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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1501–1550 of 3290 comments
Dec 5, 2022 at 9:02 p.m. Cynthia Owens Says...

We went in July it was very hot but we still had a great time.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:01 p.m. Leslie Grayson Says...

We took two 8 year old granddaughters to Disney in October and did the Halloween nights as well….fabulous. Six years later, we took them to Universal and did the Halloween Horror nights …. They loved it! October seems great for these events - totally worth it!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:01 p.m. Jo'Anna Guy-Powell Says...

Anytime between after Thanksgiving and just before Christmas is a great time to go. Weather is mild, crowds are minimal, and all the Christmas vibes!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:01 p.m. Lisa Backus Says...

Love visiting the middle of February!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:01 p.m. Kim Hibbert Says...

Between Christmas and New Year was perfect when we visited back in 2019 ????

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:01 p.m. Tyleah Merino Says...

I’d love to go during December to see all of the festivities and drink a butter beer!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9:01 p.m. Steve Leone Says...

This is extremely helpful. Thank you!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9 p.m. AAwal88 Says...

Well this was very informative. It looks my hubby’s bday is a good time to go!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9 p.m. NikkiSmith Says...

Love Halloween at Universal!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9 p.m. Lori Czap Says...

Looking forward to our trip in January!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9 p.m. Betty T Says...

DD leaves DCP mid-Feb. Maybe I can squeeze in a trip if I go down early to help her pack!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9 p.m. Ange Says...

The second week of December is my favorite time to travel.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 9 p.m. Bailey Neff Says...

Super helpful information!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:59 p.m. Ana Says...

What a great informational post! I used a similar post like this when we went to Universal in August!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:59 p.m. Glenda Says...

Just went to Universal in Hollywood. I took 11 of us, would love to try Orlando too. Thanks for info.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:59 p.m. Deborah Richards Says...

Love reading all the travel tips and info. Haven’t been to Universal in over 18 years. I’ve been trying to get my daughter there but so far it just hasn’t been possible.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:59 p.m. JessieS Says...

I would love to visit around the holidays!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:58 p.m. J.Peter Says...

Super excited for Nintendoland to open.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:58 p.m. Katherine Says...

Thank you for the detailed information a lot of good tips here

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:58 p.m. Ankur Says...

Very informative article!!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:57 p.m. Stacy Swetman Says...

Thank you for all the great information

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:57 p.m. KRISTA Says...

Thanks!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:57 p.m. Ashley Says...

The first week of December!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:57 p.m. Katy Kucenski Says...

I’ve been to universal one time and it was amazing. We plan to go in February and hope the crowds aren’t too bad!!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:57 p.m. Cher Says...

I live in Florida and went on a random Tuesday and could not ask for a better day. It was a tad on the chilly side but people on vacation cannot control that. Little to no lines for anything!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:57 p.m. Julie Nicholson Says...

Awesome information!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:57 p.m. Kim W Says...

Love Orlando in February! Nice, warm weather getaway from living in the Northeast

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:56 p.m. Whitt Watts Says...

Thank y’all for your work! Appreciate all the information and time you put in.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:56 p.m. Brittani C Says...

I love going in May, although it is sweltering hot. :)

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:56 p.m. Blake Fuller Says...

Thanksgiving thru Christmas ❤️????

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:56 p.m. Lori E. Says...

Back in 2018 we visited Universal the same week that Florida locals were back to school and it was fantastic in the Parks!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:56 p.m. Rosa Garcia Says...

I think 2nd week of April.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:56 p.m. Sharon Says...

Thank you for the information!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:56 p.m. Sarah Thompson Says...

September sounds like the perfect time to go check out the new rides! Thanks for the info!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:56 p.m. queenvictoria14 Says...

Great info!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:55 p.m. Amabelle Says...

Thank you so much for this information. We have not been to Universal before. We are planning to go next year but there is just too much information and too much to do, its overwhelming.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:55 p.m. Abbe Says...

I have to agree that July was not a good month to visit Universal Orlando. It was too hot and humid. If at all possible, avoid July!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:55 p.m. Colleen Says...

Such great info!!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:54 p.m. Courtney Krueger Says...

Great post. I think October would be the best time for me personally.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:54 p.m. Julie Holmes Says...

Early December is out favorite time!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:54 p.m. Tink Rabey-Hall Says...

I don’t think there are any good times left to visit Orlando. Some dates are better than others but I’ll never get to ride Tower of Terror 13 times in a row again!!!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:54 p.m. Priscilla Morales Says...

I have kids ages 4 and 6. The 4 year old is 38 ish inches. Would that be a little small to get on the good stuff ?

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Dec 6, 2022 at 2:12 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Priscilla!

You can take a look at height requirements here!

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:54 p.m. VerRonq Says...

Hoping to go for my birthday at the end of January or early February. Glad that’s a good time to go.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:54 p.m. Okeydokey Says...

I can’t wait for my 1st visit! Thanks for the good planning info!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:54 p.m. Chris Says...

Thanks for your continued information, you really help our travels!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:54 p.m. Amber Says...

Mid-November ????????

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:54 p.m. Catherine Says...

On past trip, crowd calendar came in useful for planning purposes

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:54 p.m. Chris M. Says...

Universal Orlando is much preferred over Universal Hollywood and is a great place for good food and entertainment, especially Islands of Adventure!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:54 p.m. Ashley Bryant Says...

We would love to visit. May and December both look great!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:53 p.m. Denise D. Says...

Awesome blog!

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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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