Planning a trip to Universal Orlando and want to make sure you’re not stuck in long lines? Try visiting the park during off-peak times. Like Walt Disney World, Universal is a lot more fun when you’re not fighting your way through crowds.
The very best times of the year to visit Universal are when most children are in school. This makes the period from September through the week before Thanksgiving the perfect time to plan your visit. The weather is warm enough for swimming, but the peak of the summer sun is long gone. Avoid Thanksgiving and the weeks before and after the Christmas holidays. Many people are surprised to learn that the Christmas holidays are the busiest time of the year for the Universal Parks.
Another great time to visit is mid-January through May. Avoid any school holidays, especially the Easter weekend, and watch out for spring breakers in March.
To avoid the crowds even further, plan your visit to take place on some of the least crowded days of the week. Many visitors to Orlando arrive on Friday or Saturday and head for the Disney parks first. If they visit the Universal parks, they wait until later in their vacation, making Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday the crowded days at Universal. If you and your family visit Universal on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, you’ll get to take advantage of much shorter lines and smaller crowds.
Sometimes work and school schedules can make planning your trip during off-peak times impossible. If this is the case with your family, don’t worry. There are ways you can shorten your wait times and make your visit easier even if you decide to visit on the busiest day of the year. First off, arrive early. The Universal Studios complex is enormous, and the parking garage can be truly intimidating. The parks typically open at 10, so if you arrive by 9:30, you’ll be one of the first into the garage. Even if you get a great parking spot, plan on around a 15 minute walk to the gate of either park.
By arriving at the gate just before 10, you can be the first into the park. Head for the popular attractions first. You’ll likely be able to ride 3-4 major rides within an hour, as the park isn’t likely to fill up completely until around noon. Stay until the crowds get to be too much, then head back to your hotel for a swim, lunch, and a nap. Return to the park in the evening, just as the crowds are beginning to die down, and hit up any attractions you missed earlier.
By following these tips, you’re sure to have a great visit to Universal Orlando!