After the merriment (or madness) of the holidays that accompanies December, January is a relatively relaxing time to visit Walt Disney World and the Orlando theme parks. We can think of no better place to make (or break) a few New Year’s resolutions than at the theme parks.
While running the Walt Disney World Marathon isn’t all that relaxing, at least the views will be great. Our hats are off to those of you who will be running the marathon Jan. 13. We wish you all new PRs!
If you have not yet had enough of the holidays, there are still a few days in January to experience the parks decked out in their holiday decor. As far as holiday events, most of them end on or before Jan. 1, but The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios continues until Jan. 6. After that, the lights and holiday decorations are safely packed away, because after all, it’s a brand new year!
As part of Disney’s 2013 “Limited Time Magic” promotion at the parks, a new set of limited-release couture ear hats will debut each month in the parks, starting in January. Additionally, Disney is kicking off the limited-time magic with weeklong “Bling in the New Year” dance parties through Jan. 5 on Rockettower Plaza Stage in Tomorrowland.
As far as crowds go, the first week of January will see heavy crowds, giving way to lower crowd levels as kiddos around the nation return to school. Walt Disney World has extended its operating hours at Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom this first week of the month to accommodate crowds. After that first week, the parks see medium to lower crowd levels, including the weekend ahead of the Martin Luther King Jr. day, making it a pleasant time to visit the parks. Check the crowd calendar for our specific recommendations.
A few notable closings in January include Splash Mountain in Magic Kingdom, starting Jan. 2, and Kali River Rapids in Animal Kingdom, starting Jan. 6. You can see the full list of closings and refurbishments here. As reported back in July, starting in 2013, evening Extra Magic Hours have been shortened to two hours from three for those of you staying at one of the resorts. We generally recommend avoiding the park with Extra Magic Hours, but here is our guide for when to use them.
January sees an average high of 71 and a low of 49. Rainfall chances are low. There are sunny days, so make sure the kids pack their swimsuits as the pools are heated. You will still need a jacket for the evenings and chilly mornings. Here is the packing list for this time of year.
- You can visit the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios through Dec. 6. This crazy-big light display originally started at the Osborne Family’s home back in Arkansas, and every year it grew and grew and GREW! In 1995, the Osbornes decided to share it with the world at Disney.
- Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend begins Thursday, Jan. 10 and runs through Sunday, Jan. 13. More than 25,000 runners registered for this 20th anniversary race, and while the marathon is sold out, there are still tickets available for the kids races and the Pasta in the Park party. The 2014 race dates have not yet been announced, but the 2013 registration opened in June.
- Jan. 12 marks the start of SeaWorld Orlando’s Just for Kids event. Held Saturdays through Feb. 2, this event features free concerts, fun zones and more all for the kiddos. This year’s performers include Laurie Berkner, Imagination Movers, Choo Choo Soul and the Kratt Brothers.
- Busch Gardens Tampa begins its Real Music Concert Series on Jan. 16. This Big Band event runs Wednesday through Saturday until Feb. 16 and features The Terry Meyers Orchestra with The Swing Sisters, Frankie Avalon, The Osmond Brothers and Rita Coolidge. It is included with regular admission to Busch Gardens.
Will you be visiting in January? Let us know what you are planning!