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

by Leap on April 29, 2024 8325 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." "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!
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Mar 6, 2023 at 5:17 p.m. Annelise Haderlie Says...

Always find the best info here thanks!

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Mar 6, 2023 at 5:17 p.m. Kristy Says...

We went last year around the 4th of July and it was very busy. The worst part was the weather and not having the universal pass (too expensive). We were not able to get into the park until after an hour of the hotel guests. By the time we got in it was so crowded. We had to wait for several hours for rides. It also started raining around noon and rained most the day so we ended up leaving. We did not have a good experience.

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Mar 6, 2023 at 5:17 p.m. HakunaMaFratta Says...

September definitely seems like an ideal time to visit

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Mar 6, 2023 at 5:15 p.m. Danielle M. Says...

Having all this info in one place is so helpful!

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Mar 6, 2023 at 5:15 p.m. Kaitlin Werth Says...

I didn’t know about their hotel perk! Thanks!

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Mar 6, 2023 at 5:15 p.m. Anne Olivier Says...

I’m already planning a trip in 2023. I just need tickets for 2024!

Reply
Mar 6, 2023 at 5:12 p.m. Luann Says...

Christmas is a great time to visit.

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Mar 6, 2023 at 5:12 p.m. Krista Grimm Says...

We would love to visit Universal!

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Mar 6, 2023 at 5:09 p.m. Dannielle Says...

Helpful info. for my future trip! I also appreciate that this article is current for 2023 and 2024 versus it being an overall crowd calendar that was created back in 2020

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Mar 6, 2023 at 5:09 p.m. Krystal Says...

Thanks for the info!

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Mar 6, 2023 at 5:07 p.m. Allie S Says...

Thanks for sharing!!!

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Mar 6, 2023 at 5:07 p.m. Alora S Says...

I love your blog and universal! Thanks for sharing!!

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Mar 6, 2023 at 5:06 p.m. Megan Young Says...

Wow, this info is awesome! Thanks so much!!

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Mar 6, 2023 at 5:04 p.m. Joslyn Says...

Thanks for the info, I need to start planning a trip soon

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Mar 6, 2023 at 5:02 p.m. Maegan Says...

I can’t wait to use these tips for my trip this year!

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Mar 6, 2023 at 4:59 p.m. pbain Says...

Universal is so much fun! I need to go back. Last trip was in 2018. So much new since then!

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Mar 6, 2023 at 4:59 p.m. Beth Detter Says...

Such great info!! Thanks for taking the time to put this all together!

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Mar 6, 2023 at 4:55 p.m. Savannah Miller Says...

We were just wondering the best times to go, thank you for this information!

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Mar 6, 2023 at 4:54 p.m. Elsie Peters Says...

Can’t wait to go at the end of august

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Mar 6, 2023 at 4:51 p.m. EMILY S Says...

We went the first week of May last week and it was so nice. Each ride was less than 10 min wait.

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Mar 6, 2023 at 4:51 p.m. M.Potzer Says...

Would be perfect for our family spring break getaway!

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Mar 6, 2023 at 4:50 p.m. Rachel Strashnick Says...

This is so helpful! Its so hard to determine when to plan a trip and this makes it that much easier!

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Mar 6, 2023 at 4:50 p.m. Christina Says...

Thanks for the advice

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Mar 6, 2023 at 4:48 p.m. Aegb Says...

Omg I would love to go around Christmas to see the grinch.

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Mar 6, 2023 at 4:44 p.m. Olivia Says...

I’d love to go in the fall sometime. Mid July was wayyy too hot for me.

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Mar 6, 2023 at 4:42 p.m. Libby Says...

Thank you for compiling all of this information!

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Mar 6, 2023 at 4:38 p.m. Amanda hurley Says...

I’d love to take my kids here what a dream

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Mar 6, 2023 at 4:36 p.m. Brandi Kessler Says...

Love to see it! Can’t wait for more!! Excited to go soon!

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Mar 6, 2023 at 4:34 p.m. Marianne Says...

So helpful! Would love to go in November for my daughters’ birthdays that are back to back.

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Mar 6, 2023 at 4:33 p.m. PS Says...

Christmas!

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Mar 6, 2023 at 4:31 p.m. Arianna Palmer Says...

Thank you so much for this information ????

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Mar 6, 2023 at 4:30 p.m. Amanda Armbrust Says...

We've always had great luck in September!

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Mar 6, 2023 at 4:30 p.m. Jessie DeBord Says...

We love going anytime in May or September! Perfect weather and small crowds.

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Mar 6, 2023 at 4:29 p.m. Natalia Says...

I would love to be able to my boys to Disney!

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Mar 6, 2023 at 4:28 p.m. Natalia Says...

I love knowing the best times to go! Makes it so much better!!

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Mar 6, 2023 at 4:27 p.m. Van zep Says...

Very best and very worst times to visit are really helpful

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Mar 6, 2023 at 4:25 p.m. Kim B Says...

Cooler months are a when I like to visit. Except if you are focusing on water parks then spring or fall.

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Mar 6, 2023 at 4:24 p.m. Dominika Says...

That first week in March is always fun because it's right before the Spring Break crowds, but I also really love going right after Halloween, before the Christmas crowds.

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Mar 6, 2023 at 4:23 p.m. LauraVal Says...

No matter when I just want to go!!! :)

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Mar 6, 2023 at 4:23 p.m. Erin Lanphere Says...

Best times to visit EVERYDAY!!

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Mar 6, 2023 at 4:21 p.m. Brittany K Says...

Have gone in May and was crowded would love to go during a lesser crowded time!

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Mar 6, 2023 at 4:20 p.m. Danee sturdivan Says...

This is so very helpful! Especially for newbies like our family who have never been! All helpful information is so important, and we definately trust you guys!

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Mar 6, 2023 at 4:20 p.m. Loving life Says...

It’s funny growing up thanksgiving was empty. Funny how things change

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Mar 6, 2023 at 4:20 p.m. Ty Anderson Says...

My wife went to universal and absolutely loved it. This place is amazing!

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Mar 6, 2023 at 4:20 p.m. Donavan Rose Says...

Ahhh this looks so amazing! Will keep this mind if I ever get to go!

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Mar 6, 2023 at 4:18 p.m. Christina Lorton Says...

Loved the tips, saving to refer to before our trip!

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Mar 6, 2023 at 4:18 p.m. Leslie Jacobs Says...

We visited mid March one year and it seemed crowded, I think early March might be better. Thanks for sharing! Can’t wait to plan our next trip! ????

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Mar 6, 2023 at 4:18 p.m. Melissa Phillip Says...

Thank you for the thorough information!

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Mar 6, 2023 at 4:17 p.m. Miranda Says...

We love going in November, thanks to this calendar, its not busy and nice and cool!

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Mar 6, 2023 at 4:17 p.m. Taryn Cates Says...

So helpful for planning our trip!

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