With the new year not far away and the holidays upon us, it’s time to talk about how to plan for early 2016 Disney World vacations. This guide is specifically for guests looking to travel in January, February, and March (through the week of Easter).
For January travelers, time is a bit short, but there’s still plenty of time to grab dining reservations, FastPasses, and plan a perfect Disney getaway following Christmas to get away those winter blues!
January and February are a great time to travel for many reasons – first it’s not often crowded as many families have kids back in school after a long break. It’s also a time of year that’s not very hot so it makes park touring more comfortable. If you’ve got younger child, this is great for you as well because park hours are not often extended as they are during more popular times of year which means you could in theory see a fireworks show around 8 or 9 pm without stretching the limits of bedtime too far!
A few busier times to note for this time of year:
- Disney Marathon weekend – January 8-10 (this does not have a huge impact on overall crowds, but it’s noteworthy
- MLK Jr weekend – January 15-18
- President’s Day weekend – Feb 13-15
- Valentine’s Day – Feb 14
- Princess 1/2 Marathon weekend – Feb 19-21 (this has a bit of a larger impact than the marathon weekend does, but crowds subside quickly after the event)
If you’re hoping for a little bit warmer weather or extended park hours, March is a great time for you. It’s also a great time to take advantage of kids spring breaks! While it makes for a bit more crowded park touring experience (and sometimes more expensive flights), you’ll still have a fantastic vacation experience! The week of Easter is typically the busiest time of the spring break season.
The first three months of the year are not considered part of the “rainy season” in Orlando. The area was built on a swamp, so you may see a few drops here and there (sorry, I can’t control the weather), but hopefully it will be very minimal!
Below are projections of crowds for early 2016. Click the images below to see the images larger! These are subject to change. Please don’t be concerned about a “red days”. You will have a magical experience no matter what time of year you travel. Typically it’s not “wall to wall” crowds!
Promotional rates have expired. Look toward the ends couple of weeks for a new promotional which may include SOME of these travel dates!
The only “downside” to this time of year is attraction closures for refurbishments and renovations to resorts. Below is a list of all of the known attraction closures during the first three months of the year:
- Disney’s Polynesian Resort is scheduled to continue refurbishment. It should be the end of this major refurbishment!
- Caribbean Beach Resort (Jan 3 – Feb 28; Some public areas may have some construction noise during the day)
- Soarin’ (Jan 4 – Summer 2016)
- Splash Mountain (Jan 10 – 14)
- Pizza Planet (Jan 11 – Late 2016)
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin (Jan 15-Feb 11)
- Liberty Square Riverboat (Jan 18-22)
- Mad Tea Party (Feb 22-26)
- Planet Hollywood (Jan 6 – summer 2016)
- Typhoon Lagoon annual refurbishment (Jan 3 – March 12)
- Ol’ Man Island Pool (Port Orleans Riverside) (Jan 11-Feb 29)
- Wilderness Lodge & Villas (multiple refurbishment projects running through 2017)
- Flying Fish Cafe (Feb 1 – Sept 30)
Thankfully, only Soarin’ is the only attraction with a “major” impact on guest travel!
Limited Time Experiences!
So what makes this time of year unique? A few really exciting things this year.
Symphony in the Stars This popular limited time fireworks experience in Hollywood Studios is returning on a nightly basis. As of January 5, you’ll also be able to book a Fireworks Dessert party!
Growing Star Wars presence in Hollywood Studios. On December 1st, Disney opened Star Wars Launch Bay, updated Star Tours to include scenes from the new film, updated Jedi Training academy featuring a new villain and updated experience as well as a new themed stage, and new character meet and greets – you can visit the dark side and find Darth Vader or the light side and find Chewbacca! These experiences are available EVERY DAY instead of just limited time during Star Wars weekends!
Minnie’s Seasonal Dine at Hollywood & Vine. Each season, Minnie will host a character dinner at Hollywood & Vine which can be coupled with the Fantasmic dining package. This experience will allow you to meet Minnie and her friends (the holiday version came with Goofy & Mickey). In winter, you can “dine with the stars”! Plenty of good reservations are still available. As of March 21, the experience will change over to a “spring” themed experience (booking is not available for this time-frame yet, so there’s still a chance to get a great character dining experience during peak travel time!)
Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival. This annual experience continues to grow (excuse the pun). This year the Flower & Garden Festival is extended to 90 magical days and begins on March 2nd! You can see your favorite Disney characters made into gorgeous topiaries and nosh on some tasty food in the “fresh kitchens” around World showcase. This is a huge change in experience from several years ago as the kitchen experience continues to grow! I can’t wait to see what’s new this year.
Ready to get started planning your 2016 Disney World vacation? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free vacation opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!