions, and other amazing acts. The event also includes the opportunity for you to participate (for a fee) in art seminars.
For our full guide read What You Need to Know About Epcot’s Festival of the Arts
Walt Disney World Marathon
The marathon runs from January 8, 2020 – January 12, 2020, and attracts a large crowd of people, as all RunDisney events do. The wildly popular RunDisney marathons typically sell out months in advance, if not instantly! The marathons run through the Disney World theme parks after hours and feature character meet and greet opportunities along the way. It’s a really unique opportunity if you are up for a run on your vacation! Beware, the parks are more crowded on the race weekends.
Occasionally during the year, Walt Disney World will have After Hours events. This January on select nights throughout the month the Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom will host after-hours events that require a separate ticket. These after-hours parties feature limited crowds, nighttime ambiance, and complimentary treats. The Magic Kingdom After Hours parties are on 1/6, 1/13, 1/17, 1/20, 1/23, 1/27, and 1/31 in 2020. Disney’s Animal Kingdom After Hours nights will be on 1/9, 1/16, 1/22, and 1/30.
During After Hours events you get to experience several park attractions with low wait times and limited crowds around the park.
Early Morning Magic
Another extended-hours feature Walt Disney World offers guests is Early Morning Magic (EMM). This is not to be confused with Extra Magic Hours (EMH) which occur in rotation for all parks every week. Extra Magic Hours are available either mornings or evenings as an added benefit for resort guests with no additional charge. Early Morning Magic is available to all guests for the price of a special ticket. The ticket entitles you to early entry to a specific area in a specific park. In January EMM is available on select dates for Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom. Besides early access to rides in the area, guests who arrive for EMM also are treated to a special breakfast buffet. The Early Morning Magic dates selected for January 2020 are 1/6, 1/8, 1/14, 1/16, 1/19, 1/21, 1/28, and 1/30.
Disney World in January Crowd Calendar
The Crowd Calendar shows popular dates indicated by higher ticket prices. The lowest cost dates assume lower projected attendance. Read our complete Disney Crowd Calendar for more information.
Refurbishments at Disney World for January 2020
- Splash Mountain – January 6, 2020 to February 27, 2020
- Impressions de France – Reopens January 2020
- O Canada – Reopens January 2020
- Test Track – January 13, 2020 to February 26, 2020
- Blizzard Beach – Reopens January 12, 2020
- Typhoon Lagoon – January 13, 2020 to March 28, 2020
Visiting Disney in Other Months?
Whenever you plan to visit Walt Disney World, we have you covered with tips and general information for that particular month. Each month of 2020 has a unique reason to visit and unique challenges to face. Select a link for more WDW vacation tips.
More Disney Trip Planning Tips
I have been visiting the parks annually since my parents first brought me at just a year old. Recently I was able to fulfill my life long dream of being a Florida local and moved from the wintery Northeast to the sunshine and fun of central Florida. Now I am hoping to share my Disney knowledge with you so you can have the best vacation possible!