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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2751–2800 of 3290 comments
Oct 12, 2020 at 6:50 p.m. Birdita Says...

Love your site! Thanks for keeping up on all the ever changing news that we need.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:50 p.m. Kim C. Says...

I really hope to get back to Universal Orlando soon! I miss The Mummy ride and The Hulk!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:50 p.m. Jenn Says...

We’ve been doing Disney every other Thanksgiving since our son was 4. He’s finally tall enough to ride most of the coasters so in 2021 we’re adding Universal for sure !!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:48 p.m. Molly O'Reilly Says...

My husband and I attended your VIP night last March for our 10th Anniversary! Wow did we have fun!! Can’t wait for the next one!!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:48 p.m. Zulma Says...

I miss Orlando and the theme parks. Good luck to everyone.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:46 p.m. Diana Says...

I haven’t been to Universal since I was 10 years old. 2020 just might be my year. :)

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:46 p.m. Coralis Says...

Thank you for the information. Do you guys have knowledge if there are strict rules due to COVID-19? I would love to be prepared and have everything in otder to visit while taking care of me and the others.

Have a great day and thank you!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 11:35 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Coralis!

You are so welcome! You can see all of the health and safety protocols currently in place at Universal in this post.

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:43 p.m. Christina Stephens Says...

Looks like so much fun!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:41 p.m. Says...

My son and I would love to go back go back to the parks and we would absolutely love to win this trip!!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:41 p.m. Michael Says...

So with how COVID has affected things and the fact that Universal does not use a reservation system, do you foresee issues with Social Distancing and large crowds during the Holidays?

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Oct 13, 2020 at 11:39 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Michael!

While there's not a reservation system in place, Universal is limiting capacity to enter the parks, and has incorporated things like queue markers on rides, outside of stores and in restaurants so that proper distance can be maintained between parties. There is sometimes a queue to get into certain areas of the parks (such as Hogsmeade) too, so that staff can properly monitor capacity and keep everyone safe. Separate parties will be spaced out on attractions, as well. There have also already been a few days where the parks have hit capacity, so Universal has had some experience with a "full" day. That said, we think it should be manageable! One important note: If you are a Universal hotel guest, you are automatically counted in park capacity for the day - an added perk! :)

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:40 p.m. Mallory Leigh Carnes Says...

Hoping to visit next fall!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:38 p.m. Manny Perez Says...

Thanks for the post. We were in Universal Orlando for our first time a few weeks ago. We went on a Saturday. It was busy, but we were still able to ride many rides. The best ride there was in my opinion was, Hagrid's Motorbike Adventure. Our family had a blast.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:37 p.m. Justin C Says...

Great info: I’m really excited for the new velocicoaster.....just don’t know when we’ll get to go next

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:36 p.m. Jrowens Says...

Is there something going on at the end of January that makes it not a recommended time to visit?

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:34 p.m. Scot Eaves Says...

I haven't been to Universal in years, and my wife has never been! We've been married 4 years and are now almost empty-nesters (we're a blended family). She's not a theme-park girl, and I grew up visiting the Orlando parks since the 70's when vacationing with the family to nearby beaches from Tennessee. I would love to take her and show her how much fun a theme park can be!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:31 p.m. Gabby Perez Says...

Great Post!... We were actually there on Saturday September 26 and yes it was busy but we still got to ride a lot of rides! It was my first visit and my family and I were traveling from California. We were there for a Disneyworld vacation. We had Saturday free so we thought we should just go to Universal Orlando. Had a blast!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:31 p.m. Tracy Ayres Says...

We live and breathe by Undercover Tourist's Crowd Calendar. It has never led us down the wrong path.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. Michele Says...

I've never been to Universal Orlando but I would love to go!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. L montag Says...

What Halloween activities are still available at Universal during Covid?

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Oct 13, 2020 at 11:57 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi there!

There is trick-or-treating at Universal's Islands of Adventures, as well as limited-time haunted houses at Universal Studios Florida. You can see a full rundown of the fall fun in store in this post!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. Shelly Says...

We will be in Orlando in late May and hope to add a day or two at Universal. In past years, late May has been great since it is before many schools on the East coast are out for summer.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. Brenna Says...

My daughter can't wait to go back. Hoping for next year, fingers crossed.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:29 p.m. Rebecca Aragon Says...

Thank you so much on your tips and tricks! I'm planning to make my very first trip out to Orlando and cannot wait!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:27 p.m. Gretchen Lord Anderson Says...

I depend on Undercover Tourist!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:27 p.m. Valerie Says...

Love your site!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:27 p.m. DavidT Says...

We've never been to Universal Orlando. My family (kids 15, 13, 7, 5, 3) loves Harry Potter but doesn't think Universal looks that exciting outside of that. I tried to tell them otherwise, but they still insist on Disney World. Someday maybe...

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:24 p.m. Adam Says...

I so want to visit Universal one day

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:24 p.m. Nicholas Hartley Says...

I so want to visit Universal one day

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:22 p.m. Jen Ward Says...

Sounds like fun

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:21 p.m. Amber Pridgen Says...

Entering the giveaway

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:20 p.m. Whit A Says...

Best time to visit is any time! Always a treat!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:19 p.m. Vanessa G. Says...

We went the beginning of February and the crowds weren't bad at all! Plus the price is cheaper than too! We enjoyed going this time because it's freezing up North this time so it was a nice change ????

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:17 p.m. VB Says...

The only place to buy your Walt Disney world tickets. I’ve been using them for 10 years or more!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:17 p.m. Jessica H Says...

You have saved me money!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:16 p.m. Mixmaster Says...

Universal remains the best theme park to visit in the Orlando Area.

The best times to visit really depend on your crowd tolerance and heat tolerance. I love going when it's warm enough to enjoy the water park but not too hot that standing in any line is unbearable.

For me that is always May, but due to spring breaks and end of school celebrations it can get a little crowded at times depending on when you go.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:16 p.m. Therese Says...

Absolutely live the crowd calendar. Thanks!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:16 p.m. Kelli Hughett Says...

We hope to visit Orlando in September 2021 with my WHOLE family! Ages 5-65! So excited to see what Orlando has to offer and I always visit this blog for planning and ticket purchases!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:16 p.m. Sabrina Woodruff Says...

We just bought tickets through y’all, for the 3rd time! We will be leaving for Disney and Universal November 30th! Thanks y’all

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:15 p.m. Russ Says...

I have ordered from them before, it was easy.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:14 p.m. Laurin Jeffrey Says...

We're going nuts up here in Canada waiting for it to be safe to travel again :(

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:13 p.m. Leah Says...

Universal Orlando really hit the mark with Harry Potter. They have done an amazing job with creating a fully immersive experience. We love Undercover Tourist and can’t wait to visit Universal and WDW in December!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:13 p.m. Jen Says...

Love this!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:13 p.m. Kelly Tulley Says...

Love this website.We've been purchasing tickets from you for 18 years now! We recommend your site to all our friends. Thanks!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:13 p.m. Susan Bachman Says...

Planning on a visit to Orlando in 2021. Always use Undercover Tourist for best prices on tickets when we go.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:13 p.m. Laura Walker Says...

We have never been to Universal, but we are big Harry Potter fans. What are the must-do's at each park?

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Oct 13, 2020 at 11:58 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Laura!

We'd definitely recommend getting a park-to-park ticket so that you can take it between parks - it's different each direction! Outside of that, we'd suggest spending your time exploring both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley (including a trip to Ollivanders - right now, it's only one party per show, so you'll have a private show!).

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:11 p.m. Julie Says...

Looks fun.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:11 p.m. Natalie Stover Says...

Hi there! I now have a child in Kindergarten so this is really helpful with relating the crowds and Covid. It has definitely been a stressful time with me being laid off, and he would have such a blast if we were able to attend! He is a huge superhero fan :) Also, the Cabana Bay looks really inviting! I've also heard Hagrid's is the best new rollercoaster so that is always something to look forward to! :)

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:10 p.m. Rach Says...

Thanks for the info!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:09 p.m. Whitney Says...

I have never had the opportunity/ability to go to Universal! I WISH we could!! ...maybe someday!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:09 p.m. Desiree Wilkins Says...

I can't wait until we can go back!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:09 p.m. NICOLE BECKER Says...

Thank you so much for posting this very informative article! Now I know when to book my trip for my family. I have not been there since my daughter was 6 and now she is 28 with children of her own. We can't wait!!

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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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