I am guessing you probably decided to visit Walt Disney World in January or February because it is known to have fewer crowds and lower temperatures.
My family and I love to visit Walt Disney World during this time of year. Did you know this is also the time of the year when the Festival of the Arts takes place in EPCOT?
I have put together everything you need to know about the seasonal events, weather, and more so you know everything going on during your trip.
Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend - January 4 - 8th, 2023 & Princess Half Marathon February 23 - 26th, 2023
The first weekend in January starts off with a bang for the annual RunDisney Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend event and in February, there is the Princess Half-Marathon. Here is what our RunDisney expert & Travel Concierge, Amy Cashion, has to say about these events:
"If you love Disney and even KIND of like running or walking, you should consider a RunDisney event! They are offered multiple times a year from November through April, and are getting ready to return to Disneyland!! RunDisney races are unlike most race events you may have done in the past! The mornings are earlyyyyy, BUT, the entertainment, music, character greets, and of course, running through the parks make these events memorable, and honestly addicting! Personally, I don't run to set a PR (but you can!) because I love taking in every minute of these races! In February, the Princess Half Marathon Weekend happens, typically the weekend after Valentine's Day! One of the coolest things about the half marathon specifically, is it's one of the only races that takes you through Magic Kingdom. They offer a 5K, a 10K, and a Half Marathon, plus a "Challenge!" The Challenge means you run both the 10k and half marathon! Of course, each of the races is themed after different princesses. The medal(s) and shirt(s) you receive for each of the races you do, corresponds to that year's princess theme. One of my favorite parts of any race weekend is checking out the amazing costumes people put together! Some people make costumes to correspond with the theme, others just do anything Disney related! Costumes are certainly not mandatory- I personally run in leggings or skorts and sports tanks, but truly admire and enjoy seeing what others come up with! One of the biggest fears people seem to have around these races is "what if I can't finish?" The races allow for 16 minutes a mile, and that 16 minute/mile clock doesn't stop until the last corral crosses the start line. These races can easily be done by running, walking, or doing a combo of running and walking, which is what I tend to do! RunDisney events are definitely something you should add to your Disney Bucket List... I did, and then I never stopped! Helpful tip- if you are thinking of participating in a race weekend- when you stay on-site- Disney provides transportation to and from the start and finish lines for you!" - Amy Cashion
EPCOT International Festival of the Arts (January 13 - February 20, 2023)
The festival itself is included in the cost of admission, but you’ll find food, merchandise, and add-on activities available for purchase!
Celebrating Culinary, Visual, and Performing Arts, this fest is quickly becoming one of my favorite events!
The Festival of the Arts features Food Studios located throughout the World Showcase. There’s a huge focus on the presentation of the food served at the festival.
As far as special events, this festival has plenty of awesome offerings! The Disney on Broadway Concert Series features performances of Disney songs by accomplished Broadway actors and actresses. Plus, there are Disney on Broadway Concert Series Dining Packages available which guarantee priority seating for the performance!
Other entertainment in past years has included chalk artists, living statues, choirs, marching bands, and more, located throughout the park!
Visual art is also represented throughout the park with displays and galleries! And there are both Complimentary Seminars and extra-ticketed Workshops available for guests interested in learning more about the arts. Plus, another fun way to get in on the action — there’s an interactive wall mural where guests can paint a piece of the final product.
Winter is a great time to visit if you’re looking for milder temperatures! The average high temperature in January is 72 degrees and the average low is 51 degrees.
Most people visiting Disney World can pack summer clothes (including your swimsuit), since it’s usually warm to hot-ish, but you may encounter a cold snap.
Pay close attention to the forecast before your trip and plan to wear layers. Start the day with a jacket and/or long sleeves and then remove layers as the temperatures warm up.
Swimming in January? Yes! The outdoor pools are heated, plus many resorts offer spas or hot tubs.
BEFORE YOU GO
Make sure to check if any scheduled ride refurbishments are planned!
Attractions that are scheduled to be closed for refurbishment are listed on the calendar on the Disney World website. There are some rides that go down for refurbishment every year — both Splash Mountain in Magic Kingdom and Kali River Rapids in Animal Kingdom are closed starting in early or mid-January for annual maintenance. Of course, Splash Mountain is closing January 23rd to go through its reimagineering to a Princess in the Frog theme.
Also, keep in mind that at least one of the Disney water parks will be closed for the season. Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach usually receive maintenance in alternating months to allow one to remain open (weather permitting!). This winter, Typhoon Lagoon is closed for refurbishment as Blizzard Beach went through a refresh and reopened November 13, 2022.