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

by Leap on November 4, 2022 3652 Orlando

Inside This Post Inside This Post

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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1351–1400 of 3290 comments
Dec 5, 2022 at 9:55 p.m. BDHarris Says...

I was never sure Universal was for me since I always go to Disney World...but now...maybe I'll try it.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:54 p.m. Eva Mack Says...

Endless fun...but I need to save up

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:54 p.m. pag5 Says...

love the saving!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:54 p.m. Stacey Joos Says...

I do want to go when the Christmas decorations are out. Maybe at the beginning of December in 2023!!!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:54 p.m. Carolyn Byrd Says...

I really wish I’d seen this blog BEFORE I booked our trip to Disney on Mar 11-14, 2023. Now that I have the information, I’ll better know when is best to book our next one!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:54 p.m. Cori Says...

Love having all this information to plan for 2024!!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:54 p.m. Jodie Says...

I love Disney at Christmas!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:53 p.m. Steve Rondeau Says...

I try to go around the end of September. Wait times are not too bad.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:53 p.m. unikm Says...

I love Universal!!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:53 p.m. Debbie V Says...

If you live in the north east, school normally doesn't start until after Labor day, while most other areas start by the beginning of August. So although hot, the last week of August is less crowded.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:53 p.m. Christine Blanco Says...

Thanks for the heads up will

Keep in mind when booking next Orlando vacay.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:53 p.m. Samantha Says...

Wow! Love all the info!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:52 p.m. Lisa F Says...

Thank you for the dates but, they will eventually become crowded dates so….

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:51 p.m. Claire Chapman Says...

We love to visit in November. Less crowds and still sunny.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:50 p.m. Jacqueline Says...

More than anything, there is a lot of luck involved.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:50 p.m. Bobby Le Says...

Merry Christmas!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:50 p.m. Mario A Says...

I have always found April to be a great time to visit Universal. Low crowds and amazing weather are great. Of course, anytime is a great time to visit UO.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:49 p.m. RC Says...

This info is so helpful! Thank you!!!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:49 p.m. Shelly welly Says...

Christmas is the best time to go , the lights and the atmosphere , the kids , the smell of sweets in the air , it’s by far the holiday season is the best time to go .

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:49 p.m. Hilarie Says...

We love to visit in early September for our anniversary (after school starts).

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:48 p.m. Ashley O'Bannon Says...

Saving this info for next year. We went late March and Sunday wasn’t bad but Monday was hectic! While we had an amazing time, it would have been better during these best times!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:47 p.m. Ivan Ordonez Says...

This was very helpful thank you for doing this

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:46 p.m. Jane P Says...

Thanks for the info! It’s so helpful!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:46 p.m. John Burgess Says...

Anytime not in the middle of summer and when school is in session is the best time to go!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:45 p.m. Trieste Phillipps Says...

We went in mid October and had a great time-wasn't that busy at all.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:45 p.m. Mary Hall Says...

2nd week of June isn’t too bad. I usually go during that time.

Our school finishes their year the very 1st week of June, so we can sneak in our trip before most other schools are out.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:44 p.m. AKU075 Says...

Useful tips, thank-you.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:43 p.m. David B Says...

Always a good time!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:43 p.m. Jordan Says...

I agree that September is a great month to visit! Especially weekdays in the 2nd or 3rd weeks

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:43 p.m. Dondra Carvalho Says...

We love Universal Studios!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:42 p.m. Jacob Says...

Great read! Thanks!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:42 p.m. Lorie Resnick Says...

No matter the dates, it’s amazing to be there!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:42 p.m. Lara dennis Says...

We love universal! So much fun!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:41 p.m. Rachel Domske Says...

We love visiting Orlando the second week in November! Everything is decorated for Christmas, but you miss the major crowds!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:41 p.m. Deb Konopka Says...

Best time to visit is early February....Mardi Gras

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:41 p.m. MLB1974 Says...

I am happy to see that when I am going is on the list!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:41 p.m. Chante Carter Says...

I visited in 1st week of December and it was decent!!! I love Orlando!!!! Can’t wait to do it again!!!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:40 p.m. Maria F Says...

It is so great to read this and know when you should avoid the crowds. Thank you for publicizing this!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:40 p.m. Teounna Says...

The perfect month is coming up to visit Orlando! This will be the best as gift I can give my family this year. Thanks for the chance!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:40 p.m. Rebecca Eby Says...

We're hoping to visit in 2023 so this is very helpful!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:39 p.m. Tammy Jones Says...

I would go anytime, any day is great!!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:38 p.m. Trish bell Says...

This is so helpful

Planning a trip for 2023

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:38 p.m. Stacy Says...

I think anytime the crowd is low and there is hot butter beer is the best time! Used to be that first week of December but maybe the second would be good for 2023!!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:37 p.m. DrTSyp Says...

Universal is amazing! We loved staying on property & using the express pass.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:35 p.m. Chrissy Says...

Love all this information in one spot!!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:35 p.m. Frances MacMichael Says...

Great information for planning ahead! Thank you!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:35 p.m. Ann Dee Long Says...

I planned my trip the week of January 24th. Prime season

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:35 p.m. Aimee Baskin Says...

Jan. 18 – Feb. 15

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:34 p.m. Esther De leon Says...

December really has such pretty sights. But spring is my favorite with a nice breeze and pretty flowers

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:34 p.m. Alicia Buck Says...

We haven’t been to Orlando but the weekend after thanksgiving wasn’t too bad at Hollywood

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