January at Walt Disney World is sort of the month of the holiday hangover. Some of the Christmas entertainment keeps going for a few days in early January, and there are still decorations up for the first half of the month. The big draw during the month of January is the Walt Disney World Marathon held the second weekend of January, and after that things are mostly quiet.
Most guests who wanted to visit during the winter planned an earlier trip to visit during the Christmas season, and most planning 2015 Walt Disney World trips just started planning after Christmas, and probably won’t visit until Spring Break, at the earliest. There are a lot of upsides to visiting in January, from light crowds to temperate (actually, sometimes downright cold) weather, but I’ll be honest: I’m not a huge fan of Walt Disney World in January. To me, it really does feel like a hangover. There are straggler decorations that feel out of place or forgotten, and all of the rest of the entertainment for the year isn’t yet ready to start. This is entirely a matter of personal preference, as I know plenty of people like this time of year.
In terms of crowds, January is one of the slower months of the year once you get past the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. It used to be the case that crowds basically plummeted starting New Year’s Day, but Disney has wisely placed the Marathon Weekend at a point in January such that holiday crowds leave and runDisney crowds pretty much arrive simultaneously. The week or so between New Year’s and Marathon Weekend isn’t as crazy as the weeks leading to Christmas and New Year’s, but it is pretty busy. By mid-January, the parks are dead. Because of this, expect shorter park hours throughout January, with all parks being closed by 9 pm on many nights. (more…)