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By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2018, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

Available on Amazon here.





January 2019 at Walt Disney World



By Dave Shute

WHAT IS JANUARY LIKE AT DISNEY WORLD?

Early January 2019 will be dominated by holiday crowds and higher prices, but after the 5th, most days will see low crowds and low prices–with upticks around the marathon, the Martin Luther King Day three day holiday weekend, and possibly during the days before and after the Pro Bowl on January 27.

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–after the first week, January is usually a great time to visit, with low crowds and low prices. If you can, visit after Martin Luther King Day–January 21 in 2019.

JANUARY 2019 CROWDS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

Earlier January can be one of the most crowded periods at Walt Disney World–and is so in 2019. Later January–beginning the 5th in 2019–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 Martin Luther King holiday and of the Marathon.

Late January and early February 2018 saw surprising wait levels, much higher than anyone–including me–had forecast. The general sense is that these were because of operational choices Disney made that it has learned from and will not repeat–but frankly, I can’t be sure of that until it happens…

On a crowd scale of 1-11, my forecast has the week beginning 12/29 has a ranking of 9/high (higher earlier in the week, a little less crowded later); the weeks beginning 1/5, 1/12 and 1/19, a ranking of 4/low+; and the week beginning 1/26 has a ranking of 1/lowest.

See this for more on 2019 crowds at Disney World.

JANUARY 2019 PRICES AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

Prices begin the month extremely high, but on January 2 shift to the lowest prices of the year. Except for upticks around the marathon and Martin Luther King day weekends, they remain low the rest of the month.

  • The Marathon uptick begins 1/10 and results in prices ~20-30% higher at the values, ~15% higher at the moderates, and ~15-20% higher at the deluxes.  Prices return to low levels on 1/13
  • The MLK uptick begins 1/18 and results in prices ~20-25% higher at the values, ~10-15% higher at the moderates, and ~15-20% higher at the deluxes.  Prices return to low levels on 1/21

See this for more on 2019 resort hotel prices at Walt Disney World.

JANUARY 2019 DEALS AND DISCOUNTS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

As I post this, deals for the general public are not available for January 2019. If they come out, you’ll be able to find them here.

JANUARY 2019 WEATHER AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

January Disney World 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.

DISNEY WORLD SPECIAL EVENTS IN JANUARY 2019

The Disney World Marathon and other running events will be over the weekend of 1/12.

The Epcot International Festival of the Arts will return, beginning perhaps January 11 or January 18. Part will be open seven days a week, but some entertainment will be focused on Fridays-Mondays. It will add to World Showcase crowds in Epcot, especially on the weekends.

The Pro Bowl is 1/27, and fan events will happen at Disney World the days before then.

JANUARY 2019 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. Opening hours may change to 8a.

The best way to keep up with operating hours is to check Disney’s official calendars, usually available about six months in advance. Major hours updates–often with later closes–can happen a month before.

These calendars can be found by clicking the following links:

WEEK BY WEEK COMMENTS FOR JANUARY 2019 AT WALT DISNEY WORLD BY ARRIVAL DATE

The week rankings that follow below are from my 2019 weeks to visit, ranked in order, and are designed for first-time visitors who do not know whether or not they will return. Returning visitors, and first-timers on an introductory trip, can find much success later in the moth.

Click the image for a calendar view of 2019 weeks.

12/29/2018 Moderate-plus prices. High crowds. Crowd ranking=9. Week ranking=41. Use the Higher Crowd Itinerary, but watch out for earlier opens and added morning Extra Magic Hours

1/5/2019 Low prices. Low-plus crowds –lower during the week, higher over both weekends. Crowd ranking=4. Week ranking=52. Use the Lower Crowd Itinerary.

1/12/2019 Low prices. Low+ crowds. Crowd ranking=4–lower during the week, higher over both weekends. Week ranking=51. Use the Lower Crowd Itinerary.

1/19/2019 Low prices. Low+ crowds. Crowd ranking=4. Week ranking=50. Use the Lower Crowd Itinerary.

1/26/2019 Lowest prices. Lowest crowds. Crowd ranking=1. Week ranking=48. Use the Lower Crowd Itinerary.

 

 

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2 comments

1 Nicole Gonzalez { 08.14.18 at 11:03 am }

We are thinking of taking our family to Disney the last week of January (Jan 26 arrival date). What operational choices are you referring to above? It will be our third trip to Disney, first for the kids. We have a reservation for the week after Thanksgiving 2018 but are thinking of pushing it back for personal reasons and we are hoping the Jan 26 dates will be similar in experience (minus Christmas programs obviously). Thank you!

2 Dave { 08.16.18 at 6:44 am }

Hi Nicole, apparently they chose to save money by cutting back on capacity through various staffing approaches and also in some cases where possible limiting ride seats available (e.g. rides with two sides would operate just one). This led to much uproar, and we did not see it come back in May–the next natural time to try such a stunt.

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