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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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901–950 of 3290 comments
Dec 6, 2022 at 12:29 a.m. Diana Taub Says...

I always check the crowd calendar! Great article!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:29 a.m. Krystal Says...

May and took kids out of school

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:29 a.m. BeckyB Says...

Good to know for planning - hoping to make it to Universal soon!!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:29 a.m. Jennifer LS Says...

This info is so helpful in long term planning. I’m curious how the crowd levels at IOA and Studios will change when Epic Universe opens in a few years.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:28 a.m. Erica Hudson Says...

January February are the best times!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:28 a.m. Sarah Pan Says...

Thanks for the traveling tips! Always a good help ✈️

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:27 a.m. Kennedy H Says...

My family and I always go in January when it’s cool outside.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:27 a.m. Meg S. Says...

What is like visiting in October?

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Dec 6, 2022 at 8:49 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Meg!

In terms of crowds, it's gotten a bit busier in October over the past few years, particularly around Columbus Day weekend, but still manageable especially if you visit on weekdays. For weather, the temperatures can still be high (in the 80s) but this is usually when it starts to dip a little bit from the high summer temperatures (potentially seeing cooler temps in the evenings and early mornings) - you can find more info about weather & what to pack here. You've also got Halloween Horror Nights going on, if you're into horror! If not, no need to worry - it only takes place at night during a separately ticketed event.

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:27 a.m. Heather Says...

September and early-mid November

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:27 a.m. R.H. Says...

Last week in August can be perfect for those without children in school.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:25 a.m. Tasha Says...

Mach would be perfect!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:24 a.m. DarrenB Says...

We've always tried either the week right before or after Thanksgiving.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:24 a.m. Charlotte Sims Says...

I totally agree on visiting during nontraditional vacation days. I have been on busy and not so busy times. There is such a difference!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:24 a.m. Lysa Says...

We love January/February but also appreciated Universal's great ac when we went in August.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:24 a.m. Bryon Says...

This makes so much more sense to go when it is less crowded.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:23 a.m. Jadyn Says...

This is such an awesome list!! Definitely handy for a Universal trip.

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:22 a.m. Amber Z Says...

Can't wait to get back here!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:21 a.m. Mike Says...

We think the first weekdays in December are the absolute best. Holiday decorations + low crowds = a lot of fun

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:20 a.m. Steven Says...

I was going to book the second week in August thinking it was slower but I’ll go to third and fourth now

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:20 a.m. Moth Says...

I'd personally say during spring since it's not too hot or too cold. If not spring then definitely halloween

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:19 a.m. Heather Says...

Looking forward to a late January visit!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:18 a.m. Shayna Barbee Says...

Look forward to coming there for a visit!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:17 a.m. Cameo Says...

Fall is our favorite time

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Dec 6, 2022 at 12:16 a.m. Jordin Carmichael Says...

Great tips! Hope I can visit in the Spring or Fall. ????

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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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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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