Should we go in January or September?

Should we go in January or September?

by Tereyn
(Toronto, Canada)

Hi Dad! We are a family of four planning a trip to Disney World for 2016. We were wondering your thoughts one going in January versus September. We know the prices and crowds are low in January and this is very enticing, the weather isn't too much of a concern because we will be park focused not too interested in the water parks or swimming this time. We don't know too much about going in September so we wanted to get your thoughts! Thanks so much!

Dad’s On the Other Hand Answer

Tereyn, thanks so much for your great question! September and January are two of the best times to go to WDW so it’s hard to choose a favorite. But there are definite pros and cons to each month so let’s take a look at what the best option is for your family.

Haunted Mansion Queue

Lines like this can exist in January and September - Photo by Matthew Cooper

As you mentioned, January has some of the lowest crowds and prices of the whole year! This is a big plus for many guests – you can see and do a lot more when you’re not waiting in long lines, and who doesn’t love to save money? The weather is cool at this time of year (it’s still Florida, but you’ll want jeans and a hoodie for the evening and chillier days). The waterparks are closed - it’s not swimming weather anyway.

Closures at Epcot

Beware of refurbishments in January - Photo by WDW Shutterbug

But, in January you may face a number of ride closures. Refurbishments happen year-round, but the space between Christmas and Spring Break is a popular time to spruce up attractions so beware that a vacation at this time may see a handful of rides and shows closed for part or all of your trip.

Martin Luther King Day also draws larger crowds on the holiday weekend and for a few days before and after – avoid this time if your reason for going in January is low crowds. And if getting Advanced Dining Reservations is a concern for you, the 180 day mark for January 2016 has already passed – there are still plenty of reservations available but if you’re looking for signature experiences like Be Our Guest or Cinderella’s Royal Table, getting a table is unlikely at this point.

Be Out Guest

If Be Our Guest is a “must do” be sure to book at the 180 day mark - Photo by Cliff Wang

On the other hand, September also has low crowds and prices compared to much of the year. If you visit after Labor Day, you’ll feel like you have the parks (nearly) to yourself. Since it’s the start of the school year, families are unlikely to take their school aged kids out of class and you’ll notice that e crowds are more adult couples and parents/grandparents with small children.

Pricing isn’t quite as low as in January but it’s still on the lower end of the scale and many of the best promotions (like 30% off room prices or free dining) are usually offered at this time of year. Temps are cooler than summer but still pretty warm (a bonus if you like the sunshine) and although not common, there is the possibility of hurricanes in Orlando at this time of year.

Pumpkin Mickey

There’s lots going on during September at WDW - Photo by Judd Helms

But the big advantage of visiting in September is that there is so much to see and do! Depending on when you go, you can see Halloween decorations on display at Magic Kingdom, attend Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party or Night of Joy, or even partake in the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival!

Dad's Bottom Line

Tereyn, September and January are great times to visit. If you want cooler temperatures and the lowest prices of the year, go in January. If you’d like to be a bit warmer and have lots of extra activitites to choose from, visit in September. Let me know what you decide, and have a magical vacation!

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