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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2451–2500 of 3290 comments
Oct 14, 2020 at 5:27 p.m. Melinda Shilansky Says...

omg I wanna go to florida so bad!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 4:39 p.m. Becky B Says...

Been missing the Orlando magic lately! Love your blog and getting prepped for our next visit! Xoxo

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Oct 14, 2020 at 4:37 p.m. Susann Lewis Says...

I love the excitement of just being there, for me everyday is the perfect time to visit

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Oct 14, 2020 at 4:17 p.m. Cynthia Beauclair Says...

I can't wait to get back to Orlando

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Oct 14, 2020 at 4:14 p.m. beth shepherd Says...

I love all the gret tips. It would be amazing to travel there someday.

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Oct 14, 2020 at 4:08 p.m. Jackie M, Says...

We loved going in late February. We had days hot enough for the water park but not too hot that we were uncomfortable on our feet in the parks all day!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 3:44 p.m. eric hudson Says...

love undercover tourist have been using them for years!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 3:39 p.m. julie Says...

this trip would be awesome to win

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Oct 14, 2020 at 3:39 p.m. Brad Says...

Looking forward to our next visit in 10 days. Have annual pass but due to Covid have not got much use of it

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Oct 14, 2020 at 3:17 p.m. Christal Brancato Says...

I always liked going to Universal during the Fall. Its not as hot and the kids have returned to school so the lines are a lot shorter. Of course I'd go any day of the year! Its always been one of my favorite vacation spots. And Universal out does itself with each new attraction so its never the same experience.

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Oct 14, 2020 at 3:01 p.m. Marlene Says...

It has been over 29 years since I have been to Orlando. I need to go back and see what I have been missing.

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Oct 14, 2020 at 2:55 p.m. Parker Says...

Trying to figure out best time to take teenage daughter. This gives me a better idea of when not to go...seems pretty much what you would think though. Stay away from weekends and the summer.

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Oct 14, 2020 at 2:53 p.m. Kimmiemck Says...

Thanks for all the great info! This should make trip planning easier and the trip less stressful!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 2:45 p.m. Colleen Says...

I have used Undercover for booking, and will do so again. Thanks for the informative article

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Oct 14, 2020 at 2:23 p.m. William Says...

Universal Studios is amazing.

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Oct 14, 2020 at 2:18 p.m. Daria Grudziecki Says...

I’ve always wanted to visit Universal during Mardi Gras!!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 2:04 p.m. Nancy S Says...

We have visited during many different times of the year, but I would say our best experience as far as low crowds and nice weather was in mid-November!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 1:50 p.m. Thomas P Says...

Useful info. Especially like the crowd calendar. You really learn how important planning is for visiting the theme parks for the first time and realizing how more info would've been helpful.

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Oct 14, 2020 at 1:50 p.m. Rose Z Says...

Been missing the magic! Can't wait to go hopefully soon!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 1:01 p.m. jemt Says...

I'd love to win this!!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 12:23 p.m. Emily Says...

We like to go mid-January. I'd love to go early December or late September to get some holiday cheer (Christmas or Halloween, both are so much fun)!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 12:22 p.m. Asia Walker Says...

This is great info thanks

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Oct 14, 2020 at 12:09 p.m. Sean D Says...

I love visiting at Christmastime. The holidays are fantastic.

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Oct 14, 2020 at 11:52 a.m. Janet Holman Says...

Looking forward to my next vacation.

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Oct 14, 2020 at 11:51 a.m. Chris D Says...

Always the best information! Thanks!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 11:42 a.m. candy Says...

Never been looks like fun!!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 11:35 a.m. Jessica Walker Says...

I would love to take my daughters here one day.

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Oct 14, 2020 at 11:15 a.m. Whitney J L Says...

I wish we could visit Universal soon!!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 10:41 a.m. Hector Says...

I already purchased my park tickets with Undercover Tourist for my January 2021 vacation. I can’t wait to return to Orlando!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 10:19 a.m. Steve Says...

A very good guide

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Oct 14, 2020 at 7:54 a.m. Angel B. Says...

We would love this! We live in Florida and haven't been to Universal yet due to prices so fingers crossed! <3

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Oct 14, 2020 at 7:01 a.m. Maryn Says...

Love Universal Studios!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 5:19 a.m. Delora Mccracken Says...

Thanks for all the great info. I learned a lt. Now I have more of an idea when to plan our Disney trip for 15 of us!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 4:55 a.m. shoppinmom77 Says...

We love to visit Universal and IOA! I agree with the recommendation to go when school is in session, and during the week. Can't go wrong!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 4:45 a.m. Andrew P Says...

Curious when the VelociCoaster will open!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 4:37 a.m. CassCass Says...

Looking forward to a crowded but “less crowded” Thanksgiving trip! Thank you for the insight!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 3:38 a.m. Christina Wahrmund Says...

Any time you go to Universal is the best time!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 3:06 a.m. C. Weller Says...

I love going to Orlando in the first two weeks of December! The weather is amazing and it's great to get out of the cold in PA! We have only visited Disney and Kennedy Space Center though, and would love to go to Universal!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 3:06 a.m. Stephanie Bryant Says...

Great contest

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Oct 14, 2020 at 2:40 a.m. M. Elliott Says...

We will be there next week! Can’t wait!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 2:10 a.m. Jon Heil Says...

I havent been there in ages but I loved animal kingdom and the dinosaur ride and bringing back the Trex on the plane. Wish could have went to universal, maybe get the chance!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 1:33 a.m. Andrew Hall Says...

I want to visit Harry Potter World with my grandchildren!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 1:33 a.m. Joann D Says...

Can't wait to visit

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Oct 14, 2020 at 1:11 a.m. Matiman Panda Says...

I want to visit it

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Oct 14, 2020 at 1:09 a.m. Kim Key Says...

Would love to Escape to Gringotts...or anywhere at this point! ????

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Oct 14, 2020 at 12:54 a.m. Frances Knighton Says...

We love the Universal Parks and can't wait to get back there.

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Oct 14, 2020 at 12:05 a.m. April Lane Says...

I have always used undercover tourist to purchase Disney/Universal tickets and have always had a great experience. We have been to Universal Hollywood but not Universal Orlando. My kids are huge Harry Potter fans and have been begging to go for a very long time. Love all the info we get from Undercover Tourist via email regarding deals and information on all the parks!!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. Barbara J Kalter Says...

Undercover Tourist is the best of all sites to use when booking your vacation to Disneyworld and Universal Studios! We so look forward to a vacation there in 2021!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 11:32 p.m. Shawn Seeds Says...

Good information to know when visiting

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Oct 13, 2020 at 11:22 p.m. Nicole Olsen Says...

I Can't wait to go there for a vacation with my awesome sis Sherry.

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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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