By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2020, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

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January 2019 at Walt Disney World

By Dave Shute

January   February   March    April   May    June    July


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.


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.


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.


Deals for the general public are  available for January 2019. Find them here.


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.


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 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.


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:


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.

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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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.

3 Catherine Balinski { 10.28.18 at 11:58 pm }

We will be in Florida the month of January and really want to see Epcot with holiday decorations. Which day would be best, plus avoiding the biggest crowds? If we came 1/5 or 1/6, would the decorations still be up? What about 1/7?

4 Dave { 10.29.18 at 7:21 am }

Catherine, crowds will be quite heavy through 1/5. 1/6 and 1/7 should be OK. I am not sure Epcot will have much left then, though, as it is the first park to end its holiday program–it ends on 12/30. So much or all may have been taken down by then.

5 Nicki { 01.18.19 at 3:50 pm }

We leave Monday, Jan 21. We are only doing 3 park days, 22-24. Did we choose a bad week to go?! My hope was people would be back in school after Monday but it’s looking like people had the same idea as me. Do you recommend which parks to do which days? We are planning on doing AK, MK and HS!
Thanks for your help!

6 Nicki { 01.19.19 at 10:05 pm }

Sorry, just found your itinerary for this coming week. We are planning to do MK Tuesday, HS Wednesday and AK with the possibility of going back to MK Thursday if the kids want to!
Your site is awesome and so helpful! Thanks!

7 Dave { 01.20.19 at 6:47 am }

Thanks Nicki!!

8 Dave { 01.20.19 at 6:44 am }

Hi Nicki so far crowds have been running high–like the last two years. The 22nd any of the three parks will be fine. The 23rd avoid MK. The 24th any of the three will be fine.

9 Liana { 02.17.19 at 2:06 pm }

We just got home on February 9 from Disney. We arrived February 2. My goodness we’re there a lot of people. We went the first week of February in 2017 and the lines were nothing but this time we were surprised and not in a good way. Too many people and super long lines ?. We used to go the last week in January and crowds were minimal but we switched to February for a better chance of warm weather. So bummed people caught on. ?????

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