January 2016 Walt Disney World Planning Guide

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Here’s what coming to Walt Disney World in January 2016:

The Weather

The dry season continues during January in Central Florida.  With dry weather comes the “January Cold” at least by Orlando standard. The average high is 71.2 for January.  The coldest of any month.  The average lows dips below 50 to 49.2.  On the bright side, it only rains, on average, 6.6 days for the month and the area receives just over two inches of rain.  Like in December, it is best to attack the parks in layers.  Light jackets and sweatshirts will be needed in the morning and evening hours.  In the late morning through late afternoon, guests could get with a short sleeve shirt and shorts depending on the temperature.

The Crowds

January is a great time of year to head down to Walt Disney World.  There is only one major event, The Walt Disney World Marathon, in the month.  This year’s marathon takes place from January 6 through 10.  There is some bleed over from Christmas and New Year’s but those crowds are, generally, only around on New Year’s Day and the day after.  The crowds increase for Martin Luther King Day weekend.  But outside of those days, the crowds are very light by Disney standards.

Crowds (out of 10)

January 1-10 (Includes WDW Marathon weekend): 7.0

January 11-15: 3.6

January 16-18 (MLK Weekend): 8.6

January 19-31: 4.5

Special Events

The only special event in the month of January is the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.  This event can have minimal impact on your vacation or you could be planning your entire vacation around the WDW Marathon weekend.  The only cost is, if you decide to, to enter one of the many races held during the marathon weekend.  Registration for this events takes place way in advance, so please, do not think that you can just show up on marathon weekend and be able to register.  As of today (July 6, 2015), registration for the 2016 WDW Marathon is 85% full.

Park Hours

Magic Kingdom: January 1 & 2 – Typically opens at 9 am and closes at 11 pm.  Rest of the month – Typically opens at 8 or 9 am and closes at 9 or 10 pm (Depending on Extra Magic Hours).

EPCOT: Entire month – Typically opens at 8 or 9 am and closes at 9 or 11 pm (depending on Extra Magic Hours)

Hollywood Studios: Typically opens at 8 or 9 am and closes at 7 or 9 pm (depending on Extra Magic Hours)

Animal Kingdom: Typically opens at 8 or 9 am and closes at either 5, 6, or 7 pm (depending on Extra Magic Hours)

Extra Magic Hours either in morning or evening take place at select parks every day during the month of December.  Parks with morning magic hours will open an hour earlier and parks with evening magic hours will close two hours later.


January Refurbishment Schedule

Magic Kingdom:



  • Re-imagination of Maelstrom: October 15, 2014 – April 30, 2016

Hollywood Studios:


Animal Kingdom:


Polynesian Resort

  • General Construction through Early 2016
  • East Pool Renovation through Late Spring 2016

Walt Disney World Swan Resort

  • Guest Room Renovation August 20, 2014 – TBD

Disney Springs

  • Roadwork on Buena Vista Drive through March 2016
  • Parking Lots – Entrance 2 – Lots A-G December 1, 2014 through August 1, 2016

Top Date: 180-day mark for advanced dining reservations

Middle Date:  60-day mark for Fastpass+ reservations for on-site guests

Bottom Date: 30-day mark for Fastpass+ reservations for off-site guests

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One thought on “January 2016 Walt Disney World Planning Guide”

  1. January is our favorite times to visit! Good to know there won’t be too much down for refurb next year! This past January felt like we were in cattle shoots half the time!

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