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The Very Best Times to Visit Universal Orlando in 2024 and 2025

by Leap on April 29, 2024
8325 Orlando

Inside This Post Inside This Post

This is what Universal Orlando Resort trip planning sounds like around the Frog Pond: "We have to do Hagrid's first." "No way ... Escape from Gringotts!" "I was thinking of splashing into the pool at Cabana Bay Beach Resort right after we check in." Yes. Even we (the 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. But crowds are only one part of the equation when it comes to considering the best time to visit Universal Orlando! This post outlines some factors to keep in mind when planning your awesome Universal Orlando vacation (and of course, our top recs on when to visit). And right now, you can save BIG with a Play 4 Days ticket (up to $119!) for visits through Dec. 18, 2024.

Best Time to Visit Universal Orlando - Universal Globe

Planning When to Visit Universal Orlando in 2024 and 2025

While we have no crystal ball (we wish we did!), we do have historical trends available to pull from when making predictions. We're here to give you our best guesses on crowd levels based on our years of data collection and insights. And, action!

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 tips to maximize time — get to the park at opening, take breaks in the afternoon when the parks are at their busiest, make use of our Jump Start guide, 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 Times to Visit Universal Orlando - Ice Cream Treats Universal - Minion Freeze Ray Pop

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 Islands of Adventure. (We can't emphasize this enough! The value of getting your Express Pass for the duration of your stay is huge!) The Universal hotels that offer the benefit are Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Universal 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.

Not staying at a Premier hotel? Not to worry! All Universal Orlando Resort hotels offer Early Park Admission, which is also a super hopful tool to get a jump on your day. 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 :) Just looking for the short answer on the least crowded times to visit Universal Orlando? Check out the infographic below!

Best Times to Visit Universal Orlando - Infographic

Other Factors to Consider When Determining the Best Time to Visit Universal Orlando

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 estimated crowd levels, special events, weather and Universal hours.

Best Times to Visit Universal Orlando - Velocioaster

There's no denying there are busier times to visit Universal Orlando than others. It should come as no surprise that the least busy 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 action. In 2024, DreamWorks Land — a family-friendly themed land dedicated to characters and stories from DreamWorks Animation, will open June 14. This same day, a brand-new lagoon show, CineSational: A Symphonic Spectacular, will debut at Universal Studios Florida (with over 600 drones!). An all-new Hogwarts Castle projection show, Hogwarts Always, will also come to life June 14 at Islands of Adventure, journeying through iconic school scenes, including shopping in Diagon Alley, the Sorting Ceremony, the House Cup. What an exciting summer!

Plus, we're already eyeing the grand opening of Universal Epic Universe in 2025! The brand-new theme park — complete with its own Super Nintendo World (plus four other immersive worlds, including How to Train Your Dragon — Isle of Berk!) and hotels — will undoubtedly draw eager crowds (us included).

In the past years, we've found that more theme park-goers are planning their trip by specific season (rather than around crowds in years past). So, we've broken this post up by season, making it easy to find considerations, highlights and even the cheapest days to go for each one. Let's jump in!

Summer — May, June, July

Best Times to Visit Universal Orlando - Volcano Bay - Wave Village

Scream and shout — school's out! The summer crowds are pretty steady as soon as Memorial Day weekend hits, all the way through back-to-school season. The Orlando weather also stays consistent with higher temperatures and afternoon showers.

But what better way to beat the heat than spending a day at Universal Volcano Bay or lounging by the pool at your resort?

Highlights

While there aren't any major events going on at Universal Orlando, Universal Studios Florida usually hosts a low-key Fourth of July celebration. Expect DJ dance parties with SpongeBob, King Julien and other characters and a pyrotechnic display at night. In 2024, there's even more summer fun coming to the parks! On June 14, DreamWorks Land will open, allowing tadpoles and fully-grown frogs alike to step into Shrek's swamp, jam with Trolls and more. That same day, two new nighttime shows will debut: CineSational at Universal Studios Florida and Hogwarts Always at Islands of Adventure. July 3, Universal Mega Movie Parade will hit the streets of Universal Studios Florida, bringing your favorite summer blockbusters to life (including a 16-foot stay Puft Marshmallow Man, a live drum line performing the Jaws score and a Gyrosphere with dinos, breaking the record for the largest figure ever featured in a Universal Orlando daytime parade. Mind. Blown!).

Things to Consider

May starts out fairly quiet, but can be busier on the weekends. Particularly, on select Friday and Saturday nights, eighth graders are celebrating Gradventure nights. Similar to Grad Bash for high school seniors, they get exclusive party hours at both theme parks, which may cause shorter park hours.

Memorial Day Weekend is the unofficial start of summer, which is when you'll see the first uptick in crowds. Most schools are out of session by the second week of June, meaning crowd patterns will stay consistent until mid-August. Fourth of July tends to see peak summer crowds.

Our Overall Pick: Weekdays in May are our favorite pick during this timeframe! You could also go with the first week of June before all schools are out, though May is only slightly cooler than June.

Least Busy

  • Monday through Thursday in the first half of May
  • First week of June 2024

Busiest

  • Weekends in May (plus Memorial Day weekend)
    • May 2-5, 10-12, 14, 24-31, 2024
  • Elevated crowds in June (especially around June 14 openings)
  • Elevated crowds in July, especially around July 4

Cheapest

  • May 1-2, 5-9 and 12-16, 2024
  • June 3-6, 9-13 and 16-20, 2024
  • Similar price throughout July 2024, excluding July 3-7

*prices based on a 2-Day Park-to-Park dated ticket from Undercover Tourist and are subject to change

Fall — August, September, October

Best Times to Visit Universal Orlando - Halloween Horror Nights Archway Medallion

You may be wondering why August is lumped with fall — well, August is unique because the first half of the month typically sees the last of the summer crowds before schools start to jump back into session.

But the second half? It starts to slow down as more and more tadpoles begin the new school year, making it a good time to visit if you want lower crowds (especially if you're planning an adults-only trip!). On the flip side, busier holiday weekends include Labor Day and Indigenous Peoples' Day during this timeframe.

Highlights

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.

Things to Consider

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 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 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.

Also, 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 rain gear such as rain jackets, ponchos or umbrellas. With those caveats out of the way, we still feel that fall is a good time to visit Universal Orlando.

Our Overall Pick: 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 overall best month to visit.

Least Busy

  • The second half of August
  • Most days in September (minus the days around Labor Day)
  • Most weekdays in October (minus the days around Rosh Hashanah, Diwali and Indigenous Peoples' Day)

Busiest

  • The first half of August
  • Days around Labor Day (Sept. 2, 2024, and Sept. 1, 2025)
    • Aug. 28 - Sept. 2, 2024
    • Aug. 29 - Sept. 1, 2025
  • Days around Rosh Hashanah, Diwali and Indigenous Peoples' Day
    • Oct. 3-6, 11-14, 25, 2024
    • Oct. 2-5, 10-13, 31, 2025

Cheapest

  • Aug. 19-22 and 26-28, 2024
  • Sept. 3-4 and 9-11, 2024
  • Oct. 1-3, 7-9, 21-24 and 28-31, 2024

*prices based on a 2-Day Park-to-Park dated ticket from Undercover Tourist and are subject to change

Winter — November, December, January

From fearful frights to festive lights, Universal Orlando quickly transitions from Halloween horror to holiday galore in November. Orlando weather also cools down, along with lower humidity levels (believe it or not, it can get into the 40s in January!).

However, the pools at the resorts and Universal Volcano Bay are heated, so you can still take a dip if you wish (excluding inclement weather). It's the perfect time for a cup of Hot Butterbeer! These months see some of the busiest times of the year, including the weeks of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve.

Best Times to Visit Universal Orlando - Grinchmas Show

Highlights

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!

Things to Consider

Aside from the major holidays — Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve — there are a few other small holidays and events to keep in mind:

  • Veterans Day (Nov. 11 — a Monday in 2024 and a Tuesday in 2025)
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 20, 2025)
  • Rock the Universe (a Christian music festival usually at the end of January)

The off-season in January and February can also see annual ride refurbishments (particularly for water rides) and shorter park hours until spring break season.

Our Overall Pick: If the holiday festivities are a must-do, we'd recommend the first week or two of December, before schools are let out for Christmas break — or the week before or after Thanksgiving. Mid to late January is another great alternative if you want some of the lowest crowds of the year.

Least Busy

  • Weekdays in November (minus the days around Veterans Day and Thanksgiving Week)
    • Nov. 6-7, 12-15, 18-22, 2024
    • Nov. 5-7, 12-14, 17-20, 2025
  • Weekdays in December (minus the weeks of Christmas and New Year's Eve)
  • Weekdays in January (minus Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend)

Busiest

  • Days around Veterans' Day and the week of Thanksgiving
    • Nov. 1-5, 9-11, 25-30, 2024
    • Nov. 1-4, 11, 22-30, 2025
  • The week of Christmas through the week of New Year
    • Dec. 20-31, 2024
    • Dec. 20-31, 2025
  • The week following the holidays and Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend
    • Jan. 1-7, 17-20, 2025

Cheapest

  • Nov. 4-6 and 18-20, 2024
  • Dec. 2-4 and 9-11, 2024
  • Jan. 6-8, 13-15, 20-22 and 27-29, 2025

*prices based on a 2-Day Park-to-Park dated ticket from Undercover Tourist and are subject to change

Spring — February, March, April

Best Times to Visit Universal Orlando - Universal Mardi Gras Jester Girls

Highlights

In February, Universal Studios Florida hosts the biggest party of the spring — Mardi Gras! The New Orleans-inspired celebration is complete with Cajun and Carnaval flavors from all over the world, a lively Mardi Gras parade with bead throwing from the detailed floats, an impressive concert lineup and more. The jubilation continued all the way through April 7 in 2024 — perfect timing for anyone on spring break.

Things to Consider

Speaking of spring break, the biggest variable for spring crowds 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 2024, Easter fell on March 31, and in 2025, Easter falls on April 20. That means a shorter, more intense spring break season in 2024, but a longer, drawn-out season in 2025.

There's also a smaller holiday weekend around Presidents Day, which can see elevated crowds. On select Friday and Saturday nights in April, high school seniors from all over the state and beyond come to celebrate Grad Bash. These dates are important to watch out for because both parks typically close early, as they have exclusive access.

February can still dip into cooler temps, especially during early mornings and evenings. But it starts to warm up (but is still not too hot and humid) in March and April, making it one of the best times to visit in terms of weather.

Our Overall Pick: The first half of February, prior to Presidents Day, tends to see the lowest crowds. The first week of March is best if you're aiming for warmer weather before the spring break crowds arrive.

Least Busy

  • Weekdays in February (minus Presidents Day weekend)
  • The first week of March before spring break season
    • March 3-7, 10-13, 2025
  • Post-Easter/spring break season
    • April 1-2, 22-25, 28-30, 2025

Busiest

  • Presidents Day weekend
    • Feb. 14-17, 2025
  • Spring break season
    • March 14-31, 2025
  • First half of April
    • April 5-21, 2025

Cheapest

  • Feb. 3-5 2025
  • March 2-5, 2025
  • April 28-30, 2025

*prices based on a 2-Day Park-to-Park ticket from Undercover Tourist and are subject to change

What If I Can Only Go During a Busy Time?

Best Times to Visit Universal Orlando - Adults at Universal - Hagrid's

We get comments all the time from families and teachers who can only go during busy times that overlap with school breaks. Don't panic! Ultimately, the best time to visit Universal Orlando is when you can go.

We've visited during every season and can manage the crowds with our own tips and park plans. Setting realistic expectations is the most important thing you can do!

During busier times, consider purchasing Universal Express passes (which Undercover Tourist can also help you save some green on) or staying at a Universal premier hotel (which provides the free Universal Express Unlimited benefit). And if it's not in the budget, then be sure to take advantage of Early Park Admission if you're staying at any of the Universal Orlando hotels. Regardless of where you're staying, show up early to get a hop on the crowds.

In the summer, take a midday break when it's the most crowded and hottest, whether it's a long lunch at a table-service restaurant or going back to your hotel for a power nap or swim. In the winter when hours are reduced, plan for more park time and explore the resorts or CityWalk in the evenings — play mini-golf, watch a movie or try your hand at an escape room!

There you have it! Are you ready to hop to Universal Orlando? Let the trip countdown begin! Let us know in the comments below when you're visiting next.

Now you know the best time to visit Universal Orlando in 2024 and 2025. 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 in our Jump Start guide!

Keep hopping!

Keep hopping, Leap!
View Comments

Comments

Mar 8, 2023 at 4:47 p.m.
CHRIS Says...

Yes please!

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:47 p.m.
AprilAAA Says...

This would be such a dream come true!!!!!! ????

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:47 p.m.
Meg N. Says...

November is a great month to visit!!!

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:46 p.m.
Julie Slaughter Says...

I live in GA and would LOVE to visit in the spring or fall, depending on storms!

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:46 p.m.
KD Says...

Best blog! My vacay go to!

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:46 p.m.
Emily Says...

Always helpful! Thank you!

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:46 p.m.
Melody Says...

ive been in the winter and the late summer/early fall. perfect weather each time!

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:46 p.m.
H Rutz Says...

November is my favorite, the weather is so nice and the Christmas decorations make it extra fun.

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:45 p.m.
Karin Says...

Spring break is crazy.

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:45 p.m.
Kay Says...

Definitely November! First week of November was perfect!

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:45 p.m.
Colby Dixon Says...

Best time to visit is early May. After spring break season and before school lets out for summer.

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:45 p.m.
Jennifer leonard Says...

I honestly think it’s sooo weird that the busiest times are in the summer, I would think that is also the warmest times. I’d want to go when it’s coolest and not as rainy

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:45 p.m.
Amanda D Says...

Always useful information to make an informed decision!

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:45 p.m.
Kirsten Says...

Having travelled to Disney many times growing up - the best two times were a week in a September and the last week of April.

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:44 p.m.
Bridget Says...

Love Disney so much and always informative information!

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:44 p.m.
Felicia Says...

Coming from Wisconsin our favorite time to visit (that tends to have less crowds) is January! Thanks for the info!

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:44 p.m.
Susanna Says...

We will be there April 18th!

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:44 p.m.
John D Says...

Wonderful info!

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:44 p.m.
Effie Fletcher Says...

Anytime is a good time!

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:44 p.m.
Amy S Says...

Thanks for the best/worst day forecasts for 2023 and 2024. Great references for planning our family trips.

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:44 p.m.
Sarah C Says...

This is so helpful. We've never been to Universal (yet!) but have LOVED using Undercover Tourist for our 3 Disney trips so far! Showing my husband this ASAP...????????

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:43 p.m.
Christina Wright Says...

Thanks for the great information! It will make planning easier! :)

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:43 p.m.
Meg Says...

So many great times to go!

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:43 p.m.
Penny LeBaron Says...

I always enjoy going to Orlando in the fall

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:43 p.m.
Ziana Says...

So informative!! Thanks so much

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:43 p.m.
Ilyssa Says...

I really want to visit Universal during Halloween!

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:43 p.m.
Princess Says...

Thank you for constantly updating this information. I am excited and looking forward to our next family trip Universal Orlando :)

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:43 p.m.
amd436 Says...

Thanks for the tips

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:41 p.m.
Jasmine Rodriguez Says...

I went the first week of February and the lines were not so bad! I had a great time!

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:41 p.m.
Neenah J Eben Says...

Great info.

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:41 p.m.
Barbara Says...

I always rely on Undercover Tourist for info on planning a trip to purchasing Tickets to Universal and Orlando tickets. Always providing useful information

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:41 p.m.
Carmilla Says...

I like winter months the best

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:41 p.m.
McQCrewinVA Says...

Love the best times info! Helps tremendously when coming from out of state!

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:40 p.m.
Carrie Matthews Says...

Thanks you

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:40 p.m.
Ryan Anderson Says...

I wish I could go any of the best times. With my wife being a teacher we are bound to certain times for vacation. We have a great time during the busy times as well though. Express Pass definitely helps during those times.

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:40 p.m.
KIMBERLEY MALACHOWSKI Says...

I LOVE THE ORLANDO AREA!

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:40 p.m.
Jacquelynn Says...

Great info on the best/worst days to go to Universal!

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:40 p.m.
Arjun Venkataraman Says...

Great!

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:40 p.m.
Rosio Says...

Mid-Jan was a great time to go. We always get our tickets from this website.

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:40 p.m.
ShellieN Says...

September is my favorite time at UO!

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:40 p.m.
Jacqueline Ortiz Says...

Best time is for sure before spring break to avoid the crowds! Christmas is beautiful and Halloween is an experience. But no matter when you go there’s always something new happening and a fun time

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:40 p.m.
Rae F Says...

I’m planning to take the kids this year and reading this just had me move our trip a week back and there is significant savings. Still pricey but I’m trying to cut corners wherever I can!

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:39 p.m.
Susan Cobb Potter Says...

My favorite time to come is September! always had great luck with the crowds!

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:39 p.m.
Lisander Says...

We are going during the last weekend of April this year, and we actually picked the dates thanks to this very blog post!! I really hope it won't be too crowded and for sunny weather :D

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:39 p.m.
Stacer Says...

Love Florida in January and February. Lower crowds and milder weather. We always order our tickets thru Undercovertourist.com

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:39 p.m.
Emily Says...

Thank you for this helpful guide! We’re hoping to make it to Universal in February 2024.

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:39 p.m.
Rachel Says...

Great advice. Can’t wait to go with the kids sometime soon!

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:39 p.m.
Asianstatus Says...

Yes please!!!

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:39 p.m.
Andrea Walsh Says...

So helpful for trip planning purposes!

Reply
Mar 8, 2023 at 4:38 p.m.
Katie Prudencio Says...

Very helpful!

Reply

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