Archive for December, 2009

Walt Disney World in January 2010 – Crowd levels, Special Events, Promotions, Refurbishments, and Ride Closures.

There are some things going on at Walt Disney World in January that you need to know about:                                                                                                           

Crowd Warnings:

1.      Crowds will very heavy through January 3rd as people enjoy their Christmas break at Walt Disney World.   The rest of the month will have low to moderate crowds.    Low crowds mean shorter hours and fewer shows so plan accordingly.  
2.     2010 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend – January 7th – 10th . The Disney marathons are very popular so we’ll see a bit of a surge in the crowds for this weekend.  The marathon events won’t affect the crowds but you will find runners and their families at the resorts and visiting the parks when not involved with the marathon itself.  The Magic Kingdom will see the largest number of visitors.
3.     Fantasmic! (Disney’s Hollywood Studios) –This great show is no longer presented every night.  It will be offered January 1, 2, 3, 7, 10, 14, 16, 17, 21, 22, 24, & 28.  This is a very popular show and we highly recommend it – arrive 60-90 minutes early, if you do not have a Fantasmic! Dinner package.  Disney may add a second, later performance on certain evenings around New Years  – if they do, the later showing of Fantasmic! will always be less crowded than the earlier one   Warning: When there are limited performances, you know Disney’s Hollywood Studios is going to be busier on days featuring a Fantasmic! show.  Afternoons will be especially busy as those with Park Hopper tickets come over to see the show.  A good touring plan will help you manage this.   Warning:  This show  is excellent but it does feature villains for a good 8-10 minutes.  The scene is fairly intense and can be frightening to small children.
4.     SpectroMagic Parade (Magic Kingdom) – This wonderful nighttime parade is not offered every night and the Magic Kingdom will be more crowded on days featuring a SpectroMagic Parade.   The SpectroMagic Parade will be presented on January 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 11, 13, 16, 17, 18, 20, 23, 25, 27, 30.    If Disney offers a second evening parade, the later parade will be less crowded than the earlier.
5.     Avoid going to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot New Years Eve.   There is a good chance that the park could close because of capacity level crowds and the lines will be horrible.  Disney’s Hollywood StudiosDisney’s Animal Kingdom theme parks are much better choices for these days.
6.     Extra Magic Hours – (Special hours only available to Disney resort hotel guest)!  Crowds will be low enough that January (after January 3rd)  is really the only time we recommend taking in the Extra Magic Hours.   We recommend that everyone avoid the Extra Magic Hour park of the day through January 3rd.    Disney has 33,000 hotel rooms and no one goes to Disney alone – that means too many people are pointed in the same direction at the same time. You’ll have a much nicer time by going to a less busy park.  This is doubly important if you are not staying at a Disney resort – you don’t want to get to the theme park and find a bunch of Disney guests in line in front of you. 
7.      Magic Kingdom – Christmas Break.  The Magic Kingdom theme park will open at 8:00AM for Disney Resort Guests only at 8:00AM from December 24th – January 2nd.  This may create some complications for visitors who are not staying at a Disney hotel.    Be sure to arrive by 8:30AM and get a FASTPASS as soon as you’re allowed in.  Not every attraction is open during Extra Magic Hours so you’ll have the same access to many attractions as anyone else.  Use a good touring plan to help you.
8.     A good touring plan is still important during low crowds.   Shorter hours and fewer show times mean that some advance planning will make sure you and do the things that are important to you. We provide three choices for custom touring plans – our Custom Touring Plans, the 2010 Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World (book), or a subscription to Tour Guide Mike (online service) – at  no charge to you when you book your trip through Build A Better Mouse Trip.  For more information, see:

Special Events:

1.   Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancng  Lights  (Disney’s Hollywood Studios) – November 10, 2009 – January 4, 2010.  This is an incredible holiday light display beginning around dusk.   Every 15 minutes, the display will glow and dim to correspond with the holiday music.  It is quite a sight!  No extra ticket needed – included with your park admission.
2.     Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade (Animal Kingdom)  – Offered through January 3rd.
3. Photos with “Santa Goofy” at Santa’s Chalet in Downtown Disney Marketplace.  Offered through January 3rd.  3:00 – 10:00PM.   
4. 2010 Walt Disney World Marathon.  January 7-10th.   Very popular event
5.     Celebrate Tonight – Downtown Disney’s West End Plaza.  Mini Street Parties featuring a DJ and stilt walkers lead dances, the limbo, party games, and sign-alongs.  They only last about 20 minutes each but are a lot of fun.  Sunday – Thursday:  intermittently 5:00pm– 11:00pm.  Friday – Saturday:  intermittently 6:00pm– Midnight.  Check on the hour and half hour.

 Temporary Attraction Closures and refurbishments:

  • Splash Mountain (Magic Kingdom) will be closed from January 3rd – February 27th, 2010
  • Crystal Palace Restaurant (Magic Kingdom) will be closed from January 3rd – February 15th, 2010.  During this time, character meals will be offered at Liberty Tree Tavern (Restaurant – Magic Kingdom).
  • Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon (water park) – will be closed through January 9th for its annual refurbishment.
  • Disney’s Blizzard Beach (water park) – will be closed January 10th – March 20th for its annual refurbishment.
  • Liberty Belle Riverboat is closed to guests until January 4th, 2010 due to the Tiana’ Showboat Jubilee.
  • Uzima Pool & Spa –  Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge –  will be closed from January 4th – January 29th.  Guests may use the pool at the Animal Kingdom Lodge Kidani Village area.
  • Luna Pool–  Disney’s Boardwalk Inn –  will be closed from January 18th – early February. 
  • Other refurbishments  –  January typically has a lot of pool refurbishments because the weather is cool and crowds are low. We’ll keep you posted if additional pool closures are announced.  Most resorts have more than one pool.
  • Disney’s Magical Express (Airport Shuttle Service) – New luggage procedure for late night arrivals.  As of March 30th, luggage service will no longer be available for arrivals to Orlando International Airport after 10:00PM.   Collect your luggage at baggage claim and take with you to the Disney’s Magical Express check-in desk. 

 Can You Save Money with the “Free Nights” Promotion?

Disney recently released a “free nights” promotion that includes select dates in December.   There is very limited availability for December but the savings can be significant.   Guests staying at a Disney Value resort for 5 nights can receive two additional nights free.   Guests booking a qualifying Magic Your Way package at a Disney moderate or deluxe resort for four nights can receive up to three nights stay.   Your ticket length is also increased but you still have to pay for the dining plan for those nights, if you are using a Disney Dining Plan.  Use tour online form  to contact us to book your reservation.

 Free Theme Park Touring Plans

If you find this report helpful, please consider using us to book your vacation reservations or for custom theme park touring plans.  We are authorized Walt Disney World Vacation Planners and book directly with Disney so you never pay more than if you booked the reservation yourself.  Then we provide lots of help and advice designed to take the stress out of vacation planning.

  •  Help with building a Best Days Itinerary – a daily schedule that puts you in the best park for each day of your trip
  • Help with dining reservations (subject to availability)
  • Custom touring plans that keep you ahead of the crowds and out of the long lines.  Or, if you prefer to do your own plans, we will provide either a subscription to Tour Guide Mike or the newest edition of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World to you instead of our touring plans.  The choice is yours.

At Build A Better Mouse Trip, we are convinced that everyone can benefit with good touring plans.   During busy times, a good plan will absolutely keep you ahead of the crowds and out of the lines – our clients typically wait less than 20 minutes for rides, even thrill rides and headliners.   During less crowded times, a good plan factors in shorter park hours and fewer performance times.    But the most important benefit of a good plan is that everyone gets to ride and see the things that they are looking forward to because everyone’s priorities are included in a plan that tours the parks efficiently and effectively.  For more information see: 

You can purchase custom planning service from us but most of our clients get them for free.  We accept Disney and other hotel commissions as payment for our planning services. If you’ve already booked your own reservation, it may be possible to have our name added as the agent of record.  Your rate, confirmation, and benefits all stay exactly the same.  In this situation, Disney just pays us the commission they would’ve kept for themselves.  Then – free to you – we provide you with touring plans that let you enjoy more attractions with less lines.

 If you have questions or are interested in our services:

                * just call us toll free at 877-815-6515
                * or use the online form    

Thank you,


Build A Better Mouse Trip
Toll Free Phone: 877-815-6515

Build A Better Mouse Trip is a full service travel agency specializing in Florida vacations & Cruises. Build A Better Mouse Trip is not affiliated with or in any way officially connected with, The Walt Disney Company, Disney Enterprises, Inc., or any of their affiliates.

December 2, 2009 at 6:09 pm 1 comment


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