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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2051–2100 of 3290 comments
Oct 29, 2020 at 3:04 p.m. Karen Spiehs Says...

Our family LOVES Universal and IOA. And staying on site is the only way to go! As grandparents, watching our kids and grandkids have so much fun at the parks are memories that will last forever. We would love to go back!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:03 p.m. carl Says...

this site will save you some serious cash

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:03 p.m. Kim D Says...

Undercover Tourist has the best ticket prices- hands down. I would love to return to Universal Orlando!!!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3 p.m. Sweeney P Says...

I remember my first time at Universal Studios Orlando. It was so magical!! I loved the Happy Potter part of the park! It’s also way bigger than the one in California. We went for my little sister’s birthday. We purchased our tickets via Undercover tourist which saved us a lot of money. My sister found the site and I immediately became skeptical because of their price but it’s legit! Can’t wait to be there again and relive the magical experience! :)

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3 p.m. Julie Zettler Says...

Universal vacations are the best! Can’t wait to go!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:59 p.m. PBain1977 Says...

I love Universal! We were supposed to go in June and then Corona ruined it! Hoping to get there next Summer!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:59 p.m. Steven Orlando Says...

Would love to win the 3 day3 night tickets se we can bring my niece and nephew to the parks. Thanks for the opportunity.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:59 p.m. Abby Turnbo Says...

Love Universal so much!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:54 p.m. Bonnie Says...

Me and my family love ???? LOVE this place. It is our happy place!! We went in August and had a wonderful time ???? Can’t wait to go again

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:50 p.m. Goofygirl Says...

Love universal Like seeing the grinch at Christmas.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:49 p.m. Peter Says...

Just wondering how old these photos are, I do NOT see anyone wearing masks !?

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:40 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Peter!

Several of these photos are old, as you noted, and do not reflect the safety and health policies currently in place at Universal. For more up-to-date photos, and all of the safety measures in place, hop over to this post.

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:48 p.m. Christopher Dahl Says...

Love your blogs and universal !

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:48 p.m. Says...

Love your blogs and universal !

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:46 p.m. Becky Says...

Thanks for the tips! Can't wait to go!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:39 p.m. Justin A Says...

Harry Potter World is my favorite place ever. Can’t wait to go back and try out Hagrids coaster!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:38 p.m. Mercedes Says...

Love it!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:37 p.m. Niki Belden Says...

I can’t wait to get to Hogwarts!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:34 p.m. Ashly Moe Says...

Love Universal!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:33 p.m. Nelisse Says...

Great info! I love Orlando theme parks, can’t wait to visit again!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:31 p.m. E Wagner Says...

Love Undercover Tourist so much info to help plan visits to theme parks.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:25 p.m. Becky S Says...

I love that they have a lower capacity! Sounds like it is still pretty do-able even during covid, though.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:24 p.m. TAL Says...

LOVE Undercover Tourist! They are awesome to order tickets from and always offer great insights to the parks.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:23 p.m. Jill M Says...

Great info! We are planning a trip for next year!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:22 p.m. imamickeygirl Says...

You guys do a great job. I always look forward to your newsletter. thanks for hopping by....

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:22 p.m. Joan Says...

I hope I win!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:17 p.m. Sarah Bee Says...

Great article! Good to know high crowd and low crowd times. We will definitely be checking out your crowd calendar if we get a chance to go. Hagrid’s Ride looks like a lot of fun!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:16 p.m. Jennifer Says...

Thanks for always providing great information. the Frog Family are always my first go to when I’m planning trips online!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:15 p.m. Patricia A Cook Says...

Any time is a great time but I always love going in March for my birthday. It’s generally not too busy, if you avoid Spring Break weeks! Accio wizarding world tickets!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:14 p.m. Ashley Says...

Looking forward to getting back to the parks ASAP!!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:12 p.m. bedjou Says...

Really had a good time at universal this past week. Even with the masks.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:10 p.m. HP4life Says...

We love Universal!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:10 p.m. James Says...

Universal is a great experience, love the coasters.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:09 p.m. Jenni Hartle Says...

I love Orlando the second week of February!!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:08 p.m. Nicole Margrif Says...

Just love visiting Orlando and Disney

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:06 p.m. Star Says...

I love how Undercover Tourist gives you the best rates & the crowd calendar is so helpful!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:03 p.m. Jennifer Says...

Great information. Miss traveling with my family! Could really use a good time after all this COVID!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:02 p.m. Jennifer Banaszewski Says...

Our family desperately needs a vacay! Thanks for the opportunity!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 1:58 p.m. Martha H. Says...

It is time to go back!!!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 1:57 p.m. Allison Lorfing Says...

Thank you for making Disney planning simpler! Love the thorough behind the scenes info!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 1:57 p.m. Rebecca Bunderson Says...

Sounds like fun!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 1:56 p.m. Cherie Says...

Nothing more fun than taking a Girls Trip to the Wizarding World! We make matching theme outfits and have the very best nerd time ever!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 1:52 p.m. kimgyu Says...

Thanks for the best and worst times to go to the parks. It's extremely helpful information when planning a trip!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 1:51 p.m. Karen Nix Says...

That would be a great trip for my grandkids

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Oct 29, 2020 at 1:51 p.m. Betty boop Says...

I stayed at the hard Rock Hotel previously- it was awesome. Great hotel and the park perks- free transport & express made it a great trip. I'm hoping to visit again in 2021!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 1:50 p.m. CACCinNC Says...

Looking forward to taking my grandchild to Disney for the first time in February! Thank you for the information and discounts from this site!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 1:48 p.m. Meg F Says...

We bought our tickets from Undercover Tourist and saved over gate prices! We appreciate their tips and tricks very much!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 1:46 p.m. DavisExpedition Says...

My kids keep bugging me about going back to Universal! Can't wait until we can actually do it!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 1:45 p.m. Kristin Says...

Woo hoo! Fingers crossed!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 1:45 p.m. Brandi B Says...

We missed our trip in Oct 2020. Already scheduled for 2021!! Can't wait! Go away COVID

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Oct 29, 2020 at 1:44 p.m. BobbiH Says...

I love all the tips from Undercover Tourist. I can't wait to be able to take my granddaughter to Disney and Universal!!

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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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