January is a wonderful time to enjoy Walt Disney World! In fact, it’s one of my favorite times to visit. The holiday crowds have gone home, and the spring break crowds are still months away. But that doesn’t mean crowds won’t play a factor. In recent years, January has become a more popular time to visit the parks. Cooler temperatures and special events will play a key role. And for many, January is an easier time to take off from school and work. So when it comes to visiting Walt Disney World in January, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind before finalizing your travel dates.
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Planning a Disney World vacation in 2023? Be sure to check out our guide to all that the Walt Disney World Resort has to offer this year including the opening of TRON Lightcycle Run Roller Coaster, updated nighttime spectaculars, and more!
- Prepare to wear layers! January weather can be unpredictable. I have personally visited when temperatures were close to freezing overnight and in the early morning. (Rope drop was VERY cold!) I also visited in January when temperatures were over 80 degrees. And while these extreme temperatures aren’t the norm, it’s good to be prepared just in case. Typically, you will want to layer up as mornings and evenings are cooler and afternoons warm up a bit.
- While some days are warm enough to swim, others are not. And sometimes pools are closed due to cooler temperatures. Water parks tend to take this time to refurbish as well.
- January prices tend to be less overall. Park prices, hotel prices, and airfare prices are typically lower in January as it isn’t a peak travel time. Disney is also known to offer discounts and incentives for January, so be on the lookout for these when planning your vacation!
- There will most likely be refurbishments. Because January sees fewer crowds, Disney often uses this time to refurbish certain attractions. This includes some of the bigger water attractions like Splash Mountain.
- New Year’s, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend tend to be busier times for Walt Disney World. If you’re visiting in January to avoid the crowds, be sure to avoid these weekends.
The biggest event in January is definitely the Walt Disney World Marathon! The entire event in 2023 will take place from January 4-8, 2023. Undoubtedly one of the most popular runDisney events, this year will mark its 30th anniversary! According to Disney, this year’s event will allow guests to “relive decades of healthy competition with a dose of 90’s retro vibes, iconic Characters, and a glimpse into the runDisney of years of past.”
In 2023, Epcot will host the Epcot International Festival of the Arts from January 13 to February 20. This event boasts some of the best activities of all the Epcot festivals. In addition to all of the artistic culinary creations, you will find animation classes, a paint-by-number mural, workshops (for an additional fee), photo ops throughout the park, and must-see galleries as well as artwork available for purchase. It also features the Disney on Broadway Concert Series on select nights throughout the festival.
*Epcot festivals tend to bring more local crowds on evenings and weekends, so plan on visiting Epcot during the week if crowds are a concern.
ESPN Wide World of Sports typically hosts several athletic events each month. These events don’t usually have a major impact on crowds in the parks, but they can affect resort availability and crowds at Disney’s value resorts. Here are the events scheduled so far as well as events that are typically held in January:
- UCA/UDA National College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship – January 13-15, 2023
- Disney Girls Soccer Showcase – January 13-16, 2023
- 2023 AFFL Youth World Championships – January 21-22, 2023
- 2023 USA Field Hockey Sunshine Showcase – January 27-29, 2023
Other dates to consider in 2023 would include New Year’s weekend (December 30 – January 2) and Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend (January 13 – January 17). These weekends will be significantly more crowded as they are holiday weekends.
January Refurbishments & Closures
*We’ve included all current refurbishments here on this list… even ones that may be open in time for January 2023. (Please note that this list could change at a moment’s notice.)
- Walt Disney World Railroad is finally open after nearly 4 years of closure due to Tron construction!
- Pete’s Silly Sideshow reopened on January 15 in Storybook Circus.
- The Little Mermaid meet and greet with Ariel officially returns on January 22, 2023.
- Enchanted Tales with Belle is reopening on February 19, 2023.
- Happily Ever After (an updated version) is returning to Magic Kingdom on April 3, 2023.
- Tron Lightcycle Power Run is opening on April 4, 2023.
- Splash Mountain is closing permanently on January 23, 2023, to become Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. The newly rethemed attraction is scheduled to open in 2024.
- Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is now open!
- Moana: Journey of Water, a brand new attraction, will be opening in 2023.
- Canada Far & Wide in CircleVision 360 is closed through November 2022 (most likely for the Food & Wine Festival)
- The American Adventure is closed from September 19 thru December 16, 2022
- A new nighttime show will be opening at some point in 2023 to replace Harmonious.
- Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away (stage show) has permanently ended
- For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration will be closed January 9-27, 2023
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith will begin a length refurbishment beginning February 20, 2023. It is expected to reopen in the summer of 2023.
- Voyage of the Little Mermaid is temporarily closed with no reopening date yet.
- Jedi Training Academy: Trials of the Temple is also temporarily closed.
- Primeval Whirl is permanently closed
- Kali River Rapids will be closed for refurbishment beginning January 9
- Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon water park will be closed for refurbishment beginning November 13, 2022.
Overall, the weather in Orlando is quite pleasant in January. So if you’re looking to visit Disney World without the heat, this may be the perfect time to go. The average high is 72 degrees and the low is typically around 51 degrees. It is also typically a dryer month in terms of rain. All that being said, January can be a bit unpredictable at times. I have personally experienced highs of just 50 degrees one day, only for it to be 80 degrees just a few days later. You will definitely want to check current temperatures when packing and be prepared to wear layers.
January Disney World Crowd Calendar
Crowd calendars are very popular, but they can also be a bit unpredictable. That being said, the pandemic has made predicting crowds even more difficult than normal.
While crowd calendars can be a big help in planning your trip, keep in mind, they are predictions at best. When designing our calendars, we take a look at events, school calendars, ticket prices, park hours, holidays, and typical monthly patterns. But unfortunately, our crowd calendars cannot predict other things such as weather, travel advisories, pandemics, or last-minute openings or closings of shows and attractions.
January isn’t usually considered to be a crowded month. In fact, it usually boasts some of the lowest crowds (and prices) of the year. If crowds are a big concern, avoid holiday weekends as well as the marathon weekend, and you should be good to go.
Overall, most weekdays in January are going to be fairly low in terms of crowds. That being said, it is worth noting that Disney World will be nearing the end of its 50th Anniversary Celebration (which concludes in March 2023). This could draw many to the parks who are trying to take part in the festivities before they end. So we expect January 2023 to be a bit busier than typical for this time of year.
**For a free printable PDF version of this crowd calendar, be sure to visit our resource page to become an email subscriber! You will also gain access to other printable resources to help you plan your next Disney vacation!
Ready to start planning your visit to Walt Disney World in January?
Here are some resources to help you get started!
Guide to Walt Disney World in 2023
Walt Disney World Resort Guides:
Walt Disney World Dining Guides:
Walt Disney World Attraction Guides:
There’s nothing better than knowing what to expect on your Disney World vacation. Our monthly guides can help you visit with a plan!
January (you are here) | February
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