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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Oct 30, 2020 at 12:03 a.m. Katie Says...

My kids love Universal Studios and constantly ask when our next trip will be. Undercover Tourist has the best ticket deals.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 11:43 p.m. Andrea C Says...

Always a great resource when planning my trips!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 11:36 p.m. Jstewart Says...

Great site! Wonderful discounted tickets.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 10:49 p.m. Rob L Says...

Helpful info! Looking forward to a visit

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Oct 29, 2020 at 10:10 p.m. Isabelle Butcher Says...

You guys have been the best for disney tickets! Love it!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 10:07 p.m. Mishalle Roza-Ingram Says...

This is great! I've never been to Universal Studios and look forward to going one day soon. Universal has so much to offer!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 10:05 p.m. Samantha Parker Says...

I have been so many times to Orlando and I’m never disappointed I always have a great time!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 9:55 p.m. drealuck Says...

ready to visit again!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 9:44 p.m. Paolo Repetto Says...

Sick!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 9:35 p.m. Allison B Says...

We love universal and can't wait to return

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Oct 29, 2020 at 9:16 p.m. Juan Perez Says...

Orlando is one of our best vacations.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 9:13 p.m. Darlene Hirschhorn Says...

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Oct 29, 2020 at 9:08 p.m. Erin G Says...

We didn't have a crystal ball, but this is pretty close!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 8:50 p.m. Alisa Says...

Well written and useful!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 8:49 p.m. Alisa Says...

Well written and useful!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 8:40 p.m. Tabitha Bemis Says...

Helpful info!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 8:35 p.m. Madison Emlet Says...

I've never been down for the Holidays, I would love to go someday though! It looks absolutely magical during that time of year!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 8:31 p.m. Curt Says...

I am commenting to get an entry into a contest

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Oct 29, 2020 at 8:28 p.m. Jeff Says...

Universal was a great family trip when my family went 4 years ago and would love to get back again.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 8:10 p.m. Kelli P Says...

Can't wait to go!! ????

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Oct 29, 2020 at 8:10 p.m. Julie Borus Says...

Awesome giveaway!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 8:02 p.m. Beth S Says...

Hope to win the contest!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 7:57 p.m. Elisa Says...

I’m afraid to share this but January is our favorite time and you have to stay in proper to get the quickest wait times for rides!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 7:56 p.m. Alaina Says...

Awesome!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 7:48 p.m. Danielle Says...

Can’t wait to go back

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Oct 29, 2020 at 7:47 p.m. Elizabeth Skillman Says...

Can't wait to get back to the parks.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 7:45 p.m. Kristi P Says...

We lived visiting the parks during the holiday. With all the decorations, it just made it that much better. I just hate the large crowds during those times.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 7:44 p.m. Jan Fuller Says...

I love all the information you always have in your newsletters and blogs. It is so helpful in planning a trip to Orlando for either Universal or the many other attractions. I have visited many times and will continue to do so with your good advice. Thank you for all your research and work.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 7:42 p.m. Tana Says...

Great info to help plan. Thank you!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 7:38 p.m. Ability travelers Says...

I can’t wait to go. It seems like so much fun.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 7:25 p.m. Sarah Gil Says...

Can't wait to take my daughters, great tips!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 7:20 p.m. Alison P Says...

Thank you for these tips! I can't wait to go back!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 7:13 p.m. megan h Says...

I just want to go visit it can be anytime

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Oct 29, 2020 at 7:01 p.m. FMG Says...

Best trip planning site EVER! So helpful

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Oct 29, 2020 at 6:59 p.m. FMG Says...

Best trip planning site EVER!!! So helpful

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Oct 29, 2020 at 6:42 p.m. Katie H Says...

Hoping my fiance and I can take our baby for the first time in 2021 to experience all that Universal has to offer!!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 6:34 p.m. SHEILA RESSEL Says...

Thanks for the dates to avoid. I will keep this in mind when scheduling my next trip.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 6:27 p.m. Chris Greco Says...

Hoping to go in 2021!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 6:24 p.m. Moose Says...

This is great. Thanks for the service and information!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 6:09 p.m. Bethie L Says...

The magical world of Harry Potter keeps me coming back to Universal over & over again! It feels so real as if you’ve been transported to another world!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 6:03 p.m. April Gremillion Says...

Planning to head back to Orlando soon! I always buy my tickets through undercover tourist!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 6 p.m. Stacie Boyer Says...

I love the options undercover tourist has for me. I'm happy there's an alternative way to purchase tickets!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 5:57 p.m. Amanda T10 Says...

Very helpful!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 5:54 p.m. April B Says...

I love your site. It is definitely a go to when planning our vacation in Florida.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 5:49 p.m. Meagan Kasza Says...

Can't wait to get planning!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 5:45 p.m. Chanda Says...

Hoping to see Orlando soon. Haven't been able to go on a vacation in years. Thank you Undercover Tourist for this spectacular opportunity! I'm so thrilled!!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 5:40 p.m. Ange Walters Says...

We are looking forward to planning our next trip in January!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 5:28 p.m. Txsharcake Says...

Hoping to go in 2021! Undercover Tourist is the first place I go for trip info!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 5:25 p.m. Heidi Says...

I love that I can plan a vacation around crowd levels. Covid has thrown things off though. Thanks for trying to help us plan with the all of this going on.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 5:24 p.m. Susie S. Says...

Love all the helpful information on this page. I think the best time to visit the parks, by far, is in the morning. I usually try to go during low seasons. Thanks for all the tips!

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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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