The Best Time to Go to Universal Studios

The best time to visit Universal Studios depends on many different factors. It may come down to family or work schedules, a dislike of the heat and humidity, or a desire to go during Halloween Horror Nights. Schedules and personal preferences aside, there are some times of the year that are better than others when considering crowd levels, ticket prices, and things to do at the parks. Below, we discuss the best times to go to Universal Studios and why.

Crowds at Universal Orlando

Images are courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort

When Is the Best Time to Go to Universal Studios? 

The best time to go to Universal Studios Orlando is September after Labor Day through the middle of October. This is based on a variety of factors, including ticket pricing, crowds, events, and weather. 

Ticket pricing

The first factor is ticket pricing, which we based on a one-day, one-park ticket with no discounts or add-ons. You will find some of the cheapest ticket pricing of the year between September and October. There are many weekdays where you can purchase park tickets at Universal’s lowest ticket tier, which is $109 for 2022 during this period of time.

Prices increase slightly on the weekends and rise closer to Halloween.  

Crowds

Ticket pricing and crowd levels are often linked together: you can expect fewer crowds when ticket pricing is low. Universal and Disney intentionally set their prices in this way (referred to as “surge pricing”) to encourage guests to visit during slower times. Lower ticket pricing usually indicates the least crowded days to visit Universal.

Crowds are typically lower after Labor Day through mid-October because most children have returned to school by the end of Labor Day weekend. Families are less likely to take their children out of school for vacation right after the summer break, making it a great time to visit Universal and other Orlando theme parks.

You can expect a slight increase in crowds on the weekends due to visits from locals and annual passholders, but you won’t generally notice it compared to other busy times of the year, such as during the summer or spring break.

Events

One of the primary reasons September and October are the best times to go to Universal is to experience Halloween Horror Nights, by far Universal’s most popular event of the year.

This ticketed event is held on select nights throughout September and October from around 6 pm to 1 or 2 am. Halloween Horror Nights are usually held on the weekends through most of September, and then two or three weekday events are added toward the end of September and throughout October.

Visiting on a weekday event night between mid-September and mid-October will give you the best opportunity to enjoy Halloween Horror Nights while avoiding the large crowds that descend around Halloween. 

Weather

The weather in Central Florida is another excellent reason to visit Universal between mid-September and mid-October. Florida usually transitions from a tropical, wet-season pattern with daily afternoon thunderstorms to a dry, low-humidity pattern with very few rainy days during this time. When visiting in October, expect days with highs in the low and mid-80s with low humidity and comfortable, breezy nights. These are the perfect temperatures for a night out at HHN.

The Incredible Hulk Coaster - Universal Orlando

Other Great Times to Visit Universal

While mid-September through mid-October is the best time to visit Universal, there are other periods throughout the year where you’d experience low crowds, great weather, and plenty of activities. Here are some of the other great times to visit Universal:

January — The End of February

The period just after New Year’s and before March first is historically the least crowded time of the year to visit Universal. Crowds increase on certain long weekends, like Martin Luther King Jr. Day (the third Monday in January) and President’s Day (the third Monday in February). Still, most weekends and weekdays are great times to visit.

If you choose to visit right after New Year’s, you can experience all the Universal holiday festivities and decorations without the crowds. Typically, Universal’s Christmas decor stays up through the first weekend in January. You can also join in on the festive fun of Mardi Gras, which starts in early February every year. 

The weather is typically very comfortable during this time as well. There’s low humidity, below-average precipitation, and only a few “cold snaps” (which in Florida means any day that is under 70 degrees). Overall, you’ll experience the type of weather you can gloat about to your friends up north who are stuck in snowy cities. 

 Ticket prices are typically some of the lowest of the entire year during this time, too! 

End of April — Mid-May

After the spring break rush leading up to Memorial Day is another excellent time to visit Universal. Low attendance will allow you to enjoy the Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, the VelociCoaster at Jurassic World, and thrill rides like Rip, Ride, Rockit with short wait times. Weather-wise, you can expect warm, summer-like temperatures with increasing humidity and some afternoon thundershowers that are intense but pass quickly. 

Best time to go to Universal Studios is during Halloween Horror Nights

What Is the Best Month to Go to Universal Studios? 

October is the best month to go to Universal Studios. More specifically, weekdays in the first two weeks of October are the best time to visit.

Crowds are typically low at the beginning of October but increase closer to Halloween. Weekends in October can get pretty busy: many locals and annual passholders come to experience Halloween Horror Nights on their time off. You may experience a slight spike in attendance the weekend before Columbus Day / Indigenous Peoples’ Day (the second Monday in October). However, if you stick to weekdays in October, you’ll be set. 

The main event during this time is Halloween Horror Nights. If you’re a fan of seeing your nightmares come to life with haunted houses themed after popular shows like Stranger Things and movies like The Haunting of Hill House, you’ll definitely want to visit Universal during this time. If horror isn’t your cup of tea, Central Florida’s low humidity, low rain chances (goodbye afternoon thunderstorms!), and comfortable afternoon temperatures will convince you to visit Universal in October.

What Is the Best Season to Go to Universal?

The best season to visit Universal is winter.

There’s something simply wonderful about visiting the theme parks around the holidays. There’s never a dull moment with plenty of festive experiences, whether you watch Hogwarts™ castle come to life with visions of the Yule Ball at Hogsmeade™ or take a trip to Who-ville for Grinchmas™ at Seuss Landing™.

Don’t forget to catch the holiday parade featuring balloons from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! Although winter is one of the best times to visit Universal, it can also be one of the busiest. If you avoid these busy times, though, you’ll see the lowest crowds and prices of the year.

We suggest visiting Universal Orlando during the following times in the winter:

  • Beginning of November through the week before Thanksgiving.
  • The week after Thanksgiving through the week before Christmas. 
  • January through the third week in February. 

What Days of the Week are the Least Busy at Universal Studios?

The slowest days of the week at Universal are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, especially during the school year. The reason is pretty obvious: it is smack dab in the middle of the workweek. These are the days that adults are less likely to take off work (even if they want to take a long weekend) and aren’t typical days for kids to be off school unless it’s during a break. Note: this doesn’t mean you won’t see children on your trip if you visit during one of these days! Saturday is usually the busiest day to visit Universal, so the closer you get to the weekend, the busier it will be

What is the Best Day to Go to Universal Studios?

The best day to go to Universal Studios is Wednesday. Since Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are the slowest days of the week, they’re also the best days to visit.

As we discussed above, ticket prices typically indicate crowd levels. Ticket pricing on Wednesday is consistently lower than other days of the week throughout the year. Planning a trip on a Wednesday gives you the best chance to purchase tickets at Universal’s lowest ticket pricing tier. However, there are a few exceptions, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas week. Overall, Wednesday is the least crowded and cheapest day to go to Universal, regardless of the season.

What is the Cheapest Month to Go to Universal in 2022? 

September is the cheapest month to go to Universal. Current ticket pricing shows a total of 14 days throughout September priced at Universal’s lowest pricing tier of $109 for a one-day, one-park ticket, more than any other month in 2022. This increases your chances of getting the best possible price for your Universal and Islands of Adventure tickets. We suggest choosing a weekday after Labor Day and before October first to get the best deals on tickets. 

What is the Most Expensive Month to Go to Universal? 

The most expensive month to go to Universal is December. We don’t want to be a Grinch, but since the Christmas season is one of the busiest times to go to Universal, the ticket pricing is the highest of the year. In fact, the entire week between Christmas and New Year’s is priced at the most expensive tier, which is $152 per day in 2022. Even the lowest ticket price in December is the most expensive price point in slower months like September.

See our How Much Does It Cost to Go to Universal article for more information.

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal

When is the Busiest Time to Go to Universal Studios? 

We’ve discussed the best time to go to Universal, but what times of the year should you avoid? Universal’s busiest times coincide with other busy times at theme parks like Walt Disney World. The busiest times to go to Universal are: 

  • The week of Thanksgiving. 
  • The week between Christmas and New Year’s.
  •  Spring break season (the beginning of March through Easter Sunday).

These are the times when most children are off school, and many adults also have off work. You can bet that any time there is a large group of people off of work or school at the same time, Orlando theme parks will be busy. 

The Best Time to Visit Universal: A Summary 

The best times to go to Universal Studios are: 

  • September after Labor Day through mid-October.
  • January through the end of February.
  • April (after Easter Sunday) through the week before Memorial Day. 

The cheapest and least crowded times to visit Universal are:

  •  September.
  • Weekdays in October.
  • January through the third week in February. 

Additionally, winter is the best season to visit Universal due to the numerous events that occur during the holiday season and low crowds in January and February. If you plan your trip in very early January (just after New Year’s), you can even experience all the holiday festivities—without the crowds. 

We base these conclusions on several factors, including historical crowd levels, ticket pricing, and the weather in Central Florida. 

We hope this guide will help you and your family plan your trip to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, as well as demystify the mystery behind deciding when to visit.

Book your Universal Orlando Vacation

If you’re ready to get started with booking your Universal Studios vacation, talk to our friends at The Vacationeer. They offer free vacation planning services with expert Universal travel agents. Click HERE for a free quote!  

Are you looking for more information on Universal? We have many more articles!

See our Universal Orlando Map, Universal Orlando Transportation, Best Universal Orlando RidesUniversal vs Disney World, How to Get from Disney World to Universal,  How Much do Wands cost at Universal Studios, Is the Universal Express Pass Worth It and How to get the Universal Express Pass for Free pages.