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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2251–2300 of 3290 comments
Oct 23, 2020 at 7:03 p.m. Kelly Scott Says...

I love that you give the best and the worst weeks to visit!

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Oct 23, 2020 at 5:20 p.m. tddcurtiss Says...

What a great site to find exceptional ways to save money while traveling.

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Oct 23, 2020 at 5:18 p.m. Jesus Says...

Undercover Tourist stays helping me prep for my Universal Trips!

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Oct 23, 2020 at 2:54 p.m. Lori E. Says...

I would love to visit during February or March - it gets so cold and gray in the midwest, that is when we are craving the sun!

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Oct 23, 2020 at 2:43 p.m. Janice Myers Says...

Thanks for all the tips! We are excited to return this Veteran's Day!

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Oct 23, 2020 at 1:53 p.m. Dana Says...

Love the Wizarding world of Harry Potter! Can’t wait to go back!

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Oct 23, 2020 at 1:05 p.m. Kelly Robertson Says...

Would love to take my family! We love universal!!

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Oct 23, 2020 at 1:04 p.m. nicmc515 Says...

I can't wait to go back for a visit. thanks for the tips on the best time to go!

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Oct 23, 2020 at 12:46 p.m. Beth Says...

I just want my niece to see the dragon breathe fire...she has gone 2 times and still hasn’t seen it!!!

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Oct 23, 2020 at 11:45 a.m. BR Says...

Our trip to Universal was our family’s favorite vacation! We can not wait to go back!

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Oct 23, 2020 at 9:57 a.m. Rebecca Pazsint Says...

I hope to WDW again someday, it's been about 8 years? Since I been there last & I have never been to Universal Studios which I would love it

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Oct 23, 2020 at 9:42 a.m. Paul Says...

I didn't get a chance to ride Hangrid's motorbike during my visit. I wish it stopped malfunctioning every time. I hope to visit the park again soon.

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Oct 23, 2020 at 9:42 a.m. Vanessa Bruland Says...

From experience usually late January, late April, and October are pretty good in October. :)

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Oct 23, 2020 at 4:45 a.m. Beckyblalock326 Says...

We haven’t done Universal yet, and I’d love to go for my oldest son’s birthday in January! It’s listed as one of the best times to visit!

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Oct 23, 2020 at 4:38 a.m. Jasmine Says...

My best friend really wants to go for her 30th birthday and winning a trip there For her would be icing on the cake!

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Oct 23, 2020 at 4:08 a.m. Mikinna Mc Says...

This would be so fun!!! I've only ever been to the one in California and I've heard the one in Orlando is SO much better!! What a great trip this would be!!

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Oct 23, 2020 at 2:15 a.m. Jennifer S Says...

Thanks for explaining how where Easter falls affects spring crowds. We’ve gone during spring break before and it was busy! I’d really like to go back to Universal next spring. Maybe we can take a long weekend a week or two after Easter.

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Oct 23, 2020 at 1:37 a.m. Yvonne Says...

Can't wait for a chance to visit

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Oct 23, 2020 at 1:16 a.m. Lien Says...

Thanks for the info. Very useful.

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Oct 22, 2020 at 11:48 p.m. Patricia Girouard Says...

Looking forward to our first trip to Universal.

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Oct 22, 2020 at 9:55 p.m. Jaz Says...

Hope to go one day!

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Oct 22, 2020 at 9 p.m. Jenna Says...

We can’t wait for our girls to experience Universal!

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Oct 22, 2020 at 7:02 p.m. Emily Allen Says...

My family hasn't had a vacation together in over 13 years, they deserve a vacation more than anything! My mom and dad work so hard and have always been there for me no matter what. I can't help but wish that I'd be able to tell them I won them a trip of a lifetime. Thanks for the opportunity!

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Oct 22, 2020 at 4:43 p.m. Josh Says...

Can't wait to go back!

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Oct 22, 2020 at 4:24 p.m. Carrie Boyd Says...

We are dying to take our little boy to Universal Studios! Thanks for all of the great information!!!

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Oct 22, 2020 at 2:55 p.m. Amber Says...

This is just simply the best place on earth ????

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Oct 22, 2020 at 2:51 p.m. Heather Says...

Great info!

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Oct 22, 2020 at 2:46 p.m. John R Says...

Great info. Need to give Universal a try! We're usually "all ears" for a vacation, but this looks great!!

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Oct 22, 2020 at 2:38 p.m. Jessica Gutierrez Says...

Thank you so much for the great info! I can’t wait to make it back to universal!

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Oct 22, 2020 at 1:45 p.m. Courtney A Rockwell Says...

Looks like so much fun!

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Oct 22, 2020 at 12:54 p.m. Sharon Pipp Says...

great commentary

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Oct 22, 2020 at 11:23 a.m. Todd J Says...

Can't wait to visit!

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Oct 22, 2020 at 4:07 a.m. Nancy H Says...

Visited a few years back & loved it! Can’t wait to go again sometime.

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Oct 22, 2020 at 3:07 a.m. camille Says...

We're going in December and cannot wait to go to Hogwarts!!

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Oct 22, 2020 at 12:52 a.m. Connie B Says...

I love visiting places during the holidays. I wish we could visit Universal during the holidays!

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Oct 21, 2020 at 9:24 p.m. Yolie Says...

I want everyone to be safe and respectful. I can't wait until we are fully prepared so everything can open up

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Oct 21, 2020 at 8:11 p.m. BethO Says...

Several years ago, I went there with my boyfriend and a couple of friends right around New Year’s. We did IoA on Dec. 30, and it was crowded, but not horrible. On Dec. 31, one friend decided to stay back at the resort, because she’d heard that the parks would be way too crowded on NYE, but US really wasn’t bad at all. (This was before Diagon Alley was built, though!) So my recommendation is to use the guides, but don’t let a prediction scare you away from attending! ????

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Oct 21, 2020 at 7:15 p.m. Erika Orourke Says...

I love your blog and all the things that come along with it! Truly a good business you have going on here. You've helped multiple members of my family go on vacation extra cheap and we all greatly appreciate it. I'm hoping to win the sweepstakes so I can treat my sister and my amazing boyfriend to a trip they've been wanting to take for years now! Thanks for all your help! Keep up the great work froggies!

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Oct 21, 2020 at 5:24 p.m. Michelle Riebeek Says...

Dying to take my two Harry Potter kids!

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Oct 21, 2020 at 3:47 p.m. Laura Says...

Just booked for next Aug - can't wait to get back to it!

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Oct 21, 2020 at 3:39 p.m. Valeriya Says...

Thank you for the awesome intel!! I've never been but hopefully I'll go soon. I'll keep this page bookmarked!

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Oct 21, 2020 at 3:08 p.m. Ari Says...

We’re planning our first trip here in a couple of weeks! We’re excited!!

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Oct 21, 2020 at 3:08 p.m. Rebecca S Says...

My very best time in Orlando was the weekdays before Thanksgiving. Kids were still in school, crowds were low, the weather was perfect and fall decor was plentiful! I'd love to go back someday!

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Oct 21, 2020 at 12:28 p.m. Peter Peter Says...

I have never been, but I would love to go. Thanks for the great tips on when to go!

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Oct 21, 2020 at 12:20 p.m. Lucinda K Says...

This information is VALUABLE INTEL!!!! Thanks so much for sharing this.

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Oct 21, 2020 at 9:25 a.m. Susan 123 Says...

Wearing a mask in the parks is not hard, and the parks are still a lot of fun!

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Oct 21, 2020 at 2:37 a.m. CRH Says...

Thanks so much

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Oct 21, 2020 at 12:53 a.m. KBStitches Says...

My last trip was April of 2019, just after the Mardi Gras Celebration and just before all the school vacation weeks, it timed out perfectly crowd level wise!

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Oct 21, 2020 at 12:48 a.m. Robin Price Says...

I hope all this holds true and we get some semblance of normal back next year!

Reply
Oct 21, 2020 at 12:17 a.m. Patricia Wilson Says...

A vivid journey of sunshine, laughter, and tears

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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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