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

by Leap on November 4, 2022 3652 Orlando

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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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801–850 of 3290 comments
Dec 6, 2022 at 1:47 a.m. Jenn Cofer Says...

The best time is whenever I can go, crowds or not!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:46 a.m. Anatoly Evseev Says...

Amazing giveaway

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:44 a.m. Chelle P Says...

October or early Dec for me! But anytime is great. ????

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:44 a.m. Lisa Q Says...

This is so helpful for planning a trip. But darn, was hoping the second half of March would be less busy.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:43 a.m. Tina Says...

Definitely busy over spring break, especially the week of St. Patrick’s Day!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:43 a.m. Linda Says...

Late December to late January have been good dates to visit Orlando for theme parks. Have yet to try other dates though!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:42 a.m. drmoe21 Says...

I would so love to go....the grinch is so funny

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:42 a.m. Hailey Says...

I love going In late January early February! The weather is good and the crowds usually are too!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:41 a.m. BONNIEROSE Says...

Week after new years!!!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:40 a.m. Nancy Fraser Says...

I want to win!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:35 a.m. Jazmin G Says...

Best time to visit is right after Thanksgiving and before Christmas!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:35 a.m. LaTashia Phillips Says...

This helps if I ever get to go. We've never been and it's on our bucket list if we ever save enough money to go.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:34 a.m. Kristin K Says...

Second half of August! But wish we could go in September

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:34 a.m. Bethany C Says...

I’m going December 27 ???? going to make use of the single rider line!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:34 a.m. Megan Bramer Says...

Always good to gets tips for my next trip! (Whenever that may be) :)))

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:33 a.m. HannahsAunt Says...

It’s always a great time to visit … but I love to go in January!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:32 a.m. Edmund Says...

Excited to have fun and adventure❤️

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:32 a.m. Sera Says...

I say any time is perfect.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:32 a.m. Says...

I say any time is perfect.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:31 a.m. Alex Mazur Says...

It’s a place where we go every year.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:31 a.m. Jay-Jay Says...

We prefer January, for coller weather, and October, for Halloween festivities.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:30 a.m. Janet Says...

This calendar is super helpful!!We love visiting Disney & Universal in the Fall.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:28 a.m. Ryan Says...

Anytime is good, just have to plan and manage crowd expectations accordingly!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:27 a.m. Jasmin Says...

First time going in May. Never again. Very hot and crowded.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:27 a.m. Angie Z Says...

Great info!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:26 a.m. Centarias Says...

We sadly had to cancel our trip this year due to a medical situation. However, I cannot wait to get there the week after Thanksgiving. It always seems like the best time to so. Weather still good, and yet all perfect for Christmas. Love!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:24 a.m. Joy Says...

Best time is anytime you get the chance to go!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:24 a.m. Jennifer Grap Says...

Can't wait to visit WDW, I am looking forward to seeing all the attractions since I have never been before.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:24 a.m. Terri Says...

Thank you! My son wants to go!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:24 a.m. JODY COOK Says...

Totally agree these are the best times

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:23 a.m. katie Says...

The grinch.. always gives the best show

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:22 a.m. Eric Says...

Thanks for the information

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:21 a.m. Jenn Skipper Says...

Great info!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:21 a.m. Mo Says...

This is really helpful. We would love to go when we can see Christmas in the wizarding world.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:19 a.m. Lar Koz Says...

The 1st full week of May was the best for our family! Kids are still in school, the weather is warm but not extremely hot and it’s not hurricane season!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:19 a.m. Anastasia Johnson Says...

We always love to go in February or September when school's back in session.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:18 a.m. Joanne W Says...

Early November was a great time to visit. Cabana Bay was already decorated for the holidays. It was wonderful.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:16 a.m. Robin Franklin Says...

Looking forward to the rides!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:14 a.m. Carlee Says...

Weekdays in November are a great time. The only ride we waited over an hour for was Hagrid's.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:13 a.m. Brittany n Says...

This will help me plan my trip next year!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:13 a.m. Sarah Yardley Says...

I appreciate how much hard work goes into collecting this data! Very helpful for newbies like myself haha

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:12 a.m. Linda Says...

Love the fall!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:11 a.m. Kristine M Says...

Sale pricing helps in making a decision to visit

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:11 a.m. Bonnie Harris ** Says...

Love this site. I always use it to help me plan my trip.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:11 a.m. Jason Says...

Having kids rules out 95% of the "best time to visit" list, unfortunately.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:08 a.m. JODIE BIALK Says...

We really like end is September

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:07 a.m. Jessica Sullivan Says...

Can’t wait to visit!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:05 a.m. Emily Says...

Any time is a good time for a theme park.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:04 a.m. Karen Says...

Love the Flower and Garden Festival.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 1:03 a.m. nancy whipple Says...

anytime is a good time for fun!!

Reply
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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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