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The Very Best Times to Visit Universal Orlando in 2024 and 2025

by Leap on February 21, 2024 8323 Orlando

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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 we (the 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. But crowds are only one part of the equation when it comes to considering the best time to visit Universal Orlando! This post outlines some factors to keep in mind when planning your awesome Universal Orlando vacation (and of course, our top recs on when to visit). If you're planning a trip soon, take advantage of our limited-time Buy 2 Days, Get 2 Days FREE deal!

Best Time to Visit Universal Orlando - Universal Globe

Planning When to Visit Universal Orlando in 2024 and 2025

While we have no crystal ball (we wish we did!), we do have historical trends available to pull from when making predictions. We're here to give you our best guesses on crowd levels based on our years of data collection and insights. And, action!

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 tips to maximize time — get to the park at opening, take breaks in the afternoon when the parks are at their busiest, make use of our Jump Start guide, 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 Times to Visit Universal Orlando - Ice Cream Treats Universal - Minion Freeze Ray Pop

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 Islands of Adventure. (We can't emphasize this enough! The value of getting your Express Pass for the duration of your stay is huge!) 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.

Not staying at a Premier hotel? Not to worry! All Universal Orlando Resort hotels offer Early Park Admission, which is also a super hopful tool to get a jump on your day. 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 :) Just looking for the short answer on the least crowded times to visit Universal Orlando? Check out the infographic below!

Best Times to Visit Universal Orlando - Infographic

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

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 estimated crowd levels, special events, weather and Universal 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. In 2024, we can expect the opening of DreamWorks Land — a family-friendly themed land dedicated to characters and stories from DreamWorks Animation, replacing the former Woody Woodpecker's KidZone. But what's even more epic? We're already eyeing the grand opening of Universal Epic Universe in 2025! The brand-new theme park — complete with its own Super Nintendo World (plus four other immersive worlds!), an entertainment center, dining, shopping and hotels — will undoubtedly draw high crowds for its debut, the remainder of the year and possibly beyond.

In the past years, we've found that more theme park-goers are planning their trip by specific season (rather than around crowds in years past). So, we've broken this post up by season, making it easy to find considerations, highlights and even the cheapest days to go for each one. Let's jump in!

Spring — February, March, April

Best Times to Visit Universal Orlando - Universal Mardi Gras Jester Girls

Highlights

In February, Universal Studios Florida hosts the biggest party of the spring — Mardi Gras! The New Orleans-inspired celebration is complete with Cajun and Carnaval flavors from all over the world, a lively Mardi Gras parade with bead throwing from the detailed floats, an impressive concert lineup and more. The jubilation continues all the way through April 7 in 2024 — perfect timing for anyone on spring break.

Things to Consider

Speaking of spring break, the biggest variable for spring crowds 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 2024, Easter falls on March 31, and in 2025, Easter falls on April 20. That means we should expect a shorter, more intense spring break season in 2024, but a longer, drawn-out season in 2025.

There's also a smaller holiday weekend around Presidents Day, which can see elevated crowds. On select Friday and Saturday nights in April, high school seniors from all over the state and beyond come to celebrate Grad Bash. These dates are important to watch out for because both parks typically close early, as they have exclusive access.

February can still dip into cooler temps, especially during early mornings and evenings. But it starts to warm up (but is still not too hot and humid) in March and April, making it one of the best times to visit in terms of weather.

Our Overall Pick: The first half of February, prior to Presidents Day, tends to see the lowest crowds. The first week of March is best if you're aiming for warmer weather before the spring break crowds arrive. In 2024, since the spring break season is shorter, mid to late April will also be a great pick!

Least Busy

  • Weekdays in February (minus Presidents Day weekend)
    • Feb. 1-8, 12-13, 26-29, 2024
  • The first week of March before spring break season
    • March 4-8, 2024
    • March 3-7, 10-13, 2025
  • Post-Easter/spring break season
    • April 15-30, 2024
    • April 1-2, 22-25, 28-30, 2025

Busiest

  • Presidents Day weekend
    • Feb. 9-11, 14-25, 2024
    • Feb. 14-17, 2025
  • Spring break season
    • March 9-31, 2024
    • March 14-31, 2025
  • First half of April
    • April 5-21, 2025

Cheapest

  • Feb. 1, 4-8, 11-13 and 26-28, 2024
  • March 1-7, 2024
  • April 21-25 and 28-30, 2024

*prices based on a 2-Day Park-to-Park ticket from Undercover Tourist and are subject to change

Summer — May, June, July

Best Times to Visit Universal Orlando - Volcano Bay - Wave Village

Scream and shout — school's out! The summer crowds are pretty steady as soon as Memorial Day weekend hits, all the way through back-to-school season. The Orlando weather also stays consistent with higher temperatures and afternoon showers.

But what better way to beat the heat than spending a day at Universal Volcano Bay or lounging by the pool at your resort?

Highlights

While there aren't any major events going on at Universal Orlando, Universal Studios Florida usually hosts a low-key Fourth of July celebration. Expect DJ dance parties with SpongeBob, King Julien and other characters and a pyrotechnic display at night.

Things to Consider

May starts out fairly quiet, but can be busier on the weekends. Particularly, on select Friday and Saturday nights, eighth graders are celebrating Gradventure nights. Similar to Grad Bash for high school seniors, they get exclusive party hours at both theme parks, which may cause shorter park hours.

Memorial Day Weekend is the unofficial start of summer, which is when you'll see the first uptick in crowds. Most schools are out of session by the second week of June, meaning crowd patterns will stay consistent until mid-August. Fourth of July tends to see peak summer crowds.

Our Overall Pick: Weekdays in May are our favorite pick during this timeframe! You could also go with the first week of June before all schools are out, though May is only slightly cooler than June.

Least Busy

  • Monday through Thursday in the first half of May
  • First week of June 2024

Busiest

  • Weekends in May (plus Memorial Day weekend)
    • May 2-5, 10-12, 14, 24-31, 2024
  • Elevated crowds in June
  • Elevated crowds in July, especially around July 4

Cheapest

  • May 1-2, 5-9 and 12-16, 2024
  • June 3-6, 9-13 and 16-20, 2024
  • Same price throughout July 2024, excluding July 3-7

*prices based on a 2-Day Park-to-Park dated ticket from Undercover Tourist and are subject to change

Fall — August, September, October

Best Times to Visit Universal Orlando - Halloween Horror Nights 2023 - Archway Medallion

You may be wondering why August is lumped with fall — well, August is unique because the first half of the month typically sees the last of the summer crowds before schools start to jump back into session.

But the second half? It starts to slow down as more and more tadpoles begin the new school year, making it a good time to visit if you want lower crowds (especially if you're planning an adults-only trip!). On the flip side, busier holiday weekends include Labor Day and Indigenous Peoples' Day during this timeframe.

Highlights

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.

Things to Consider

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 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 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.

Also, 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 rain gear such as rain jackets, ponchos or umbrellas. With those caveats out of the way, we still feel that fall is a good time to visit Universal Orlando.

Our Overall Pick: 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 overall best month to visit.

Least Busy

  • The second half of August
  • Most days in September (minus the days around Labor Day)
  • Most weekdays in October (minus the days around Rosh Hashanah, Diwali and Indigenous Peoples' Day)

Busiest

  • The first half of August
  • Days around Labor Day (Sept. 2, 2024, and Sept. 1, 2025)
    • Aug. 28 - Sept. 2, 2024
    • Aug. 29 - Sept. 1, 2025
  • Days around Rosh Hashanah, Diwali and Indigenous Peoples' Day
    • Oct. 3-6, 11-14, 25, 2024
    • Oct. 2-5, 10-13, 31, 2025

Cheapest

  • Aug. 18-22 and 25-28, 2024
  • Sept. 3-4 and 9-11, 2024
  • Oct. 1-3, 7-9, 21-24 and 28-31, 2024

*prices based on a 2-Day Park-to-Park dated ticket from Undercover Tourist and are subject to change

Winter — November, December, January

From fearful frights to festive lights, Universal Orlando quickly transitions from Halloween horror to holiday galore in November. Orlando weather also cools down, along with lower humidity levels (believe it or not, it can get into the 40s in January!).

However, the pools at the resorts and Universal Volcano Bay are heated, so you can still take a dip if you wish (excluding inclement weather). It's the perfect time for a cup of Hot Butterbeer! These months see some of the busiest times of the year, including the weeks of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve.

Best Times to Visit Universal Orlando - Grinchmas Show

Highlights

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!

Things to Consider

Aside from the major holidays — Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve — there are a few other small holidays and events to keep in mind:

  • Veterans Day (Nov. 11 — a Monday in 2024 and a Tuesday in 2025)
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 15, 2024, and Jan. 20, 2025)
  • Rock the Universe (a Christian music festival usually at the end of January; Jan. 26-27, 2024)

The off-season in January and February can also see annual ride refurbishments (particularly for water rides) and shorter park hours until spring break season.

Our Overall Pick: If the holiday festivities are a must-do, we'd recommend the first week or two of December, before schools are let out for Christmas break — or the week before or after Thanksgiving. Mid to late January is another great alternative if you want some of the lowest crowds of the year.

Least Busy

  • Weekdays in November (minus the days around Veterans Day and Thanksgiving Week)
    • Nov. 6-7, 12-15, 18-22, 2024
    • Nov. 5-7, 12-14, 17-20, 2025
  • Weekdays in December (minus the weeks of Christmas and New Year's Eve)
  • Weekdays in January (minus Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend)
    • Jan. 8-11, 22-25, 30-31, 2024

Busiest

  • Days around Veterans' Day and the week of Thanksgiving
    • Nov. 1-5, 9-11, 25-30, 2024
    • Nov. 1-4, 11, 22-30, 2025
  • The week of Christmas through the week of New Year
    • Dec. 20-31, 2024
    • Dec. 20-31, 2025
  • The week following the holidays and Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend
    • Jan. 1-7, 12-15, 26-29, 2024
    • Jan. 1-7, 17-20, 2025

Cheapest

  • Nov. 4-6 and 18-20, 2024
  • Dec. 2-4 and 9-11, 2024
  • Jan. 16, 22-23 and 29-30, 2024

*prices based on a 2-Day Park-to-Park dated ticket from Undercover Tourist and are subject to change

What If I Can Only Go During a Busy Time?

Best Times to Visit Universal Orlando - Adults at Universal - Hagrid's

We get comments all the time from families and teachers who can only go during busy times that overlap with school breaks. Don't panic! Ultimately, the best time to visit Universal Orlando is when you can go.

We've visited during every season and can manage the crowds with our own tips and park plans. Setting realistic expectations is the most important thing you can do!

During busier times, consider purchasing Universal Express passes or staying at a Universal premier hotel (which provides the free Universal Express Unlimited benefit). And if it's not in the budget, then be sure to take advantage of Early Park Admission if you're staying at any of the Universal Orlando hotels. Regardless of where you're staying, show up early to get a hop on the crowds.

In the summer, take a midday break when it's the most crowded and hottest, whether it's a long lunch at a table-service restaurant or going back to your hotel for a power nap or swim. In the winter when hours are reduced, plan for more park time and explore the resorts or CityWalk in the evenings — play mini-golf, watch a movie or try your hand at an escape room!

There you have it! Are you ready to hop to Universal Orlando? Let the trip countdown begin! Let us know in the comments below when you're visiting next.

Now you know the best time to visit Universal Orlando in 2024 and 2025. 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 in our Jump Start guide!

Keep hopping!

Keep hopping, Leap!
View Comments
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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:16 a.m. Kim Says...

The Holiday time or spring when it’s cooler!!!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:15 a.m. Justin L Says...

Great info, will definitely save this for future reference!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:14 a.m. JeaneenB Says...

Great advice! Thanks!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:13 a.m. Dillon Says...

Thanks for the info!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:13 a.m. DPM Says...

I found that they're not too busy in March.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:13 a.m. Kelsey Tischner Says...

Thank you for the info on best times!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:12 a.m. Donna E Says...

In NH, schools usually have the very last week of April into May off. We have found that is a great time to visit as it's not as crowded.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:12 a.m. Barbara M Says...

We always liked to go in late September or October because the crowds were less and the weather not too hot.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:10 a.m. Liz Barden Says...

This was great, planning a trip for the beginning of December for my husband's 40th Bday

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:10 a.m. Jessica Brigle Says...

I love November or Early December - Christmas decor and normally good weather still.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:09 a.m. Gordon Says...

Great time to visit before the Holiday rush

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:09 a.m. Ayden's Mommy Says...

I've brought my kids during Spring break and Thanksgiving weekend and both times were amazing.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:08 a.m. Romeo Says...

This is great info, Thanks! Need to plan a trip soon.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:07 a.m. Ashley Says...

Really awesome info thank you!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:07 a.m. Bethany Says...

We have overlapped the holiday in February in the past and the crowd level was extremely different one the weekdays!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:06 a.m. YA Says...

Would love to go in Spring or Fall!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:05 a.m. A.Lisa Says...

Excellent

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:04 a.m. Holly S Says...

I’ve always loved late January-early February for the low crowds and weather. This July I’ll be there though so I’m anticipating big crowds.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:02 a.m. TQ Says...

We love universal! Even during the busy times, if you keep your expectations in check and don't think that every ride will be walk on, it's amazingly fun!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:01 a.m. Aisha Caouette Says...

We always try to avoid going to the parks during school breaks but the holidays are such a magical time to go!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:01 a.m. Amy Says...

Thanks for this- the summary of dates at the end is super helpful! Hoping to go fall of 2023

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Dec 6, 2022 at midnight ss Says...

Fall is the best time

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:57 p.m. DM Mendoza Says...

Great advice coz we love going to universal studiod

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:57 p.m. Frank Pill Says...

Being a teacher I am limited with my travel time

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:57 p.m. Tom P. Says...

There really isn't a bad time to go, soo much fun! Great article though

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:55 p.m. L Hobbs Says...

Great info!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:55 p.m. Rebecca H. Says...

We LOVE to hit the parks in the middle of January or anytime in September!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:55 p.m. Maria Says...

So excited to go again! Last time we went in the summer and it was crowded but had a great time!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:55 p.m. K Mary lyn Says...

Only been once in May, so not sure whats best but it actually

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:54 p.m. Amanda Lloyd Says...

I want to come the first week of December since I heard it is slow and my son’s birthday is Dec 10.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:54 p.m. Amanda Nguyen Says...

This is super helpful for my family trip. We’ll be traveling with my small nieces.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:53 p.m. Kenric A Says...

Mid September is the best time for low crowds. Just remember your rain gear!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:53 p.m. Jeni Says...

Yes def not the week of thanksgiving learned that the hard way lol

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:52 p.m. Mimi Says...

Christmas is such a fun time to visit. We had a great vacation!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:52 p.m. Carmen Says...

So true!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:51 p.m. Carmen Says...

So true!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:50 p.m. CJ Says...

Great info! Will definitely be using it when we plan our first trip!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:50 p.m. Linda Bell Says...

We love Orlando in May!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:50 p.m. Whitney M Says...

I have never been, but would love to go in the wintertime!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:49 p.m. Bmegown Says...

February is a great time to visit, but I would be happy visiting anytime!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:49 p.m. Lauren V Says...

The holiday season is always so well decorated!!!!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:48 p.m. Cathy McInturff Says...

Traveling with children I think Summer is the best time to enjoy the water!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:48 p.m. Momof8 Says...

We feel like spring is the best time to go because its when FL has perfect weather! Warm enough to enjoy water park but cool enough to not be sweating like crazy all day long and unlike the early fall you don't have to worry about tropical storms drenching you.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:47 p.m. Jen Destefano Says...

Id love to visit next fall for Columbus Day but it’s not easy with my work schedule. Maybe this summer when we’re already visiting Orlando.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:47 p.m. Brooke Says...

We love going in the summer, even if the crowds are bad!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:47 p.m. Nicole Hall Says...

Also consider avoiding "Jersey Week." Never had heard of it until I had already booked our trip. Universal was extra busy!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:46 p.m. Robert Says...

I've never been. Always go to Disney

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:46 p.m. Kayla Says...

Gonna know best time to go now!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:45 p.m. Yuta Says...

I hope you guys visit Universal Studios Japan as well!!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:44 p.m. LKHailey Says...

Spring is best, but not during spring break!

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