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The Very Best Times to Visit Universal Orlando in 2023 and 2024

by Leap on May 8, 2023 5715 Orlando

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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 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 Disney 100 celebration, debuting at EPCOT in fall 2023.

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. The championship is taking place Dec. 2-9, 2023.

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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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:49 p.m. Bmegown Says...

February is a great time to visit, but I would be happy visiting anytime!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:49 p.m. Lauren V Says...

The holiday season is always so well decorated!!!!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:48 p.m. Cathy McInturff Says...

Traveling with children I think Summer is the best time to enjoy the water!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:48 p.m. Momof8 Says...

We feel like spring is the best time to go because its when FL has perfect weather! Warm enough to enjoy water park but cool enough to not be sweating like crazy all day long and unlike the early fall you don't have to worry about tropical storms drenching you.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:47 p.m. Jen Destefano Says...

Id love to visit next fall for Columbus Day but it’s not easy with my work schedule. Maybe this summer when we’re already visiting Orlando.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:47 p.m. Brooke Says...

We love going in the summer, even if the crowds are bad!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:47 p.m. Nicole Hall Says...

Also consider avoiding "Jersey Week." Never had heard of it until I had already booked our trip. Universal was extra busy!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:46 p.m. Robert Says...

I've never been. Always go to Disney

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:46 p.m. Kayla Says...

Gonna know best time to go now!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:45 p.m. Yuta Says...

I hope you guys visit Universal Studios Japan as well!!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:44 p.m. LKHailey Says...

Spring is best, but not during spring break!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:44 p.m. Jessica Says...

I didn’t think we would love it at Christmas like we love Disney …wring! It was beautiful!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:43 p.m. Whit Says...

May- anytime right up until memorial day weekend. January and February are good times to visit too because most kids dont get out of school unless they are in Louisiana and off for Mardi Gras. The day after Thanksgiving usually isn’t too bad either because most kids have to go back to school on the Monday after, so crowds start to thin out until about a week before Christmas.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:41 p.m. LisaMay Says...

Best time is just prior to Memorial Day, before summer travel rates kick in.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:41 p.m. Amy Says...

end of April every year and anytime in October- those are our favorites!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:41 p.m. Theresa C. Says...

Great information. Can’t wait to visit!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:40 p.m. Jessica Says...

Had a great time during thanksgiving week this year. Really enjoyed the holiday tour.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:39 p.m. Hope Gallagher Says...

Was just there week of Thanksgiving and after and wasn't too bad.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:39 p.m. Mylee Says...

I'm going the end of January 2o23 and I can't wait!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:39 p.m. Jkm8870 Says...

Will go in the late fall for Christmas if I go again. Cooler weather!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:39 p.m. Eve Says...

Can’t wait to visit Universal, even if it is one of the worst times to go. Ugg

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:39 p.m. Patricia Westbrook Says...

I have been during Our Marci Gras season during the spring. But my favorite time to go is in late October and early November when the weather is a little cooler.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:37 p.m. Riah Says...

January is the best time if you don't mind the cold. We try to go every other year.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:37 p.m. Alex Cash Says...

Universal Orlando is a wonderful experience for a family vacation!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:36 p.m. Lena Says...

We will be in Florida in mid-January with two teens. Would love to go then!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:36 p.m. Zach Daniel Says...

Glad to see September made the list!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:36 p.m. Ivan Says...

Late September is the best!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:36 p.m. Lauren Mitchell Says...

Looks like it will be crowded when we go in January. Oh well, can't be helped since our oldest has a college schedule and has to be back.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:35 p.m. Stacia Says...

Really like ur Fast Pass option where u pay one price to upgrade! It is very unusually expensive which is maddening but love that it works all day without having to keep looking at ph for adding passes like Some other parks!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:34 p.m. Chad J Says...

February, always February.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:33 p.m. Kiwi Says...

February is a great time to visit! Weather is great and crowds are not bad

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:31 p.m. Becky K Says...

Thank you! So helpful for figuring out out best options for a spring vacay!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:31 p.m. Kelsie Says...

We love Universal Orlando!!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:29 p.m. Tony N Says...

Best time to visit is October. Weather is great, crowds are smaller and you get the Halloween experiences! Been there 5 times and it just keeps getting better

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:28 p.m. MedicMom Says...

I love going in the fall. The temperatures are mild and the Halloween themes are the best!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:28 p.m. Says...

This is sooo helpful to plan

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:27 p.m. Julie Says...

This article is full of great information. I’m hoping to go the beginning of may amd now I know I need to make it midweek

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:27 p.m. R.K. Says...

Early May is always a good time

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:27 p.m. DJ Says...

Thank you!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:27 p.m. Sande P Says...

I have never been but would love to go. Great information!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:26 p.m. KarenJ Says...

Had the best time the first time I came to this park. Hope to win!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:26 p.m. Dsz Says...

In between Christmas and New Year’s seems busiest

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:25 p.m. Millie Collado Says...

Love reading all the info. Thanks for all the work that is done to give it out.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:24 p.m. Angela W Says...

This is helpful! We haven’t been to Universal yet but hoping to go in the next year or so.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:23 p.m. Kelsy Says...

All really good information, the park is so much more enjoyable when it's not crowded.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:23 p.m. Olivier Says...

Never been there yet, will eventually try with the kids.

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:22 p.m. Britt J. Says...

I do absolutely anything to avoid crowds and this is super helpful!

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:22 p.m. Rich Says...

????

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:22 p.m. Sara Blase Says...

I agree these are best times

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Dec 5, 2022 at 11:22 p.m. Holly Says...

We went in early November and I highly recommend it. Weather was lovely and crowds were minimal

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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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