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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2501–2550 of 3290 comments
Oct 13, 2020 at 11 p.m. Karenf Says...

Huge Disney fan- thanks for the tips! Hope to be able to return soon.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 10:56 p.m. Mandy Says...

I WANT TO GO!!! This place is so magical. Not a day goes by I’m not wishing to be there!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 10:52 p.m. Ashley Byrd Says...

I have never been to a Universal theme park and would have loved to go this year (along with back to Disney for the holiday season). Time will tell if we will make it this year or next!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 10:29 p.m. Betsy M. Says...

What a treasure trove of information!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 10:26 p.m. Nancy Mae Says...

We ALWAYS use Undercover Tourist for purchasing our theme park tickets in Orlando. They have never let us down with trusted service, advice and travel trips! We especially appreciate the Crowd calendar!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 10:14 p.m. Laura Taylor Says...

Exciting!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 10:12 p.m. Kanani Burdett Says...

Love all your research, info, tips and discounts, especially on park tickets. You really helped us when we planned our family trip to WDW/Universal in November 2018.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 10:04 p.m. Matthew M Says...

Can't wait to get back out to universal for vacation!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 9:39 p.m. mejoisi Says...

I really don't mind the crowd , i'm normally here all day to get the full experience. Would love to give my twins the same adventure i had all my life. i have family members my age that have never been neither has their kids and this is my dream to bring them to have a fun filed vacation full of adventure.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 8:52 p.m. Happierinflorida Says...

We used Under Cover Tourist to purchase 5 day park tickets and 3 day Universal tickets and it worked out so well. We had a blast and hope to be back soon, especially since winter is on its way to us in Utah. Use these guys, so convenient and save you some money, not to mention they have a ton of useful info on their website. Thank you UCT..

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Oct 13, 2020 at 8:34 p.m. Katrina J Says...

I can't wait to get out to travel more next year...thank you for the recommendations!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 8:23 p.m. Joanne W Bello Says...

WOW....learned so much....in particular, the days that the parks are least crowded!! Very important during COVID! Thank you. What beautiful photos too!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 8:02 p.m. David Mills Says...

I sure could use a vacation for my family soon. I am sure everyone could.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 7:56 p.m. Audrey Says...

What a informative article! Thanks for the tips

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Oct 13, 2020 at 7:46 p.m. Valerie Cebertowicz Says...

These guys are the best helped me pla so many vacations

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Oct 13, 2020 at 7:33 p.m. Kelly Says...

Great info. Saved lots of time and helped plan a great time.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 7:32 p.m. Monique Says...

I have used undercovertourist. Wonderful experience. We have never been to Universal, definitely would love to go!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 7:08 p.m. Kelli Says...

Great article and advice

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Oct 13, 2020 at 6:42 p.m. LizS Says...

My next stop!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 6:39 p.m. Peter Gwiazda Says...

Great info.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 6:35 p.m. Morgan Says...

Cool!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 6:32 p.m. Richard P Reinbolt Says...

good info

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Oct 13, 2020 at 6:32 p.m. Bryan Says...

Hope we win. Getting out of the house would be great after everything going on this year.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 6:10 p.m. Molly Says...

I love this page!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 5:52 p.m. Janine Carlson Says...

Extremely helpful information for trip planning. Thank you!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 5:44 p.m. Sue F Says...

My boys have been asking when we're going again, especially since Hagrid's Motorbike Adventure didn't exist on our last trip.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 5:33 p.m. Sierra Warren Says...

Looking forward to having our new addition visit for the first time.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 5:17 p.m. Melinda Schmidt Says...

Looking forward to things getting back to normal so we can schedule our trip! Thanks for the great information!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 4:38 p.m. Erica Says...

Can't wait to start traveling again and get back to our favorite theme park!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 4:14 p.m. Charles Sedano Says...

Haven't been in ages. Would love to visit once the pandemic is over.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 4:11 p.m. Grit Webb Says...

I want to take my grand daughters as soon as the virus is on the decline! Unfortunately we'll have to go during a school break.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 4:05 p.m. Dmom Says...

Missing Universal! Looking forward to traveling there this year for all the fun, excitment and to relive memories of times past!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 3:57 p.m. Pamela Alarcon Says...

I was going to travel in 2020 but we had to reschedule our trío for 2021, We hope to go on september and that thing are a little bit more like before covid19 ☺️

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Oct 13, 2020 at 3:56 p.m. Aly Says...

Of course all the times I would want to go are CRAZY busy. I may have to pull my daughter out of school to go next year.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 3:47 p.m. A-Niklaus Says...

Hoping things go well so all with be up and running at full capacity soon!! Bring on 2021!!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 3:40 p.m. Briana Koertner Says...

Awesome!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 3:31 p.m. Wilkins Says...

Can't wait!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 3:31 p.m. ValQ Says...

Holidays are the best time of year to visit!! Thank you for the inside info as always!!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 3:17 p.m. Erio66 Says...

I always buy my tics for Universal and Disney World from Undercover Tourist. No one beats their deals!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 3:10 p.m. Noreen Walsh Says...

Love to read the blog and looking forward to christmas

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Oct 13, 2020 at 3:03 p.m. Nicole Says...

Can't wait to visit. Harry Potter World here I come!!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 2:55 p.m. Nancy Steward Says...

Want things to get back to "NORMAL" so we can go back to Universal.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 2:49 p.m. Deb Says...

Great giveaway!!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 2:38 p.m. trindadsth Says...

I'm very conflicted. Go to WDW because of the Star Wars rides I haven't gone on or IOA for Hagrid's Motorcycle adventure.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 2:37 p.m. Michele G Says...

Can not wait to get back!!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 2:29 p.m. DataDan Says...

I love Universal Orlando! Can't wait to go this summer!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 2:27 p.m. JessS Says...

Can't wait to go back!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 2:27 p.m. Hannah Says...

Would love to visit soon!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 2:18 p.m. Ashley B Says...

Dreaming of those travel plans! Love these tips!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 2:16 p.m. Shaun Says...

My wife and I spent last Friday at both IOA and USO and had an amazing day. Lines were great, staff interactions were fantastic! We ended the night at Mythos and had an amazing meal!! Great to see that Universal is still bringing on the thrills, safely, even at this unusual time. :)

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