January Is the Time to Save and Play in Orlando

Among many Orlando addicts, January is known as a particularly good time to visit.

In January, the main complaints of summer—the heat, the crowds, the long lines, and the high cost of just about everything—can seem a world away. With average high temperatures in the low 70s and fewer people in the parks, there's no doubt the theme park experience is more comfortable early in the year. Since most kids are back in school by early January, the parks aren't as crowded between the first of the year and Presidents Weekend. And at Disney World and elsewhere, it's value season, meaning cheaper rates on accommodations.

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How much cheaper? At Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, a water view room goes for $174 a night during most weekdays in January, compared to $210 per night for weeknights in June and July. A five-bedroom lakefront vacation rental near Disney World rents for $190 a night during January instead of $230 a night during summer or $250 per night over spring break. Winter discounts and packages that offer some kind of savings are also common.

However, there are some tradeoffs, especially at the theme parks. Fewer visitors mean shorter park hours. The Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World closes at 8 pm on many weekdays in January and Universal Studios closes as early as 6 pm this month.

The other downside to consider is that some rides are closed for refurbishment during the parks' quieter times. Case in point: Splash Mountain is closed until February 27.

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