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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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1401–1450 of 3290 comments
Dec 5, 2022 at 9:34 p.m. Cathy L Says...

What great information. Very helpful for planning.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:33 p.m. Barbara Cx Says...

We just went for Thanksgiving. We went fully prepared for crowds and had a go with the flow mindset. Between resources, plans, unlimited passes for day 1, and back up plans for day 2, even our group of 7 managed to get all the rides we wanted in on day 1, even Hagrid’s ride! If the time you want to go looks packed, just bring a positive mindset and have a must-do list so you don’t get side-tracked and be willing to walk away if things don’t work out.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 3:38 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Great advice, Barbara! We toadally agree!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Dec 5, 2022 at 9:33 p.m. Kassandra sanchez Says...

I wish I new about this website long time ago, it gives out so much good information! Last time I went it was raining all day and night it never stopped so we didn’t get to enjoy is as much as we wished and lines were still pretty long. I haven’t been on Hagrids motor bike adventure! I seen videos and ugh it looks like fun!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 10:05 p.m. Oh my gosh! It is. Watch this website they really do a great job. I love it. Says...

I’ve used this site for years now and it never disappoints !

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:46 p.m. Me too! I got a GREAT deal on Sam’s Club membership!! Says...

I got a fantastic deal on a Sam’s Club membership on your website! I love it! Keep them coming, PLEASE!!❤️

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:32 p.m. Kimberly bake Says...

I had such an awesome time at my daughters grad bash in 2017 at universal !

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:32 p.m. Elaine H. Says...

Glad to know that September is a great time to visit! Hoping to take my family soon.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:31 p.m. REBECCA CHIPRUT Says...

Amazing deals! Take advantage of them before it’s too late. Prices will increase soon.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:31 p.m. Heather Marie Says...

I love that you explain the best times of year to go, I love to go when crowds are less for a heightened experience!!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:31 p.m. Chelsea Davies Says...

I have never been to Universal! The holidays would be the perfect time to visit. My family is dying to go!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:31 p.m. Julia H Says...

You need a full day at each park for sure. So much to see.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:30 p.m. Lisa O Says...

We went first week of October and it was awesome!!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:30 p.m. Sandy Latty Says...

Every time I go FL, it’s around January and it’s the best weather!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:30 p.m. Dbg123 Says...

Love to visit in February. Weather and crowds are manageable. Love the Harry Potter immersive experIence!!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:30 p.m. Carrie Says...

Good to know about a universal and what they have to offer.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:29 p.m. etrenne Says...

Very timely guidance!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:29 p.m. Chris Balun Says...

We definitely need to go during these times...

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:29 p.m. Kristen Wilson Says...

Great info! Can’t wait to visit soon for the first time!!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:29 p.m. Nanett Says...

Enjoy going when its not too hot -- even in a light rain

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:28 p.m. Catherine Says...

So excited to plan our 2023 vacation... great knowing about the crowds to help us plan.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:28 p.m. Karen T Says...

Awesome information for a place I dream of visiting one day!!!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:28 p.m. Jennifer Says...

I love visiting during the Mardi Gras festival and catching an amazing concert while I'm there - best time ever!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:28 p.m. Natalie B. Says...

Weekdays & when kids are in school

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:28 p.m. AlyCopp Says...

I wish I had the flexibility to travel when it’s not as busy at the parks.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:27 p.m. Vashti D. Says...

The best time to go is during Mardi Gras, February-April. You get the New Orleans experience with the food, drinks, “Beignets”???? and the exciting bead necklace throwing parades! Such a fun time to visit!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:27 p.m. Marisa Says...

Can't wait to Visit Universal Studios We loved the Mardi Gras Parade!!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:26 p.m. SteveH Says...

Love Volcano Bay in late August!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:26 p.m. Melissa Sullivan Says...

Early May seems to work well for us. Not too hot and the crowds aren’t bad before most schools are out.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:26 p.m. Goofygirl Says...

Thanks for the info on crowd control and besy days to visit the parks!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:25 p.m. Levi Milford Says...

Trying to decide if the week of November 15th will be a good time. Will it be Christmas decorated yet or will it still be fall Halloween / Thanksgiving

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Dec 5, 2022 at 3:42 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Levi!

It will most likely be decorated for Christmas! This year, the holiday festivities started on Nov. 12, and usually, the holidays have consistently started around mid-November. Hope this helps!

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:25 p.m. James Murphy Says...

We LOVE going in the winter (pre-Christmas). Not only are the lines shorter, but everything has that extra Christmas feel to it.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:24 p.m. ELSIE Says...

It's been years since I've been to Orlando. Hopefully we can make it before my children leave the nest.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:24 p.m. Amanda Ogle Says...

January is a favorite time for us. The hubs is wayyyyyy less grumpy when he’s not sweating profusely lol

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:24 p.m. Lori Caruthers Says...

February is always a good time to visit Florida!

Your guides are always helpful for details on my trips!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:24 p.m. Sonja Says...

Great article with awesome tips! Can’t wait to go!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:23 p.m. Kally Squire Says...

My kids are too small for Universal but good info for the future!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:23 p.m. Kristen Wilson Says...

Great post! We are visiting Universal for this first time in a few weeks, we’re so excited!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:23 p.m. Jennifer Says...

I wish I had known this information before we booked Cabana Bay & 8 tickets to the parks the week before Christmas:(

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:23 p.m. Ivy Says...

This date list is very specific and I thank you LOL! Will we be able to work around those dates though?? That remains to be seen.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:22 p.m. DPitt Says...

My daughter had a fabulous time at Universal in February. The weather was great, not too crowded and we started our day with Hagrid! So fun!!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:22 p.m. Karen T Says...

I want so badly to visit this resort!! I know I will someday (:

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:22 p.m. Emily Hollis Says...

Great info. Thanks for the tips!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:21 p.m. Beth Says...

I love the ideas and ways to save on time and money. Thank you!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:19 p.m. Lori Caruthers Says...

My family has not been to visit Universal yet! Winning a contest would be the best first trip!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:19 p.m. Selena Stone Says...

Such great information for people trying to visit!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:19 p.m. Angela Mcdaniel Says...

Universal gives the whole family a chance to live it up.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:18 p.m. Amber Says...

Went in October for fall break, it was great!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:25 p.m. Jane Says...

I agree

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:18 p.m. Vanessa Guzman Says...

Haven't been to Universal in 25 yrs! Need to get there next year!!!!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:18 p.m. Chris D Says...

I miss Orlando in September/October. With a kid in school now, it's tough to find a "best" time to visit.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:18 p.m. Amber Shooter Says...

I have only been to Disney once and the was spring time. It didn’t seem to hot and wasn’t cold. We couldn’t complain

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:17 p.m. Shazzey Says...

Thank you for all the amazing information. Love this site!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:17 p.m. Mandie Wade Says...

Everyone should aim for summer when it’s nice and warm and the kids are out of school. Then the parks will be empty for the rest of us the other times of year! Lol! Honestly I like March or April, warm but not crazy hot yet.

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