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

by Leap on May 8, 2023 5717 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 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 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 Disney 100 celebration, debuting at EPCOT in fall 2023.

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. The championship is taking place Dec. 2-9, 2023.

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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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:56 p.m. Vfb777 Says...

woo hoo so exciting

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:56 p.m. Jen Says...

We love the lower crowd levels in late January!

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:56 p.m. Kimberly Says...

When it comes to vacations, it's very inconvenient to be on a school schedule. We just suffer the crowds.

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:56 p.m. Kara Thomas Says...

So exciting!

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:56 p.m. Dacia Says...

This is great info!

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:55 p.m. Jacqueline Clifford Says...

Very helpful

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:55 p.m. Ingrid Crawford Says...

We’d love to visit Universal in May!

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:55 p.m. Jacqueline Clifford Says...

Awesome info

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:55 p.m. Danielle Showalter Says...

Thank you for posting!

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:54 p.m. Jacqueline Clifford Says...

Awesome info

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:54 p.m. Kayla NP Says...

I’ve never been to Universal Studios, considering taking a trip soon, great info :).

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:54 p.m. Sarah Lee Says...

Love all these trip tips!

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:54 p.m. Dustin D Says...

Sweet deal

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:54 p.m. Shannon Banford Says...

Thank you so much for all of this helpful information! It has been 30 years since I have been to Disneyworld, and my husband and kids have never been! It's definitely on my bucket list to take them!

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:53 p.m. Sherry Bennette Says...

We will be planning our fun trip soon. There’s some good tips & helpful discounts with undercovertourist.

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:53 p.m. Tiff Harris Says...

I think January is the very best time because most people are still recovering from from Christmas!

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:53 p.m. Kira Says...

I will be looking into the Jan-feb dates for our next trip. August is for sure out!

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:52 p.m. Kelly Ball Says...

I haven’t been to Universal, but I’d love to visit!!

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:52 p.m. Conner Says...

Anytime you're able to save up and take off work and get away to be with the kids/family time!

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:52 p.m. Janea Says...

Thanks for sharing!

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:51 p.m. Sharon Kalif Says...

Very helpful Exciting info

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:51 p.m. Olga Says...

Thanks for tips!

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:51 p.m. Cindy Says...

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:50 p.m. Lisa Gregg Says...

Helpful for planning.

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:50 p.m. Anita wells Says...

We have always found end of Jan and Feb the best time.

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:50 p.m. Barbara J Says...

The crowd calendar is a life saver when planning a USF vacation. Thank you!

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:50 p.m. Sandra Sewell Says...

Would love to use undercover tourist again for our trip in September.

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:50 p.m. Colette Hart Says...

This was spot on when we went in February.

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:50 p.m. Brandi Says...

I cannot wait to be able to take my son!! He’s going to have a blast. I remember going to Disney when I was a kid & it’s one of my very favorite memories.

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:50 p.m. Kristy ZT Says...

Thank you for all the GREAT information!!!

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:50 p.m. Katie Plourd Says...

Great tips!

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:50 p.m. Tia Rasmussen Says...

Nice!! Let us win the free vacay!!

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:49 p.m. DyAnna Brown Says...

I have been planning a trip to Universal Orlando and I found the best/worst times to visit info very helpful!

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:49 p.m. Kris Says...

We are planning on a trip soon to Orlando

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:49 p.m. Happy holiday Says...

Hey y’all my names holiday we are going to flordia this may for the first time and can’t wait it’s my 2 almost 3 year old, my 13 year old, and myself meeting my best friend for her daughters sweet 16 and this will be our biggest family vacation when I go I will come back and update my comment but untill then I don’t have much to comment about other then so far with booking and priced undercover tourist has had the best prices I’ve came across and it’s a great site for information on all resorts, parks, tickets, and much more! Thank you to who ever created this site!

-Holiday maine!

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:49 p.m. Tyler L. Says...

I went to Universal last year around October and it was significantly less crowded than when I went the year before when it was spring break. It was a nice change, the lines were super quick.

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:48 p.m. Britta Says...

Looks like late August is our best choice. Thanks!

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:48 p.m. Devrie Guymon Says...

Thanks for the helpful information

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:48 p.m. Ashley Reeves Says...

Great information to have for planning our upcoming trip!

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:48 p.m. Sue S. Says...

Excellent information to have! So helpful! Love this site!

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:47 p.m. Brenda Says...

I wish my work schedule aligned with the best times to visit!

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:47 p.m. Wendy Henry Says...

I haven’t been since 1994! I’m due for it!

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:47 p.m. Chrissy Says...

Thank you so much for all this info :) I want to visit during ALL the seasons… except maybe summer. Haha!

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:46 p.m. Paul Roberts Says...

For us, the best time to go will be whenever we can work it into our schedule, which has proven more difficult with the kids doing club sports that take all our time and money. We'd be so lucky to win this. They're 16 and 13 and have been to Universal one time when one was still in a stroller, before they caught Pottermania.

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:46 p.m. Melanie Says...

Love this!! Thank you for the info.

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:46 p.m. Juliann Says...

We like to go the week after Thanksgiving crowds are not too bad!

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:46 p.m. Jessie Keough Says...

Our family is the biggest fan of universal studios in Florida. We loved reading about everything and would love to do a family trip there

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:46 p.m. Shannon Says...

This is so helpful, thanks!

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:45 p.m. Connie Brumbaugh Says...

First 2 weeks if December

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Mar 10, 2023 at 6:45 p.m. Amber Nassar Says...

I’d love to go, never been!

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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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