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The Very Best Times to Visit Universal Orlando in 2022 and 2023

by Leap on November 10, 2021 1707 Orlando

Best Time to Visit Universal - February 2022

This is what Universal Orlando Resort trip planning sounds like around the Frog Pond:

"We have to do Forbidden Journey 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 times to visit Universal Orlando in 2022 and 2023. It also outlines the more crowded times to visit. 2020 and 2021 brought more challenges than most years with COVID-19, which added an extra layer of considerations when it comes to planning for a vacay. Universal has introduced health and safety measures to help keep everyone safe. You can read more about what to expect if you visit Universal Orlando now. That said, things at Universal continue to move towards "normal" operations. In fact, the first event of 2022, Mardi Gras, will be hosting concerts again!

Best Time to Visit Universal Orlando - Marilyn Monroe

While we have no crystal ball (we wish we did), as vaccination rollouts continue across the U.S., more and more guests are making their way back to the action. 2021 saw a strong spring break season and a busy summer (including the launch of the epic new VelociCoaster). And with the long-awaited return of Halloween Horror Nights in the fall, the momentum will swing all the way through the new year. While we think things will continue to pick up in 2022 and beyond, 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 - Gringotts

The Best Time to Visit Universal Orlando in 2022 and 2023

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 in 2022 - 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 are 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 a peak time, hop over to our full post.

In addition to hitting capacity in the parks themselves, there were several days in summer 2021 where ticket sales have hit capacity — meaning Universal sold out for specific dates. 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 :)

Determining the Best Time to Visit Universal Orlando in 2022 and 2023

Best Time to Visit Universal - People on RipRide Rockit Coaster

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 time to visit Universal Orlando.

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 (yes, I went there). 2021 was especially busy to commemorate the event's 30th year.

Best Time to Visit Universal Orlando - VelociCoaster Ride Vehicles

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? 

While understandably there are still reasons for more uncertainty this year, know that ride and land openings do influence crowds. 

So When Is the Best Time to Universal Orlando in 2022 and 2023?

The very best times to visit Universal Orlando in 2022 are ...

  • Jan. 10-13
  • Jan 24 - Feb. 17
  • Feb. 28 - March 4
  • The last week of April
  • Weekdays in the first half of May
  • The second half of August
  • Most days in September
  • Most weekdays in October
  • 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 2023 are ...

  • Jan. 5-11
  • Jan. 23 - Feb. 15
  • Feb. 27 - March 8
  • The last week of April
  • Weekdays in the first half of May
  • The second half of August
  • Most days in September
  • Most weekdays in October
  • 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 in 2022 - Incredible Hulk Coaster

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 worst times to visit Universal Orlando in 2022 are ...

  • Jan. 1-4, Jan. 15-18
  • Feb. 18-27
  • March 5 - April 24*
  • Weekends in May
  • June
  • July
  • The first half of August
  • The week of Thanksgiving
  • The week of Christmas through the week of New Year

The worst times to visit Universal Orlando in 2023 are ...

  • Jan. 1-4, Jan. 13-16
  • Feb. 17-20
  • March 9 - April 17*
  • Weekends in May
  • June
  • July
  • The first half of August
  • The week of Thanksgiving
  • 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, making it a slightly shorter season than 2022, when it falls on April 17. These are still more spread out and less intense than when Easter lands in March.

Holiday Crowds at Universal Orlando in 2022 and 2023

Best Time to Visit Universal Orlando - Hogwarts Castle

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. 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.

Universal Orlando's Most Crowded Holidays

  • New Year's Day - Jan. 1
  • Easter - April 17, 2022, and April 9, 2023
  • Independence Day - July 4
  • Thanksgiving - Nov. 24, 2022, and Nov. 23, 2023
  • Christmas Eve - Dec. 24
  • Christmas - Dec. 25
  • New Year's Eve - Dec. 31

Best Holidays to Visit Universal Orlando in 2022 and 2023

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 2022, 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. 17, 2022, and  Jan. 16, 2023
  • Presidents' Day - Feb. 21, 2022, and Feb. 20, 2023
  • Labor Day - Sept. 5, 2022 and Sept. 4, 2023
  • Columbus Day - Oct. 10, 2022 and Oct. 9, 2023

Now you know the best time to visit Universal Orlando in 2022 and 2023. 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!
View Comments
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1401–1420 of 1420 comments
Oct 21, 2017 at 5:47 p.m. manag Says...

So we are apparently planning to do the unthinkable - visiting on 2017 Christmas weekend. Do you think that is advisable if we get the express unlimted. 3 adults, no kids.

Reply
Oct 23, 2017 at 9:18 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi,

If you're going to visit during Christmas weekend, then Express Unlimited is the way to go!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Sep 8, 2017 at 1:39 a.m. Cheryl Says...

Planning to visit Universal 11/8/17-11/14/17, hoping to stay at the Cabana Bay. We haven't been there in many years..this being the first visit for our kids, ages 9 and 15. We're planning to purchase park-to-park passes...is that a long enough stay to see Universal, Islands of Adventure and Volcano Bay having this be their first visit? CityWalk we plan to do if we have 'extra' time. Thanks in advance!!

Reply
Sep 8, 2017 at 7:55 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Cheryl,

Three days for Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure is a good time to see everything and not rush. Allow one day for Volcano Bay. Use your downtime for CityWalk. Have fun!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 31, 2017 at 10:54 a.m. Tony Says...

We're planning on going 7th April 2018. Chose this as it'll be a week after Easter and most of spring break will have died down. Do you reckon I am making the right assumptions or is there something else I should consider that drives the crowds high. Thanks,

Reply
Sep 1, 2017 at 9:03 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Tony,

Looking at our Crowd Calendar, we are forecasting heavy crowds through the first half of April. Some school districts will have spring break during those weeks.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 20, 2017 at 2:12 p.m. Dave Says...

It looks like February 21-25 will be the best time for our family to visit Universal. We plan to stay on site and utilize Express Passes. I've noticed several calendars that project that to be a busy time, but the only indication as to why was Disney's Princess marathon. Is that truly likely to have an effect on Universal's parks or are there other factors?

Thanks for your excellent site, and in advance for your input!

Reply
Aug 20, 2017 at 2:48 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Dave,

In addition to the Disney Marathon, some school districts on the East coast are off that week. Many people head down to Disney and Universal, which will impact crowds. Take a look at our Crowd Calendar to see which days are best for visiting Universal.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 20, 2017 at 8:11 p.m. Dave Says...

Thank you so much!

Reply
Aug 20, 2017 at 12:51 a.m. Lindsay Hall Says...

Omgosh this is so awesome! I need to he there!

Reply
Aug 18, 2017 at 7:11 p.m. Teresa Says...

Is the Canadian thanksgiving 2017 holiday (oct 6-9) a busy time to visit universal studios?

Reply
Aug 20, 2017 at 3:23 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Teresa,

On our Crowd Calendar, we're forecasting average crowds during that weekend, which is Columbus Day weekend in the U.S.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 20, 2017 at 3:23 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Teresa,

On our Crowd Calendar, we're forecasting average crowds during that weekend, which is Columbus Day in the U.S.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 17, 2017 at 5:59 p.m. Tasha Says...

I'm bringing my 6 year old to Universal Studios when Fright Nights are scheduled. We will only be in the park during the day and not doing the event. Are the parks scary during the daytime? And will the whole park be accessible during the daytime hours or limited bc of the fright night set up?

Reply
Aug 23, 2017 at 3:54 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Tasha,

There are minimal Halloween Horror Nights props and decorations up during the day. None of them are scary. The entire park will be accessible during the day.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 17, 2017 at 5:55 p.m. Danielle Says...

We have booked our vacation for April 12-26, 2018. There is a two day, two day free with Volcano bay tickets on sale that expire in May of 2018 should I be buying them now? or waiting until closer to the vacation?

Reply
Aug 17, 2017 at 1:06 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Danielle,

If those tickets don't expire before your trip, it's perfectly fine to purchase them right now! Ticket specials change, so hop on them when you can!

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 31, 2017 at 5 a.m. Lena Says...

We are thinking to go Jan 11-12, hoping for smaller crowds. You have Jan 12th listed as both best and worst times to go in 2018. Can you please clarify?

Reply
Jul 28, 2017 at 12:52 a.m. Vale Says...

Ho! We're planning a tour to universal next year (18th-21st April 2018) 3 days, what do you think about them? :)

Reply
Aug 1, 2017 at 2:17 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Vale,

According to our Los Angeles Crowd Calendar, those are medium level days, so crowds shouldn't be too heavy.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 25, 2017 at 5:38 p.m. Jenny Says...

Do you know when the Universal Express Unlimited will be available for 2018? I want to stay at Cabana Bay, but I'm waiting book until the Expresses passes are available. Should I wait or can I add this on later? Thanks!

Reply
Jul 28, 2017 at 11:16 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jenny,

You can add them later, even in the parks if you’d like. We do not know when they will be available for 2018.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 17, 2017 at 7:34 a.m. Alainya Says...

Hi. We have 7 days to do Universal and Disney in Orlando. Do you recommend staying near Disney and travelling to Universal or spending 2 nights at Universal then 5 at Disney? We have 4 kids, so travel between the parks starts to add up.

Cheers!

Reply
Jul 17, 2017 at 4:52 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Alainya,

Staying on-site or near both resorts definitely have their perks. If you don't mind hotel hopping, then we would recommend staying 2 nights at or near Universal Orlando while you're enjoying the parks there, and then staying at or near Disney while you're visiting the Disney parks. It can make things easier getting to and from the parks.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jun 21, 2017 at 10:05 p.m. Beth Stemig Says...

Will you be creating a wait-time app for Android? Thanks for all your great tips!

Reply
Jun 23, 2017 at 8:06 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Beth,

Thanks for the feedback. We do plan to roll out an Android version at some point.

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jun 21, 2017 at 2:50 a.m. Patrick Says...

Hi there

On the crowd calendar there are some parks with nothing beside it ( not an exclamation mark or a check mark) what does that mean?

Reply
Jun 21, 2017 at 7:56 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Patrick,

If there's nothing beside it, we're forecasting neutral crowds for that park. Feel free to visit it!

Keep hopping,

Leap

Reply
Jun 2, 2017 at 11:40 p.m. Brandi Says...

Hi!

My boyfriend and I booked a trip for Jan. 7th-13th 2018. We're staying at the Royal Pacific and we are wicked excited for low crowds, but we are kind of concerned about refurbishments since it will be such a slow time (we're fine with the parks closing early because it will allow for the much needed down time we don't get when we go to Disney! However, if major rides tend to be down early January we may re-think our plans).

Reply
Jun 5, 2017 at 12:21 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Brandi,

The off-season months are when refurbishments happen. Not that closures are subject to change at any time.

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 26, 2017 at 2:37 a.m. Sam Says...

Hello,

You mention in this list that July 4th is one of the busiest holidays to visit Universal Orlando, but on your crowd calendar, there is a green check on July 4th. Which is correct? Thanks!

Reply
May 26, 2017 at 7 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sam,

The green check means that, out of all the parks open on that day, we recommend going to that one. It will still be busy at every park. Most people enjoy fireworks shows, which tends to drive people to Magic Kingdom or Epcot.

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 22, 2017 at 5:41 p.m. Chrissy Says...

Hello =)

We have always headed out to Universal and Disney the last week of May. It has always been perfect. This year with work and a different school schedule we are looking at the week of August 5th. I know we are going to face some really bad crowds, but how horrible is the heat and humidity going to be ? Also are the crowds so bad in August to maybe just skip this year because we will be back out in May 2018? Thank you =)

Reply
May 22, 2017 at 1:57 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Chrissy,

We're forecasting heavy crowds through August 16 this year. As for weather, August afternoons in Florida can be hot and humid. Early May be best for crowds and weather!

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 23, 2017 at 4:01 a.m. Chrissy Says...

Thank you so much =)

Reply
Mar 31, 2017 at 7:56 p.m. Ritz Says...

I booked in late first week of April '17, hope to see less crowd.

Reply
Mar 2, 2017 at 6:09 p.m. Lynn Says...

Hello! We are planning to visit WDW Feb. 27- March 1, 2018. You state that is one of the best times to visit WDW, but on the crowd calendar, on only one of those dates is there a green check by Magic Kingdom. What is the significance of the green check mark? Thanks!

Reply
Mar 2, 2017 at 1:32 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Lynn,

The green check mark is our Recommended Park to visit that day.

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan 18, 2017 at 7:08 p.m. Leah Says...

We booked our trip for March! Can't wait and hope the crowds are low!

Reply
Aug 17, 2017 at 11:04 p.m. Brian Says...

Leah,

Hoping not to burst you bubble, but the wife & I have been doing Disney at least yearly for the past 35 years. March used to be a great month, but due to a load of Southern Spring Break states, March turned horrendous for kids and crowds. I personally would never do March again, no matter what the statistics say. Early September, November between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and January are the BEST times for crowd levels at Disneyworld and Universal Orlando,

Reply
Jan 18, 2017 at 1:49 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Yea Leah! Have fun. Tag is in your selfies!

Hoppy Planning!

Leap

Reply
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