January 2015 at Walt Disney World

By Dave Shute

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January 2015 at Walt Disney World from yourfirstvisit.netThis page reviews January 2015 Walt Disney World crowds, prices, deals and discounts, weather, and operating hours; adds a few other notes; and ends with week by week summaries.

Early January 2015 will be dominated by holiday crowds and prices, but after the 3rd, most days will see low crowds and low prices–with upticks around the Marathon (weekend of the 1oth) and the Martin Luther King Day three day holiday weekend.

Late January has some of the lowest crowds and prices of the year at Walt Disney World.

Even so, January is not recommended for first-time visitors who may never return, because of ride closures.

New Year’s week–ending in 2015 around January 3–has among the highest crowds and prices of the year. Park closings to additional guests are common in this period, as are 8a openings and daily morning Extra Magic Hours.


Earlier January is one of the most crowded periods at Walt Disney World. Later January–beginning the 3rd in 2015–is much less crowded, and the end of the month has among the lowest crowds of the year.

Crowds tick up the weekends of the 10th (Marathon) and 17th (Martin Luther King holiday.)

On a crowd scale of 1-11, the week beginning 12/27 has a ranking of 11/highest (higher earlier in the week, a little less crowded later); the week beginning 1/3, a ranking of 3/low; 1/10 4/low-plus; 1/17  2/lower (high at the beginning, then very low); and 1/24 has a ranking of 1/lowest.

See this for more on 2015 crowds at Disney World.


January hotel prices begin the month at their highest level.  At the values, they are 80% higher than the lowest of the year, 50% higher at the moderates, and 55% higher at the deluxe.

On around January 2nd, prices at all resorts are projected drop to their lowest levels of the year, with upticks around the marathon and MLK weekends.

See this for more on 2015 resort hotel prices at Walt Disney World.


Deals are available for January 2015. See this for details.


January weather is cooler and variable. Cold, rainy days—not uncommon—are great for first time visitors, as they reduce the crowds in the parks and make the rides easier to see with low waits. Returning visitors looking for good days to lounge around the pool should not count on many.

Disney World Temperatures and Percentile Distribution Click the image, or go to Weather and When to Go to Disney World, for more on temperatures.


New Year’s Eve festivities will happen on December 31, 2014 at Disney World’s Epcot, Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios theme parks, and also at the Magic Kingdom on December 30. The Animal Kingdom has no special events.

  • Epcot will be open until 1a on New Year’s Eve; Disney’s Hollywood Studios until midnight for the general public, and 2a for Walt Disney World Resort hotel guests; and the Magic Kingdom until midnight or later
  • The Magic Kingdom likely will have Wishes at 9p and special New Year’s Eve fireworks at 11.50p
  • Epcot likely will have its Illuminations fireworks show at 6p and 11.40p, plus DJs in various pavilions.
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios will likely have fireworks at midnightand several sets over the evening from “Mulch, Sweat and Shears,” a live band
  • Note that alcohol is not available at the Magic Kingdom, but is available at Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios

The Magic Kingdom will have the same fireworks at the same times on 12/30. This date will likely be a little less crowded than 12/31.

The Disney World Marathon and other running events will be the weekend of 1/11.


January and, to a lesser extent, February are the most common periods for rides to be closed for refurbishment.

This makes these months less good for first time visitors who do not know if they will return—why go when the chances of missing something great are high?


Park operating hours vary by the day, and sometimes change without notice. It is rare for hours to be shorter than Disney has publicized, but Disney may lengthen them in response to unanticipated crowds.

The best way to keep up with operating hours is to check Disney’s official calendars, usually available six months in advance.

These calendars can be found by clicking the following links:


The week rankings that follow below are from 2015 weeks to visit, ranked in order, and are designed for first-time visitors who do not know whether or not they will return.

Disney World 2015 Week Rankings from yourfirstvisit.net (960x1280)

Click the image for a calendar view of 2015 weeks (when open, keep clicking to enlarge.)

12/27/2014  Highest prices.  Highest crowds. Crowd ranking=11. Week ranking=46. Use the FastPass+ High Crowd Itinerary. Note that openings will frequently be earlier than it indicates and morning extra magic hours added

1/3/2015 Lower prices. Low crowds. Crowd ranking=3. Week ranking=51. Ride closures likely. Marathon at end of week. Use the FastPass+ Lower-Crowd Itinerary

1/10/2015  Prices lower. Low-plus crowds. Crowd ranking=4. Week ranking=53. Ride closures likely. Marathon at beginning of week, MLK weekend at end of week. Use the FastPass+ Lower-Crowd Itinerary

1/17/2015 Prices lower. Lower crowds–high at beginning of week, lowest the rest of week. Crowd ranking=2. Week ranking=50. Ride closures likely. MLK weekend at beginning of week. Use the FastPass+ Lower-Crowd Itinerary

1/24/2015  Lowest prices. Lowest crowds. Crowd ranking=1. Week ranking=49. Ride closures likely. Use the FastPass+ Lower-Crowd Itinerary


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1 Holly { 10.13.14 at 11:15 am }

Love your site–such great info! Just want to run my plans by you for out upcoming trip. We will arrive in Orlando late on Jan 17, 2015. Planning 1/18 at Epcot, 1/19 at AK, 1/20 at HS, 1/21 at MK , 1/22 at AK, 1/23 at Epcot, 1/24 at MK, and 1/25 at HS. Traveling with 6 people–7 and 9 year old boys, mom and dad, and grandparents. Any advice or changes you would suggest? Thanks!

2 Dave { 10.13.14 at 5:40 pm }

Hi Holly and thanks!!

I have a couple of thoughts here.

–One is that you are overscheduled–you need a day off…

–Second is that you are short on MK time and long on Epcot and HS time–especially for the 7yo.

–Third is that the 23rd and 24th will be pretty busy at the parks you are thinking about.

What I’d do is shift AK to the 24th, take the 22nd off, and spend 1/23 at MK instead of Epcot. Try to complete HS the 20th, so that you can–if you wish–do more Epcot 1/25!

3 Angela { 10.29.14 at 11:52 am }

Dave, hello…

Last year I contacted you, your advices just great. Perfect timing, perfect crowds, we arrived at WDW on December 13. This year, we’re actually taking the Disney cruise in January, but we have a couple of days before heading to Port Canaveral, I know is really early in January… but, between the 2nd, 3rd and 4th, which will be a better day to spend at Magic Kingdom? Thank you so much!!!

4 Dave { 10.30.14 at 6:39 am }

Hiya Angela and I’m so glat to have been able to help! January 4 is your best bet!

5 Rose { 11.03.14 at 12:52 am }

We are travelling from Australia to spend NY at Disneyworld. We arrive in the evening of 28th December, 2014 and depart on 2nd January, 2015. We have read that the crowds will be crazy, but would really appreciate your recommendations, particularly with regards to the fireworks and trying to avoid the crowds, and getting the most out of the rides without queueing for ages. We have a 4 year old son so is there a problem with taking a pusher/stroller with us?

6 Dave { 11.03.14 at 7:31 am }

Rose, in a period where peak waits can exceed four hours for the most popular rides, I’m sorry that I have little to offer. Hollywood Studios will be the least crowded fireworks on NYE, and AK will be the least crowded park. Use FastPass+, and book your rides now. Waits are always the lowest at park opening. Strollers are not a problem.

7 Gina { 11.09.14 at 9:23 pm }

Awesome info. Thanks Dave!! We are heading to Disneyworld with an arrival date of 1/2/15. This is our possible itinerary. What do u think? Should we make any changes? Schedule #1:
Jan 3: magic kingdom
Jan 4: Hollywood studios
Jan 5: Epcot
Jan 6: animal kingdom, maybe another park later
Jan 7: magic kingdom
Schedule #2:
Jan 3: Hollywood studios
Jan 4: animal kingdom, maybe another park later
Jan 5: Magic kingdom
Jan 6: Epcot
Jan 7: magic kingdom
Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you!

8 Dave { 11.10.14 at 6:55 am }

Gina–any kids, and what ages?

9 Tony { 11.11.14 at 3:52 pm }

Hi! We’re traveling to Disney in late January with our three kids (ages 9,7,4) This is our third trip but was interested in any advice or your thoughts on our proposed itinerary. Thanks in advance!

We are staying at Disney Cabins for the first time.
Jan 24 – Hollywood Studios (two boys that hope to be in Star Wars)
Jan 25 – Animal Kingdom (safari for sure)
Jan 26 – Magic Kingdom (already booked boutique and pirate experience)
Jan 27 – Undecided
Jan 28 – Epcot (half day)…. travel home in the evening

I noticed that Cinderella’s castle is closed for renovation so we’re looking for a princess alternative for one of our dinners.

The only other dining experience I’ve booked is lunch on the 24th and Hollywood and Vine.

10 Dave { 11.12.14 at 7:25 am }

Hi Tony! I wouldn’t do HS the 24th or AK the 25th, as both are extra magic hours days, which means they will be more crowded than other days. So swap those too and you’ll be fine! There’s two great alternatives to Cinderella’s Royal Table, Akershus in Epcot http://yourfirstvisit.net/2013/10/31/review-princess-dining-at-akershus/ and 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian http://yourfirstvisit.net/2014/11/04/review-dinner-with-cinderella-at-1900-park-fare/

11 Gina { 11.13.14 at 10:58 am }

Hi Dave! Yes I have 2 kids 4 & 2 and my 7 year old niece. Thank u!

12 Dave { 11.13.14 at 3:22 pm }

OK Gina first at those ages I’d skip Epcot and take a day off the 5th or 6th. Your dates, here’s how things shake out (including Epcot)

The 3rd will be the busiest day. Avoid HS, think twice about MK. Epcot and AK are the best choices.
The 4th anything but AK is a good choice, and HS is the best choice.
The 5th should be good everywhere except HS. Epcot is the best choice
The 6th will be fine everywhere but Epcot, and MK is the best choice
The 7th will be fine everywhere but AK, and MK is the best choice

If you skip Epcot then this is straightforward. AK the 3rd, HS the 4th, on the 5th and 6th take one day off and go to MK the other, and MK the 7th.

13 Dave { 11.16.14 at 8:10 pm }

I am planning my first visit to The MK 1/22-27 with my two daughters. We are planning to hit the MK on that Friday, but noticed some of the rides may be closed. Do you recommend the fast pass even though the crowds will be at their lowest? Anything we don’t want to miss? Anything around Orlando worth visiting? I could use a day at a beach too.

14 Dave { 11.17.14 at 8:40 am }

Dave, low crowds at Disney World is relative. Even on the lowest crowd days waits can be pretty bad, so yes use FastPass+…For the can’t miss stuff see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/ I don’t track stuff outsdie of WDW (I can barely keep up wiht that!!) so don’t have anything to offer on the rest of Orlando…

15 Mandy Wesson { 11.24.14 at 2:42 am }

My family of 4 with children 4 and 8 have booked DW for Jan. 18-23. We start at Epcot and have dinner at Akershus on 1/18, MK with Crystal Palace 1/19, consider a return break at our hotel then that evening dinner and Fantasmic at HWS/extra hours too, 1/20 Epcot for extra hours, return to MK for fireworks that evening, 1/21 AK for extra hours, 1/22 MK extra hours, depart late 1/23 so additional time somewhere that morning until 1:30??? is this realistic? Booking FastPasses is complicated for me right now, but my kids need breaks so I want to allow that and we probably wouldn’t want to return to the same park necessarily on the same day? Working around meals and hoping their aren’t long lines in January.

16 Dave { 11.24.14 at 12:02 pm }

Mandy, the MLK weekend is usually quite crowded, with crowds dropping sharply after. Epcot should be OK the 18th, but I can’t recommend MK the 19th or any evening EMH. With your hoppers, doing morning EMH, returning to your hotel midday, and returning to a different park later works fine. In general, on morning EMH days, save your FP+ for the second later park.

17 Chelli { 12.01.14 at 9:03 am }

Hi! Great, great site. We used your crowd calendar to choose our week at Disney this year (we went 2 years ago and plan on going every other year as the kids get older). We have a 5 year old girl and a 2 year old boy. We are arriving around noon on 1/25/15, and leaving in the 30th. We tried, and failed, to get fast-pass+ reservations for meeting Elsa and Anna. They were already “sold out” when I tried to book them. As you can probably guess, my daughter is most looking forward to meeting these two and will be devastated if we don’t see them. Any idea what the wait might be to see them on the lowest-crowd week so that we can plan accordingly and prep her as well as we can (the 2 year old will simply skip it if the waits are too long)? Any tips on how to secure fast passes while we’re there, or are we out of luck now due to demand? We are planning on being at MK the evening of 1/25 (arrive around 4:00pm), and all day the 27th, 28th and 29th (with a possible morning off or maybe a switch to HS on the morning of the 28th, depending on how we’re feeling that day). Also, is it possible for one of us to wait in line for the majority of the time and then, when we get closer to the front, have the kids come and meet us in line? Or is this not allowed? Thanks so much for the help! Your insight served us well the last trip and I’m confident it will do the same this time around.

18 Dave { 12.01.14 at 9:59 am }

Chelli, it is possible that more FP+ for A&E will be released for those dates, but don’t count on it. You are basically stuck with a wait. Our book has typical waits by crowd level. A&E quickly hits 60 minutes+ on even low-crowd days. The easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit 2015. And no, places can’t be held…Sorry to be such a downer…

19 Chelli { 12.01.14 at 8:04 pm }

Wow – thanks for the quick response! I figured we might be out of luck, but thought that if there was anyone who might know a way “around it” or have any great advice, it would be you. =) It’s okay that we will have to wait. My 5 year old will be able to handle it but my 2 year old will not. We will just plan on splitting up during that time, which will work just fine. Just wanted to go in with a plan in case the waits are really long! Thank you again. I really appreciate your quick and best-guess response, even if it’s not what I was hoping for!

20 Dave { 12.02.14 at 8:06 am }

Good luck Chelli and let me know how it goes!! Note that you can also see the frozen folk in the Magic Kingdom’s afternoon parade http://yourfirstvisit.net/2014/03/09/review-the-afternoon-festival-of-fantasy-parade-at-the-magic-kingdom/ , and in the Sing-Along at Hollywood Studios http://yourfirstvisit.net/2014/08/28/review-the-frozen-sing-along-celebration-at-disneys-hollywood-studios/

21 Billy { 12.11.14 at 11:16 am }

We were planing on going on Christmas break, but after seeing videos of how crazy it was we decided to push back the trip a week. We are arriving on Jan. 3rd and leaving the 8th. We have to young girls eight and four years old. My plan was to go to blue man group on the 3rd to avoid crowds, 4th Universal Studios, 5th Animal Kingdom, 6th Hollywood Studios, 7th Magic Kingdom. Do you see any problem with this plan?

22 Billy { 12.11.14 at 11:17 am }


23 Riley { 12.11.14 at 4:20 pm }

What would be your advice on getting a hopper and doing Animal Kingdom and Epcot in the same day in January? (Two adults and two young girls 9 and 4)

24 Dave { 12.12.14 at 11:38 am }

Hey Billy, as dates those look fine. With kids that age, I’d skip Universal and spend two days at MK myself…

25 Dave { 12.12.14 at 3:41 pm }

Riley, tell me more about what you are thinking. For a nine year old, it takes more than a day to see Epcot, but the 4 year old may not find much of interest. AK could near-fill the day for both…

26 Judy { 12.13.14 at 12:08 pm }

Thanks for the info…..great comments. Just myself, age 68 and my sister, age 70, coming end of January. No kids. Have never been. Really care only abt Epcot and Magic Kingdom. Do you recommend two, three or four days, and also fast tract pass? Thanks

27 Katie { 12.13.14 at 11:15 pm }


First time for my kids in wdw. Their ages -5,4,2. We arrive on 1/31. And are doing off site princess dinner as the castle is closed. 2/1-Mk, 2/2-Mk, 2/3-ak. Any advice or input is greatly appreciated.

28 Dave { 12.14.14 at 9:34 am }

Judy, 2-3 days at MK, and 2 at Epcot. You will want to book FastPass+ (they come free with your ticket.) You likely will find my book helpful in picking your rides, and seeing how to handle FastPass+. See The easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit 2015

29 Dave { 12.14.14 at 9:34 am }

Katie, all the stuff on this site is for older kids, but you’ll find a lot of help in the book. See The easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit 2015

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