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Here’s What You Need to Know When You Visit Walt Disney World in January

There’s nothing like starting a New Year off with a bang in the most magical place on Earth!  Not that we’d EVER turn down a chance to visit Walt Disney World, of course.  

Then again, a trip to WDW can look very different depending on the time of year you visit.  From crowds to weather to festivals and special events, there’s a lot to think about when choosing exactly when to embark on a Disney vacation.  If you’re visiting Walt Disney World in January (lucky you!), here are a few things you might want to know.

Ride Closures

It’s normal for rides to close for refurbishment every now and then.  But it can be quite a disappointment to come all the way to Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, or EPCOT and discover that your favorite ride is closed!  

Before you book a Disney trip, it’s a good idea to check out the rides that will be scheduled for refurbishment when you’re there.  For example, in January 2022, Expedition Everest and Splash Mountain will both be down for refurbishment, and Blizzard Beach is also closed for scheduled maintenance.  

Typhoon Lagoon 

It’s not all bad news on the refurbishment front, however, since Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park – closed since March of 2020 – has finally reopened as of January 2!  It’s typical for Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon to alternate their closures in the winter, and we’re thrilled to see that Guests will indeed be able to enjoy Typhoon Lagoon this winter while Blizzard Beach is down for refurbishments.

Crowds

It’s worth considering what crowd levels might be like when planning a trip to WDW.  Even before COVID-19, it was much more pleasant to visit when crowds were low, making wait times for everything much shorter, and eliminating the risk that you might not get into a Theme Park at all due to it reaching crowd capacity.  But now, escaping the worst of Walt Disney World crowds might have taken on even greater importance for you and your family. 

The good news is that, in general, January is a great time to visit WDW for crowds!  Assuming that you skip the first few days of the month, when Guests flock to the Parks to celebrate the New Year, the long weekend of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend (January 5-9 this year), you have an excellent chance of enjoying lower crowds on your Disney vacation!  

Weather

Orlando has a reputation for hot, sunny weather, and that’s an accurate picture – some of the time!  But as anyone who has visited Walt Disney World can tell you, it can also be rainy, and even downright chilly, depending on when you visit.  

If you’re looking to avoid the worst of Orlando’s oppressive heat and humidity, January is an excellent time to visit WDW!  In fact, you won’t find a cooler month in which to visit.  This might make a day at Typhoon Lagoon (the Water Park will not open if the forecasted temperature is too low) or a ride on Kali River Rapids slightly uncomfortable, but you shouldn’t have to worry about heatstroke!

With average highs around 72 degrees and average lows around 48 degrees, you’ll definitely want to bring some warm clothing for early mornings and late nights.  While the UV index averages no more than 5 in January, you will still want to take precautions against the sun.  Orlando receives a limited amount of rain in a typical January, but short showers or rainy days are always possible!

EPCOT International Festival of the Arts

Guests barely have time to mourn the end of the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays before the next festival begins at the Park!  From January 14 to February 21 this year, you can enjoy the EPCOT International Festival of the Arts when you visit Walt Disney World.  

Festival of the Arts is a relatively new festival, having debuted in 2017, and it allows Guests to celebrate visual, culinary, and performing arts throughout Disney’s EPCOT Park.  From Food Studios to live performances to hands-on art exhibits, the artsy fun is limitless!  Grab a Festival of the Arts Passport when you arrive to discover details of what’s going on during your stay.

Credit: Disney

Extended Hours

If you need another reason to visit Walt Disney World in January, here it is: extended evening hours!  To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of WDW, Disney has implemented Extended Evening Hours on certain evenings for Guests at specific Resort Hotels on property.  

You’ll need to be a Guest at a Disney Deluxe Resort or a Disney Deluxe Villa Resort to be eligible.  The extended evening hours are for a specific WDW Theme Park on any given day (for example, on January 12, Disney’s Magic Kingdom offers extended hours from 9:00 P.M. until 11:00 P.M.), so check the Extended Evening Theme Park Hours Schedule online before you go!

Bottom Line

For serious Disney fans, there’s really no bad time for a trip to Walt Disney World!  But it is true that a Disney Guest’s experience will vary in some fairly significant ways depending on the month in which they visit.  

In January, you’ll want to think about ride and Water Park closures for refurbishment.  But Walt Disney World Guests can also look forward to mild weather, low crowds most days of the month, the EPCOT International Festival of the Arts, and even Extended Evening Hours.  So grab those Mickey Ears, and enjoy!

About Stacy Milford

Stacy has lived in 4 countries on 3 continents, and travels whenever humanly possible. Passionate about music theatre, dessert, and adventure in the great wide somewhere, she visits Walt Disney World every year, usually during Halloween! Stacy currently divides her time between writing and teaching English as a second language to children in China, and is pretty sure growing up is over-rated.