January is a slow, laid-back time of year at Disney World, so even if you sleep in, you can still experience a lot of rides and attractions each day without much of a wait. If you're planning your trip to Orlando, Florida to visit this great theme park, make sure you plan ahead though for some maintenance and limited park hours during Disney's off-season.
Since the weather in Orlando is nice year-round, the months of December, January, and February are an ideal time to explore some of Disney's great outdoor offerings like biking, horseback riding, and camping; also, be sure to pack your running shoes and join the marathon fun at Disney World in January—there are events for every member of the family!
The weather will be mild and comfortable most of the time, but don't be surprised if the mornings and evenings are chilly, with overnight frost a possibility; pack a lightweight sweater and a jacket, and mix and match as needed during your trip.
Crowd Levels and Perks of January at Disney
After the first few days of January, expect to see thin crowds as holiday travelers make their way home from Disney World. It should be easier than usual to secure the room you want at a price you can afford, and you may be able to snag a reservation at some of Disney's most coveted dining locations.
If you travel early in January you may not avoid the crowds, but you'll be able to enjoy Disney's holiday decorations before they come down. If you want to see just how incredible the holiday displays are without the frantic rush of the Christmas season, January is an ideal time for a visit.
Sports and outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy visiting Disney World this month when they can take part in the annual Disney Marathon or spend the night camping at Fort Wilderness while the bugs and critters are hiding from the colder weather.
Other Tips, Warnings, and Cautions
Make sure you use FastPass+ for big attractions like Splash Mountain or Space Mountain to be able to pack more rides into a single day. Alternatively, staying at a Disney resort hotel offers the perk of visiting the theme parks on certain days before or after regular hours through Disney's Extra Magic Hours program.
Even though park attendance is low, be sure to make Advanced Dining Reservations for table service restaurants. These reservations can be made for many of Disney World's restaurants up to 180 days in advance of your visit.
January is a good month to bring a baby to Disney for the first time. The weather is mild, and it will be easier to get around, thanks to the low crowd levels. However, also expect to see reduced park hours and some rides closed for restoration during the month, and even though Disney World resort pools are heated, it may feel too cold for swimming.
Edited by Dawn Henthorn, Florida Travel Expert since June 2000