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Top 10 Reasons to Visit Walt Disney World RIGHT NOW, Winter 2016 Edition

Winter is a fantastic time to take a trip to Walt Disney World. The Christmas decorations are down, but so are the crowds. If you’re looking for a reason to drop everything and hop on a plane to Orlando, look no further. Here are ten of them.

10. Crowd Levels

There is never a time at Walt Disney World where you won’t experience some crowds. Popular rides such as Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will always have a wait. That said, in the winter the crowds are much more manageable. You will experience many more rides and attractions with short wait times than you would during the summer. You’ll be able to do more while you are there. Take advantage of FastPass+ for the most popular rides, and enjoy the shorter wait times for almost everything else. In the winter it is also easier to make last minute dining reservations.

9. Shorter Park Hours

You might think that the shorter hours at some parks is a bad thing, but really it’s a positive. Since the wait times are down you’ll still be able to see and do everything that you want, and you’ll get a good night’s sleep. Too many guests feel like they are wasting money if they aren’t in the Magic Kingdom, for example, from open until close. In the winter that is a doable goal, and you’ll still get your much needed rest. You might also have a couple of hours free in the evening to explore other parts of Walt Disney World, such as Disney’s BoardWalk or Disney Springs. Shorter park hours can indeed be a good thing.

8. Weather

The winter weather in Florida can be unpredictable, but chances are it will be better than where you live. November and December were both extremely warm, but January has already had several comfortable days and cool nights. You don’t have to worry about snow and ice in Central Florida, and the daily rain storms are still months away. Make sure you check the forecast before you leave home, and pack appropriately. If you only pack T-shirts, shorts, and flip flops, you might be in for a chilly surprise.

7. Disney Springs

Back in September, Downtown Disney officially changed its name to Disney Springs. While there is still plenty of work to be done, so much has changed already. You can now enjoy pan-Asian cuisine at Morimoto Asia, step into Indiana Jones’ world at Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, or design your own flip flops at Havaianas. Disney Springs is changing and growing more exciting every single day. You’ll want to see what’s happening as soon as possible.

6. Spring Training

For Spring Training you don’t have to book your trip today, but you won’t want to put it off too much longer. Spring Training will be here before you know it. The Atlanta Braves play at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, and the games are a lot of fun. It’s true that they don’t count towards the regular season, but you’ll have a chance to see players who are fighting for a spot on the final roster. The first game at Walt Disney World is March 1 (still winter) and the final one is April 2, so you don’t have a lot of time to plan. If you’ve never seen a Spring Training game, this year is the time to change that.

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5. Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park

Wouldn’t you like to be able to brag to your friends that you spent the day at a water park, while they were shoveling snow? Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon is currently closed for its annual refurbishment, but the work is finished at Blizzard Beach. At this time of year the water park isn’t usually too crowded, making it a great destination. Remember that Disney will close Blizzard Beach if the temperature goes too low, so if the forecast is calling for below normal temperatures you will want to check before heading out.

4. RunDisney

The Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend wrapped up on January 10, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the race season. The comfortable winter temperatures make Central Florida a great place to run during the winter. The Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend will take place February 18-21. The races are sold out, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t come out and cheer on the participants. If you are running and plan to wear a costume, make sure you check the new costume regulations before you dress up. The races benefit Children’s Miracle Network.

3. Upcoming Closures at Disney’s Hollywood Studios?

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights has finished its 20 year run, and the Phineas & Ferb meet and greet has closed. If there’s something that you love at Disney’s Hollywood Studios that is not a headline attraction, you will want to visit right away. No one knows what will close next, but there is usually very little warning when something shuts down forever. If you love Disney’s Hollywood Studios the way that it is now, you’ll want to visit immediately before more changes are made. There will be more closures, they need to put the Star Wars and Toy Story Lands somewhere.

2. Special Offers

Now that the holidays are over, the largest crowds of the year are gone. That means that there are plenty of open rooms at the Walt Disney World Resort hotels that need to be filled. There are Florida resident offers, Passholder offers, military discounts, and more. It’s currently the Value Season, offering you some of the lowest prices of the year. Take advantage of the discounts and book right away.

1. Star Wars Experiences

Star Wars Land is coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but it is still several years away. Since Star Wars is hotter than ever right now, Walt Disney World is giving fans a chance to celebrate. Star Wars Launch Bay offers guests a chance to walk through props and scenes from the movies. You can play video games and watch a behind the scenes movie about the franchise. There are two meet and greet areas in Launch Bay; one with Chewbacca and the other with Darth Vader. Jedi Training Academy has been updated, and is now Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple. You can watch Star Wars: Path of the Jedi; a short film that features several scenes from the movies. Star Tours – The Adventures Continue has been updated as well. There is now a scene from Jakku, and it features some familiar faces from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Those who have ridden the ride enough will notice enhancements in other scenes as well. Since everyone knows that the best way to end an evening at Walt Disney World is with fireworks, you can now do that at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Symphony in the Stars runs nightly, and features the music of the legendary John Williams. There is a dessert party to accompany the fireworks, reservations are highly recommended.

About PaulaK

I grew up in Western Massachusetts. When I was nine my family went to Disneyland and I was hooked. I grew up, attended New England College in Henniker, NH and eventually moved to Virginia. I worked as a disc jockey, married and became a full time mom when our daughter was born. Fast forward several years. In 2010 we moved to Central Florida and my Disney obsession grew. I now work as a freelance writer and spend my spare time in the parks. Under the name Paula Brown I penned the novels Dream Wanderers and The Coffee Cruiser. I also am a co-author of Dining at Walt Disney World: The Definitive Guide. I'm obsessed with Star Wars, so this is a good time to live in Central Florida. I've been a vegetarian for well over a decade, a choice that my daughter eventually made as well. While my husband still hasn't joined us fully he has given up most meats except for seafood. I was relieved to find that vegetarian dining is not difficult at Walt Disney World.