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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2301–2350 of 3290 comments
Oct 21, 2020 at 12:17 a.m. Patricia Wilson Says...

A vivid journey of sunshine, laughter, and tears

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Oct 21, 2020 at 12:15 a.m. Maureen Says...

Thanks for some great advice on when to visit Universal!

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Oct 20, 2020 at 8:38 p.m. Isabela Rodriguez Says...

I love this place!! But I agree, I went in thanksgiving a while ago and was sooo busy

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Oct 20, 2020 at 7:46 p.m. schawn Says...

I can't wait to go back! I'm hoping that things are back to normal in late Spring so I can be there for the Mardi Gras celebration.

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Oct 20, 2020 at 6:25 p.m. Peg H Says...

went in 11/2019 and loved it!

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Oct 20, 2020 at 6:24 p.m. JustineB Says...

Love Universal!

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Oct 20, 2020 at 6:17 p.m. Alexis Gaines Says...

I would love to visit Disney with my kids

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Oct 20, 2020 at 5:28 p.m. Lisa Says...

This is so cool!

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Oct 20, 2020 at 5:15 p.m. Melanie Says...

Thank you!

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Oct 20, 2020 at 4:49 p.m. george ashmore Says...

Disney is aweful nowadays--Universal was always better.

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Oct 20, 2020 at 4:39 p.m. tinker bell Says...

Looking forward to going soon!

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Oct 20, 2020 at 4:31 p.m. TM Says...

Thanks!

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

This is great information! Planning my trip now!

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Oct 20, 2020 at 3:47 p.m. Jen Says...

Any time!

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Oct 20, 2020 at 3:39 p.m. Steph H Says...

I like to visit at the beginning of February.

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Oct 20, 2020 at 3:26 p.m. Shoshannah Harrison Says...

This would be soooo fun! We all need some magic in our lives.

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Oct 20, 2020 at 3:19 p.m. Mabel Thompson Says...

Taking my second trip to Disney this December.

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Oct 20, 2020 at 2:33 p.m. LLMom Says...

We would love to visit Universal!

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Oct 20, 2020 at 1:45 p.m. Alec Says...

Helping people stay happy at the Happiest Place on Earth!

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Oct 20, 2020 at 11:13 a.m. Emily L. Says...

Just came back from a quick getaway to Universal's Island of Adventure, as I sit in my office typing this, I'm already daydreaming of returning! When we first arrived at Universal, the park was a half-hour away from opening and the crowd seemed to be a bit crowded. Once the gates opened, everyone was able to safely spread out and go about their days. Employees were constantly cleaning up or reminding guests to wear their masks properly. My fiance and I had the absolute best time and cannot wait to plan our next visit!

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Oct 20, 2020 at 3:39 a.m. Melanie G Says...

It has been a rough few years. Divorce has been rough on my 3 children-now all teens- and myself. Would love to take them to Universal. We have never been. Have done Disney but was waiting til the kids were older to do Universal, but now as a single mom, it makes it more difficult for me to get us there-financially speaking. Fingers crossed.

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Oct 20, 2020 at 3:19 a.m. Jennifer Johnson Says...

We’d love to take our 3 kids to Universal.

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Oct 20, 2020 at 1:45 a.m. J Says...

Love this! Can’t wait to go!

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Oct 19, 2020 at 11:35 p.m. Alejandra Says...

I would love to go again! I love this place so much!!!

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Oct 19, 2020 at 11:34 p.m. Rexy Says...

Enjoyed the article

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Oct 19, 2020 at 11:28 p.m. Victoria Says...

Great Tips! It is easy to feel overwhelmed when it comes to planning our first trip to Universal Orlando and I am soaking this all up!

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Oct 19, 2020 at 9:52 p.m. Virginia Oswalt Says...

looking forward to taking my grandchildren when their parents feel it is safe again.

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Oct 19, 2020 at 8:59 p.m. Jenny Jung Says...

This is a dream come true!!!

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Oct 19, 2020 at 8:12 p.m. Tim Says...

I'd love a Christmas trip!

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Oct 19, 2020 at 7:45 p.m. Autumn Says...

I love universal studio

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Oct 19, 2020 at 5:07 p.m. Michael A Booth Says...

Universal and IOA are my favorite parks to go to.

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Oct 19, 2020 at 4:30 p.m. Tricia Says...

Cannot wait to plan a trip!

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Oct 19, 2020 at 4:26 p.m. James Dyson Says...

Can't wait to go again!

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Oct 19, 2020 at 3:15 p.m. Lacey J Says...

I love Undercover Tourist and wokld never consider visiting the parks without using y’all!!!

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Oct 19, 2020 at 2:40 p.m. Leslie H Says...

I haven't been to Universal since 2016. I am hopeful to go within the next year or two and bring my son. As a toddler, it would be interesting to see the park through his eyes.

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Oct 19, 2020 at 1:41 p.m. MikeJ Says...

OMG, this is sooo needed!!!

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Oct 19, 2020 at 12:43 p.m. Muffin Says...

Hoping to reschedule for next year!

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Oct 19, 2020 at 12:21 p.m. Ann Marie Says...

We're planning on going during the first half of August 2021. I guess we should expect large crowds. :(

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Oct 19, 2020 at 12:05 p.m. Jonathan McIntosh Says...

Thanks for this info. Helpful for our fam as we plan our next trip... hopefully in 2021!

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Oct 19, 2020 at 11:49 a.m. Donna J Says...

My daughters would love to go to Universal - I just found out they have a Simpsons area!

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Oct 19, 2020 at 9:23 a.m. Stevie Says...

I am hoping to take my kids next spring to Disney World!! This will definitely help with the trip planning.

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Oct 19, 2020 at 9:16 a.m. John A Deal Says...

I would love to visit there

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Oct 19, 2020 at 6:13 a.m. Treva Smith Says...

Cool blog. I have not been, I would love to visit sometime

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Oct 19, 2020 at 3:56 a.m. Kelley Q Says...

Love these guides! Thanks!!

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Oct 19, 2020 at 3:14 a.m. Amy B Says...

I think I *need* this trip!

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Oct 19, 2020 at 1:26 a.m. Kala D Says...

I always use Undercover Tourist when deciding when we go to Orlando. Our last trip was in Jan 2019 and undercover tourist was spot on! Good info for next year!

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Oct 19, 2020 at 12:45 a.m. JNCVAL Says...

I'm way overdue for some butter beer!

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Oct 19, 2020 at 12:19 a.m. Eliese Says...

I can't wait till the pandemic is over so we can travel!

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Oct 19, 2020 at 12:06 a.m. Smiley face Says...

Can't wait to visit!

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Oct 19, 2020 at 12:02 a.m. CarolC Says...

Can't wait to get back to WDW.

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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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