Disneyland in January can be a great time of year to enjoy the low crowds but this often comes at the expensive of rainy weather and ride refurbishments. We're here to help you answer the question: is a trip to Disneyland in January worth it?
You can see all of the information on every month of the year at Disneyland and when to visit in our when to visit Disneyland crowd calendar.
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Editor's Note: We have been to Disneyland many times in January. While it is an odd experience because of the mix of Christmas decorations and regular park entertainment, the month may also be one of the best times to visit because of the lack of crowds and the ability to ride lots of attractions.
Disneyland Events in January
There won't be many new events or entertainment options usually introduced to the parks in January but this January will be an exciting month at the parks with the opening of the new Rise of the Resistance ride in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge! You can also count on catching the tail end of the holiday celebration and the Lunar New Year festival in Disney's California Adventure.
Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge- NEW Ride Opening Date
Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge second much anticipated ride opens on January 17th! Rise of the Resistance is a trackless ride that takes place during an epic battle between the First Order and Resistance with massive real-life sets and Audio-Animatronics setting the scene. Guests will feel like they are hurtling through a massive Star Destroyer as they are being pursued by the First Order. Images were shared of the incredible scale of the attraction. In one scene riders will face massive two story tall AT-AT figures and dodge through their legs below. In another scene, guests will come face to face with Kylo Ren in an interrogation.
Make sure to read our guide to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge for land reviews, tips and tracks, and everything you need to know.
Lunar New Year
Starting at the end of the month will be the Lunar New Year celebration at Disneyland. Located in Paradise Gardens in Disney California Adventure guests will find music, shows, activities, and delicious Asian-themed delicacies.
Festive Holidays & Christmas Celebration
The holiday season runs from November 8th and runs until January 6th. If you are visiting that first week of January you will catch the tail end of the holiday season which includes seasonal overlays for beloved rides, a Christmas themed parade and firework show, holiday World of Color show, and plenty of amazing holiday decor.
Disneyland in January- Pros and Cons
After the the first weekend in January and the official holiday season comes to a close, things settle down and the crowd levels shrink to some of the lowest of the year at the Disneyland Resort. You would think that would make Disneyland an attractive target for those looking for something to do in January but two things conspire against making it a tantalizing trip: weather and ride refurbishments.
The Pros of Visiting Disneyland in January
The two biggest pros to consider when visiting Disneyland in January are low prices and low crowds!
January Crowds at Disneyland
Visiting Disneyland in January this year will be a bit different to predict because of the opening of Rise of the Resistance on January 17th. This past summer the large crowds we all expected with the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge didn't materialize. Many folks decided to postpone their trips until both rides were open and others stayed away for fear of the crowds. So this January might be a bit of a wild card- we just don't know what to expect now! The ride may draw larger than usual crowds or it might not.
You can usually rely on low crowd levels in January which makes it an ideal time to visit to enjoy low wait times and minimal packed walkways. The only day in the month of January we recommend avoiding because of the large crowds is Martin Luther King Jr. Day and weekend which is notorious for bringing large crowds. This is the largest pro to consider when deciding if a visit in January is worth your time or not. Despite the ride refurbishments and less than ideal weather, you just can't beat the perk of low crowds!
Low January Prices at Disneyland
Disney is quite aware of the cons of bad weather and ride closures impacting the vacation experience for guests so this a time of year they will often release great deals on tickets and hotel packages! If you're looking to get a great deal on your vacation, this perk here can be incomparable! And for trips that can only afford Disneyland on a budget, this can be the answer to that dilemma.
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Combine their already fantastic discounts with the deals Disney releases for vacations in January, you can get an incredible vacation for a great price.
The Cons of a January Visit to Disneyland
The two biggest cons to consider when visiting Disneyland in January are the weather and refurbishments.
January Weather at Disneyland
Visiting Disneyland in January comes with typical winter California weather which often means rain! January is one of the months in Southern California that sees the most rain so it's best to be prepared for that reality. Disneyland won't close because of rain but rides with outdoor tracks often will close during rain. One good thing about experiencing rain at Disneyland is it tends to empty out the parks as many guests dash back to their hotels. This is a great time to throw on a rain poncho and experience low wait ride times.
On the other hand, the rain can be quite cold and miserable to walk around the parks in. And if you're looking for a once in a lifetime trip, visiting during January may not be the way to go. Stomping around in cold air and a rain coat isn't necessarily what most people picture as an ideal vacation image.
The average temperature for Anaheim in January is a high of 66 degrees and a low of 28 degrees. The weather can be unpredictable this time of year. There might be some days that feel so warm in the sun that it feels like spring or days with rainfall so hard that it's a downpour. But the likelihood of rain is quite real making it a big con when it comes to planning your vacation in January.
Disneyland's operating hours will also be shorter this time of year which can be disappointing for guests encountering a rainy day!
Disneyland Ride Refurbishments in January
The second con of visiting Disneyland in January is that this off season is the time that Disney completes many of their annual ride refurbishments along with ride closures to remove holiday decor.
In January, the Haunted Mansion and it's a small world always close down to remove their holiday overlays. The good news is that Disneyland does try to stagger these closures so they're not closed at the same time. Haunted Mansion typically goes down first to remove the holiday decorations and once it's finished, then it's a small world takes its turn. But either way, for most of the month of January you can expect at least one of these rides to be closed. Since they're both such iconic Disneyland rides, this can be a big bummer for folks visiting the parks.
Other rides that commonly go under refurbishment in January are Splash Mountain and Grizzly River Run. But since these are both water rides and most guests have no desire to ride them in the colder months, this usually isn't as big of a deal for many guests.
You will also see a cut to entertainment in the park to accommodate for the lower crowds so there may only be fireworks on weekends and limited daily entertainment options. But the good news is that Disney wants every guest, even those visiting in the off season, to have a good trip and usually the limited entertainment doesn't have a large impact on most guest experiences. It's not uncommon for other popular rides to go under refurbishment this time of year so really any ride is fair game for closures which can often be a disappointing surprise for some guests.
Disney also knows that any refurbishments and closures can be disappointing for guests which is why you can usually get the best prices on your trips when visiting in January!
Should I Visit Disneyland in January?
Well, to quote my nine year old: “Duh, yes!! As long as you're going to Disneyland it doesn't matter!” Any day at Disney is better than a day not at Disney, right?
But seriously, the cons of visiting Disneyland in January can put a damper on some of the best parts of a vacation experience like enjoying nice weather and iconic attractions. If missing one of the iconic rides like Haunted Mansion or it's a small world is a deal breaker, you may want to reconsider. If Disneyland is your once in a lifetime vacation then going in the summer may be the better way to go.
But for some families, a trip to Disneyland can be a real financial strain and you can get some of the best deals for a vacation at this time of year. Disney cares about guest experience and they work hard to ensure everyone has a great time- even during the off season. It's not like half the park will be closed or that it will rain everyday. Some guests visit in January and don't even notice the impact of ride closures.
So if you don't mind a little rain or potential for ride closures, you can have a fantastic time in January with low prices and low crowds! It really comes down to personal preference and what you need to prioritize in your vacation. And since this January comes with the opening of the new Rise of the Resistance ride at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, I don't see a good reason to avoid the parks this January!
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