Is Universal Studios Busy In January? | 2024 Forecast & Tips
January is one of the most perfect times to visit Universal if you're looking for the lowest wait times of the year, but there are a handful of days during the month you're going to want to try and avoid.
Our Universal Crowd Level Guide takes a look and what you can expect in terms of busyness at Universal, as well as tips on how to best plan your trip to avoid the crowds!
Questions We'll Answer About Universal Crowd Levels:
- What Are The Best & Worst Times Of Year To Visit Universal Studios?
- Is Universal Studios Hollywood Busy In January?
- Is Universal Orlando Busy In January?
What Are The Best & Worst Times Of Year To Visit Universal Studios?
Theme parks in general have exploded in popularity over the last 5-10 years and while there previously were times of the year when you could visit a nearly empty Universal theme park, those days are largely over.
Just in the last decade, millions more people are visiting both Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood than we would see back in the early 2000s.
Along with the overall increase in attendance at Universal, a dynamic ticket pricing structure that began a few years ago has helped spread attendance more evenly throughout the year and somewhat eliminated the old "Off Season".
Those who visit Universal during the generally slower travel periods of the year are rewarded with a cheaper ticket price, while those who visit during busier travel periods pay a higher price.
This structure has enticed visitors to travel during times they usually may not have to take advantage of cheaper admission prices, not to mention aggressive sales and promotions that are also offered during the "slow season" (like buy one day, get one free).
While we don't see the same slow periods as we used to at Universal, there are certainly much better times of the year to visit Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood than others.
To optimize your visit to Universal, we've provided some of the best and worst times of the year to consider visiting:
THE BEST TIMES OF THE YEAR TO VISIT UNIVERSAL
- January: Beginning the second week of the month and avoiding MLK weekend.
- February: All month.
- March: The first two weeks before Spring Break begins.
- May: All month.
- June: The first week before Summer Break begins.
- September: All month after Labor Day weekend.
- October: All month.
- November: The first two weeks before Thanksgiving Break begins.
- December: The first two weeks of the month before Christmas Break begins.
THE WORST TIMES OF THE YEAR TO VISIT UNIVERSAL
- January: The week of New Year's Day and MLK weekend. We especially recommend avoiding New Year's Day.
- March: The last two weeks of the month which kicks off Spring Break.
- April: A large number of schools are on Spring Break all month creating a lot of crowding.
- June: The first three weeks begin Summer Break for many schools. around the country, kicking off the continually busy Summer season.
- July: Most of the USA is deep into Summer Break at this point bringing many families to the parks. We recommend especially avoiding the 4th of July weekend.
- August: The first two weeks of the month are particularly busy as Summer Break is still in effect. Crowds begin to moderate substantially in the last two weeks of the month.
- September: Labor Day weekend is extremely busy and should be avoided if possible.
- November: Thanksgiving week is another extremely popular time and we recommend generally avoiding this time of year.
- December: The week of Christmas and the week following Christmas leading into New Year's Eve is one of the busiest times of the year at Universal.
Is Universal Studios Hollywood Busy In January?
Beginning just a few days after New Year's Day (we typically recommend waiting a full week after New Year's) kicks off some of the slowest and best days all year to visit Universal Studios Hollywood.
New Year's Day is one of the busiest days of the entire year at Universal Studios, and many of the following days are also quite busy, but once we clear this handful of days we arrive at some of the best days of the year to visit the park.
Universal Studios Hollywood really starts to empty with school back in session and everyone heading to work!
January is right in line with late September and most of October as the least busy times of year to visit Universal Studios Hollywood and you really can't go wrong visiting throughout most of January.
The Martin Luther King Jr. long holiday weekend will see a noticeable increase in wait times and crowds at Universal, but it's not nearly as bad as Thanksgiving, the 4th of July, or even Labor Day weekend.
However, if you can skip out on visiting during the long MLK weekend then you'll see the park at its least busy time!
One thing to keep in mind about January is that it's often the month Universal uses to refurbish a handful of attractions with things slowing down after the holidays.
Universal will typically only refurbish 1-2 attractions at a time, but it could very well be one of the more popular rides at the park that might end up missing out on.
Avoid the period surrounding New Year's and you'll be rewarded with low waits and minimal crowding at Universal Studios Hollywood!
New Year's Busy Scale: 10/10
January Busy Scale: 4/10
Is Universal Orlando Busy In January?
January is also a great time to visit Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure, but we recommend waiting a full week after New Year's Day before doing so.
While most schools are back in session beginning in early January, cutting down on some family visitation, we've seen a lot of people still lingering early in the month as they take advantage of some extra time off around New Year's Day.
We've seen this especially so when it comes to international travelers who will use New Year's Day as a time to kick off their vacation rather than end it as many in the United States will do.
Once we pass through the first weekend of January there is typically a huge drop in crowd levels at Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure.
Through the rest of January, you'll see some of the lowest crowd levels of the year on par with what we experience in the other slower months of September and October.
The Martin Luther King Jr holiday weekend is also worth avoiding if possible, but it's also not terribly bust at either of the parks.
We recommend checking the Universal Orlando attraction refurbishment calendar to see if any rides will be closed in January for routine maintenance.
Because January marks the end of the busy holiday travel season, Universal takes this slower travel period as an opportunity to do some routine maintenance on their attractions.
We typically don't see more than 2-3 attractions closed for refurbishment at a time, but this is something to keep an eye out for just in case a ride you're eager to experience will be closed!
Nearly all of January is a fantastic time to visit Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure if you can wait until just a few days after New Year's to begin your trip!
New Year's Busy Scale: 10/10
January Busy Scale: 5/10
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