January 2, 2013

What You Can Expect in January

I'd like to introduce you to Tammy, our guest blogger of the day! She's done an excellent job giving an overview of what to expect at Walt Disney World in January. I hope you'll learn something new... I didn't know about "the Goofy Challenge" and I'm pretty sure you have to be goofy in order to willingly try it! =) Thank you, Tammy, for sharing your expertise with us!! ~Terri


I cannot think of a better way to start a new year than visiting Walt Disney World! My family has travelled in January several times, and we have found that it can be a crazy month with the weather and crowds. Whether you are looking for lots of action or want the parks to yourselves, that can happen in January! In the past few years, free dining has been offered with a resort package, which includes your room and park tickets. These discount packages are usually offered in late fall for January travel.  If no specials are offered, this is still value season, so you will find some of the lowest rates of the year.

The weather during January can be somewhat unpredictable. In general, the highs are in the upper 60's with lows in the lower 50's. You will definitely want a jacket for cool mornings and evenings. We have been there when it was snowing (yes, really, in Florida!) and we needed hats, coats and gloves during the day. There have also been days when we wore t-shirts and shorts and were able to swim. My best advice is to pack layers that you can add or take-off as the temperature changes. Winter apparel is pretty hard to find in Florida and it is not cheap, so save yourself a few dollars and add those items to your packing list.  Disney will bring out one-size-fits-all knit hats and gloves to sell if the temperatures are low.

During the first few days of the month, the holiday decorations, lights and music will still be up for you to enjoy. Generally, somewhere around the 5th, the decorations will start to magically disappear.  The crowds are a little larger during these first few days of January.


The annual Walt Disney World Marathon is held the second weekend of January. Literally thousands of people will visit the resort to run during this four-day event. The weekend includes a family-friendly 5K, a half-marathon, a full marathon (16,000+ runners), a kids run, a pasta party and more.  The races do sell out, so register early if you want to participate (www.rundisney.com). If you are not a runner, you can sign up for the ChEAR squad with reserved seating to cheer on your favorite runner(s). You can visit the Expo at the Wide World of Sports complex and find some great fitness gear, seminars, and more.


My husband completed the Goofy Challenge (running both the half and full marathons) in 2010. If you do have a family member running for the first time, or just being "Goofy", I definitely recommend a room at one of the Disney Vacation Club villas. The one-bedroom and larger accommodations have a whirlpool tub, and your tired runner will appreciate a nice relaxing soak after their event. The crowds will swell during this time and transportation will be delayed during events (both major events take runners through the parks). It is great fun to watch, as many runners dress in costume and there is a very festive atmosphere around the event.  

Crowds will also get a bump during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, though this is the least crowded holiday at Disney. After the MLK holiday weekend, the crowds pretty much disappear, and you can practically own the parks! Since this is a slower time, you may find some of the favorite rides are down for refurbishment. Don't worry though, there will still be plenty to do and see, without the sweltering heat of summer.



Tammy is mom to two wonderful teenagers, Chelsea and Will, and wife to a fabulous Disney Dad, Keith. She has visited Walt Disney World over 50 times and has sailed on all four Disney Cruise Line ships. You can see more of her Disney travels on her facebook page or follow her on twitter.


2 comments:

  1. Great article, we are going at the end of the month the last week through the first week in Feb. I have a question...Everyone says the crowds are low but what has been your highest ride wait time? We are traveling with 6 people including my mom who has MS and a 1 yr old. I'm wondering will we still see 45 min ride time on the most popular rides?

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  2. Thanks for your comments! At that time of the year, you will find most rides have a 15 minute or less wait (a lot will be "walk on"). However, you are always going to have those longer wait times for popular (Toy Story Mania, Soarin, etc.) or recently refurbished (Test Track) rides. My best advice for those rides is to take advantage of fast pass. As soon as you enter the park, designate a runner to go to that attraction with everyone's passes and obtain fast passes for everyone in the party (everyone must have used their ticket to enter the park for the fast pass machine to provide a ticket). They can meet back up with you at another attraction while you wait for your fast pass window to open. The other thing you can do is to make sure you are in the park for what I consider "the magic hour". The first hour of the morning in any park is amazing! You can almost walk right on these big attractions, and enjoy two or three regular attractions in that first hour. The key is to be at the park before the gates open, and go straight to the biggest attraction first. Good luck and enjoy your trip!

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