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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2351–2400 of 3290 comments
Oct 18, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Samantha Says...

We're planning for November 2021. I'm glad to know that you expect this to be a good time to visit! Can't wait for Wizarding World!!

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Oct 18, 2020 at 11:46 p.m. TRF Says...

Looks like fun!!

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Oct 18, 2020 at 11:20 p.m. Amanda B Says...

We are so hoping to go one week in November! Great information in this post, thank you!

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Oct 18, 2020 at 10:50 p.m. CARLA JO Says...

One of the better times to attend WDW is right after the kids go back to school, the first part of September.

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Oct 18, 2020 at 10:17 p.m. Deborah Munkirs Says...

My son and husband love Harry Potter!

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Oct 18, 2020 at 9:44 p.m. Mindi Eden Says...

2020 is a bust for us BUT thanks for the wonderful info!

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Oct 18, 2020 at 8:44 p.m. Karen W Says...

I would love to visit Universal, all the helpful information for planning is great.

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Oct 18, 2020 at 7:28 p.m. Shelby Calkin Says...

Thanks

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Oct 18, 2020 at 6:56 p.m. MELISSA WILKINSON Says...

We hope to go next year for sure! Can't wait!!!

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Oct 18, 2020 at 5:52 p.m. Katie L. Says...

I just booked a trip for Disney next November and am hoping to be able to add in a couple Universal days as well. Thanks for the information!!

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Oct 18, 2020 at 4:37 p.m. Emily M Says...

I’m a huge Disney world person but have been dying to go to Universal for years! Love the tips and I’m sure they’re going to be very helpful in planning a universal trip since I don’t know nearly as much as I do about Disney.

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Oct 18, 2020 at 4:27 p.m. Kristin Says...

We were planning a trip in July, but the parks were still closed. We hope to visit in 2021!

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Oct 18, 2020 at 3:50 p.m. P.S. Says...

Thank you for the very informative blog.

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Oct 18, 2020 at 3:03 p.m. JEFFREY O. Says...

This is super helpful. Thank you.

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Oct 18, 2020 at 1:34 p.m. Anna Cook Says...

Want to go

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Oct 18, 2020 at 1:17 p.m. Angela C Adelman Says...

When I went to Universal Studios it was magical. I would love to go back. Thank you for this chance.

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Oct 18, 2020 at 4:02 a.m. Cathleen Clark Says...

We went a few years ago and it was wonderful. We had a trip planned for May, but that got canceled. It would be wonderful to rebook a trip and take our grandkids. :)

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Oct 18, 2020 at 3:45 a.m. Bev F Says...

Really want to visit in 2021!

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Oct 18, 2020 at 1:42 a.m. JenD Says...

My family loves Universal Orlando! Amazing rides, great hotels, tons of food options. We can't wait to go back- fingers crossed that it is soon!

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Oct 18, 2020 at 1:06 a.m. Caroline Says...

Can’t wait!

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Oct 18, 2020 at 12:04 a.m. Carla S Ogden Says...

We love to be at Universal Orlando's Cabana Bay with tickets to the Parks. I lived in Orlando and worked for Disney many years ago and I must say in all honesty Universal Tops Disney in so many ways. Hope every day to be able to go back soon. Love coming your way from Illinois.

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Oct 17, 2020 at 10:03 p.m. beebee Says...

What a great thing to do in February when you live in Wisconsin!

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Oct 17, 2020 at 8:09 p.m. Shantell Bentley Says...

Love Universal been twice when I was in school but would love to go again it has been years since I been back and would love to take the kids.

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Oct 17, 2020 at 7:52 p.m. Debi F Says...

My family have used undercover tourist for years. They have the best prices!

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Oct 17, 2020 at 6:07 p.m. amybaker3 Says...

I can not wait until my family can return to Universal Orlando - it has been way too long!!!

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Oct 17, 2020 at 6 p.m. Shannon Knowles Says...

Our whole family are Harry Potter fans and would love the opportunity to go to Universal Studios.

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Oct 17, 2020 at 4:52 p.m. Karl Says...

Disney Orlando Free Trip Contests are the Best

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

Early December seems like the most magical time to enjoy the parks and avoid large crowds. Undercover Tourist has the best tips and tools for planning such a trip! :)

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Oct 17, 2020 at 4:15 p.m. Devin Says...

I would love to do all the Harry Potter stuff at Universal. I'm a huge fan!

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Oct 17, 2020 at 4:10 p.m. Roosevelito Cyrius Says...

This looks absolutely amazing it would be a great opportunity and blessing to visit and see such amazing things, I've always wanted to experience such wonders.

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Oct 17, 2020 at 3:54 p.m. Lindsay Klamp Says...

Won't be able to visit universal studios during our upcoming trip to Florida. I really hope that we can make it back some time tonsee what universal has to offer.

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Oct 17, 2020 at 3:53 p.m. Lindsay Klamp Says...

Won't be able to do Universal during our up coming trip to Florida. Hoping to make it back some time to be able to experience what Universal has to offer.

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Oct 17, 2020 at 3:11 p.m. Robin Kossman Says...

Looking forward to taking my family with covid numbers are decreasing

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Oct 17, 2020 at 2:52 p.m. Levi dudden Says...

Dream of a lifetime for my 3 kids and the parents too! Just to see their faces, when they walk in. My 3 yr old sees the castle on disney movies and thinks shes going there. Grandparents were going to take her but had to cancel because of covid.

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Oct 17, 2020 at 1:51 p.m. Jack palmer Says...

I would love to win this , I haven't had a vacation in years. thank you

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Oct 17, 2020 at 1:25 p.m. YoAdrian Says...

So happy I found undercovertourist.com! I love the crowd calendar! <3 :)

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Oct 17, 2020 at 1:06 p.m. Natalie Lyons Says...

I have been wanting to take my boys for years, hopefully next year

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Oct 17, 2020 at 12:06 p.m. Holly Ludwig Roark Says...

We want to visit so bad. We had planned on visiting and then our son was diagnosed with cancer...Waiting for him to get better so we can go!!!

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Oct 17, 2020 at 11:35 a.m. A Lo Says...

I have never been but looking forward to it very much!

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Oct 17, 2020 at 10:59 a.m. Lanie Pearson Says...

Thank you so much for the wonderful information. I loved this site and all the deals. Every ticket purchase has been easy, fast, and saved money! The tips and info is great!

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Oct 17, 2020 at 4:16 a.m. Tristen Carl Says...

That’s wild

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Oct 16, 2020 at 9:16 p.m. JShaw Says...

We were planning to go in 2020, but we will hopefully get to go in 2021 or 2022.

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Oct 16, 2020 at 3:50 p.m. elizabeth miller Says...

My daughter has wanted to go to Universal for years. We were going to surprise her this past Easter and take her but then the shut down happened. Hopefully we can recoup and save to go in the next year or 2.

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Oct 16, 2020 at 3:27 p.m. Chelsea Says...

Hoping to go sometime in 2022 and can’t wait!

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Oct 16, 2020 at 2:53 p.m. Jill Nauyokas Says...

Universal is definitely a place I would love to visit. Even with the crowds I would make sure to pack e yea face masks

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Oct 16, 2020 at 2:52 p.m. Candace P Says...

The weather is great in November!

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Oct 16, 2020 at 1:43 p.m. Sarah Storm Says...

I would love to visit during the holiday season.

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Oct 16, 2020 at 7:36 a.m. MikeB Says...

I think anytime is the perfect time to visit!

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Oct 16, 2020 at 3:52 a.m. julio Says...

I wanna go this year

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Oct 16, 2020 at 2:13 a.m. Bessie Clay Says...

I'm excited to visit oneday!!!

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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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