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Disney World in January: How to Enjoy the Festival of Arts and Low Crowds

Disney World in January comes at the end of the popular holiday season including Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party inside Magic Kingdom. As the holiday season wraps up, Disney World in January offers festivals and low crowd levels!

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Everyone has personal preferences to consider when planning the date of their Walt Disney World trip- each season will have its pros and cons and guests’ choices will vary based on those. Make sure to read our Walt Disney World crowd calendar to get an idea of what to expect when picking a date to visit Walt Disney World.

Keep reading for everything you need to know about visiting Disney World in January including current events, what weather to expect, crowd level predictions, and what to pack!

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In this planning guide:

Disney World Events in JanuaryDisney World on Broadway

Here are all the current events to know about impacting Disney World in January!

Holiday Events & Celebrations at Disney World

The holiday season runs until January 6th at the Walt Disney World Resort so you will see some remaining holiday decor through that first week of the month. Read our full guide to celebrating the holidays at Disney World to find out everything about how each park celebrates, meet and greets, special events, food, and more.

Epcot International Festival of the Arts

The Epcot International Festival of the Arts will run January through February at Epcot. The festival includes a Disney on Broadway Concert Series, live performance art which includes international musical and variety acts, acrobatics, amazing living statues, marching bands, workshops, seminars, art galleries, and more!

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend takes place at the beginning of January. There are runs for fans of every age, including children races and a half marathon, along with a 5 and 10K. Brave runners can accept the Disney Two Course Challenge by combining the 10K and half marathon to earn the Challenge Medal.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened to the public at the end of August. Make sure to read our guide to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge for land reviews, tips and tricks, and everything you need to know. This land has been extremely popular since opening so it’s important to plan your day accordingly if Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is a priority.

Disney World in January Crowd CalendarCinderella Castle entrance at Disney World

January is a great time to visit Walt Disney World when it comes to crowd levels. With the exception of Martin Luther King day, which is a very busy day at any theme park, the month of January is relatively quiet at Disney World with low crowd levels. Since this is a less busy time of year you will see shortened hours and entertainment along with larger ride refurbishments so that is something to be prepared for.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will still be a large draw for guests visiting Disney World in January so you can expect some larger crowds flocking to Disney’s Hollywood Studios than normal. This may be welcome news for Pandora fans as it may take some pressure off the high ticket rides in Animal Kingdom.

Disney World Weather in JanuaryWalt Disney World sign

The weather at Disney World in January is fairly dry with warmer days and chilly nights making it a great time of the year to visit. The average high for Orlando in January is 72 degrees with the average low being 48 degrees. Since the weather isn’t as hot, this is a great time of year to visit for those that don’t enjoy heat. January is also known for being the coldest month of the year in Orlando so make sure to bring some layers to handle those night time chills.

Chances of rain in January are the lowest you typically see all year with only an average three days of rain in the month. For guests that love Disney World but are not a big fan of the rain, this makes January a great time to visit.

Tips for Visiting Disney World in January

When it comes to visiting Disney World in January, we have some tried and true hacks for having a magical time on your vacation.

What to Wear 

One of the most frequently asked guest questions is: what should I wear to Disney World? Always check the weather leading up to your trip. The good news about visiting Disney World in January is that the chance of rainfall is greatly reduced making it less necessary to wear a rain poncho daily to the parks. We still recommend bringing one so you can enjoy the water rides without getting drenched. I recommend dressing in layers and come prepared for some chilly mornings. Once the sun goes down, the evenings will feel chilly (especially when you factor in humidity) so bring some lightweight hoodies or jackets. You can always rent a locker to store jackets in during the day and go back to grab them once the day cools down.

What to Pack 

January is considered the coldest month in Orlando which is still pretty warm by some Midwestern folks’ standards. The nights will get chilly as the temperature drops so bringing light layers that you can shed during the day and put back on at night is the best way to go. Because the weather can vary so much day by day, check the weather each day leading up to your trip. Come prepared based on what the forecast says.

You can read our giant packing list here to make sure you show up prepared for literally anything you need while you’re visiting Disney World.

What to Expect

There are a few things you should expect when choosing January as your month to visit Disney World:

  • Prepare for Refurbishments and Reduced Entertainment- since January is considered one the slowest months of the year it’s a common time for Walt Disney World to do any needed ride and entertainment refurbishments. Along with that, you will also see shortened park hours and entertainment schedules in consideration of the lower crowd levels. These are all things to be prepared for when visiting this time of year that certain rides (including possibly your favorite!) may be closed. You can check Walt Disney World’s entertainment schedule leading up to your visit to get an idea of what rides may be closed.
  • Prepare for Possible Construction- at the recent D23 Expo, Disney Parks announced a huge project to completely reorganize and add to Epcot in preparation Disney World’s 50th Anniversary in 2021.
  • Tips for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge- if you’re planning on visiting Batuu, then make sure to read our guide on the new Star Wars themed land! There are a few experiences that have been extremely popular aside from the Millennium Falcon ride and it’s good to show up prepared so you know where to go first and how to make reservations for popular experiences.

But most of all, remember to enjoy your time at the most magical place on earth!

Plan Your Disney World Vacation!

Keep reading our blog to keep you updated on everything you need to know to prepare for a Disney Parks vacation! We have a team of writers working hard to keep you updated weekly on events in the parks and tips for navigating the magic. Subscribe to our free deals newsletter to receive helpful planning information, exclusive Disney deals, and access to the lowest priced Disney tickets anywhere. You can find more information on planning your vacation here:

Disclosure: We have used all the products recommended on Mickey Visit. We may receive compensation when you click on links to some products featured.

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