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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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1151–1200 of 3290 comments
Dec 5, 2022 at 10:35 p.m. Michelle Valladolid Says...

We loved it in September and October.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:35 p.m. Carley Reeves Says...

Awesome advice

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:35 p.m. Garrie Says...

Good to know, although I thought at first there was an overlap in the “Best” and “Worst days” in January and February.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:35 p.m. Brandon Says...

Will be heading to Orlando in early May, glad to see it made the list!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:35 p.m. Kmcrae Says...

This great!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:35 p.m. Jylie Says...

We visited Universal in early June 2022. It was a fabulous time for our family.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:34 p.m. kerri Symonds Says...

So much great information!!????????????

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:34 p.m. Mike Says...

Great info on when to go!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:34 p.m. Blair N Hutton Says...

Halloween is our goto time of year, just not around Columbus day! Your guide really helps!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:34 p.m. Ken K Says...

Hoping for a mid-December visit in 2023!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:34 p.m. Casey Fradella Says...

I can’t wait to visit in the spring!!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:34 p.m. Tabitha Says...

Would love to take our kids to Universal Studios!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:33 p.m. Amy Glaeser Says...

Beginning of Sept and week of Christmas is a great time to visit

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:33 p.m. Sandy Says...

We are going in the middle May of 2023, and am hopeful the crowds will not be too bad.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:33 p.m. Leslie Valencia Says...

Love Universal during the holidays

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:33 p.m. Sonia Says...

I love looking at crowd calendars when researching when to go visit certain places. So helpful when travel planning!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:32 p.m. BRIAN H Says...

I have followed most of these dates for many years. So I can tell you from experience these dates are correct. I usually go early December or early May. Sometimes in October and has been light crowds most of these times.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:32 p.m. Amy Glaeser Says...

I always loved going in Sept. When crowds were low however Christmas week was so fun and festive and a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday and a great break from the cold.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:32 p.m. K.Chan Says...

Good to know. It's not fun when it's super crowded.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:32 p.m. Tonya Says...

Thanks. Hopefully we will come during the non peak season.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:32 p.m. Stacey Says...

Undercover tourist is always the very best place to look for helpful information when planning your trips!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:32 p.m. Mimi22 Says...

My husband and I went the first week of November and didn't have a problem with crowds! Hagrid’s was the only one that was a little trickier to get on, but still I think the lien was a lot shorter than it normally is.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:32 p.m. Alicia Bates Says...

Thank you for being so diligent to provide this information for us!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:31 p.m. Andrea Says...

From staycations to vacations, Undercover tourist always shows up for our family ! From several car rentals to theme park tickets and even movie tickets, we've never been disappointed. Would love to be considered for universal !

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:31 p.m. Rebecca Tafoya Says...

Is there really a *bad* time to visit? (The answer is yes but also no because vacation is vacation).

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:31 p.m. Jessica York Says...

We love going the second week in January between New Year's and MLK!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:30 p.m. Shenay Lewis Says...

This information was very helpful. Heading that way in Fall 2023

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:30 p.m. Mari Says...

We’re summer people. Even though it isn’t the best time, it’s still the BEST TIME!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:29 p.m. Rod Sloan Says...

I would love to take my family to experience the fun of Disney

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:29 p.m. Leanne Says...

Definitely not the summer...too hot!!!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:29 p.m. Julie Says...

I was supposed to go to Universal for the first time in August, but my Mother passed away the day I was supposed to go. Hope to get there soon.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:28 p.m. Brittny B Says...

My family travels during the summer so the best time for us is in May. We found that the crowd isn't so bad then and it's not too hot yet.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:28 p.m. Rebecca Says...

We visited for the first time in September and can't wait to go back!!!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:27 p.m. Nova S Says...

another awesome guide we'll be looking at closely. thank you

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:27 p.m. Lemon Undertone Says...

It's too bad that many of the best times to go are when school is in session. With three kids and a spouse that's a teacher, it's not easy to skip school for us.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:26 p.m. Jamie Says...

Thank you for all this helpful information! It is impressive. ????

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:26 p.m. Kat L Says...

Thank you for all the information! My family loves Universal Orlando and the information is useful :)

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:25 p.m. Daniel Says...

Very useful information. Thank you.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:25 p.m. Says...

Great information! We love visiting orlando area in October!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:24 p.m. Candace J Says...

Thank for sharing this info!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:24 p.m. Jessica Peterman Says...

Thanks for sharing, going at a less busy time always makes for a more fun trip.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:24 p.m. Kelly Salvia Says...

We went in September for our honeymoon. While it was nice as it wasn’t too crowded, it was very hot in Florida. Be sure to plan for excessive humidity if you go during that time.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:24 p.m. Mom Knows Best Says...

We went the second week in December and it was magical. Short lines, not crowded. A bit chilly (wear layers), but so worth it.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:23 p.m. Ari Z Says...

If you can go during the off season, I highly recommend!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:23 p.m. Lindsey Says...

My advice, go early in the morning! At night, it was extremely busy and congested and couldn’t wait to get out of there.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:23 p.m. Rebecca Godfrey Says...

We hope to visit in May!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:22 p.m. Kate P. Says...

Haven't been but I would love to go any ti.e of the year except the hottest summer days or the coldest winter nights.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:22 p.m. Andrew Says...

Always a gamble, but hurricane season seems to be the best low season these days.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:21 p.m. Pam DiNardo Says...

Your blog was a huge help in our planning when to visit! We are going January 22 of 2023.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:20 p.m. Julie Says...

Love to visit during off season to avoid long lines!

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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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