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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2201–2250 of 3290 comments
Oct 29, 2020 at 12:38 p.m. JEANNE FISHER Says...

I can't wait to travel again!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:37 p.m. Brian Says...

Family is obsessed with Harry Potter, so this trip would be amazing!! Good luck to everyone!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:37 p.m. Adriana Moss Says...

I hope to get back to Universal Studios and the most wonderful place on earth (Disney World, duh!) after I have my first baby and share all the with him!!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:36 p.m. Erin Says...

I can't wait to go back!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:36 p.m. Laura Campbell Says...

I hope that the mask requirements go away before I visit in 2022.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:34 p.m. Lisa Snow Says...

We so need this right now! Thank you for all you do!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:32 p.m. Mother of 2 Says...

Can't wait to get back!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:31 p.m. Jennifer Zapata Says...

Awesome!

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Oct 28, 2020 at 10:46 p.m. Brad J Says...

Had a great time here last week. Would have a better time if I win a free trip

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Oct 28, 2020 at 5:49 p.m. Shawna Boltz Says...

The only thing that beats an adventure like this is a free adventure like this!

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Oct 28, 2020 at 3:35 p.m. Eileen Laferriere Says...

Watching the Harry Potter movies again, can't wait to see Harry Potter's world in person at Universal!

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Oct 28, 2020 at 2:33 p.m. KATHRYN TEEL Says...

I have my fingers crossed I love Disney and so do my grandchildren. This would be wonderful!

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Oct 28, 2020 at 5:44 a.m. Marla Jones Says...

I need a vacation really bad! I have only had 2 in my life!! pick me please

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Oct 28, 2020 at 3:22 a.m. Clinton Says...

This is a very informational read!!!

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Oct 27, 2020 at 11:11 p.m. Jen_A_Lang Says...

I so badly want to go to Universal Orlando again. It has been years since I have visited. My daughter is a big Harry Potter fan and I would love to surprise her with a vacation for Christmas!

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Oct 27, 2020 at 9:54 p.m. MomOTwins Says...

Curious if there may be an uptick in Universal crowds in October 2021 due to people going to WDW for its big anniversary and swinging by Universal for a couple of days. That could make spring/summer 2021 a better bet than the fall.

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Oct 27, 2020 at 9:23 p.m. Tammy Pereira Says...

I have never had issues with visiting in November. The weather is generally good and it is usually less crowded.

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Oct 27, 2020 at 5:05 p.m. educ8rpj Says...

This blog is really awesome! There's so much info here, I'm almost overwhelmed at where to start! Thanks for sharing all of this and keeping our dreams of Disney alive!!!

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Oct 27, 2020 at 4:49 p.m. Stacey Says...

We loved our stay at Loews Royal Pacific and 4 days in Universal September 2017 - definitely a terrific time of year to visit!!

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Oct 27, 2020 at 3:26 p.m. jerry hardie Says...

well I really want to visit in this lifetime so hopefully every other guest will be at home. when i do go there

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Oct 27, 2020 at 8:05 a.m. Paul Says...

The best time to visit is when a Covid vaccine is available.

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Oct 27, 2020 at 4:56 a.m. Alex Says...

Thanks so much for all the time and effort you put into these reviews. They really do help plan out our trips. From Cali to Florida, you have done a great service to our family. Keep up the great work!

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Oct 26, 2020 at 7:06 p.m. Shannon Brannick Says...

Ahh this looks so fun!! Thanks for the info!

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Oct 26, 2020 at 4:28 p.m. Tyne Caouette Says...

I want to take the grand kids once this pandemic is over

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Oct 26, 2020 at 4:17 p.m. Macy Veto Says...

Loved this blog! Super helpful and informative!

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Oct 26, 2020 at 2:38 p.m. Jmshaw89 Says...

Cannot wait to visit Orlando again!

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Oct 26, 2020 at 2:14 p.m. DONNA BOWMAN Says...

thank goodness for yall letting us know all of these tips1! never would have known otherwise!!

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Oct 26, 2020 at 12:53 p.m. Becca boo Says...

Can’t wait to go back!! ❤️

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Oct 26, 2020 at 11:24 a.m. Timothy Anderson Jr Says...

We went the first week of October 2018 For 3days and the crowd wasn't too bad. When we atttended a horror night it was packed. Durning the 3 days we were able to get on most rides rather quickly and even repeat some immediately. Spiderman for example. I do reccomend staying at the hotels you mentioned. The fast pass was a godsend. Thanks for the tips.

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Oct 26, 2020 at 2:12 a.m. Laurie shelton Says...

Thanks for all of the great information we are excited for our trip next November.

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Oct 26, 2020 at 1:55 a.m. Karen Says...

February can’t get here soon enough!!

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Oct 26, 2020 at 1:15 a.m. Mary Ronan Says...

I would never go to Disney World without checking your crowd calendar!

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Oct 25, 2020 at 3:14 p.m. Guitargirl Says...

Thank you for this! Such a great article. Would love the chance to visit !

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Oct 25, 2020 at 1:12 p.m. MN Mouse Says...

Wish this could be published for Disneyland.

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Oct 25, 2020 at 5:14 a.m. Julie Elliott Says...

How FuN!!!

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Oct 25, 2020 at 4:12 a.m. Tia Says...

I love would to visit again!

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Oct 25, 2020 at 3:12 a.m. Kat Says...

Good to know. I'd visit on a weekday to avoid the largest crowds.

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Oct 25, 2020 at 1:33 a.m. Karen keyser Says...

Epic

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Oct 24, 2020 at 9:50 p.m. Jill W Says...

Dreaming of visiting soon!

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Oct 24, 2020 at 9:02 p.m. LS Abel Says...

Thank you ! Love all your information.

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Oct 24, 2020 at 5:59 p.m. Brooke Says...

Love!!

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Oct 24, 2020 at 3:50 p.m. Ducky Says...

I always use Undercover Tourist to help plan my Disney and my Universal trips. Their knowledge, as well as amazing customer service, really make a trip awesome!

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Oct 24, 2020 at 2:16 p.m. Grace Says...

So glad I heard about this Undercover Tourist contest!! Such a great website and I look forward to keeping in touch :)

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Oct 24, 2020 at 1:31 p.m. Shelby Thompson Says...

Just found out about this site while searching for Disney pricing and what a gem. Entered their contest to win tickets which I think is set up super cool because not only am I entering for a chance to win but each entry reveals more useful information. My 5 year old daughter would be ecstatic

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Oct 24, 2020 at 7:17 a.m. Cambria Says...

Love yall

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Oct 24, 2020 at 6:16 a.m. Jessica Hodges Says...

I'm still counting on February. :D

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Oct 24, 2020 at 5:28 a.m. Grace Cotton Says...

Would Love the opportunity to take the family and visit Universal Studios Harry Potter's world.

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Oct 24, 2020 at 3:33 a.m. Lucinda Pedroza Says...

Love your blogs and you guys give great information! I have used your blogs for every trip I’ve made with my family. It has made a HUGE difference for our vacations. Thank you!

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Oct 24, 2020 at 2:55 a.m. Kaylah Treanor Says...

I have not gone to the parks yet but I want to do bad and this post is so helpful!

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Oct 23, 2020 at 11:09 p.m. Cecile vu Says...

I can't wait for the day I can ride the Hogwarts Express and sip on butterbeer, when will that come true???

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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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