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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!
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501–550 of 3290 comments
Dec 6, 2022 at 3:38 p.m. Erin Says...

This is so helpful! We're leaning towards going in October or November.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 3:35 p.m. Elise A Martin Says...

Great advise! I love to go in the winter time.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 3:33 p.m. Danielle Says...

Very helpful info.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 3:32 p.m. Mitzi Says...

I would love to go in February, less crowds and my sons birthday month!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 3:29 p.m. Renee Smason Says...

January and February really are the best times.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 3:27 p.m. Catherine H Says...

Cant wait to go!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 3:25 p.m. Kristen H Says...

We just got back from a trip during the week of Thanksgiving. It was crowded but not too bad. Hagrid's is worth the wait!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 3:23 p.m. Vickie Says...

I love the holidays at all the theme parks! Each so unique from each other!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 3:20 p.m. Vanessa Says...

Great info, thanks!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 3:19 p.m. Chris S. Says...

I appreciate the information on crowds, but am interested in what happens when a park reaches capacity - are people turned away at the gates?

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Dec 6, 2022 at 10:21 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Chris!

In the past, Universal has stopped letting people in once the parks reach capacity, but there would be a line for those who want to wait until capacity lowers. This was more common during the early stages of the pandemic when park capacity was much lower. Now that capacity levels are back to normal, it has been a rare occurrence.

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Dec 6, 2022 at 3:18 p.m. Holly R Says...

Summer is too hot for us. We like the fall...

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Dec 6, 2022 at 3:16 p.m. JEFF SMEAD Says...

SOOO much to think and plan for, this is a good quick refresher

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Dec 6, 2022 at 3:13 p.m. Emma B Says...

Great info! Thanks so much.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 3:11 p.m. BooBooKty1976 Says...

My fav time to go is right after Christmas so I agree mid Jan thru Feb is always a perfect time!!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 3:09 p.m. Tim Says...

Late January sounds like a great time to me! Warmer temps than up North.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 3:07 p.m. Karli Says...

Yeah I personally think going to Florida in the summer would be awful so the best times would be spring and fall.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 3:07 p.m. Kimmiesue9 Says...

I can’t wait to go

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Dec 6, 2022 at 3:04 p.m. Debra O. Says...

Great place to visit. Love the info and deals from undercover tourist.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 3:03 p.m. Monica Says...

Awesome! We're going the week before Christmas break.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 3:03 p.m. Stacee Porter Says...

Our favorite time to visit Orlando is September, and didn't even realize it's one of the best times to explore the parks. Thanks for the schedule!

Hope everyone has recovered from hurricane season. It was a beast this year!!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 3:03 p.m. MJ Says...

Thank you!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 3:01 p.m. Nilda Says...

Very excited to clear my visit to Universal Studios in Orlando Florida off my Bucket List!!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 2:56 p.m. DenLun Says...

September looks like a good month crowd-wise. Only downside is that it rains almost every day but hey, less people..

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Dec 6, 2022 at 2:53 p.m. Tara Says...

It's always best when it's a little cooler out. Summer is way too hot!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 2:52 p.m. Jason Says...

Good tips!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 2:51 p.m. Lisa F Says...

January and February are the best times to visit Universal. No heat, no humidity, and it doesn't rain everyday at 3.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 2:47 p.m. ATaylor Says...

We have been so pleased using UCT for most of our Disney trips that we will naturally use them for our future Universal trip. They have always had wonderful information and deals!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 2:46 p.m. Sara Perry Says...

This is perfect info! I want to bring my daughter here for graduation!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 2:42 p.m. Salina L. Says...

The best time for me to visit is with my graduate. We had to cancel our grad trip in 2020 :'( We NEED that trip!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 2:41 p.m. Shonika kumar Says...

Fall is the best time!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 2:39 p.m. Susannah Says...

Homeschooling allows us the flexibility to visit during off-peak times to get the most out of our trip!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 2:38 p.m. Jeanette Gillett Says...

Amazing prize...love Florida ❤️????????????????????

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Dec 6, 2022 at 2:37 p.m. k Says...

would love to go! Never Been

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Dec 6, 2022 at 2:37 p.m. Natalie Says...

First of all, I love the picture of the Grinch that you have on here... He is my favorite!! Also, I really do appreciate this blog. One of the first things I would stress about when planning a trip is when to go based on crowds (so this is amazing). My dream would be to visit in December, because of Christmas but I have also heard wonderful things about February being "slower".

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Dec 6, 2022 at 2:32 p.m. Rpcvsheets Says...

We went last week of May 2022 and it was good. Lots of schools weren't our yet so not as crowded (or hot) as later in the summer.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 2:31 p.m. Lauren Says...

Christmas (December) is a great time, especially with kids!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 2:30 p.m. Katie S Says...

I have been reading in many social media groups that the historical crowd calendars are not really reliable now, with all the post Covid travel. That said, I do think a lot of the info provided here helps inform what time of year best fits what a family is looking for, in terms of events, holiday stuff, weather, etc. Expect crowds no matter when you go and just keep a positive attitude.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 2:30 p.m. Courtney S Says...

My favorite time to go is during October because my husband and I love experiencing Halloween Horror Nights together! Can't wait to go back next year!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 2:30 p.m. MJ Says...

Lots of good info and factors to consider. Have to start planning with family!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 2:23 p.m. Andrea F. Says...

Super helpful timing guides!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 2:20 p.m. Susan A. Says...

We have never been to Universal Florida but hope to go soon! This information will be very helpful for planning an informed trip!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 2:19 p.m. Dawna Says...

September is a great time to go. Warm enough for the water park also, but not too crowded.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 2:17 p.m. JJ Says...

This is great, thanks!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 2:09 p.m. Pamela Muldowney Says...

These are all great suggestions about when to visit and when not to.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 2 p.m. Steve Says...

As guests with no children I would go the first week of Feb or the middle 2 weeks of Dec

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:57 p.m. Susan T Says...

Hoping my family's first trip will be this year. Fabulous to know better times to visit!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:55 p.m. Cherie Davis Says...

Thanks for the helpful info!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:54 p.m. TLM Says...

We love coming during the holidays, but the crowds.. EEK!... We've have had great trips with low crowds in early March and during Oct as you've listed. We try to avoid the summer months.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:50 p.m. Kenia Solis Says...

Best time to vist is during the winter months!!! January-April

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:50 p.m. Samantha T Says...

Universal is my favorite park to visit as an adult!

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Undercover Tourist is the leading supplier of online discount tickets to Orlando, Florida-area attractions, including Walt Disney World® Resort, Universal Orlando Resort™, SeaWorld® Orlando, LEGOLAND® Florida Resort and more.

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