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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2601–2650 of 3290 comments
Oct 13, 2020 at 2:23 a.m. Mary Rodowicz Says...

Thank you sooo much for all the info and all the best dates to go !! My family has never been and would go bonkers if I won the trip ! Thank you for having the giveaway and thank you so much for the chance !

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Oct 13, 2020 at 2:15 a.m. Debora Hess Says...

We visited UOR in August and used your website and APP for planning and while we were there. They were a huge help!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 2:11 a.m. Michael Says...

Do you know when the new Jurassic World Velocicoaster coaster will be completed?

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Oct 13, 2020 at 2:07 a.m. Barry Wallace Says...

I can’t wait to go back. It’s been several years since I’ve been there. The Kong ride wasn’t even open yet 5 years ago :)

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Oct 13, 2020 at 1:58 a.m. Says...

Love me some Orlando! Can’t wait to plan a return visit for our family!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 1:47 a.m. Ethel Turkowski Says...

Can’t wait to be able to revisit WWOHP!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 1:37 a.m. Heather Says...

I hope my family can make it there in 2021

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Oct 13, 2020 at 1:13 a.m. Jaime Zielinski Says...

Great post

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Oct 13, 2020 at 1:12 a.m. Jarod Munoz Says...

Ever since I discovered Undercover Tourist I am constantly on here looking for my next vacation! Universal Studios, here I come!!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 1:01 a.m. Lkirk21 Says...

LOVE Disney! We won’t do Disney again without meal plans...we are big fans of the meal plans.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 12:59 a.m. Lynn Says...

These Best Time to Visit posts are really helpful. Thank you!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 12:56 a.m. Leigh Law Says...

GREAT info! I am ready, ready to get back to Orlando for a few days!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 12:55 a.m. D Wayles Says...

We can't wait to visit Universal Orlando to celebrate our daughter's Sweet 16 birthday!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 12:46 a.m. Tammy Says...

Thank you for the tips. I do hope things get back to a more “normal” soon.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 12:28 a.m. Kim Says...

Why is Feb 19-22 the worst but the very next weekend the best time to visit?

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Oct 13, 2020 at 11:30 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kim!

There's generally a lot of visitors for Presidents Day Weekend (and through the following week), which falls on Feb. 15.

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Oct 13, 2020 at 12:25 a.m. Janjet R Says...

Thank you for posting the Crowd Calendar! We are now figuring out the dates that we need.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 12:03 a.m. stlMary Says...

I can't wait to get back to Florida... trying to figure out if we can sneak away for a long weekend in January.....

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Oct 13, 2020 at midnight Charlotte Sims Says...

I always buy tickets from Undercover tourist and recommend them to others. Looking back at this worst time to visit 2020, I wish I could have gone early March before everything got chaotic.

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Oct 13, 2020 at midnight Paula A Says...

Definitely avoid March!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 11:51 p.m. Julianne Says...

We're planning to visit Universal Orlando right before Christmas. Wish us luck with the crowds!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 11:50 p.m. sweepermom Says...

Great blog with lots of info! We enjoy Universal Orlando! Harry Potter was a fun experience!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 11:40 p.m. Nancy Evens Says...

I'm not a huge fan of visiting during holidays as I don't like the extra crowds. We prefer to visit during the middle of summer, when most people stay away due to the heat.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 11:36 p.m. Justateacup Says...

Thank you, I always enjoy your posts!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 11:36 p.m. Dennis Westrick Says...

Love this site!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 11:35 p.m. jim karas Says...

We visit Universal several times a year. Annually for Rock the Universe and Halloween Horror Nights.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 11:33 p.m. Shauna K Says...

I want to go to USO to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter very badly. It's on my bucket list. :)

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Oct 12, 2020 at 11:29 p.m. Minta Boggs Says...

An express pass sounds awesome especially trying to get into Harry Potters rides.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 11:28 p.m. RICARDO Says...

Wish we could visit the parks soon

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Oct 12, 2020 at 11:26 p.m. Ben D. Says...

What a great post! Always such helpful and detailed information. My Orlando theme park trips each year would not be complete without regularly consulting Undercover Tourist.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 11:25 p.m. JMartinson Says...

I enjoy getting emails from Undercovertourist!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 11:15 p.m. Mary Jo Says...

Thank you for all the great information. I can't wait to go!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 11:14 p.m. Eva M Macias Says...

Best prices and easy to book!! Love you guys!!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 11:11 p.m. Nancy Van Ert Says...

Anytime is a good time to visit!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:58 p.m. Liz Kilcher Says...

thanks for the great info!!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:56 p.m. TraceyBax Says...

Great tips! Planning a surprise trip for my family!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:56 p.m. Nicole Says...

We loved going to Universal! We would love to go back some day! Thanks to undercovertourist for getting us cheap tickets.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:55 p.m. Susan T Says...

We've never been to Universal, but I'm hoping to plan a trip in 2021. Your guides are the best at helping plan an approach for the day!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:52 p.m. Michelle Says...

Thanks for the great post, it will be very helpful in planning the 2021 vacation we are hoping to take to Florida. Keep up the good work

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:52 p.m. Jessi Housel Says...

Wow! I would have thought that the end of May, early June would have been still a good time to go as many schools are still in session. Crowd knowledge is key to making a trip go smoother and be less stressful

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:51 p.m. Steph H Says...

I have never been to Universal during christmas season and the photos look magical! We will be at disney mid december so i’m thinking of staying a few extra days and checking our universal too!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:46 p.m. Tami R Says...

I’d love to get back!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:45 p.m. Jennifer Goldberg Says...

I would sure love to win this prize for my family. Last week, I bought tickets from you, for our trip to Disney World the last week in December.

Yeah!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:44 p.m. geom6682 Says...

I haven't ever been to Universal Orlando but would love to go someday!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:41 p.m. Misty S Says...

We had to cancel our trip for this September with Covid, so we really hope things will be better for a trip next year! We are thinking sometime in the spring or next September would be great!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:39 p.m. apengmar Says...

I can't wait to get back and take my fiancé to see all of the Harry Potter rides and the new Jurassic World coaster!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:39 p.m. Michelle Tortora Says...

So glad I read this! I had completely forgotten that they decorate Harry Potter for Christmas. Getting even more excited for our Christmas/New Years trip!!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:37 p.m. Randy Says...

Would a fast pass be needed for universal studios from 15th February to 25th will be visiting on a weekday

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:30 p.m. Linda Sue Says...

Universal 2021, YES!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:25 p.m. Raymond Langer Says...

I took my family to Universal in Florida about 7 years ago. We loved it. This would be wonderful to take the family back again!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:23 p.m. Lynseymac Says...

Love visiting in February time - get the best of the weather and less crowded

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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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