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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1651–1700 of 3290 comments
Dec 5, 2022 at 8:46 p.m. Candace Pereira Says...

I really want to stay at Hard Rock next time we visit!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:46 p.m. Elizabeth Davila Says...

Helpful information! It can be tricky to figure out when is the best time to visit, but nonetheless we always have a positive mindset and make the best of our trip!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:46 p.m. Mardi Says...

I always check with this blog before planning a trip to Disney/Universal. We never go to one without at least a day at the other.

It's a bummer that prices have to increase but it happens and any information on changes is appreciated.

Thanks

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:46 p.m. Olga Says...

Thanks for very useful tips!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:46 p.m. Tammy Lessley Says...

Thank you for all your detailed and helpful info!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:46 p.m. Chelsea Says...

Thank you for this!!!!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:46 p.m. Kristy Deezik Says...

Woohoo!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:45 p.m. Gammy Cole Says...

Glad to know my birthday lands on a great time to visit Orlando and Universal Parks. Thanks for helpful tips.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:45 p.m. Nicnac Says...

Halloween is the best time if you're attending Halloween Horror Nights! If not, winter is best. Christmastime is crowded, but the Holiday extras are worth it. Or come in January or February when it's not insanely hot.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:45 p.m. Marci Says...

Thank you! This is very helpful!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:45 p.m. Alana Gowin Says...

These tips are so helpful!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:45 p.m. Kristyn Says...

Universal is the ONE thing we haven’t done in Orlando but sits high in our bucket list!!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:45 p.m. Monica Franklin Says...

We love Undercover Tourist! We have used you to book a couple of vacations already and have another visit coming up next week. Thank you!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:45 p.m. Rebekah Palmer Says...

Great information! It’s been 20 years since I’ve been to Universal Studios in Orlando.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:45 p.m. Amy Says...

These “best times” seem to line up very closely with the best times to visit Disney World as well. I grew up visiting Florida over Presidents Day in February and MEA week in October, and I don’t remember overwhelming crowds during those times.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:45 p.m. Michelle P Says...

Great information thank you!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:45 p.m. Kenny Says...

Loved the article. Enjoy visiting in September when the crowds are much more manageable

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:45 p.m. Missing Hogwarts Says...

Great tips!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:45 p.m. Sharon O’Connor Says...

Surprised January is so busy!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:45 p.m. Vera Coggins Says...

Researching like crazy. Praying my kids first time going will be life changing for them.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:45 p.m. Ktkboeve Says...

I love visiting near Mothers Day weekend and the week before.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:45 p.m. Danielle Mestres Says...

what an in-depth look to universal. As a Disney girl I love helpful tips for planning universal as my boyfriend has been asking to branch out! Thanks to this helpful blog, we finally will have something to help us plan!!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:45 p.m. Britteny G Says...

We went the end of September like suggest and it was great. Such great info here.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:45 p.m. Misty Duffy Says...

Merry Christmas everyone!! ????

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:45 p.m. SUSAN RICHARDSON Says...

December weekdays are my favorite!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:45 p.m. Krystal Johnson Says...

Awesome tips for first timers. Can't wait to go to universal.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:45 p.m. Jenalene Pilongo Says...

We went last Summer break (July); kids had a blast! We picked the weekdays so it wasn’t too crowded.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:45 p.m. Leighhleighh Says...

Best time to visit is in October!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:45 p.m. Holly Says...

Thank you so much for all of this information! I really appreciate it!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:45 p.m. Michael Owens Says...

Thanks undercover tourist for always keeping things up to date!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:45 p.m. Darla Powell Says...

AAAAAHHHHH!!!!! A trip to universal would be EPIC!!! Frogtastic to be specific! ???? ????

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:44 p.m. WJ Says...

Good info but as long as I have to vacation with school breaks, I will be visiting at the worst times. Lol

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:44 p.m. Brianna Butler Says...

This looks like the perfect time! Awesome blog!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:44 p.m. Maui mom Says...

Every day is good except spring break, Christmas and presidents week!!!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:44 p.m. Kimberly Says...

I love Florida any time of year! Great read. Thank you!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:44 p.m. Nancy Says...

Very useful

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:44 p.m. Margaret Tess Smitj Says...

I love this!!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:44 p.m. Alicia Says...

This was very helpful!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:44 p.m. Shelly Says...

Awesome!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:44 p.m. Tyler Frisk Says...

Love this blog! Always gets me thinking about another vacation to Universal!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:44 p.m. Mike Says...

Greatest website to use for Disney trips

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:44 p.m. Tayler Olsen Says...

Love all the info! Thanks!!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:44 p.m. Maureen W Says...

This is such great info. We’re big Disney people, but I’ve been dying to go to Hogwarts lately!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:44 p.m. Bre Says...

Thank you for the info!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:44 p.m. Melissa Eggink Says...

Saving this!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:44 p.m. Allison G Says...

Great information to know! Will definitely take this into account for our next trip!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:44 p.m. Orlando Is Fun Says...

Second half of August was great for us this year!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:44 p.m. Katie B Says...

Great info! My family loves to visit mid November.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:44 p.m. Chelsea Says...

Thanks for the info

I’m so glad I decided to follow you guys I feel so informed and welcomed ????

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Dec 5, 2022 at 8:44 p.m. Christy Says...

I have not been to Universal Orlando before.

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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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