We love hopping to the lands of wizards, superheroes and minions any time of the year, but there's just something special about the fall season. Whether it's the beautiful weather, the seasonal spirit in the air or all-new attractions, we have quite a few reasons why we enjoy visiting Universal Orlando Resort in the fall. Let's explore all of the fall fun in store this year!
Our Favorite Reasons to Visit Universal Orlando This Fall
Spooky Seasonal Fun
The biggest scare of the season has already hit us: Halloween Horror Nights will not be taking place in 2020 (its 30th anniversary!). But not to worry! Universal played the ultimate trick-or-treat game with HHN fans and announced a limited-time experience Sept. 19 and 20. Scream all day long in two haunted houses that will be accessible through the Virtual Line Experience. In Universal Monsters: The Bride of Frankenstein Lives, the Bride is bringing Frankenstein back to life and will experiment on unsuspecting victims. Then, face goblin-like tooth fairies who extract teeth by force in the Revenge of the Tooth Fairy.
During the same weekend of Sept. 19 and 20, the tadpoles can go trick or treating and receive tasty treats from select retail stores over at Universal's Islands of Adventure. Look out for the pumpkin stickers marking each location. This experience is for guests 12 years old or younger with an accompanying adult. However, all guests may dress in their best Halloween costumes at both parks. Costumes must be family-friendly, and if deemed not permissible, a person will be asked to change into something more appropriate or exit the park.
From exploring the Tribute Store (if you dare) for HHN merch and event easter eggs from years past, to braving some of the creepiest coasters and their queues (looking at you, Mummy and Skull Island: Reign of Kong!), there's no shortage of adrenaline-pumping experiences at Universal. You can also select the theme song from last year's Academy of Villains: Altered States show on Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, or get some laughs in at Universal Orlando’s Horror Make-Up Show. Even better, themed treats and eats can still be found all around the park — including Louie's iconic pizza fries.
Lower Crowd Levels
Harry Potter heads back to Hogwarts on Sept. 1, just like many other tadpoles in the muggle world who have to hop back to school by the time Labor Day weekend is over. Because school is newly in session, generally there are fewer frog families planning trips to Universal Orlando in September. Not to say there aren’t any crowds, but they are usually lower this month. For that reason, September is generally one of the best times to visit Universal Orlando!
Now this September, we expect lower crowds on weekdays, but weekends will be busier — not pre-pandemic-summertime busy but busier-than-most-of-this-summer busy. This is because Universal Orlando has offered some incredible ticket deals to Florida residents, including what amounts to a mini-annual pass for a super-low price. Since most locals visit on the weekends, if you're an out-of-towner, plan your park time for weekdays.
Last year, the theme parks saw higher crowds throughout October, especially around Columbus Day weekend and Halloween. Without Halloween Horror Nights, the crowds should be fairly level through October and November, with the exception of Thanksgiving week.
We don't yet know about Universal Orlando's holiday hoppenings this year, but we would expect Universal to follow Disney's lead and eliminate entertainment that draws major crowds and gatherings in once place. Universal Orlando has a park capacity limit in place so that social distancing practices can be safely maintained, so even typically "busy" times will be more manageable! That said, with capacity limits in place, the resort could turn away guests temporarily on the busiest days. If you are staying at a Universal Orlando Resort hotel, you are automatically included in the day's capacity count (which means you won't be turned away if the parks hit capacity!).
Toadally Awesome Hotel and Ticket Deals
And speaking of hotels, be on the lookout for amazing rates at the Universal Orlando hotels. Help your wallet out even more by booking through your favorite frogs! Whether you’re sticking to a budget or wanting to splurge, Universal Orlando has a variety of options, ranging from value to premier hotels.
Take advantage of the special perks you get when you stay on-site, such as Early Park Admission. If your frog squad is staying at a premier hotel, the entire party will be able to skip the lines with free Universal Express Unlimited passes at Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Already thinking about making a reservation? Take the leap, and book your hotel stay for the fall!
What's more, Universal Orlando Resort is offering some toadally great ticket deals this fall (including the buy a day, get unlimited admission ticket for Florida Residents, and a buy 2 days, get 2 days free promo!). Be sure to check out all of the deals available now before they hop away!
When fall hits in Florida, there isn’t much of a significant change in temperature during the day compared to the summer months. It remains warm and toasty, so you can still wear a T-shirt and shorts and hop on those water rides! But once the sun sets, it cools down and you may actually need a light jacket or sweater. September can still have moments with inclement weather (be prepared with a poncho or an umbrella!), but the overall rainfall begins to decline this month, which makes it less humid too. It isn’t usually until November when the first cold front of the season passes through. Generally, you’ll get enjoyable weather if you visit Universal Orlando in fall!
Hoppy Holidays at Universal Orlando
Halloween transitions into Christmas faster than you can say, “Jack-o’-lanterns and jingle bells.” After Halloween, colorful garlands quickly replace the somber decorations from spooky season. The festivities of Holidays at Universal Orlando usually start off by mid-November.
Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Grinchmas toadally get you in the holiday spirit. It’s hard not to hum along to familiar Christmas tunes during the Mannheim Steamroller concerts. Lastly, we love seeing our favorite characters in their holiday best during Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s. Even Santa takes a break and visits from the North Pole to light up the towering Christmas tree!
Scrumptious Seasonal Sweets and Treats
Two words: HOT BUTTERBEER. Forget pumpkin spice lattes. I know it’s officially fall when Hot Butterbeer returns to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This Butterbeer option is only available seasonally, which makes me appreciate it so much more. Last year, it apparated on menus by the middle of October.
You can find lots of festive food in the theme parks and Universal CityWalk throughout the fall and into the holiday season. Voodoo Doughnut makes specialty treats, such as a “Stranger Things”-themed waffle doughnut during Halloween and a Stuffed Santa Suit doughnut set during Christmas last year. This year, we've already spotted a Pumpkin Spice doughnut and a Jack the Clown doughnut! And, of course, there's pizza fries, a Halloween Horror Nights fave (that is definitely worth mentioning twice!). Last year, a new “Sweets & Sounds Dessert Party” debuted, kicking off Nov. 16 for the holidays. It featured seasonal desserts and beverages, as well as exclusive viewing for Universal's Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s and the Mannheim Steamroller concert performance.
The Bourne Stuntacular reopened shortly after the parks did. This live-action stunt show merged with high-tech screens follows Jason Bourne around the world. It delivers action-packed chase scenes, fistfights and death-defying leaps.
Then there's also the mysterious, yet-to-be-confirmed coaster in the Jurassic Park area of Universal's Islands of Adventure Resort. It's definitely coming — and we'll keep you posted as soon as more details are released! In the meantime, you can get your dino jumps in by meeting Blue the velociraptor nearby at Raptor Encounter.
What do you like most about visiting Universal Orlando in the fall? If you're planning a fall trip this year, let us know in the comments and share this post with the rest of your frog squad!