Earlier this year in January, I took my very first solo trip to Walt Disney World. I learned two valuable lessons on that trip. Number one is that solo trips rock. Number two is that traveling to Florida in January is absolutely fantastic. Up until then I had only traveled to Disney World in the spring, fall, and early summer. There are so many benefits to making a vacation work in the month of January.
The most obvious reason for traveling to the parks in January is that the weather tends to be much more comfortable. With an average high in the low to mid 70′s, you will not have to worry about sweating your tush off when you are just sitting still. It can actually get quite cool in the morning and evening. It is important to remember to pack a sweatshirt or jacket, and maybe even a hat and gloves. During my January trip, I found myself wearing jeans most of the time and only needed a sweatshirt for when I was watching nighttime fireworks. The best tip I can give you when packing is to be prepared.
With school back in session after the holidays, January tends to be really forgiving when it comes to crowds. The only major exceptions to this are the first week of the month when the holiday travelers are still lingering, and during Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend. When the parks tend to be less busy, Disney offers some great discounts and promotions to get people to visit and stay on property. Aside from the couple of holidays and Marathon Weekend, the entire month is considered a value season.
Less travelers means a better chance of nabbing those coveted Advanced Dining Reservations. If you think that you do not need a reservation during low crowd time periods, think again. Disney’s most popular restaurants are still a challenge to get an Advanced Dining Reservation for. However, do not lose faith if you do not succeed. Make sure to try getting a walk-up reservation as soon as your choice restaurant opens. With less people to compete against, that means that it will also be easier to pop into restaurants and bars that do not allow reservations. So, if you pined over a tasty margarita from La Cava del Tequila during the Food and Wine Festival, but didn’t want to wait in line to get in, January is perfect.
Keep in mind that it is always smart to utilize Disney’s FASTPASS and TouringPlans.com’s step-by-step touring plans, even when it is less busy in the parks. There is no use wasting your precious vacation time standing in unnecessary lines. Hopefully, you might feel less pressured to get your every move exactly right when using a touring plan, given that overall length of the lines should be much shorter than usual. January is a great time of year to ride your favorite attractions over and over without having to wait an extreme amount of time.
The only major holiday you will encounter is New Year’s Day. Crowds are absolutely nuts around that time, but there is a huge plus to braving the large masses. Holiday decorations usually remain up through the first week of January. Try arriving at the tail end of the holiday season. As the week goes on, the crowd level should decline. The other super exciting Disney event going on in January is the ever-popular, Marathon Weekend. Runners young and old from around the world take part in a variety of events. Even I will be running in my very first race ever next month!
It is worth mentioning that there is a slight downside to visiting Disney World at a less busy time of year. The park hours are shortened and nighttime shows are often limited. Disney also tends to refurbish attractions during January and February. So, if missing a key attraction will break your trip, think about waiting until a refurbishment is complete.
How many of you have ventured to Disney World in the month of January? What was your experience like? Drop us a line in the comment section!