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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2901–2950 of 3290 comments
Oct 12, 2020 at 5:06 p.m. Amanda Says...

What kinds of precautionary measures have been put in place at the parks in regards to Covid 19?

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Oct 13, 2020 at 11:45 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Amanda!

We have a full post detailing the health and safety measures currently in place here. Hope this helps!

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:06 p.m. Henry Talley Says...

Hello, I’m entering the sweepstakes.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:06 p.m. CAMILE PUNCH Says...

We have had success with going in early May.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:06 p.m. Jason Takhtadjian Says...

I've only been to Orlando once and it was to go visit Disney World. It was an absolute blast! I did more research after I left Orlando, when it comes to theme parks, and I realized I should've stayed longer to visit Universal Orlando! I've loved the Universal Hollywood park & I realized that Universal Orlando offers far more, especially to the ride enthusiasts! Hopefully I can get to visit one day & maybe this sweepstakes is my golden ticket back to Orlando.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:05 p.m. Donna Says...

We love to visit during spring break!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:05 p.m. Scott Jones Says...

Very informative! We are planning a trip here on Nov 21 and it wouldn't be a trip without a visit to Universal!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:05 p.m. lorna seay Says...

Can’t wait to go back!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:04 p.m. Steve H Says...

Great advice! Can't wait to visit!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:04 p.m. Bari Joi Says...

Wow!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:04 p.m. Jessica Says...

I would love to visit during Christmas in Harry Potter world! We’ve never been to Universal Studios before with our Harry Potter fans so I can only image how much more magical it would be around Christmas. This is such great information on the best times to go! So my question is, would it be worth it to have to fight the crowds but experience Christmas in Harry Potter world?

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Oct 13, 2020 at 2:06 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jessica!

We really enjoy Christmas in the Wizarding World! Besides the décor, the shows (Frog Choir & Celestina Warbeck) have Christmas songs, and there’s HOT BUTTERBEER. The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle may not happen this year, but we also love that version of the lights show. This year may be the year to go with limited capacity! Have fun!

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:03 p.m. Daniel Stump Says...

I hope to one day full-fill my dream of visiting Disney World! Thanks for the great article to help be decide when to come!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:02 p.m. JaxGall Says...

Amazing, thanks for sharing this great content!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:02 p.m. Valerie C Says...

So many tips and suggestions I have to take notes!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:02 p.m. Says...

I’ve only visited Universal once and it sure would be great to go back! Thanks for the comprehensive post.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:02 p.m. Melissa Says...

Can't wait to get back to Orlando!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:02 p.m. Tuseda Says...

I cannot WAIT to return. Everything about the park brings me joy!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:02 p.m. Edragon8 Says...

Thanks for all the great information in one location. Saves me a lot of time researching it myself.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:01 p.m. John Copping Says...

A must have site for a must visit destination

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:01 p.m. Cathy Grant Says...

Looking forward to getting back to Universal Orlando!!!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5 p.m. Karen H. Says...

Thanks for the great info. We were scheduled to visit in April, 2020 and got cancelled due to COVID. We are now planning on coming 12/26-29th, even though it will be busy. Any advice for visiting during that time?

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Oct 13, 2020 at 2:11 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Karen!

Our best tip would be to stay at a Universal hotel and/or spring for Express if it's not already an included perk in your hotel stay. Skipping the lines is especially helpful when it's busy, and if you're staying on-site, you can't beat the convenience of walking to/from the parks (and being included in the day's capacity count!).

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 4:59 p.m. Says...

So many tips I have to take notes!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:59 p.m. Dawn Says...

I’ve always had good luck with crowds in late January and the weeks between Easter and mid-May.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:59 p.m. Tia Says...

February is a great time to go.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:59 p.m. VJ Davis Says...

Hoping to come in Fall 2021! First time without kids.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:58 p.m. CASSIE VAN WINKLE Says...

Thank you Undercover Tourist for always making ticket buying so easy and giving me a discount!! I am hoping I could win that trip to Universal my daughter is a HUGE harry potter fan and has always wanted to go!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:57 p.m. Libby Barrett Says...

We love undercover tourist. We have bought tickets through them and it was so seamless and easy. They have such a great price and no hidden fees which I appreciate. I love using their crow calendars and reading the blogs for tips. I highly recommend them. They sure helped me plan two trips to universal studios orlando and 2 trips to disney world for our family of 6. I will be using them for our family reunion trip next year for our family of 13.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:57 p.m. Candace Says...

Super helpful info! Thanks!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:56 p.m. Jeri Ann Munoz Says...

I went a couple of years ago for the first time. I really want to go back soon.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:56 p.m. Cindy binks Says...

Thanks for a great post! I love this company and the discounted theme park tickets. Finding this blog is an added perk.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:56 p.m. Jenny Jung Says...

These tips are great to refer back to when going to the parks! I’ve only been to Universal Studios Hollywood, so going to Universal Orlando would be an amazing opportunity ???? Thank you Undercover Tourist for this fantastic chance!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:55 p.m. Janice Kossman Says...

If you have children, Orlando is a must.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:55 p.m. MrsPharoah Says...

Great deals on Orlando parks!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:55 p.m. Peggy Says...

I have always wanted to see Universal Florida. It would be lovely to win the contest and get the opportunity. I so enjoy seeing all of the fun things this sight shares.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:55 p.m. Mark W Says...

Would love to win. Never been there.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:55 p.m. KariLorr Says...

My family likes to go in February. That seems to be a slower time, and the lines are much shorter than during the holidays.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:53 p.m. Debbie Says...

this site has great info!!!????❤

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:53 p.m. Ginacr Says...

We love universal and we love undercover tourist!! Thank you for being the go to for information when we travel to Orlando!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:53 p.m. BoonaTheTuna Says...

Visiting my friends in Orlando in November! We most likely won't go on the weekday which you guys said is a better time, but we are still so excited! ❤

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:53 p.m. Shelia Says...

I am looking to go in 2021 for my 50th birthday/graduation trip. My husband is graduating also and we could celebrate our anniversary there. Is September or the first week of December a better time to go?

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Oct 13, 2020 at 2:12 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Shelia!

Both are comparable in terms of crowds, but we'd recommend December from a weather standpoint - it'll be much cooler! :)

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:52 p.m. Karolyn Says...

Miss traveling and can't wait to get back to FLA and visit Disney and Universal!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:52 p.m. TRACY MULLIGAN Says...

Would love to visit Orlando! Do they have any special accommodations for special needs children? We have a child that is partially blind and autistic.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 8:21 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Tracy!

They sure do - you can find more information about the Attraction Assistance Pass (AAP) here.

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:51 p.m. Aurie Jenkins Says...

We love universal. I take my kids when they turn 11 (hello Harry Potter nerd here ????????‍♀️) And we want to take the whole family for Christmas. I’d love to see it all decorated for the holidays since I haven’t seen that yet.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:51 p.m. JS Says...

I just can’t wait to get back to Orlando!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:51 p.m. Scott Says...

I hope my family and I can finally get to see universal in 2021 we have been watching HHN videos from years past and have never been to universal yet but we'll see

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:50 p.m. CaptainLando Says...

My wife and I have been to Universal three times, but never stayed on-site. The experience at Disney hotels is incredible (we've stayed at Coronado Springs and Art of Animation), so we're hoping to stay at a Universal resort next time we go!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:50 p.m. BRIAN Says...

Thanks for all the great info!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:50 p.m. Del Says...

We haven't been to Universal since the early 2000s, pre-Harry Potter. Hoping to plan a trip in 2021!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:50 p.m. Ashley Says...

I haven’t been to universal in years!!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:50 p.m. Natalie Says...

It’s the most magical place on earth ????

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:50 p.m. Patty F Says...

We pandemic eloped this August - so we're thinking of taking a trip down as a one year anniversary trip, August 2021 - it looks like the later half of August will be good for visiting! Hopefully travel will be a bit safer by then!! ????????

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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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