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The Very Best Times to Visit Universal Orlando in 2023 and 2024

by Leap on November 4, 2022 3652 Orlando

Inside This Post Inside This Post

Summary

This is what Universal Orlando Resort trip planning sounds like around the Frog Pond: "We have to do Hagrid's 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 time to visit Universal Orlando in 2023 and 2024, as well as some factors to keep in mind when planning your awesome Universal Orlando vacation.

Best Time to Visit Universal Orlando - Universal Globe

Planning When to Visit Universal Orlando in 2023 and 2024

While we have no crystal ball (we wish we did!), we do have historical trends available to pull from when making predictions. But there's one important caveat in 2023: As more families are hopping back into action, we expect that crowds will be heavier than usual throughout the year. That said, there will still be some times when crowds are lower. We're here to give you our best guesses on crowd levels based on our years of data collection and insights. And, action!

Best Time to Visit Universal Orlando in 2023 - Dates by Season

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 Orlando park plans app, and use Universal Express. For those of you who can, we highly recommend visiting the parks on weekdays, especially during peak times such as the week of Thanksgiving and the end of December into early January, as well as spring and summer breaks.

Best Time to Visit Universal Orlando - Loews Portofino Bay Resort

We also 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. This skip-the-regular line benefit is a big help for saving time in the parks, especially if you're visiting on weekends. All Universal Orlando Resort hotels offer Early Park Admission, which is also a super hopful tool to get a jump on your day.

Keep in mind that the parks have and do hit capacity during peak times, even though a reservation system is not in place. We cannot emphasize enough just how much we recommend getting to the parks early! For even more tips for visiting Universal during peak times, hop over to our full post.

The sooner you can purchase your tickets, the better chance you'll have at selecting your desired dates (and the more hotel availability you'll find!). Planning ahead is the name of the game — and you've already taken the first step by reading this post :)

Other Factors to Consider When Determining the Best Time to Visit Universal Orlando

Best Time to Visit Universal Orlando - Family in Jurassic Park Area

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 times to visit, as well as Universal Orlando hours.

Best Times to Visit Universal Orlando - Velocioaster

There's no denying there are better times to visit Universal Orlando than others. It should come as no surprise that the best time to visit Universal Orlando usually falls along with school schedules. Generally, when the tadpoles are out of school, there are higher crowds at Universal. This applies to one-day holidays such as Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a weeklong spring break or the big draw — summer vacation. The week of Thanksgiving and from Christmas into the new year are notably busy, as well.

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.

Big openings can also bring big crowds who want to be among the first to experience the thrills. Even openings and events at other resorts, such as Disney World's 50th-anniversary celebration, have some trickle-over effect. I mean, if you're already coming to Orlando, why not experience the Wizarding World too? In 2023, this ripple effect may be felt with the opening of TRON Lightcycle / Run, opening spring 2023 at Magic Kingdom.

So When Is the Best Time to Universal Orlando in 2023 and 2024?

The very best times to visit Universal Orlando in 2023 are ...

  • Jan. 18 – Feb. 15
  • March 1-10
  • April 17-30
  • Weekdays in the first half of May
  • The second half of August
  • Most days in September (minus the days around Labor Day)
  • Most weekdays in October (minus the days around Columbus Day)
  • Weekdays in November (minus the week of Thanksgiving)
  • Weekdays in December (minus the weeks of Christmas and New Year's Eve)

The very best times to visit Universal Orlando in 2024 are ...

  • Jan. 17 – Feb. 16
  • March 1-8
  • April 15-30
  • Weekdays in the first half of May
  • The second half of August
  • Most days in September (minus the days around Labor Day)
  • Most weekdays in October (minus the days around Columbus Day)
  • Weekdays in November (minus the week of Thanksgiving)
  • Weekdays in December (minus the weeks 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 the best month to visit. The popularity of Halloween Horror Nights, however, has brought in more crowds, and the event regularly sells out. 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 - Hogwarts Castle

Keep in mind that September is 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 very worst times to visit Universal Orlando in 2023 are ...

  • Jan. 1-8, Jan. 13-17
  • Feb. 16-27
  • March 11 - April 16*
  • Weekends in May
  • June
  • July
  • The first half of August
  • The week of Thanksgiving
  • The first week of December**
  • The week of Christmas through the week of New Year

The very worst times to visit Universal Orlando in 2024 are ...

  • Jan. 1-9, Jan. 13-16
  • Feb. 17-28
  • March 9 - April 14*
  • Weekends in May
  • June
  • July
  • The first half of August
  • The week of Thanksgiving
  • The first week of December**
  • 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 2023, Easter falls on April 9, and in 2024, Easter falls on March 31. That means we should expect two spring break seasons that are more compressed, making things feel a little extra crowded.

**The Pop Warner Super Bowl and National Cheer & Dance Championships used to take place at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, but as of 2021, Universal Orlando Resort is the new home for the national championship a week in early December. While we wait for exact dates for 2023 and 2024, know that the championship is taking place Dec. 5-8, 2022.

Holiday Crowds at Universal Orlando in 2023 and 2024

Best Times to Visit Universal Orlando - The Grinch

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, but there are a few other details of note if you'll be visiting Universal Orlando while this eerie (but epic) event is going on. While daytime crowds are typically not impacted too severely by HHN, know that Universal Studios Florida closes early on evenings when the event is taking place (Universal's Islands of Adventure, however, remains open!). So while you shouldn't worry about event crowds terrorizing your day, you'll want to plan accordingly if you want to maximize your time by either visiting Universal's Islands of Adventure, or opting for a park-to-park ticket to hop over once Universal Studios Florida closes for the event. Wanna know more about the best time to visit Halloween Horror Nights? We've got all of the details in our full post. For more information on Universal Orlando hours, and which nights HHN will be taking place, check out our Crowd Calendar.

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. Plus, Universal is home to the green meanie himself — The Grinch!

Universal Orlando's Most Crowded Holidays

  • New Year's Day - Jan. 1
  • Easter - April 9, 2023, and March 31, 2024
  • Independence Day - July 4
  • Thanksgiving - Nov. 23, 2023, and Nov. 28, 2024
  • Christmas Eve - Dec. 24
  • Christmas - Dec. 25
  • New Year's Eve - Dec. 31

Best Holidays to Visit Universal Orlando in 2023 and 2024

Best Time to Visit Universal Orlando - Adventure Sign Islands of Adventure

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. Do keep in mind that for 2023, we expect these dates to be busier than normal because of pent-up travel demand.

  • Veterans Day (and Veterans Day Observed) - Nov. 11
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day -  Jan. 16, 2023, and Jan. 15, 2024
  • Presidents Day - Feb. 20, 2023, and Feb. 19, 2024
  • Labor Day - Sept. 4, 2023, and Sept. 2, 2024
  • Columbus Day - Oct. 9, 2023, and Oct. 14, 2024

Now you know the best time to visit Universal Orlando in 2023 and 2024. 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!
View Comments
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1–50 of 3290 comments
Jan 20, 2023 at 2:16 a.m. Amy Says...

Coming from Canada and can't help that we have to come during Christmas break, only time that works with work schedule. Wondering if there is a certain time of year that is best deal on packages? IE -- does price change much from Jan to July or Sept?

Reply
Jan 30, 2023 at 4:54 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Amy!

We generally recommend purchasing in advance, as tickets & prices can increase as it gets closer to your travel dates.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 9, 2023 at 12:33 a.m. Nick Says...

Why isn’t the 2nd half of February included among the better times to visit? I can’t think of any reason it would be busier than early March.

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Jan 25, 2023 at 8:08 p.m. Matt Says...

I went to Universal late last February -- and it was incredibly busy. I did not expect that kind of turnout for Mardi Gras or President's Day weekend.

On the other hand, my friend and I went to Universal late September 2019 and we had a blast. The ride wait times weren't bad at all and it was so enjoyable!

Reply
Jan 11, 2023 at 10:20 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Nick!

The second half of February is included because of Presidents Day weekend, Mardi Gras and — while it's at the other resort down the road — the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend. Of course, Universal is less impacted, but some families may decide to visit both theme parks while they're here.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 4, 2023 at 6:15 p.m. Oliver Says...

Is January 21st - Feb 1st looking good for Universal for shorter queues? I’ve bought a few express passes (unlimited and one ride per day) …

Reply
Jan 4, 2023 at 1:12 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Oliver!

Generally, yes — it's a quieter time to visit Universal so we'd expect crowds to be low to moderate.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Dec 12, 2022 at 5:43 a.m. Heather Edmonson Says...

Omg can’t wait to check out ask the new stuff!

Reply
Dec 12, 2022 at 3:44 a.m. Cheri66 Says...

We have been following your advice for well over a decade, and we agree. We like to go during the lowest possible crowds. It is so nice to avoid the hassle of major crowds, and it saves a lot of wait time, too, especially if you don't get Express Passes.

Thanks for the updated best and worst times. Hope we can get back there soon.

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Dec 12, 2022 at 3:32 a.m. Becky Says...

Love the advice on best times to visit!

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Dec 12, 2022 at 3:32 a.m. Michelle A Hortenberry Says...

Hoping to go in the fall again. It was perfect weather and a great visit.

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Dec 12, 2022 at 3:11 a.m. Brittany B Says...

Love using your site to help plan Disney trips!

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Dec 12, 2022 at 3:08 a.m. ben Says...

I want to go for Mardi Gras again!

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Dec 12, 2022 at 3:07 a.m. Michele Zils Says...

We love to visit in September during the week because crowds seem to be less and your post shows we are right!

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Dec 12, 2022 at 2:50 a.m. TheShafferFive Says...

This is such a great resource, especially for people like us who have never been to Universal but want to try and find the best time!

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Dec 12, 2022 at 2:13 a.m. Michelle Loomis Says...

I haven't been to Universal Orlando yet, but October would be the time for me!

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Dec 12, 2022 at 2:05 a.m. PractiGal Says...

It’s been a few years since our last visit. I can’t wait to try some of the new rides. Now I know when to go!

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Dec 12, 2022 at 1:55 a.m. Tasha Wilkerson Says...

I would love to check out Orlando some day!

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Dec 12, 2022 at 1:46 a.m. Kayla M Says...

Such good advice

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Dec 12, 2022 at 1:23 a.m. Gina Says...

I haven't been in s long can't wait

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Dec 12, 2022 at 1:04 a.m. maryg Says...

We love visiting over the Halloween season

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Dec 12, 2022 at 1:04 a.m. Scott D Says...

Mid-Week in May looks like a good time!

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Dec 12, 2022 at 12:49 a.m. Paula Gillespie Says...

Such great info! Fall would be my choice of time to visit.

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Dec 12, 2022 at 12:38 a.m. Jenni hatcher Says...

Best times to visit- anytime besides summer in my opinion and statly at art of animation the skyliner!

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Dec 12, 2022 at 12:36 a.m. Barbara Says...

FEBRUARY Is always the best

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Dec 12, 2022 at 12:19 a.m. J. Muller Says...

My kids are BegginG to go to Universal!! I think March is a great time to go, off peak!

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Dec 12, 2022 at 12:01 a.m. Kenia Says...

My twins have been wanting to go to Universal Studios!

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Dec 11, 2022 at 11:43 p.m. Jacqui H. Says...

The end of April is the best time. Not too hot.

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Dec 11, 2022 at 11:03 p.m. Brittany Says...

Best times are Jan/Feb & Sept/Oct, when there’s no cheer competition :)

Reply
Dec 11, 2022 at 11 p.m. Graham Says...

Happy to see we will be visiting during one of the listed best times in 2023!

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Dec 11, 2022 at 10:41 p.m. Tammy Michelli Says...

Thank you for the information

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Dec 11, 2022 at 10:40 p.m. Tammy Denise Michelli Says...

????❤️????

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Dec 11, 2022 at 10:39 p.m. Julienne Entinger Says...

Thanks for posting the best dates to go! I went the end of April this last year and it was great. The weather was beautiful and it was not too busy.

Reply
Dec 11, 2022 at 10:06 p.m. sandra Says...

thanks for the breakdown of the dates. very helpful since we still have kids in school

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Dec 11, 2022 at 9:13 p.m. Kris J Says...

Love this information!!

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Dec 11, 2022 at 8:46 p.m. Steve p Says...

You’re awesome tips! Thank you!

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Dec 11, 2022 at 8:30 p.m. Becky B Says...

Love your blog! I always use it before a trip to keep me updated on everything new.

Reply
Dec 11, 2022 at 7:57 p.m. FatmanOSU Says...

When I can do it.

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Dec 11, 2022 at 7:46 p.m. Bryan Hilton Says...

We love to go in the winter!!! Love the warm climate!!!

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Dec 11, 2022 at 7:41 p.m. Gianna Iafrate Says...

Love it!

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Dec 11, 2022 at 7:39 p.m. Ally Says...

The parks during Halloween and Christmas are beautiful but the crowds are impossible to deal with.

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Dec 11, 2022 at 7:13 p.m. Tanya Says...

I've never been to Universal Studios. This article will be helpful in planning. Thanks!

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Dec 11, 2022 at 7:12 p.m. Seth Evasco Says...

I love Universal!

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Dec 11, 2022 at 6:03 p.m. Sue Henson Says...

We have been a Disney family but looking to add Universal Studios to our list of family vacations.

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Dec 11, 2022 at 5:26 p.m. Kathy Says...

Fall is my favorite time to visit!

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Dec 11, 2022 at 5:08 p.m. Gal Colleen Says...

This is good info to have as the parks can get crazy.

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Dec 11, 2022 at 4:10 p.m. Ami K Says...

We love visiting Florida in November!

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Dec 11, 2022 at 4:04 p.m. Amber B. Says...

Very informative article. Thanks!

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Dec 11, 2022 at 3:39 p.m. Anita C Says...

Thank you. This is a great help in deciding when to visit.

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Dec 11, 2022 at 3:17 p.m. Katie B Says...

We just went in September and it was amazing!

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Dec 11, 2022 at 3:06 p.m. Zach P Says...

Wow. This is extremely detailed and helpful. Thank you!

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Dec 11, 2022 at 3:04 p.m. Robin Y Says...

I loved April. Nov-Jan was too cold for me.

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Dec 11, 2022 at 1:44 p.m. Martin Hjermitslev Says...

Thanks for heads up - been planning since 2019, July 2023 will be our time...:)

Reply
Dec 11, 2022 at 1:38 p.m. April Longcore Says...

I’ve been to Universal before but never stayed on site and I am looking forward to that one day to use the Xpress pass!

Reply
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