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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1751–1800 of 3290 comments
Dec 5, 2022 at 7 p.m. Sam D. Says...

I love visiting theme parks in the off season! I haven’t been to Universal yet but it is on the list!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 6:55 p.m. WonderWoman1970 Says...

Or wait for it to start raining and don’t leave !

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Dec 5, 2022 at 6:54 p.m. Kelly Xue Says...

I plan to go to Disney World for four days on January 9, 2022 to January 14, 2022

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Dec 5, 2022 at 6:51 p.m. Allison A Says...

We visited in late August and crowds weren't bad at all

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Dec 5, 2022 at 6:50 p.m. Irvin Gomez Says...

This information was super helpful! Am planning my trip for next year and will definitely use these tips!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 6:48 p.m. Nancy Says...

We will be there in September. Are Mondays a good day to avoid the Halloween party?

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Dec 6, 2022 at 2:57 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Nancy!

Yes! Historically, Halloween Horror Nights usually doesn't take place on Mondays (unless Halloween falls on a Monday like it did this year — but it most likely wouldn't happen in September).

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Dec 5, 2022 at 6:47 p.m. Jennifer Bradshaw Says...

This is so helpful! Can’t wait to start planning our trip ????

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Dec 5, 2022 at 6:43 p.m. Tori Caitlin Says...

So much helpful info here!! It can feel so overwhelming trying to plan a theme park trip, especially during the holiday season, and this post helps a lot! Thanks. :)

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Dec 5, 2022 at 6:40 p.m. Barbara Says...

Do you think the last week of May or the first week of June 2023 will be busier?

Thank you!

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Dec 6, 2022 at 3:15 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Barbara!

If you're considering May 22-25 as part of the final full week of May, then we'd suggest visiting then. But keep in mind that Memorial Day weekend will draw large crowds, so if you wish to avoid it completely, June 1-7 will be busy but may have slightly less crowds. June crowds typically grow gradually since not all schools are out until mid-June (and that's when it usually starts to pick up even more).

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Dec 5, 2022 at 6:39 p.m. Meghan Dietz Says...

Anytime is a good time to be at Universal. I personally prefer Jan-March. Cooler weather and less crowds.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 6:39 p.m. Amanda Says...

Constantly checking this site for dates and crowd levels. It’s been so hard to predict with the pandemic. Being a passholder has taken some of the stress out of planning “the perfect time” but it’s been great for helping family and friends plan their trips. Thanks!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 6:35 p.m. Val Says...

The weather in November is the best. We braved the theme parks during thanksgiving week and it was crazy busy, but totally do-able.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 6:34 p.m. Mary Says...

Thanks for the tips!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 6:33 p.m. Laura Says...

So much great info!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 6:33 p.m. Neida Says...

I visited universal Orlando 2 years ago and this blog help me no much!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 6:31 p.m. Cary Morris Says...

I want so badly to visit during Halloween. But I also love early March, before the spring break crowds!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 6:29 p.m. StacyB Says...

Would love to go to Universal at Christmas. Love the grinch.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 6:29 p.m. Sarah Deavila Says...

Is there ever a time in September when it’s a good chance of no rain?

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Dec 6, 2022 at 3:38 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sarah!

September is still very much in the middle of the Florida's rainy season. If at all, we'd say it would most likely lighten up toward the end of the month, but as we've experienced this year, that's not always the case!

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Dec 5, 2022 at 6:27 p.m. Kimberli Taylor Says...

We love undercover tourist!!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 6:27 p.m. Amber B Says...

As always, super informative! Planning a trip to Orlando in 2023 and Universal is on our must do list. This will be helpful in planning. Thank you!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 6:25 p.m. LorraP Says...

Are there any hotels at Disney or Universal that have shuttles to Discovery Cove?

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Dec 7, 2022 at 9:15 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Lorra!

The only hotels that offer shuttle service to Discovery Cove are the Official Hotels of SeaWorld (you can find a complete list here under the first FAQ).

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Dec 5, 2022 at 6:25 p.m. Victoria Says...

<3

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Dec 5, 2022 at 6:24 p.m. Rachel Szu Says...

I love this blog! These dates look perfect for an upcoming trip we want to take! :)

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Dec 5, 2022 at 6:23 p.m. Danielle Zumpetta Says...

February is the BEST time to visit in my opinion! Warm but not too hot. And not as crowded as summer. Plus if you live where it has cold winters its a beautiful retreat!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 6:23 p.m. Robbie Says...

Great! Thanks for the info! I’ve never been to universal Orlando but it’s definitely something I’d like to do and this is super helpful!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 6:17 p.m. Sean Says...

This is my comment to try to win a contest. Just bein' honest ????

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Dec 5, 2022 at 6:12 p.m. Christina Says...

Great information. Thank you

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Dec 5, 2022 at 6:11 p.m. Christine Says...

this is awesome!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 6:09 p.m. Joshua Says...

My wife is obsessed with the grinch can’t wait to bring her down!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 6:07 p.m. Suzie Says...

Thank you so much for this. Hoping to go again during February, and this helped out with the dates to narrow down. Last time we went the Hagrid ride was close all day so hopefully this time we get to go on it.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 6:06 p.m. Lila Beth Says...

Hope to make it there in 2023 month of April!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 6:05 p.m. Suzie Says...

This is very helpful information, I always investigate when are the best dates and always go during those time and it’s never crazy.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 6:04 p.m. Chesney Says...

Thank you for such great information!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 6:03 p.m. Andrakay Pluid Says...

I appreciate this information. It helps to plan the best possible experience for our family.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 6:03 p.m. Lisa Suzanne K Says...

I've never been so I'll have to get back to you! I hope to someday visit!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 6:03 p.m. Stacy Goyette Says...

I’ll be there I. September 2023!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 6:02 p.m. Meghan Rose Says...

Hi,

I’ve never been to Universal before, but I’m very excited for the day we finally get to go. This article was super helpful with when to go, because I know like Disney it can get really crazy.

Reply
Dec 5, 2022 at 6:02 p.m. Kahli Says...

This was sooo helpful! We went during Christmas last year and I wish I had this kind of information then. My son is neurodiverse and the crowds were too over stimulating for him. We are planning another trip for next year and I will def be coming back to this!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 2:17 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kahli!

We're so hoppy to help! As you plan your next trip, I wanted to share our top places to go for sensory breaks at the Universal Orlando parks. There is also a relatively new quiet room that opened this year, located near the entrance of Universal Studios Florida. Hope this helps with the crowds next time!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Dec 5, 2022 at 5:59 p.m. Bai Says...

Such a dream!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 5:58 p.m. Sarah H Says...

This is super helpful information for future planning! I haven't been to Diagon Alley yet and can't wait to see it!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 5:56 p.m. Courtney Foster Says...

I would love to go during Christmas!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 5:54 p.m. Brittany H. Says...

This is SO helpful! Thank you for all the tips!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 5:54 p.m. Melissa Says...

Fall break was the perfect time!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 5:53 p.m. Amanda Says...

Thank you for the tips for going to Universal during busy times. It will come in handy when I’m there during the holidays!

Reply
Dec 5, 2022 at 5:52 p.m. Jamie Horton Says...

Starting to plan a trip for February 2024 and your post was so helpful!

Reply
Dec 5, 2022 at 5:49 p.m. Jennifer A Says...

I would love to visit during Christmas!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 5:49 p.m. Jennifer Says...

Love all the info!!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 5:47 p.m. Cayla Washburn Says...

I love Universal! Especially Harry Potter World. I just wish things were a little more plus size friendly.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 5:44 p.m. Carissa Summers Says...

This is great information to know! I’ll definitely be keeping this in mind when I book my next trip! Thanks so much!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 5:44 p.m. Valerie Arnold Says...

I have never been to Orlando but would love to come visit! I have heard the winter months are the best months to come visit!

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