Suggestions for a newbie's January trip

We’re planning a first-time trip to WDW with our adult kids, and it will probably be the only time we’ll ever be able to all go together (we’re coming from Southern CA). We have a narrow window when everybody’s available (one of the kids has to be back to work around January 21). So far we’re planning to stay at OKW, arriving on Tuesday, Jan 7, leaving on Wednesday, Jan.16, with 7 day park-hopper passes.
We first started planning back in February; of course with the SWGE factor, the crowd calendar has continued to change since then. We planned on using Saturday, Jan 11, as a “rest day.”
We’ve noticed that the marathon is the weekend of Jan 10, but because of our window, there’s no way to avoid that. And we figure as long as we’re there, we’ll brave SWGE if we can.
I’m wondering if we should allow more days… maybe arrive on Sun Jan 5 or Mon Jan 6, and go with 8 or 9 day park tickets. We don’t want to extend our stay past Jan 16, since the following weekend is MLK day weekend.
Any suggestions from the veterans out there?

I’ve done 11 marathon weekends – they’ve gotten more crowded over time, but not unmanageable.
You should consider going the 5th, though, because that is the day the holiday crowds depart yet before the marathon peeps start showing up. I’m booked for Jan 3-7 and won’t even try to go to the parks on the 3rd, will endure the crowds to see the decorations in MK on the 4th, and then the 5th, 6th, and 7th crowds will go way down.


Definitely better to go on Jan 5th after people go back to work, but before the Marathon hits.

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Coming from California – be prepared if going early January - it can be pretty cold. One year it actually sleeted. Waterfalls on the Safari ride were frozen solid and EE had a delayed opening due to ice on the rails. By afternoon it had usually warmed up though.

I can’t avoid the marathon weekend, but this feedback has made us consider arriving on the 6th and adding an extra day to the trip. I’d rather be looking for things to do then have the feeling that we couldn’t see what we wanted to.

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You cannot predict the weather, especially Florida in January. I’ve run the marathon in sleet, and the next year in record heat. Usually its in the 50s,60s and if you monitor the weather and plan right, you’ll be fine.