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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2651–2700 of 3290 comments
Oct 12, 2020 at 10:20 p.m. Lesli Ramey Says...

I am dreaming about taking my kids to Universal! I would be so happy to go anytime of year but it would be extra awesome to be able to stay on site and get front of the line access. I introduced my daughter to the the Harry Potter movies during quarantine and we watched them on repeat, I’m so glad to share some thing I love with her. She is so excited to see the Wizarding world and to get a wand at Ollivanders. Good to know they are implementing safety measures too.

Thank you for your crowd calendars. It definitely helps to pick and choose days that we will be able to maximize our time with less crowds. I’d love to go in December and see the holiday decor!!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:18 p.m. Jill S Powers Says...

Can't wait to be back.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:17 p.m. Janet Says...

I've used your service before for various tickets and that service was excellent. I've also followed your advice regarding the best times to visit Orlando and I will definitely follow your advice when I'm planning my next visit too. Keep up the excellent work!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:14 p.m. Debbie Says...

ANY time would be great to visit for me- it’s been way too long and I need my Disney Fix! :)

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:10 p.m. Elaina Cole Says...

Whenever I feel comfortable traveling again, I can't wait to use Undercover Tourist to plan my next Orlando trip :)

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:10 p.m. ANITA HILL Says...

Great

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:06 p.m. Shannon Hoffman Says...

I can’t wait to go here!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:04 p.m. Dacia P. Says...

I would love to take a trip to Universal!!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 9:58 p.m. Chuck Says...

Whens the best time to visit the Harry Potter sections of Universal.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 9:58 p.m. Amanda Outland Says...

We've been to Disney several times. But have yet to visit Universal.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 9:54 p.m. Michelle Linebach Says...

Love Disney and Love to save money !!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 9:51 p.m. Ryan M Says...

So looking forward to being able to go again

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Oct 12, 2020 at 9:44 p.m. Jennifer Says...

Thanks Undercover Tourist!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 9:42 p.m. Mackenzie Kalp Says...

Great tips! I have never been to Universal. My sister and I are looking for a trip to do in late 2020 or early 2021 to celebrate her 21st birthday and me finishing my master's degree. This will have to be a contender!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 9:41 p.m. Angela Wheeler Says...

Would love to visit Universal with out teens for Christmas!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 9:39 p.m. Kristen D Says...

Haven't been in forever! Great tips!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 9:36 p.m. Hazel Says...

Thanks for the great info! We were supposed to visit the Universal Orlando parks during our fall break. Hoping to visit next year!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 9:30 p.m. Robert morrison Says...

I’m supposed to leave a comment for the sweepstakes entry so.... comment.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 9:20 p.m. Sweetz71 Says...

This looks like the vacation of a lifetime. After a very bad car accident and many surgeries this would be a slice of heaven!! Thank you so much for the extremely generous giveaway :)

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Oct 12, 2020 at 9:12 p.m. Brittany Gilley Says...

Thanks for the tips

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Oct 12, 2020 at 9:09 p.m. EMC Says...

Can't wait!

Will be my first visit to Universal!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 9:09 p.m. Bill Carson Says...

Looking forward to visiting this December!!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 9:07 p.m. Stephanie Says...

Hi,

Do you think it will be better to visit Universal in 2021 or 2022. Is there anything new opening in Universal next year?

Thanks

Stephanie

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Oct 13, 2020 at 11:33 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Stephanie!

You can see a full list of what's coming to Universal Orlando Resort in our post here.

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Oct 12, 2020 at 9:03 p.m. MissaLS Says...

So ready for a vacation! Thank you Frog Family!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 9:01 p.m. Cheryl Lee Says...

How is Universal handling Covid safety guidelines?

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Oct 13, 2020 at 11:34 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Cheryl!

Great question - we have a full post detailing Universal's health and safety procedures here.

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:50 p.m. Robert Says...

Best park ever

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:49 p.m. Brittany Marie Says...

I NEVER plan a trip to the parks without using your crowd calendar! I can’t wait to get back to Universal. My fiancé and I haven’t been there since we met there 5 years ago!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:48 p.m. Maria Says...

A definite magical and adventurous experience!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:47 p.m. BFF STEPH Says...

The crowd calendar is awesome, seems to be pretty accurate! Will def use in the future!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:41 p.m. Lisa Daddazio Says...

I love Undercover Tourist I have gotten my tickets throw you and you have great information.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:40 p.m. Bobbie Says...

Great article! Undercover tourist is such a amazing resource for Universal and Disney World!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:40 p.m. linda battiparano Says...

love disney contests!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:39 p.m. Monique Y Cox Says...

I love your site/blog. Thanks for all of your travel tips. The Crowd Calendar is important when to visit. I hate long lines and it's nice to know when the best time to go so we can use our time wisely.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:38 p.m. joe dunne Says...

lot of good info, but i'm not travelling any time soon

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:37 p.m. Debbie Dietz Says...

I can’t wait until I am allowed to travel to Florida again.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:37 p.m. Kimberly A Kline Says...

I love visiting the second week in December and mid January! Weather is great and crowds easily manageable!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:36 p.m. Ken Cosco Says...

Universal is great when it's slower. I hope it will get back to normal soon.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:35 p.m. Micah Roberts Says...

We loved universal so much and can’t wait to go back!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:33 p.m. bn100 Says...

helpful info

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:31 p.m. Julie Says...

Undercover Tourist is a great resource for discounts and crowd projections. It’s my go to source when planning a theme park trip.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:26 p.m. Aj Says...

Can’t wait to explore all things Harry Potter again....

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:25 p.m. Catherine R Says...

Undercover Tourist knows their stuff! We miss Disney and Universal: it's been a couple of years since we've been. We can't wait to get our little girl back to the magic!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:24 p.m. Kyle Says...

Never been to Universal before. I just can't justify going there instead of Disney. Unless I win a contest or something......

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

Never been to Universal Orlando, looking forward to it in November.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:13 p.m. Anony-mouse Says...

You have some of the most interesting contests

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:10 p.m. Tiffany Richter Says...

I would love to win a trip to Universal! We go to Disney often, but never Universal. My question, would my 4 year old enjoy it, or would it be better to wait a few years. The biggest problem we have, our oldest is 16! We don't want her to miss out on the fun and that may happen if we wait. Thanks!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 2:10 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Tiffany!

We'd go now - there are several rides for little ones, and your older tadpole will have a blast!

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:04 p.m. David Says...

Super helpful! Would love to avoid crowds if we can!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:03 p.m. Salina L. Says...

Such great information!! Can't wait to take my daughter on her graduation trip that got cancelled!! Please pick us!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:57 p.m. Amanda Wylie Says...

We use you guys every time we buy tickets to the Florida Theme Parks. I really appreciate you and all you do!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:53 p.m. Amelia S Says...

Weekdays are the best! We are homeschoolers and have always gone in late April/early May. It’s after spring break and before summer crowds. There is usually little to no waits. This year we are going November 11 for a few days as they were closed for our April trip. My daughter is 12 and has FINALLY decided that she loves roller coasters. Normally I ride alone (my daughter is a big weenie and my husband is disabled). I’m really exited to have a ride buddy this year!!!

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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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