Hey everybody, there’s a new itinerary out for arrivals 8/31 through 10/26/2019. You can find it here.

By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2019, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

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January 2020 at Walt Disney World



By Dave Shute

 October   November   December    January   February   March   April

WHAT IS JANUARY LIKE AT DISNEY WORLD?

Early January 2020 at Disney World will be dominated by holiday crowds and higher prices, but after the 5th, most days will see lower crowds and lower prices–with upticks around the marathon and the Martin Luther King Day three day holiday weekend.  Because of the Festival of the Arts, which will be returning in 2020, Epcot’s International Showcase can be busy most of the month, and especially on weekends and evenings.

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 20 in 2020.

JANUARY 2020 CROWDS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

Earlier January can be one of the most crowded periods at Walt Disney World–and is so in 2020. Later January–beginning the 5th in 2020–is much less crowded, and the end of the month in the past has had has among the lowest crowds of the year, but waits have ticked up the past few years.

Crowds are heavier up the weekends of the Martin Luther King holiday and of the Marathon.

On a crowd scale of 1-11, my forecast has the week beginning 12/28/2019 has a ranking of 10/higher (higher earlier in the week, a little less crowded later); the weeks beginning 1/4, 1/11 and 1/18, a ranking of 4/low+; and the week beginning 1/25 has a ranking of 3/low.

See this for more on 2020 crowds at Disney World.

JANUARY 2020 RESORT HOTEL PRICES AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

Hotel 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 1/9 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 1/12
  • The MLK uptick begins 1/17 and results in prices ~20-30% higher at the values, ~10-15% higher at the moderates, and ~15-20% higher at the deluxes.  Prices return to low levels on 1/20 and continue at this level into early February

See this for more on 2020 resort hotel prices at Walt Disney World.

JANUARY 2020 TICKET PRICES AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

January 2020 Disney World ticket prices are higher to average early in the month, especially for shorter tickets, and then quickly shift to a mix of low to quite low levels (compared to the rest of 2020) for the rest of the month.

See the image–where green is good, and lots of green particularly good, and red is bad, and lots of red is particularly bad.

For more, see my Disney World 2020 ticket price calendar.

JANUARY 2020 DEALS AND DISCOUNTS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

Deals for the general public are available for January 2020. You can find them here.

JANUARY 2020 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 2020

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

The Epcot International Festival of the Arts will return, beginning January 17. It will add to World Showcase crowds in Epcot, especially on the weekends.

JANUARY 2020 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 this link.

WEEK BY WEEK COMMENTS FOR JANUARY 2020 AT WALT DISNEY WORLD BY ARRIVAL DATE

The week rankings that follow below are from my 2020 weeks to visit, ranked in order, and are designed for first-time visitors who do not know whether or not they will return.

12/28/2019 Higher prices. Higher crowds. Crowd ranking=10. Week ranking=44. Use the Higher Crowd Itinerary, but watch out for earlier opens and added morning Extra Magic Hours.

1/4/2020 Lower prices. Low-plus crowds –lower during the week, higher over both weekends. Crowd ranking=4. Week ranking=51. Use the Higher Crowd Itinerary.

1/11/2020 Lower prices. Low+ crowds. Crowd ranking=4–lower during the week, higher over both weekends. Week ranking=50. Use the Higher Crowd Itinerary

1/18/2020 Lower prices. Low+ crowds. Crowd ranking=4, higher the first weekend, lower the rest of the period. Week ranking=51. Use the Higher Crowd Itinerary

1/25/2020 Lowest prices. Low crowds. Crowd ranking=3. Week ranking=49. Use the Higher Crowd Itinerary

 

 

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4 comments

1 Andrew { 07.24.19 at 12:23 pm }

Hi Dave,

I noticed that you used the \”higher crowd\” itinerary for end of January, where crowds are predicted to be among the lowest of the year. Given the reported drop in bookings for the last several months of 2019, do you think that will continue into early 2020 with lower crowds than in past years? Or do you think people are delaying trips until after SWGE gets sorted out?

I\’m booked the week of Jan 25. Went same week last year and it was definitely more crowded than I expected.

Thanks for all your good work!

2 Dave { 07.25.19 at 7:41 am }

Hey Andrew, greta questions!

First I always take these “bookings are low” claims with a grain of salt. They have been rampant the last few years, while Disney’s earnings calls and SEC filings indicate instead stable or increased attendance, and +/- 90% room occupancy–that is, to date, the “bookings are low” claims have been entirely wrong. We will get a bit more factual insight in the 8/6 earnings call–during which Disney will comment on bookings in the current quarter (that is, July-Sept)

I have recommended the high crowd itinerary for all dates after the GE opening. This is just a risk management point–if crowds end up more like what I have predicted elsewhere, then it is easy to shift to the lower crowd itinerary instead, as the ADRs and park days are the same…

3 Andrew { 10.03.19 at 10:54 am }

Hi Dave,

Me again. Curious to see if you\’re downgrading crowd estimates for early 2020 following the relative disappointment of the initial opening of SWGE. Or are you still waiting to see crowds after the land is fully opened?

4 Dave { 10.05.19 at 2:34 pm }

Andrew, my early January crowd estimates are almost entirely a function of school breaks–in 2020, half of kids are out through January 5.

If anything, early January will be worse, if Rise of the Resistance is anything like I expect it to be, as in that half of kids off through January 5 is pretty much all of Florida, and lower-cost annual passes with block-out dates see their block outs lifted January 3.

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