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Best Time to Visit Universal Orlando in 2019 & 2020

by Leap on October 1, 2019 383 Orlando

Best Time to Visit Universal Orlando in 2019 - Wizarding World - Diagon AlleyThis is what Universal Orlando Resort trip planning sounds like around the frog pond:

"We have to do Forbidden Journey first."

"Are you crazy? Escape from Gringotts!"

"I was thinking of splashing into the pool at Cabana Bay Beach Resort right after we check in."

Yes. Even us savvy trip planners can get hung up on how to tackle a Universal Orlando vacation. One of the few things we can agree on is WHEN to visit. Crowd levels have a big impact on everyone's theme park vacation. This post outlines the very best times to visit Universal Orlando in 2019 and 2020. It also outlines the more crowded times to visit. One quick note: With the opening of a certain land in a galaxy far, far away (or Just a neighboring resort down the road) most of 2019 has been slower than normal and is just starting to pick up. We expect it to be pretty hoping for the rest of the year and into 2020! (You can read more about the impact of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge on crowds at Universal below.)

The Best Time to Visit Universal Orlando in 2019 and 2020

As we've said before with visiting Disney World, there's never a bad time to visit Universal Orlando. The Frog Family has hopped down during every season and successfully managed the crowds. We stick with our basic plan — get to the park at opening, take breaks in the afternoon when the parks are at their busiest, make use of our park plans and wait-time app, and use Universal Express.

Best Time to Visit Universal Orlando in 2019 - Loews Portofino Bay Resort

We highly recommend you consider staying on-site at one of Universal’s official hotels that offer Universal Express Unlimited  basically unlimited skip-the-line access on most rides at Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. The Universal hotels that offer the benefit are Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Universal's Hard Rock Hotel and Loews Royal Pacific Resort.

Having a plan also helps manage crowds, which is why we've put all of our experience into these handy-dandy Universal Orlando park plans. There's no magic to our methods (well ... snacks and caffeine help). Simply follow our advice and you'll find the crowds manageable, even during the busy times.

We know that the word "crowds" can conjure up visions of hour-long waits for the popcorn cart. While that's a little extreme, there's no denying that there are better times to visit Universal Orlando than others. It should come as no surprise that the best time to visit Universal Orlando in 2019 and 2020 falls along school schedules. Generally, when the tadpoles will be out of school, there will be crowds at Universal. This is as true for a one-day holiday such as Martin Luther King Day as it is for a week-long spring break or the big draw — summer vacation.

Determining the Best Time to Visit Universal Orlando in 2019 and 2020

Before booking your vacation to Universal on our site, we recommend you check our Crowd Calendar. You can get a view of the crowd levels by day, month or the whole year. You'll also find individual park recommendations so you can easily see at a glance the best time to visit Universal Orlando in 2019 and 2020.

Special events should also be a consideration in deciding the best time to visit, and they are also displayed on the crowd calendar. For example, Halloween Horror Nights can scare up a good crowd (yes, I went there).

Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure Opening CrowdsBig openings, such as Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure in June, can also bring big crowds who want to be among the first to experience the magic. 

The Arrival of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge and Crowds

Yes, we know this is a post about Universal and Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge opened at Disney World, but we would be remiss if we didn't acknowledge that the opening of this highly anticipated land would have an impact on crowds. Many people are planning trips just to experience it, and they will also visit other parks during their vacation, too. With the staggered opening of the two headlining rides, crowds have been initially lower than expected. However, we expect a busier holiday season, especially after the opening of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance on Dec. 5, 2019.

So When Is the Best Time to Universal Orlando in 2019 and 2020?

The very best times to visit Universal Orlando in 2019 are ...

  • Jan. 6-10, Jan. 23-Feb. 14
  • Feb. 25-March 8
  • The second half of August
  • Most days in September (minus Fridays with Halloween Horror Nights)
  • Most weekdays in October (minus Fridays with Halloween Horror Nights)*
  • Weekdays in November (minus the week of Thanksgiving)*
  • Weekdays in December (minus the week of Christmas and New Year's Eve)*

*Probably busier than normal this 2019 because of the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.

The very best times to visit Universal Orlando in 2020 are ...

  • Jan. 6-16, Jan. 27-Feb. 13
  • Feb. 24-March 6
  • The second half of August
  • Most days in September (minus Fridays with Halloween Horror Nights)
  • Most weekdays in October (minus Fridays with Halloween Horror Nights)
  • Weekdays in November (minus the week of Thanksgiving)
  • Weekdays in December (minus the week of Christmas and New Year's Eve)

Historically, September has been the very best month of the year to visit Universal Orlando in terms of crowds because the kids have just returned to school. It is still our pick for best month to visit; however, the popularity of Halloween Horror Nights has brought in more crowds, and the event regularly sells out (by the way, we will be selling tickets). If you're visiting the resort for that time, and specifically for that event, make sure you purchase your tickets first and book your hotel early. Those weekends could see more guests who come in for the event and spend their daytime hours inside the parks.

Best Time to Visit Universal Orlando in 2019 - Incredible Hulk Coaster

September is also the height of Orlando's rainy season. You should prepare for daily afternoon thunderstorms and possibly more rain than that. Come prepared with ponchos. With those caveats out of the way, we still feel that fall is a good time to visit Universal Orlando.

The Most Crowded Time to Visit Universal Orlando

The worst times to visit Universal Orlando in 2019 are ...

  • Jan. 1-6, Jan. 17-21
  • Feb. 15-24
  • March 21-April 7, April 20-27 (elevated crowds March 16-April 27)
  • Weekends in May
  • June*
  • July*
  • The first half of August*
  • The week of Thanksgiving
  • The week of Christmas through the week of New Year

*Slower than normal

The worst times to visit Universal Orlando in 2020 are ...

  • Jan. 1-5, Jan. 18-20
  • Feb. 14-23
  • March 7-April 19
  • Weekends in May
  • June
  • July
  • The first half of August
  • The week of Thanksgiving
  • The week of Christmas through the week of New Year

The big variable for spring is when Easter falls. When it's earlier in the season, there is generally a shorter, more intense "spring break" as school districts narrow down the week they give kids off. When it's later in spring, there is generally a longer but less intense "spring break" season as school districts have more variance in the week they give kids off. In 2019, Easter falls on April 21, making it a longer season than 2020, when it falls on April 12. That is still relatively late and therefore will be slightly more intense in 2020, but still not as bad as it is when Easter lands in March.

Holiday Crowds at Universal Orlando in 2019 and 2020

Holidays bring crowds, and for good reasons. People are off from work and want to enjoy their time in the parks. Many families make it a tradition to gather at Universal Orlando to celebrate everything from Easter to Thanksgiving. Universal Orlando Resort has festive and frightening holiday events.

We've already mentioned the impact of crowds from Halloween Horror Nights. Christmas has also become a bigger deal at Universal Orlando than in past years with the arrival of Christmas In The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Muggles and wizards alike are flocking to the parks to enjoy the holiday decorations, entertainment and food in Hogwarts and Diagon Alley. We expect the 2019 holiday season to be especially hopping!

Universal Orlando's Most Crowded Holidays:

  • New Year's Day - Jan. 1
  • Easter - April 21, 2019, and April 12, 2020
  • July 4th
  • Thanksgiving - Nov. 28, 2019, and Nov. 26, 2020
  • Christmas Eve - Dec. 24
  • Christmas - Dec. 25
  • New Year's Eve - Dec. 31

Best Holidays to Visit Universal Orlando in 2019 and 2020

Stock up on those precious personal days and consider visiting on these less crowded holidays. It will still be busy, but not as noticeable as Christmas.

  • Labor Day - Sept. 2, 2019, and Sept. 7, 2020
  • Columbus Day - Oct. 14, 2019*, and October 12, 2020
  • Veteran's Day (and Veteran's Day Observed) - Nov. 11, 2019, and Nov. 9, 2020 (observed)

*Busier than normal

Now you know the best time to visit Universal Orlando in 2019 and 2020. Wondering how crowds will be during your trip? Check out our Crowd Calendar. You'll find more resources to help you plan your Universal Orlando vacation on our When to Visit Orlando page inside the Orlando Planning Timeline!

Keep hopping!

Keep hopping, Leap!
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1–50 of 192 comments
Dec 4, 2019 at 4:43 p.m. Jerry Says...

Awesome!

Reply
Nov 27, 2019 at 11:57 p.m. Jenn Says...

This is an amazing site. I'm considering a surprise trip for 1/9/20-1/12/20 for our family of 4. One of our daughters has some mobility challenges so we're not the most intense theme park visitors but they sooooooooo love Harry Potter. What is the difference between the 2Day Park to Park with Extra Day and the 3Day Park to Park? We'd stay on site but would welcome any advice on which location has easiest access (not a wheelchair need, just tires sooner). Would expect to come back for break mid-day. Access to swimming would be a plus. We've done Disney years ago, but not Universal. Food plans? Sorry for so many questions, but I know nothing about Universal. Thank you for anything you can offer!

Reply
Dec 5, 2019 at 11:53 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jenn!

We’ve found that while all rooms and amenities at the Universal Orlando hotels are ADA compliant and wheelchair accessible, some are more convenient and accommodating than others. Staying on Universal property is an ideal first step, thanks to the built-in Express Pass that comes with certain hotel stays. Beyond that, we’ve been very happy at the Loews Portofino Bay. Distances between amenities are short and there is a lot to do in a space with a relatively small footprint, making it easier to get around. Don’t overlook the medical parking lots at both Universal and Disney World. Even if you do not have a handicap placard for regular parking, you can access these lots to drop off guests who can’t walk as far in the parking areas. Let the parking attendant at the special needs lot know you need this, and you will either be able to park in the lot (in a close, but not-handicapped spot) or drop off part of your group in a closer, easier to traverse spot. Others in the Frog Pond may be able to weigh in with their favorites, too!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Nov 24, 2019 at 11:10 p.m. Amanda Says...

Hey, thank you for all the info on your website, it’s been extremely helpful in our trip planning. Do you have an idea of what kind of wait times & crowds we would be looking at April 20/21/22/23?

Reply
Nov 25, 2019 at 10:10 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Amanda!

Those dates look to be 8/10. We'd spring fort Express Pass if you can! You can see the breakdown by day on our Crowd Calendar here.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Nov 13, 2019 at 3:13 p.m. ROSHNI THOMAS Says...

Why is Feb 21-23 one of the worst weeks in 2020 to visit Universal? It shows fair crowds on your calender.

Reply
Nov 22, 2019 at 7:32 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Roshni!

That is the week of Presidents Day, so we expect elevated crowds to linger throughout the week/weekend.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Nov 4, 2019 at 5:37 a.m. Amy Says...

I see that the week of Christmas is not a good time for Universal but does that include the weekend before (December 21st and 22nd)? We have just a couple of days that we could fit that in our schedule but don't want to go if it's going to be terribly crowded then. Thank you!

Reply
Nov 4, 2019 at 5:08 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Amy!

Those dates are forecast to be a 9 according to our Crowd Calendar. It may be worth thinking about Express Pass!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Nov 1, 2019 at 4:04 a.m. Sweetpea626 Says...

My family and I are going to Universal for the first time next week (Nov 6-8). It looks like it shouldn't be too crowded, but we have been considering getting the express passes bc we really don't want to spend our time there waiting in lines! However, the passes are so expensive, we don't want to buy them unnecessarily - do you think we would be fine without them? Are we able to buy them there if needed or do they have to be purchased in advance? Thanks so much for your help, have a blessed day! :)

Reply
Nov 4, 2019 at 5:22 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi there!

We think you should be fine without them, but if you arrive and find that you'd like to upgrade, you can also upgrade in-park :) Have a great trip!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 26, 2019 at 12:52 a.m. Cindygnh Says...

Just got back from Disney and Universal and we had a fantastic time. Busy but a great time was had by the family. Enjoyed Universal Halloween Horry Nights.

Reply
Oct 25, 2019 at 6:36 p.m. cindy Says...

can't wait to visit

Reply
Oct 25, 2019 at 6:26 p.m. Chris Says...

I'm planning on going to Universal Studios and Island of Adventure in October (9th - 23rd 2020) plus with a horror night experience (looks cool) should I expect alot of crowds or during the week it shouldn't be that bad. FIrst time going. Thanks :-)

Reply
Oct 29, 2019 at 3:04 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Chris!

October is such a fun time to visit, with lots of frightfully fun activities going on! Weekdays look to be manageable in terms of crowds, with weekends a little busier. You'll notice things get busier as the month goes on, with more and more people flocking to HHN as it gets closer to Halloween. You can check out details about specific dates on our Crowd Calendar. Have a great time!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 25, 2019 at 2:57 p.m. Debbie Says...

would love to go to Universal!!!!!

Reply
Oct 24, 2019 at 5:45 p.m. Nicolaj Says...

Oh my god, I just realised that we have booked our trip to Florida in the Thanksgiving vacation. Our only choice for visiting Universal Studios parks is on the 22nd of November. I now realise that it's a busy day. So what can I expect???? DO we talk hours of waiting in lines even with the Express pass.

Best Greetings from Denmark

Reply
Oct 25, 2019 at 9:28 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Nicolaj!

While we think it could be busy, since it’s the Friday before Thanksgiving, we think it won't be nearly as busy as it will be the following week for Thanksgiving. The longest waits on the Friday before Thanksgiving last year were about 60 minutes, with the wide majority at 30-45 minutes. We think it'll be manageable for you! :) Enjoy!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 23, 2019 at 8:23 p.m. Jason Says...

Hello

My family is traveling to Universal for the first time for Thanksgiving. I see this is the most busy time at Universal. We are staying at Portofino so will have the Unlimited Express Passes. With that in mind, can you tell me on average what this will mean for wait times? I see that avg times during those periods are 45-120 minutes depending on the ride so I'm wondering what kind of time savings we are looking at being it is peak time.

Thanks

Reply
Oct 25, 2019 at 9:29 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jason!

Those Unlimited Express Passes will help you out a ton! They should cut your wait in half compared to the standby line, if not more.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 21, 2019 at 10:43 p.m. Dena Says...

Hi. Coming to Universal soon and it is during a slower crowd time. How have the crowds been during the slower crowd times currently with Star Wars at Disney? Can we do just Universal in one day? Not doing Island of Adventure. Thanks.

Reply
Oct 23, 2019 at 10:28 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Dena!

We think only going to USF one day would be toadally possible. The crowds seemed to be about medium-level on our visit last Friday! You can see projections for specific dates on our Crowd Calendar if you'd like more information!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 14, 2019 at 7:16 p.m. Lisa A. Says...

We're taking our kids and grandchildren (ages 5 & 7) to Disney World 1/17-1/25/20. We're kind of looking at this as a once-in-a-lifetime trip and want to see and do as much as possible. I'm thinking we'll get the Hopper Pass so that we can go to some parks in the mornings, rest/veg/play in the afternoons, and see shows in the evening. Do you have any recommendations on must-sees?

Thank you!

Reply
Oct 15, 2019 at 9:15 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Lisa!

What an amazing trip - we're sure you're excited for all of that time with the grands! We have some park plans that you can check out here, but overall, we think your plan sounds great. We'd also suggest checking out some ride videos and staring conversations now with your grandkiddos to see what they'd like to prioritize. You should be able to get a good amount done during your trip! If they are Star Wars fans, we'd definitely suggest spending time in Galaxy's Edge, as well as Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios. We tend to watch Magic Kingdom's nighttime spectacular, Happily Ever After, a few times - finding a good vantage point directly in front of the castle to see the projections can take some finagling, so we find that going more than once allows us to see things we may have missed the first time around! The Festival of the Arts will be going on at Epcot, so be sure to have some time set aside to take in all of the special activities for the kids (and you!). A couple of hours should be plenty. Be sure to talk about which characters are priorities, too - if you have princess-lovers, we love starting our day with the princesses at a big breakfast at Akershus in Epcot!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 11, 2019 at 5:36 p.m. Teri Ruffino Says...

The Crowd Calendar is crucial for those of us who aren't familiar with the crowd flow of these popular theme parks. I love the look, feel and user-friendliness of this valuable tool!

Reply
Oct 11, 2019 at 3:07 p.m. Tina Patey Says...

Disney Springs is the most amazing place outside of the parks.

Reply
Oct 3, 2019 at 9:51 p.m. Jenna Says...

I’m arriving the weekend of December 28-January 4. I know in general it’s a bad time for crowds because of the holiday but is there one day during that week that it won’t be quite as bad at universal?

Reply
Oct 4, 2019 at 3:17 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jenna!

Things will be busy throughout Orlando, so we'd just pick the day that works best for you and spring for Express if you can :)

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Sep 23, 2019 at 7:52 p.m. Stacey Says...

I notice you mentioned the benefit of staying at The Universal hotels that offer Universal Express Unlimited Passes (Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Universal's Hard Rock Hotel and Loews Royal Pacific Resort). We are planning a trip in March and are planning to stay at a Universal Hotel. Have you found there is more benefit of staying at the hotels you list to get these passes versus stay at a different Universal hotel and buying the passes separately? Also, in your experiences with rides at Universal Orlando and Islands of Adventure, are these rides fairly smooth or are they jerky/rough?

Reply
Sep 25, 2019 at 12:24 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Stacey!

If you’re going to stay at a Universal hotel and definitely want Express passes, it is more beneficial, depending how many people are staying in the hotel room, to spring for a Premier hotel. Express passes start at $69.99 per person (one park) or $79.99 per person (for two) — and that’s just the single-use Express Pass (there’s an unlimited Express Pass that lets you go on one ride as many times as you want, which is what you'd get from staying at a Premier). If the difference in savings is greater (which it often is!), we’d go with a Premier hotel. We have a whole blog post dedicated to these benefits in case you'd like to read more, which you can find here. Most of the motion simulators can be a little jerky at times, with The Hulk being the roughest coaster. Hagrid's, however, is one of the smoothest, as is Rip Ride Rockit! Hope this helps!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Sep 22, 2019 at 8:13 a.m. Rikke Says...

Hi

Traveling from Europe this is our second stay in Florida and Orlando, but havent visited any of The parks yet besides Discovery Cove.

Both my daughter and I are huge Harry fans, so Im trying to research how to go about it, if we should visit Harry Potter World...it Can be quite tricky to find out just by google :)

We have been to Disney in Paris but it still seems there are Way more different tickets and options here..

As I understand it at this point.. Harrys place is not a park in it self but are areas within The two Universal Studios parks, which you have to buy atleast a 2 Day 2 park ticket to get The full expirience with The Hogwats Express ?

We have The option to visit on weekdays in mid october, is Express pass needed ?

Thx in advance!

Reply
Sep 23, 2019 at 3:42 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Rikke!

Yes, the Harry Potter areas are not parks by themselves, but are each a section within the two parks. We usually recommend a 2-day park-to-park ticket, just so you can get the full experience (1 park for each day). But since you’re going mid-week in October, we think you can do without Express (and you can always once you're in the park if you need to). Enjoy!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Sep 13, 2019 at 4:54 p.m. Tanisha Says...

Hello, My family and I are planning a vaction Oct 3 - Oct 6 2019. Would you reccommend going to Universal Studios and IOA in 1 day. No wel will not do the Harry Potter train ride.

Reply
Sep 13, 2019 at 1:40 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Tanisha!

We generally recommend two days to take in all of the fun that Universal Orlando has to offer. If you're skipping the Wizarding World altogether (not just the Hogwarts Express), you may be able to tackle it in one. Have fun!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Sep 10, 2019 at 1:57 a.m. Pam Says...

We want to do all Harry Potter. They are in 2 different parks, correct? We are going with our 21 & 24 year old - thinking of getting them 3 day park to park pass and my husband and I 2 day park to park. Can ride Hogwart's Express with both, correct? Any need for us to do 3 day park? We won't ride rides. Mainly to look around and see it all. Thanks.

Reply
Sep 10, 2019 at 9:39 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Pam!

That's correct; there are two sections of the Wizarding World, one in each park. You'd need park to park to ride the Hogwarts Express from one to the other, so your plan sounds perfect! If you and your husband aren't interested in riding the rides, we'd stick with two day. If you find that you're having so much fun that you want to add a day on, you can always visit the ticketing office to see about an upgrade :) Enjoy!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Sep 2, 2019 at 6:20 p.m. Confusedmom Says...

We are looking at going to Universal Jan 27 and 28. We are staying in Disney Vacation Club. Is it possible to do Harry Potter and Jurassic World in two days? We have never been to universal. How are they with a child with disabilities. Thank you.

Reply
Sep 3, 2019 at 1:12 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi there!

Yes, it is definitely possible to do both in two days! Are you hopping to Universal Studios Hollywood (with Jurassic World) or Universal Orlando (with Jurassic Park)? In either park, there are options for your son. You can find out a little more about the Attraction Assistance Pass, which we highly recommend looking into for your tadpole, here. Have a wonderful time!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Sep 23, 2019 at 10:33 p.m. Confused mom Says...

We will be at Universal Studios Orlando. We have a condo over on Disney so we figured 2 days at Universal and 4 at Disney. Is the last week of January a good time to go.

Reply
Sep 24, 2019 at 8:15 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Confused Mom!

The very last week of January looks to be a great time to visit according to our Crowd Calendars, with crowds as low as 4s that week. Have fun!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 31, 2019 at 5:33 a.m. Mike Says...

We will be in Orlando from Jan 13-17, 2020. We purposely chose a time when kids are back in school. Looks like it's a good slow time per your lists. Should it be slow enough that we don't need to spend on the express passes? I am HOPING that we can do one full long day and do all of the wizarding world in both parks. we don't really care to do anything outside of the potter stuff. shouldn't be bad if it's slow right?

Reply
Sep 3, 2019 at 8:34 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Mike!

These dates look to be pretty moderate, as you noted - 5s and 4s. As such, we don't think you'll need Express Pass. Have fun!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 13, 2019 at 3:29 a.m. Lori Says...

We are thinking about bringing our son for his golden birthday on June 13, 2020-June 17, 2020. Do you have recommendations on where to stay and if express passes are recommended? We’ve been to Disney many times, but this would be our first family trip to Universal. Thank you so much!

Reply
Aug 13, 2019 at 1:33 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Lori!

If you stay at a Premier Resort Hotel, your stay will come with Unlimited Express Passes! While the Premier hotels are a little more, sometimes the cost of adding on an Express Pass actually makes the Premier choice a "frugal" one :) Have a wonderful time!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 5, 2019 at 11 a.m. Denise Sinclair Says...

Hi, we are travelling in November 2019 & wondering if I should book a Universal hotel for 1 night? Arriving 12 Nov - 20 Nov & staying at Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek for the trip. Was thinking of booking a Universal hotel (Cabana Bay) for first night (12 Nov) to get the hour early pass for Harry Potter. Do you think this is worthwhile OR is the express pass a better option OR am I ok for not worrying about it & do the whole stay at Wyndham? Thanks Denise

Reply
Aug 5, 2019 at 3:09 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Denise!

That time is definitely a less busy period. You may run into some Veteran’s Day weekend crowds, but it still should not be super busy since the 12th is a Tuesday. That said, we don’t think Express Passes would be necessary, and you could probably do without the early admission. Since Wyndham Bonnet Creek is closer to Disney, you should still arrive early to get there when the park opens. If you don’t want to deal with that driving distance, Cabana Bay Beach for one night may be a good idea.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 23, 2019 at 9 p.m. Deedee Says...

Would like to visit middle of April 2020. I visited Universal about ten yrs ago around that time frame. While we were there on two different days we were told to leave the park early because there was a private party reserving the park. Do you have a schedule letting people know when parks are closing early for private parties? I would be upset if I paid for tickets and have to leave early

Reply
Jul 24, 2019 at 2:55 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Deedee!

We understand! We'd recommend checking the park hours schedule on Universal's website; unfortunately, only park hours through October are showing as of today.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 19, 2019 at 3:39 p.m. Lucia Zulueta Nizarala Says...

I'm planning to go to Universal Studio in March 2020 and I'm wondering if the PROMO (extra days) happens every year? Starting that month?

Thanks!

Reply
Jul 22, 2019 at 2:37 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Lucia!

This can vary from year to year, so be sure to hop back!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 16, 2019 at 7:17 p.m. Claiborne Says...

We are planning on coming the Sunday after Thanksgiving, December 1st. We are solely interested in Harry Potter rides and experiences. We plan to get the Express Pass and the pass that allows you to ride the Hogwarts Express from one park to the other.

Here are my two questions:

1. How critical is a Smart Phone for Express passes? I feel like we needed one at Disney (we do not have Smart phones but traveled with someone who did). If we do need one, would a tablet work/ is there a Wifi to dial into at the park?

2. Which park would be best to start at that day? We would like to start at the less crowded of the two and finish with the other (my thinking is crowds may die down as people return from Thanksgiving holidays)?

Reply
Jul 16, 2019 at 4:50 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Claiborne!

The Express Pass at Universal doesn’t have to rely on a smartphone (although you can link park tickets and Express Passes to the UOR app). It’s a separate ticket with a barcode that you scan at each ride. Since there are no return times (like FastPasses) to keep track of, you can use the Express Pass whenever you want. Depending on which Express Pass, you can go on each ride only once, or an unlimited amount of times. There is free Wi-Fi at the parks. I like using the app mainly for wait times (but they also have large signs near the entrances of each park that scroll through all wait times and show times.) If you'd like to use mobile ordering, you’d need the app. Only 3 rides use a Virtual Line, but if you have an Express Pass, you can skip the virtual line and avoid using the app.

Universal Studios is the busier park in the mornings because people like to take the Hogwarts Express from Diagon Alley/USF to Hogsmeade/IOA. Currently, that’s also the park that has Early Park Admission (not Islands Of Adventure) – you may want to check which parks have Early Park Admission closer to November and plan according to that. On the other hand, something else to keep in mind is that Islands Of Adventure has all 3 water rides, so if you’re planning on going on any of those, you may want to end the day with them (so you’re not walking around in wet clothes).

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 8, 2019 at 5:05 p.m. Diego Elizondo Says...

Hello, thank you for all the information, it is very useful. We plan to go to Orlando during the second week of January 2020 (12 to 19). We are going to buy the 2 park 1 day to be able to use the Hogwarts Express; since we are going to be a single day in both parks, we thought to go on Saturday as I understand that the schedule is until 8, but as I saw that weekend is not so recommended, I do not know if it is better to go on a weekday, even if we do not have that extra hour. Thanks!

Reply
Jul 11, 2019 at 9:07 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Diego!

Will you have Express Passes? If so, we'd recommend heading to the park on a Saturday so that you have the extra hour AND can skip the lines. If you don't, we'd stick to a weekday in hopes of beating some of the crowds.

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Jul 4, 2019 at 12:12 a.m. vballanne Says...

We can't wait to visit in October!

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Jul 3, 2019 at 2:06 p.m. glenna Says...

Can't wait to take the grandkids!!!!

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Jun 28, 2019 at 5:53 p.m. Lieke Says...

What a beautiful theme park. I hope that I can visit it in the future. When is the best time to plan a trip to Universal?

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Jun 25, 2019 at 3:08 p.m. Ruth Doege Says...

Interesting...Thanks for the information

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Jun 20, 2019 at 10:09 p.m. Jackie Says...

We want to take our daughter to magic kingdom as well as universal she is a huge harry potter fan. We have a fall break from school buy I was wondering if it's better to book a package deal or will it be cheaper for me to find my own hotels. Also where is the best place to go to find the best deal on park tickets? Love your website very informative

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Jun 21, 2019 at 1:37 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jackie!

That's so exciting! You're going to have so much fun at both of the parks. We offer discounted park tickets to Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort. Additionally, we have hotel deals available that you can find here.

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Jun 20, 2019 at 11:57 a.m. Robin Says...

When will 2020 park tickets be offered?

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Jun 26, 2019 at 9:35 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Robin!

You can find 2020 tickets both through Undercover Tourist and Universal; just be sure to check the details since some tickets involve blockout dates. Let us know if we can help!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 23, 2019 at 9:08 p.m. Grammy Says...

Wonderful breakdown of what to do and when. Looking on Groupon at a buy two days get three free (park to park). Would that be the best bang for our buck? Arriving in Orlando Sunday morning and staying for six nights. Will have a not yet two year and four adults that are crazy about Harry Potter. Any recommendations??

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May 11, 2019 at 1:17 a.m. Sheila Says...

Hi!! First trip super excited planning for late February 2020 or first of March. Any advice

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Apr 28, 2019 at 10:15 p.m. erica Says...

Hi! Super helpful post and site -- thanks! We are going to try to go Sept 26-Oct 1 and do 2 days at orlando and 2 days at disney. Is this a busy time or less busy because of the rainy season? Also do you recommend doing disney before or after? Our kids are most excited for everything harry potter so not sure if we want to do it first or end with it. Would love any input. THANK YOU!!

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May 1, 2019 at 1:07 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Erica,

This season is likely to be busier because of the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. Ordinarily it's a good time to visit, although because of the special fall events, it's become a more popular time to visit. You're probably slightly better off doing Disney on the weekdays and Universal on the weekends.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 23, 2019 at 9:14 p.m. Amanda Bates Says...

Hi, this was really helpful thank you. I'm trying to do universal studios and islands of adventure in one day which I know will be a struggle but I can only afford a one day park to park ticket without express pass. We're just going to pick our favourite rides and plan a military style operation to get around as many of them as we can. I'd like advice whether to go on Saturday 2nd November when we'll get 2 more hours in the parks or either Monday 4th or Tuesday 5th when we'll get 2 hours less but I presume the parks will be quieter so lines will be shorter? Thanks

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Apr 24, 2019 at 5:20 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Amanda!

It's our pleasure - thanks for taking the time to read and say hello!

November 2nd is the last night of Halloween Horror Nights, so that’s something to keep in mind since Studios will close early for guests not attending the party. If you’re prioritizing rides, you should have no problem park hopping on Monday/Tuesday (and the crowds look to be similar according to our Crowd Calendar, so feel free to pick the day that works best for you!)

Have a frogtastic time!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 22, 2019 at 11:33 a.m. Randy Smith Says...

You wrote that Easter Sunday 2019 was one of the worse days to visit Universal Studios. I can attest that this was/is wrong as we were there yesterday and the longest we waited in line was 75 minutes. The park seemed crowded but the lines for all the rides were averaging 45 minutes. Just thought I would let you know.

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Apr 27, 2019 at 3:23 a.m. Marshall Says...

I will say that my family of 6 was there Saturday and Sunday with Park to Park tickets for both days. Saturday was absolute Bananalands all day with park associates having to part crowds in Hogsmeade because there was so many people. Sunday was a completely different story. We waited no longer than 30 minutes for every ride. We were able to hit The Mummy ride back to back to back without waiting starting at 6pm. Longest we had to wait was for Gringotts, and that was no longer than 30 minutes. Next time we go, we’re going to try and plan to do the park Easter Sunday-Mon/Tuesday.

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Apr 21, 2019 at 6:59 a.m. Poul Says...

What about easter monday? Are schools closed? It is nit a publuc holiday, so why should ut be so crowded? Thanks.

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Apr 22, 2019 at 9:12 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Poul!

Some schools will be closed, and while others won't be, some families do take some extra time off to vacation (since many school districts have Good Friday off).

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 17, 2019 at 7:59 p.m. Erika Says...

My proposed dates are Sunday, May 17, 2020 until Friday, May 22, 2020. A good week before Memorial Day and the start of most summer vacays and avoiding weekends. I am not too terribly concerned about crowds at this time, but am still wondering if it is worth our money to stay at the Royal Pacific and get express passes. My goal on this trip (as opposed to a not so relaxing Disney trip) is to do NO planning whatsoever, no arrival times, order of rides, restaurants picked in advance, NOTHING. What do you think?

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Apr 22, 2019 at 12:37 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Erika,

If you really want to do no planning whatsoever, staying on-sites makes the most sense!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 8, 2019 at 2:37 p.m. Lee Says...

Our family is going to be visiting Orlando and we are considering doing a few days at Universal. The problem is we are limited to visiting in July. Any suggestions on the best days to visit to avoid crowds or anything we can do to make it more "doable"? We know it will be crowded, but its the only time we can go.

Reply
Apr 8, 2019 at 11:01 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Lee!

We toadally understand! It is certainly do-able. We recommend getting an Express Pass while you're there. It allows you to skip the lines, either one time for each ride, or if you spring for the Unlimited Express pass, as many times as you'd like. Check out our Crowd Calendar to see what we anticipate in terms of crowds in July.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 27, 2019 at 6:59 p.m. Megan Says...

1st timer to Universal and my 12yr old daughter is HP obsessed! Looking to go Nov 3-8 nervous about ride closures, can I find out ahead of time? I will change if need to. Also we were going to stay at Loews Pacific, anyway to save? better time for discounted rate? I am getting a great ticket price from Sams Club B2G3 Free :) Any other tips or suggestions for 1st timer appreciated.

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Mar 28, 2019 at 8:35 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Megan!

You can check out Refurbishments here prior to your visit. While these aren't announced very far in advance, you can keep an eye out to see what may be closed during your trip.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 23, 2019 at 5:11 p.m. NSP Says...

Hi,

We are planning to go to Disney and Universal Orlando between May 1 to May 9th, 2019. We are going to Magic Kingdom on one day, EPCOT on one day and planning to cover Universal Studios and Universal Island of Adventure in 2 to 3 days. Do you need to purchase Express pass at Universal Orlando?

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Mar 25, 2019 at 10:44 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi NSP!

That will depend on the day you are visiting; you can check out expected Crowd Levels for your trip here. Once you've determined the crowd level on the day you'd like to visit Universal, you can either opt to see how things go, with the option to upgrade in-park if you need it, or to purchase the Express Pass ahead of time. That time period, with the exception of the weekend, looks to be pretty mild in terms of crowds, so we don't think it will be necessary, but may be a nice bonus not to have to wait in any lines :)

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 19, 2019 at 10:40 p.m. Lisa Says...

We are planning a trip to Universal in September, but I don't see tickets or park hours available past June. When do fall tickets / hours usually become available?

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Mar 20, 2019 at 2:24 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Lisa!

Unfortunately, they only release operating hours a few months out (and even those can change sometimes during the month)! Our best recommendation is just to continue checking back. Operating hours pretty much always begin at 9 a.m. - it's closing time that may vary a bit. You can, however, purchase tickets from now through the end of the year on Universal's website!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 7, 2019 at 4:19 p.m. B Rich Says...

Hi there,

We would like to take our kids to Volcano Bay between the end of March and the end of May. What weekends or weekdays are best, in terms of crowds? We would like to get out there before school gets out, but wondered if it's already busy with tourists. Thank you in advance!

Reply
Mar 9, 2019 at 7:21 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi B,

We'd recommend the second half of April and the first half of May. Check out our Crowd Calendar. It's a great indicator of crowd levels.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 28, 2019 at 5:50 p.m. Shannon Says...

Hello! I was wondering if there was a specific event/reason that IOA is listed as busy the last 2 Tuesdays in August? Thanks!

Reply
Mar 4, 2019 at 12:51 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Shannon!

The second half of August, especially weekdays, should be a pretty safe bet in terms of crowds. The indication on the Crowd Calendar just means that we expect those days to be busier at that particular park than the others - but at that time of year, the crowds should still be minimal :)

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 23, 2019 at 12:34 a.m. Bobbie Says...

We are planning a trip Oct 22-25 to go to the Universal parks. According to your calendar, it looks like crowds will be moderate those days. I am trying to decide if it is worth staying in one of the hotels that issues Express passes to their guests, or if the lines will be manageable enough that we can stay at a less expensive hotel. Would love to hear you opinion. Thanks!

Reply
Feb 26, 2019 at 9:07 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Bobbie,

If you can afford the hotels with the Express benefit, we would recommend them at this time. The parks do have more guests coming in for Halloween Horror Nights, especially as Halloween gets closer. While your dates are mid-week and therefore not the most crowded, it's your call, but we'd spring for them if we could.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 22, 2019 at 2:52 p.m. Auden Saylor Says...

My Husband and I are taking our Kids to Universal for the first time Sept 21-25th and staying at the new Endless Summer Resort. Any information on the accessibility for that Universal hotel and how the crowds will be for that time ? Still warm? Think we should need fast passes? My husband and I have been but this is the first for the kids ( 10 & 5)

Reply
Feb 22, 2019 at 1:59 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Auden!

Crowds look to be pretty mild at that time (3s and 4s), weekends being the exception at a level 6, according to our Crowd Calendar. You may consider the Express Pass for the weekend, or can always check things out and assess your comfort level once you get to the park.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
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