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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2001–2050 of 3290 comments
Oct 29, 2020 at 5:13 p.m. Mark S Says...

Can't wait to visit the parks again. Undercover Tourist makes planning so much easier

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Oct 29, 2020 at 5:13 p.m. Phoenix Says...

Good information! I love universal and I love being prepared so that I can enjoy it to the fullest. These kinds of blog posts really help me out.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 5:09 p.m. Alex Petersen Says...

Looking forward to visiting in 2021!!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 5:08 p.m. Chani Says...

Only been once, it was in November and it was perfect!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 5:03 p.m. gwhiz Says...

Can't wait to visit again!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 5 p.m. Jane M Says...

I'm frugal and skeptical and give my seal of approval to Undercover Tourist. I've booked lodging and purchased tickets through them and it's safe and saves me money. And they've got the most reliable Crowd Calendar!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 4:57 p.m. Joanna B Says...

My son was heartbroken when we had to cancel our first trip to Universal last March. Very much looking forward to going when it is safe to do so. Thanks for the great blog!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 4:56 p.m. Lewisd2579 Says...

Every time I have visited Disney we used Undercover Tourist, always very helpful.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 4:55 p.m. j-ice Says...

the best time is during the week! weekends are too busy.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 4:53 p.m. Leslie H. Says...

As a So Cal native, we have never been to Florida. I would love this opportunity to explore!! ????

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Oct 29, 2020 at 4:46 p.m. AMIE Says...

I love Harry Potter Land during Christmas season!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 4:38 p.m. Anne Blair Says...

Would love to go 1st week in December. Weather would be nice and Hogwarts would be decorated for the holidays and it would be my birthday!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 4:37 p.m. Ami Brown Says...

Love Universal Orlando!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 4:26 p.m. Gabby Perez Says...

This would be an amazing Christmas vacation!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 4:25 p.m. Russell Ellsworth Says...

Can’t wait!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 4:22 p.m. Jennifer Souveroff Says...

I am so ready for an Orlando Vacation!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 4:20 p.m. Nathalie Says...

Would love to go to universal me and my family have never been!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 4:17 p.m. Lisa Says...

Best place to get tickets! Their discounts are amazing!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 4:16 p.m. Gabby Says...

I would love to visit Hogwarts!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 4:16 p.m. Kat Leo Says...

We will be visiting in a couple of weeks and I'm excited for the break from our current reality and to have a little normalcy.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 4:09 p.m. Theresa Barone Says...

Love love this page! Got my family vacation tickets, hotel and learned about wait times app!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 4:07 p.m. Phil Thorne Says...

I can't wait to go back again with my Family!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 4:03 p.m. StephanieANewman Says...

Absolutely cannot wait! Love reading this blog, keep up the great work and keeping us informed!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:59 p.m. Nikki N Says...

Thanks for the timing tips! We love going when no one else can.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:59 p.m. Esther Lee Says...

Liked the information on the best times to visit.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:54 p.m. Courtney Q Says...

We can’t wait to visit in January!!! It’s our favorite vacation spot!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:51 p.m. Lisa Lawton Says...

I have never been to Universal and I'm dying to go!! Thanks for the chance and all the great tips!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:44 p.m. Vie Says...

We are definitely dreaming an Orlando vacation soon. Great tips!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:44 p.m. RAELYN Says...

Can’t wait to go back to UNIVERSAL!!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:43 p.m. Donna Phillips Says...

Been once in 2015.. Would Love to see it again..

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:38 p.m. Sammc Says...

I live for these crowd predictions! I had to put off my Orlando vacation this year, and I’m really looking forward to making a trip in 2021. After how this year has gone, a little bit of magic sounds like a great idea!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:38 p.m. Sarah Myers Says...

Can’t wait to visit again!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:37 p.m. Kellie Gerbrandt Says...

Great tips. I always use Undercover Tourist for my park tickets and info.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:34 p.m. Alexis L Says...

Even though the holiday period is more crowded, it's still such a great time to visit because of all the extra decorations and events!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:33 p.m. happy mom Says...

went this year for the first time to universal. Would love to go back and be able to explore more.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:32 p.m. Lisa Collins Says...

Thank you so much!! We have never been to Universal Orlando & we enjoy the parks so much more when they are less crowded. This information is so valuable!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:32 p.m. SheenaB Says...

Perfect... Great info, amazing deals (pinch me), and helpful tips all wrapped up into one well-organized site :) Thank you for being sooo thorough with your blog/social media/etc. posts... I cannot even begin to explain how helpful it has been!!!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:30 p.m. Keshiaann Evans Says...

Absolutely the best website for detailed information. Also, aesthetically pleasing (which is important to me lol). Thankyou for your detail and user friendly website!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:25 p.m. Alice Says...

I would love to take our family for my son’s Senior trip! Hope I win!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:22 p.m. Lori Elder Says...

Love to go to universal at Christmas to see the grinch.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:20 p.m. Nicole B Says...

We always shop undercovertourist.com to save money on theme park tickets!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:20 p.m. Karen Says...

Can’t wait until we can Visit Universal Orlando again ????

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:19 p.m. Jenny Says...

Is such a great park, one of our favorites!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:17 p.m. Joshua Stutes Says...

We have used Undercover Tourist for our last three Disney/Universal trips. They are great! And we recommend them to our friends also for their trips.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:13 p.m. S Says...

Love this and hope to get to visit Jurassic Park and the other fun attractions, soon!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:10 p.m. Vicki Says...

Undercover Tourist is a wonderful service for us, Disney and Universal fans, has great deals, and an awesome Customer Support!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:08 p.m. Berlin Says...

I love UNIVERSAL!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:08 p.m. Todd Says...

cannot wait

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:06 p.m. Terri Says...

Universal can be a good time anytime as long as you pack/remember patience!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:04 p.m. Sherry H Says...

Love it! Can’t wait!!!

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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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