January 2016 at Walt Disney World
By Dave Shute
OVERVIEW: JANUARY 2016 AT DISNEY WORLD
Early January 2016 will be dominated by holiday crowds and prices, but after the 2nd, most days will see low crowds and low prices–with upticks around the Marathon (weekend of the 9th) 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. For returning visitors–and first timers who know they can return–it’s a great time to visit.
JANUARY 2016 CROWDS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD
Earlier January is one of the most crowded periods at Walt Disney World. Later January–beginning the 2nd in 2016–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 9th (Marathon) and 16th (Martin Luther King holiday.)
On a crowd scale of 1-11, the week beginning 12/26 has a ranking of 11/highest (higher earlier in the week, a little less crowded later); the week beginning 1/2, a ranking of 3/low; 1/9 4/low-plus; 1/16 3/low (high at the beginning, then very low); and 1/23 has a ranking of 1/lowest.
JANUARY 2016 PRICES AT WALT 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 2016 resort hotel prices at Walt Disney World.
JANUARY 2016 DEALS AND DISCOUNTS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD
As I write this, no deals are available for January 2016. If any become available, they will be here.
JANUARY 2016 WEATHER AT WALT DISNEY WORLD
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.
Click the image, or go to Weather and When to Go to Disney World, for more on temperatures.
DISNEY WORLD SPECIAL EVENTS IN JANUARY 2016
New Year’s Eve festivities will happen on December 31, 2015 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 will have Wishes at 7.30p and special New Year’s Eve fireworks at 11.50p
- Epcot will have its Illuminations fireworks show at 6p and 11.40p, plus DJs in various pavilions.
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios will have fireworks at midnight, and 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 1/9.
OTHER NOTES AND COMMENTS ON JANUARY 2016 AT WALT DISNEY WORLD
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?
JANUARY 2016 OPERATING HOURS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD
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:
WEEK BY WEEK COMMENTS FOR JANUARY 2016 AT WALT DISNEY WORLD BY ARRIVAL DATE
The week rankings that follow below are from 2016 weeks to visit, ranked in order, and are designed for first-time visitors who do not know whether or not they will return.
Click the image for a calendar view of 2016 weeks (when open, keep clicking to enlarge.)
12/26/2015 Highest prices. Highest crowds. Crowd ranking=11. Week ranking=46. Use the FastPass+ High Crowd Itinerary, but swap Tuesday and Wednesday. Note that openings will frequently be earlier than it indicates and morning extra magic hours added
1/2/2016 Low to moderate-minus prices. Low crowds. Crowd ranking=3. Week ranking=51. Ride closures likely. Marathon at end of week. Use the FastPass+ Lower-Crowd Itinerary, but swap First Sunday and Wednesday
1/9/2016 Prices lower. Low-plus crowds. Crowd ranking=4. Week ranking=52. Ride closures likely. Marathon at beginning of week, MLK weekend at end of week. Use the FastPass+ Lower-Crowd Itinerary, but swap First Sunday and Wednesday
1/16/2016 Prices lower. Low crowds–high at beginning of week, lowest the rest of week. Crowd ranking=3. Week ranking=50. Ride closures likely. MLK weekend at beginning of week. Use the FastPass+ Lower-Crowd Itinerary, but swap First Sunday and Wednesday
MORE ON WHEN TO GO TO WALT DISNEY WORLD
- For when to go to Walt Disney World, see this
- For the best and worst times to visit, see this
- For forecasting crowds at Walt Disney World, see this
- For seasonal pricing at Walt Disney World, see this
- For weather at Walt Disney World, see this
Want a second opinion? Then check out my book lol.