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Old 05-26-2011, 09:53 AM   #1
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January crowds

Hey Disney Lovers!
Here I am planning the trip to the world again. But this time I will be there in late January. How crowded are the parks?

Thanks you all!
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Old 05-26-2011, 10:08 AM   #2
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I would like to know this as well --also, what to expect with the weather. I have heard people say how cold it is...but to me 65 degrees in the winter sounds wonderful!
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Old 05-26-2011, 11:46 AM   #3
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We have been there in January and early February, and have really loved it. Coming from a cold, midwest climate, temps in the 60s and low 70s are perfect that time of year. It can be chilly at night, so it's advisable to take along a warm jacket, but the temps do vary. We have been able to swim at that time in the past, but sometimes it's too chilly for an evening swim after returning to the resort, unless you're brave like my DS!!!

On weekdays during that time period, the crowds are low and the wait times are short to nonexistant. The weekends do pick up, though, if the weather is nice, so be prepared by busier parks on Friday afternoons through Sunday. I believe there are some cheerleading and dance competitions there in in late January, but they really don't bring in enough people to affect the crowds much. Also, that time period is summer vacation for those south of the equator, so there are usually quite a few large groups of teens there, primarily from Brazil. All in all, it's one of my favorite times of year to be at WDW. Hope this helps!

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Old 05-26-2011, 11:50 AM   #4
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Good to know as this is when we are thinking of returning as well!
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Old 05-26-2011, 12:37 PM   #5
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We always go in January and we love it! The crowds really are low, with the only exceptions to this is MLK weekend (still not bad at all). We can practically walk on every ride.
As for weather you do need to dress in layers, but like PP said it's nothing to the nasty winter that I'm escaping back home. And maybe we're crazy, but we swim nearly every day that we're there.
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Old 05-26-2011, 12:37 PM   #6
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We were there this past January for 10 days and the crowd levels were low. Most rides were walk on's (for Universal, Seaworld and Busch Gardens as well)
The worst was HS on a Fantasmic Sunday - high crowd levels, FP's for ToT and RRC were gone for the day by 11:30am. Alot of large groups were there, and it was the first day of the Pixar Parade - I really should have known better

We had 2 pretty cold days, and 2 nice swimming days the rest of the days were average. Definitely bearable and worth the low crowds!

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Old 05-26-2011, 12:59 PM   #7
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It's the only time we've ever been as a family. Low crowds (except for Martin Luther King weekend) and short wait times. The weather can range from freezing at night to 80's in the day time. Our last trip we saw cool (50's) and rainy and warm (high 70's) and sunny in the space of 4 days. Take clothes you can layer.
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Old 05-26-2011, 01:03 PM   #8
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January is a great time to visit. No crowds but the weather can vary. Could be in the 30's or the high 70's. Never to hot or to cold to enjoy the parks.
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Old 05-26-2011, 01:10 PM   #9
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We went for 4 days in late Jan 2009 and loved it. We left over 1 foot of snow behind and had beatiful weather. Typically, it is cool in the mornings and evenings and warm by afternoon. We rented a locker each day so we could leave our hoodies once we got to warm.

The parks were RELATIVELY less crowded. Rope drope was still a mob scene and wait times for big attractions were 20-40 min at peak times. Many attractions were walk-on in early mornings. We had no problem hitting most everything at all 4 parks in the 4 days and with the cooler temperatures we found we were more likely to spend more time in the parks than we normally do in summer months.

We also enjoyed swimming at night in the cooler air temp. I also felt like we were able to be a bit more spontaneous this trip since it wasn't as crowded.

But, it's a risk in winter between the potential of cancelled flights due to weather and the unpredictable Florida weather. It was also a tight squeeze to get four days in winter with 2 boys in school. We went Saturday - Tuesday b/c they had off on a Monday (not MLK) and we pulled them out for Tuesday since it was the start of the second semester.
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Old 05-26-2011, 04:43 PM   #10
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I was at WDW the last week of this past Jan. 2011 and I experienced several days of summertime crowd levels. There were two nights when MK opened up the backstage areas along Main Street to alleviate congestion and as another person commented Fantasmic nights at HS was the typical mess.

There were numerous ride closures and the temps fluctuated quite a bit. Dressing in layers works, but you're either carrying extra stuff with you when it starts to warm up or you're making extra trips to the locker.

Temps are the most important item to plan for when going in January, as there is no such thing as "low crowd levels" or "off season" anymore at WDW.

My advice: Dress in layers, make ADRs, rent a locker, arrive at rope drop, have a fast pass strategy, and have fun!
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Old 05-26-2011, 05:38 PM   #11

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We have gone for 11 January vacation in the past 12 years. We decided that last year was the last one. We also go in May and October and don't find the crowds to be signficantly different, especially not to justify the shorter park hours and the rolling the dice weather chances. We are from the hot region of California and we've had enough of those cold WDW vacations for awhile.

Another thing in January to be aware of are the Brazilian tour groups. We had over an hour wait on a ride that had a standby time listed of 10 minutes because a large tour group had gotten into the line ahead of us. If you avoid this situation, you will find reasonable wait times.
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Old 05-26-2011, 06:29 PM   #12
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We've taken several late January trips, and it's my favorite time to go. Low crowds, cooler weather...love it! If you want to get a feel for crowds and weather, I have trip report links in my siggy that have many photos of the lack of crowds.
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Old 05-26-2011, 10:49 PM   #13
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Weather - plan for every possibility from 30 to 80 degrees.

Crowds - very manageable, but normal rules apply.
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Old 05-27-2011, 05:53 AM   #14
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we will also be there in January! As Australians, we have no idea about MLK weekend. What is it ? When is it?
Thanks for your help
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Old 05-27-2011, 09:13 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by ozvisiter View Post

we will also be there in January! As Australians, we have no idea about MLK weekend. What is it ? When is it?
Thanks for your help
MLK stands for the civil rights activist Martin Luther King. MLK day is a United States Federal holiday observing his birthday. It is the 3rd Monday of January. Since kids are out of school on that Monday, WDW can be very busy around that time.
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crowds, january

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