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

by Leap on April 29, 2024
8325 Orlando

Inside This Post Inside This Post

This is what Universal Orlando Resort trip planning sounds like around the Frog Pond: "We have to do Hagrid's first." "No way ... 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). And right now, you can save BIG with a Play 4 Days ticket (up to $119!) for visits through Dec. 18, 2024.

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 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 busier times to visit Universal Orlando than others. It should come as no surprise that the least busy 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 action. In 2024, DreamWorks Land — a family-friendly themed land dedicated to characters and stories from DreamWorks Animation, will open June 14. This same day, a brand-new lagoon show, CineSational: A Symphonic Spectacular, will debut at Universal Studios Florida (with over 600 drones!). An all-new Hogwarts Castle projection show, Hogwarts Always, will also come to life June 14 at Islands of Adventure, journeying through iconic school scenes, including shopping in Diagon Alley, the Sorting Ceremony, the House Cup. What an exciting summer!

Plus, 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, including How to Train Your Dragon — Isle of Berk!) and hotels — will undoubtedly draw eager crowds (us included).

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!

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. In 2024, there's even more summer fun coming to the parks! On June 14, DreamWorks Land will open, allowing tadpoles and fully-grown frogs alike to step into Shrek's swamp, jam with Trolls and more. That same day, two new nighttime shows will debut: CineSational at Universal Studios Florida and Hogwarts Always at Islands of Adventure. July 3, Universal Mega Movie Parade will hit the streets of Universal Studios Florida, bringing your favorite summer blockbusters to life (including a 16-foot stay Puft Marshmallow Man, a live drum line performing the Jaws score and a Gyrosphere with dinos, breaking the record for the largest figure ever featured in a Universal Orlando daytime parade. Mind. Blown!).

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 (especially around June 14 openings)
  • 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
  • Similar 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 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. 19-22 and 26-28, 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. 20, 2025)
  • Rock the Universe (a Christian music festival usually at the end of January)

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)

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, 17-20, 2025

Cheapest

  • Nov. 4-6 and 18-20, 2024
  • Dec. 2-4 and 9-11, 2024
  • Jan. 6-8, 13-15, 20-22 and 27-29, 2025

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

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 continued 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 fell on March 31, and in 2025, Easter falls on April 20. That means 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.

Least Busy

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

Busiest

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

Cheapest

  • Feb. 3-5 2025
  • March 2-5, 2025
  • April 28-30, 2025

*prices based on a 2-Day Park-to-Park 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 (which Undercover Tourist can also help you save some green on) 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

Comments

Dec 6, 2023 at 5:49 p.m.
Liz K Says...

great info, thanks

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 5:41 p.m.
Bernadette Says...

Can't wait to visit Universal in 2024!

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 5:40 p.m.
Pat Coleman Says...

I love to visit during the food & wine festival after Halloween

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 5:38 p.m.
Elle Says...

This is great information!

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 5:09 p.m.
Ashley Cain Says...

I’ve never been to universal, so this is all very helpful! I look forward to visiting.

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 4:50 p.m.
Brad Marquis Says...

Great info!

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 4:40 p.m.
Abby Says...

Winter is my favorite time to visit, to escape the cold at home!

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 4:38 p.m.
Linda Says...

Thanks for the tips.

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 4:21 p.m.
Courtney R Says...

Christmas and Mardi Gras are my favorite times to visit!

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 4:21 p.m.
Kylee Says...

SO much good information! HHN is my favorite time to go!

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 4:16 p.m.
Cindy Salazar Says...

Can’t wait to visit universal Orlando!

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 4:09 p.m.
JJDMTS Says...

Yay!

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 3:43 p.m.
Melinda Says...

I love going in early December! Lowest crowds I’ve seen and everything is better with Christmas decor!!

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 3:43 p.m.
Tiffany Says...

This is great information and so glad I have this reference for my next trip!

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 3:17 p.m.
Heidi Says...

Lots of great tips. Thanks!

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 3:03 p.m.
craig jossart Says...

awesome...love to take the granddaughters this coming year

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 2:53 p.m.
sandra Says...

With the kids now having different spring break schedules, it is good to see the first week in June is not considered the busiest time.

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 2:08 p.m.
Kiana Farrell Says...

I'd love to visit around the springtime before the crowds arrive. The weather will be perfect!

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 1:16 p.m.
Michelle Says...

Hoping February will be a good time

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 12:40 p.m.
Kim Says...

It’s always a great time to visit!

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 12:10 p.m.
Holly Says...

Thanks!

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 11:04 a.m.
Cara Says...

The school calendar dictates our visits.

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 10:22 a.m.
Jill Says...

I would want to go on a least busy day!

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 9:32 a.m.
debo berard Says...

wow where was this article when I visited all the other times. But this article will save my family on wait times and increase our satisfaction

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 6:37 a.m.
April O. Says...

Loved my last visit to Universal Studios Orlando in October!

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 6:36 a.m.
Dana Says...

I will definitely be there for Halloween Horror Nights no matter what the crowd.....but I plan to go late September to beat some of the rush!

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 5:16 a.m.
LisaK Says...

I always refer back to this information when trying to decide when I want to visit. Thank you!

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 4:44 a.m.
Stephany Hiraldo Says...

I would love to go Mardi Gras! Thank for all the info.

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 4:33 a.m.
Hazel M. Says...

Would love to go in November to see the holiday decorations!

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 4:21 a.m.
Victor Says...

Nice and informative video.

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 4:17 a.m.
julie Says...

awesome trip!

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 4:03 a.m.
MadisonR Says...

Helpful resource, thanks!

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 3:36 a.m.
Ruth Says...

We always travel off season

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 3:31 a.m.
Mitchell Says...

I always travel offseson

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 2:54 a.m.
Chelsea Says...

Best Times to Visit Universal Orlando in 2023/2024 Can't wait

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 2:49 a.m.
Dawn Says...

With the extra hours and express park pass we were able to fit in a smaller trip over a three day trip and still see everything during an off season. We saw samw as what could have if during busy season and more days. Small tip to think about.

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 2:46 a.m.
Anita Wells Says...

We always found February a great time to visit

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 2:25 a.m.
Jaye Smith Says...

This is a great guide, so many tips

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 2:24 a.m.
Timothy Berg Says...

End of Sept. to Oct. will be best for my family no matter what. Both my wife and daughter will birthday at the first week of October and I love Halloween.

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 2:18 a.m.
Linda Says...

We're tied now to busy seasons, but we'll make the best of it and still have a great time!

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 2:03 a.m.
Jeannie Hilleary Says...

Always have a great time at universal!

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 1:59 a.m.
Sara G Says...

Love this!

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 1:37 a.m.
Kiki Gill Says...

Love it in the spring and fall for me

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 1:12 a.m.
Joel Pulido Says...

This will help with future trip planning, thanks!

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 1 a.m.
Nate Harshbarger Says...

The best time is Early june

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 12:58 a.m.
Christine Says...

Now you have me wanting to go to Universal for the holidays!

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 12:34 a.m.
Veronica B Says...

Christmas is always the best time to visit. Love how the parks are decorated.

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 12:20 a.m.
Gina D Says...

Just like in the fairytales, visiting Disney O would be a dream come true!!

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 12:09 a.m.
Cindi Says...

The upcoming new areas sound really interesting. Can't wait to check them out. Your thoughts on timing are spot on.

Reply
Dec 6, 2023 at 12:07 a.m.
Lori Says...

Early December

Reply

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