By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here. PDF version available on Gumroad here.—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor

January 2017 at Walt Disney World

By Dave Shute

January   February   March   April   May   June   July   August


January 2017 at Disney World from

This page reviews January 2017 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 2017 will be dominated by holiday crowds and prices, but after the 6th, most days will see low crowds and low prices–with upticks around the Marathon (weekend of the 9th), the Martin Luther King Day three day holiday weekend, and possibly during the days before the Pro Bowl on January 29.

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 usually a great time to visit, but the Pro Bowl does add some uncertainty to 2017.


Earlier January is one of the most crowded periods at Walt Disney World. Later January–beginning the 7th in 2017–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.)

The Pro Bowl will be in Orlando for the first time in 2017–on January 29. Disney World will be hosting  a number of events related to it, mostly at ESPN Wide World of Sports, but also at the Magic Kingdom and Disney Springs. I’ve forecast an increase in crowds the during the week that ends with the Pro Bowl, but we won’t really know what kind of draw it is to the parks until it happens.

On a crowd scale of 1-11, the week beginning 12/31 has a ranking of 8/high- (higher earlier in the week, a little less crowded later); the week beginning 1/7, a ranking of 3/low; 1/14 4/low-plus; 1/21 4/low+; and 1/28 has a ranking of 2/lower.

See this for more on 2017 crowds at Disney World.


January hotel prices begin the month at high levels, but on January 2nd, prices at all resorts drop to their lowest levels of the year, with upticks around the marathon and MLK weekends.

See this for more on 2017 resort hotel prices at Walt Disney World.


Deals are available for January 2017. Find them here.


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.


The Disney World Marathon and other running events will be the weekend of 1/7.

The Pro Bowl is 1/29, and fan events will happen at Disney World the days before then.


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 2017 weeks to visit, ranked in order, and are designed for first-time visitors who do not know whether or not they will return.

2017 Weeks to Visit Disney World Ranked in Order from

Click the image for a calendar view of 2017 weeks (when open, keep clicking to enlarge.)

12/31/2016  Low+ to moderate prices.  High- crowds. Crowd ranking=8. Week ranking=52. Marathon at end of week. Use the FastPass+ Higher Crowd Itinerary, but watch for ealier opens and added monring EMH

1/7/2017 Low prices. Low crowds. Crowd ranking=3. Week ranking=48. Ride closures likely. Marathon at beginning of week, MLK weekend at end of week. Use the FastPass+ Lower Crowd Itinerary

1/14/2017  Prices low. Low-plus crowds. Crowd ranking=4. Week ranking=50. Ride closures likely.  MLK weekend at beginning of week. Use the FastPass+ Lower Crowd Itinerary

1/21/2017 Prices lower. Low+ crowds–higher later in week, lower earlier in week. Crowd ranking=4. Week ranking=49. Ride closures likely. Pro Bowl at end of week. Use the FastPass+ Lower Crowd Itinerary

1/28/2017  Lowest prices. Lower crowds. Crowd ranking=2. Week ranking=47. Ride closures likely. Pro Bowl at beginning of week. Use the FastPass+ Lower Crowd Itinerary
The 2017 easy Guide

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1 Matt { 07.07.16 at 10:30 am }

Howdy Dave – Quick promo for your site: Folks – buy the book, it’s worth it. Not a first time visitor to Disney? (like me)…Use this site and Dave’s book….it’s worth it.

What are your thoughts on the impact of the National Dance Competition and Cheerleader competitions the weekends of the 3rd – 5th of Feb (dance) and I think it’s the 10th -12th for the cheer competition? I”m assuming it will be minimal due to the amount of people verses total capacity, but, was just curious as to what impacts those competitions have on the overall park. We are headed back to Disney for my oldest DKs early birthday surprise and we are looking those time periods. I’ve read your thoughts on the Pro-Bowl and the impact, so we might also fly in the 28th/29th of Jan and stay the week between the 28th/29th Jan – 5th/6th of Feb.

Thanks Dave, you rock!


2 Dave { 07.07.16 at 4:19 pm }

Hey Matt, thanks for the kind words! Re the cheer and dance, these kinds of things happen all the time, every year, and have next to no impact for just the reason you identify–not enough incremental bodies to much matter.

3 Keri { 07.09.16 at 8:05 am }

Thanks for all the great info!! I am planning our first Disney trip with our 2 kids (6&8) from 1/29-2/6/17. When will Disney release their updated park info for those dates? I have about 3 weeks till I can make our dining reservations, and I would like to know what is happening at each park those days so I can plan. Thank you!

4 Dave { 07.11.16 at 8:44 am }

Keri, partial info for Feb will be out in a week or two. Recently the full info, including the evening programs at the parks, has been coming out REALLY late–like a month/weeks before.

5 Pamela { 07.11.16 at 12:58 pm }

I just booked for the week of 1/28 to 2/4 I didn’t know about the Pro Bowl. We weren’t planning on starting Parks until 1/29 do you think we would be ok? Thank you!

6 Dave { 07.13.16 at 7:56 am }

Pamela, I think more of the affect will be the week before your visit–and Saturday the 28th.

7 Tayler { 07.21.16 at 7:41 pm }

Hi Dave! We are going to Disney January 9-15, and didn’t think about MLK weekend falling during our trip! We will be at Universal on the 13th. What days do you suggest we do each park? Any help you can give would be much appreciated!

8 Dave { 07.22.16 at 8:10 am }

Hi Tayler,
1/9 avoid AK
1/10 avoid Epcot
1/11 avoid MK
1/12 avoid Epcot
1/14 avoid MK and AK
1/15 avoid HS and MK

9 Amy McL { 07.26.16 at 11:49 am }

We are planning (airline tickets purchased but not hotel) a trip to WDW January 22-27th, this Pro-bowl news makes me want to cry! Do you think it would be better to change our dates to January 29-Feb 3rd? This will be our second trip but I would like to avoid crowds if possible.

10 Kelly B - Destinations In Florida { 07.27.16 at 8:46 am }

Hi Amy – Either week is going to be a great week to go. I would love to help you plan your upcoming vacation. I\’m the dedicated Destinations In Florida travel agent for Please contact me at or 980-429-4499.

11 Dave { 07.28.16 at 8:08 am }

Amy, the impact of the Pro Bowl will be uncertain until after it happens. Changing to the next week will lower the risk that you will see any.

12 Chelsea { 07.28.16 at 9:28 am }

Haha wow, those are exactly the dates me and my family are going!! Cool :p we are staying at POP

13 Holly { 08.02.16 at 8:54 am }

Same situation as Pamela. We are booked 1/28-2/4 and somehow I missed that the pro bowl is that weekend! The only thing we have planned on the 28th is an Ohana dinner at 8. The rest of the week, I have been able to get every reservation we wanted, including pre-park ones. Kind of thinking that means the impact won’t be horrible! BUT…do you think the Pro Bowl lessens our chances of getting a room or package discount for those dates?

14 Dave { 08.03.16 at 11:59 am }

Holly, my guess is that we will see typical discounts for then.

15 Darren { 09.04.16 at 8:25 am }

We are planning on going Jan. 2-Jan. 5. Do you expect any promotions and when do they usually come out? Been looking at Expedia and all WDW hotels are showing as not available.

16 Dave { 09.04.16 at 12:58 pm }

Darren, there may be, but that will be a crowded week so perhaps not…

17 Sharon { 10.06.16 at 2:43 am }

We are coming to Disneyworld from New Zealand. We will be there for four full days from Sat 7th Jan leaving 4pm Wed 11th Jan 17. Is there a way to lessen the impact of the Marathon on the Sat and Sunday. Should we avoid Magic Kingdom and go to some of the other parks instead. Any advice appreciated. Thanks.

18 Dave { 10.06.16 at 2:28 pm }

Sharon, the Marathon has little impact on the parks.

19 Jody { 11.01.16 at 7:03 pm }

We will be there from 1/15-1/22. I totally forgot about MLK day. Do you think crowds will be horrid compared to the following week? Do you recommend trying to switch to the next week?

20 Dave { 11.02.16 at 7:00 am }

Jody, the 15th and 16th will be crowded, but the rest of your dates will be great!

21 Naomi { 11.03.16 at 10:57 pm }

Hello, have are booked to come down 1/12-1/17… was planning on doing MK the 13th do you think that is a good idea? What would you suggest for the 14th? Also are you allowed meal plans if you’re not staying on property? Are you allowed to bring in snacks

22 Kelly B - Agent with Destinations in Florida { 11.04.16 at 5:36 pm }

Hi Naomi – In order to take advantage of any of the Disney Dining Plans, you must be a resort guest. You can bring food (no glass containers, no alcohol) into the parks. Smaller coolers are even allowed (they must be smaller than 24″ x 15″ x 18″)

As for MK on the 13th, crowds are expected to be mid level . My pick for the 14th would be Epcot. I’d avoid AK as there are EMK (Extra Magic Hours) for resort guests.

23 Dave { 11.07.16 at 12:34 pm }

Naomi, the 13th is not a good day for MK, as those staying on site get to enter an hour before you do that day, so it’ll be crowded when you show up. It’s a good day for Epcot or AK. The 14th, because of the MLK holiday weekend, is not great anywhere, but will be worst at MK and AK.

Only those staying in a Disney owned resort can get the dining plan, but you can still make reservations and pay by cash! And yes, you can bring snacks in.

24 mduffy { 12.01.16 at 2:44 pm }

Heading to disnsyW 1/18-1/25. Any recommendations what days we shouldn’t visit certain parks? We are staying in Disney!

25 Dave { 12.02.16 at 8:19 am }

Hi Mduffy!

1/18 avoid MK
1/19 avoid Epcot
1/20 avoid HS and MK
1/21 avoid MK and AK
1/22 avoid HS
1/23 avoid AK, note early 6p close at MK (which will make it less crowded)
1/24 avoid Epcot
1/25 avoid MK

26 Ashley { 12.05.16 at 9:37 am }

We just booked our first WDW trip for Jan 26-Feb 1 (arriving 9am departing 6 am) We have a 5 day pass bc we wanted to take our kids to MK twice. Would lunch at DS on Thursday followed by HS on fri, AK on Sat, MK on Sun (day of pro bowl), Epcot on Monday, and MK again on Tuesday work? Is this going to be too busy? Or should we go to a park on arrival day? What would you suggest? We have a 7 And 2 year old (turning 3 on the 30th).

27 Ashley { 12.05.16 at 9:38 am }

That was supposed to say Epcot on Monday

28 Dave { 12.05.16 at 1:17 pm }

Ashley, in the absence of the Pro Bowl schedule–e.g. when they will be parading at MK, which may be Friday or Saturday–it’s a little hard to say. Based on what I know now and guesses about MK, here’s my advice

1/26 avoid Epcot and MK
1/27 avoid HS and MK
1/28 avoid AK and MK
1/29 avoid HS
1/30 avoid AK
1/31 avoid Epcot
2/1 avoid MK

So one approach would be AK Fri, Epcot Sat, MK Sun and Mon, and HS Tues.

29 Dawn { 12.07.16 at 2:59 pm }

Hi, I just booked a Disney vacation for my family with arrival on January 22nd and departure on the 28th. Could you please give me your opinion of what parks to visit on what days to avoid the crowds associated with the Pro Bowl? We are staying at All-Star Sports and would like to take advantage of the special Disney hours if at all possible. Thank you!!

30 Dave { 12.07.16 at 4:10 pm }

Dawn, the major pro bowl effect in the parks will be the parade at MK, which so far as I know has not yet had its date announced. I’d expect it Friday or Saturday. Assuming that,

1/22 avoid HS
1/23 avoid AK
1/24 avoid Epcot
1/25 avoid MK
1/26 avoid Epcot
1/27 avoid MK and HS
1/28 avoid MK and AK

The special Disney hours (“EMH”) are not generally a good idea, unless you have a park hopper pass (let me know if you do) as the occupants of more than 25,000 rooms are eligible for them…

31 Ashley { 12.10.16 at 3:54 am }

Hi Dave! Your advice helped me so much when I booked a trip to WDW in 2014, I just had to come back and ask your advice for this trip as well! We are doing our trip from 1/18-1/25 but only doing park days from 1/19-1/24. We want to do MK for 2 days, Epcot for 2 days, AK for one, and DHS for one. I’m not sure which day to do what parks! We were also thinking of purchasing the Disney After Hours tickets for 1/20 for MK. What are your thoughts? Thank you so much for taking the time to answer all of these questions for everyone.

32 Dave { 12.10.16 at 11:24 am }

Hi Ashley, and I’m so glad to have helped!

Pros and cons of the After Hours event are here.

1/19 avoid Epcot
1/20 avoid HS and MK (except after hours, of course)
1/21 avoid AK and MK
1/22 avoid HS
1/23 avoid AK
1/24 avoid Epcot

33 Ashley { 12.11.16 at 9:45 pm }

Thanks again for your help! I have one more question for you…we decided on Magic Kingdom for 1/24, and as we were booking our fast passes something came up on the site and said there was a ticketed event from 7:45am-9:00am, before the park opens. Should I be concerned about this? Any idea what it could be?

34 Dave { 12.12.16 at 7:47 am }

Ashley, it’s “Early Morning Magic,” and does not matter!

35 Joe { 12.19.16 at 8:40 pm }

I’m going for the the first time with my family on January 20th intill the 25th . What parks should I do first to last?

36 Francisco { 12.19.16 at 8:44 pm }

Hi Dave,

My daughter has a birthday on 1/29 and wants to go to MK.
How bad will it be that day in terms of crowds?
Ive just seen they extended opening hours from 10 pm to 11 pm for that day.

As for 1/23 I was planning HS, but read in some page it is not a good day, can you help me with that day?


37 Dave { 12.21.16 at 11:34 am }

Joe, that’s a pretty quiet week.
1/20 avoid MK and HS
1/21 avoid MK and AK
1/22 avoid HS
1/23 avoid AK
1/24 avoid Epcot
1/25 avoid MK

38 Dave { 12.21.16 at 11:35 am }

Francisco, 1/29 will see average crowds at MK, and 1/23 will be fine at HS.

39 Melissa { 01.02.17 at 6:39 pm }

Have you heard anything else about the Pro Bowl. This is the first site I’ve come across that mentions it. My family is going for the first time Jan.26-Feb.2 and we are visiting MK on Jan. 26th and Jan. 27th… it going to be madness? We are also visiting AK on the 28th and doing Disney Springs on the 29th. We booked this week thinking it would be the slowest week of the year but doesn’t sound like it anymore.

40 Dave { 01.03.17 at 8:30 am }

Melissa, honestly no one knows. The parade will be at MK the 27th (see but while I’m sure it will crowd the parade route, I dunno how many spectators in Browns Raiders jerseys will actually go on the rides…

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