After surviving the winter months, we’ve learned that we absolutely need to schedule some warm weather fun during Tad and Lily's week off from school. We're all too happy to hop down to Florida for some much-needed sunshine, which usually means a spring break trip to Universal Orlando Resort!
While we love visiting any time we can, spring break ranks just behind the weeks of Christmas and New Year's as some of the busiest times to visit Universal Orlando. As many students head to Hogwarts during their muggle school break, you'll want to be prepared to maximize your trip.
Remember to get your Universal Orlando tickets all set up ahead of time so you can just head straight to the gate. Consider purchasing park-to-park tickets so you can enjoy both Universal Studios and Universal's Islands of Adventure in one day (did you know you can ride the Hogwarts Express to travel between the two parks? Count me in!).
You can still have an amazing time even when there are more frogs in the pond, so to speak. But it does mean you need to have a plan! That's where this post comes in. We're going to be sharing our best tips so you will have an amazing time this spring break at Universal Orlando. But first, let's talk a little bit about crowd predictions.
Spring Break Crowds at Universal Orlando in 2023
With schools taking their spring breaks at different times, the length of the spring break "season" varies. While the start of the season is always early March, the end fluctuates, thanks to Easter. The date of the holiday changes every year, and many school districts adjust their spring break or give additional days off because of it. Typically, when you have a later Easter, there is a longer, but overall less crowded spring break season. And as always, weekends will be busier than weekdays. For 2023, Easter falls on April 9, so there will be an overall shorter spring break season. Plus, with even more families hopping back into travel, this year is expected to see higher crowds in general.
Florida universities typically have spring breaks during the first week of March. This year, the public schools in Orange and Osceola Counties have spring break from March 13 to 17, so that week, in particular, may be busier due to locals being out of school.
We always recommend that you check our Crowd Calendar for daily crowd levels and recommended parks, but you should especially do so if you are visiting Universal Orlando over spring break in 2023. Now, onto our tips!
Tips for Visiting Universal Orlando During Spring Break
1. Arrive at the Theme Parks Ahead of the Official Park Opening
Our single most important tip is to arrive early, especially during spring break. Arrive at the resort before opening and ride your popular attractions in the first hour or two before the lines get too long. Be sure to double-check the park opening times (which you can see on our Crowd Calendar) because they can and do change. If you're staying at a Universal Orlando Resort hotel, be sure to utilize Early Park Admission to get a jump on the crowds (VelociCoaster, here we come!).
Note that during peak times, the theme park can hit capacity (especially on weekends), so we recommend arriving in the morning.
2. Follow Our Park Plans and Download Our Wait Time App
We recommend you at least have an idea of which attractions you want to visit in the parks. Lucky for you, we offer park plans for all of the Universal Orlando Resort, Disney World and SeaWorld Orlando theme parks so that you can experience the most in-demand attractions with the shortest durations first. Download the printable park plans from our site before you go, or use our app to follow or customize our plans! You can also use our free wait-time app for iPhone to check wait times for rides nearby instead of having to traverse the park.
3. Consider Purchasing Express Pass or Using Single Rider Lines
Universal Express Pass allows you to skip the lines at most Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure attractions and access priority seating at shows. Note that the only rides that do not offer Express are Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure and Pteranodon Flyers at Universal's Islands of Adventure. We definitely recommend purchasing this ticket add-on if you're visiting during spring break. You'll save lots of time by bypassing the standby queue, which means more rides!
Another free option to minimize waits is using the Single Riders line. If you don't mind splitting up your party, this is a great way to get on a ride more quickly than the standby line. Your party will remain together in the Single Riders queue, and then one-by-one will be directed to fill in empty seats with odd-number groups. Notably, all three of the popular "Harry Potter" rides and VelociCoaster have a Single Riders line. While this may work best for teens and up, those with younger tadpoles will want to stick to the regular or Express lines.
4. Pack with Purpose
Head into spring break well prepared with these essential items! While not peak summer, it can always get hot in Florida, so make sure to bring hand-held fans and sunscreen. It can also rain often, so we recommend bringing your own rain ponchos so you don't have to buy the pricer ones in the parks. Be sure to bring a refillable water bottle to stay hydrated and save some money. Finish out your essentials with a portable phone charger so your phone can survive your epic 14-hour park day.
5. Eat Breakfast at the Hotel and Pack Your Own Drinks and Snacks
Need a cup of Joe in the morning? We caffeine-fueled frogs get it. But grab your coffee before you get to the park, so you can spend those precious early hours on rides and not in the Starbucks line. You'll save more time if you eat ahead of time, and if you're eating breakfast off-site, you'll also potentially save more money. And when you bring your own snacks and drinks, you can avoid lines — as well as hunger and hydration meltdowns!
6. Avoid Dining During "Prime Time"
No one wants to wait long for food when the whole family is one step away from "hangry." You'll find the shortest lines at quick-service restaurants during "off-peak" hours — for example, before 11 a.m. or after 2 p.m. for lunch. Just remember to adjust your breakfast and snack times accordingly. No matter when you eat, we highly recommend using mobile ordering so you don't have to wait in line to order.
7. Review Your Safety Plan
Crowds + tadpoles = sky-rocketing anxiety levels for parents. No matter how old everyone is, it's always good to review things such as “what happens if we get separated” beforehand as a family. Take photos of the tadpoles in the morning so you have an up-to-date photo in case they get lost and/or wear noticeable clothing (while Tad may think it's too "cheesy," matching family T-shirts can have an important purpose after all!). Set up a predetermined meeting location in case the group splits up, intentionally or unintentionally. We have more tips on how to prevent your tadpole from getting lost (while this post is specific to Disney World, the same general tips can applied to any theme park).
8. Enjoy Universal's Volcano Bay
Cool down from the Florida heat and enjoy a dip in the hotel pool, or even better, hop over to Volcano Bay, Universal's water park. Whether you want thrilling water slides or just a lap around the lazy river (make that two laps), we definitely recommend adding on a day for Volcano Bay!
9. Know Entertainment Schedules and Where to Meet Characters
Make sure to check the Universal Orlando app for daily showtimes. There are lots of fun character sightings and shows that only hoppen at certain times. From superheroes and the Simpsons to Scooby-Doo and the gang, there are characters for the whole family to enjoy. Some characters don't have published set times, so you'll never know who you'll see!
Universal's Mardi Gras celebration runs through April 16, so you can enjoy themed food, a full-length daily parade and weekend concerts. Hop over to our Mardi Gras at Universal guide for more details!
10. Be Flexible and Pack Your Patience
If you start to feel overwhelmed, take a deep breath and maybe a five-minute "time-out." It’s very important to bounce back from a melt-down ... yours or your kids'! In a time when some experiences may be modified or unavailable, this is especially important.
While I love when a great plan comes together, I know when it’s OK to change course. Take occasional "temperature" checks of everyone's energy levels and attitudes. If you have to cut something short or go to a different park than you planned, don't sweat it. It’s about quality, not quantity.
Remember, there will be lots of froggies also visiting Universal Orlando, but as long as you have reasonable expectations and a flexible plan, your family will have an epic vacation!
Have a question about what to expect during spring break at Universal Orlando in 2023, or a Universal Orlando spring break tip to share? Share it with us in the comments below!
Related: The Best Times to Visit Universal Orlando