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Is Universal Studios Busy In November? | Thanksgiving Travel Tips

November sees some of the lowest and highest crowd levels at Universal due to a relatively uneventful first half of the month and then a huge surge when the Thanksgiving holiday kicks off.

With two totally different experiences at Universal during November, we're here to break down what you should expect throughout the month and how to beat the crowds with some flexible planning!

Questions We'll Answer About How Universal Studios:

  • What Are The Best & Worst Times Of Year To Visit Universal Studios?
  • Is Universal Studios Hollywood Busy In November?
  • Is Universal Orlando Busy In November?

 Universal Orlando Resort Park Ticket

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 what 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. 

Busy Hogsmeade Village

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: 


  • 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. 

 Diagon Alley Dragon


  • 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.

 Universal Studios Hollywood Sign

Is Universal Studios Hollywood Busy In November?

When planning a trip to Universal Studios Hollywood in November there are two different periods to consider: the first two weeks of the month and the week of and after Thanksgiving.

The first two weeks of November at Universal Studios Hollywood is usually as slow as it possibly can be at the park.

Most California locals will be visiting on the weekends or saving their visit to Universal for when they're off work or the kids are out of school in just a few weeks during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Then comes the week of Thanksgiving and the following days after...

Hogwarts Express Train

In almost a total flip, Universal Studios Hollywood fills to the brim and enters one of the top three busiest periods of the year.

Thanksgiving is certainly a nice time to visit when it comes to having time off and some really great Southern California weather, but otherwise, we would recommend trying to visit another time.

Wait times for nearly every attraction will start at about 30 minutes and reach as high as 120 minutes during certain times of the day.

You also might experience areas like Super Nintendo World and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter closing due to capacity and using a virtual waitlist to control who can enter these areas.

That's right... certain areas of the park won't even be accessible if crowds and demand get to be too much!

If you have flexibility in November to visit Universal Studios Hollywood we recommend the first two weeks of the month to experience one of the least busy times of the entire year. Otherwise, you'll experience the total opposite and find a lot of long waits and an extra-crammed theme park!

First Two Weeks Of November Busy Scale: 4/10

Thanksgiving Vacation Busy Scale: 9/10

Spongebob Storepants Sign

Is Universal Orlando Busy In November?

Universal Orlando begins to get busier and busier the later into November we get with the busiest time of the month being Thanksgiving and the days that follow after the holiday.

The first week of November is generally very light as there aren't many events to draw people to the parks with Halloween Horror Nights just recently ending.

Florida schools also don't have any sort of Thanksgiving holiday break for another couple of weeks, so this is a perfect recipe for a very slow time at both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida.

Universal Studios Florida Archway

Each week getting closer you'll see more and more of an uptick in busyness as schools around the country start their Thanksgiving break and people get time off from work for the holiday. 

The week of Thanksgiving will by far be the busiest with Thanksgiving day and that same weekend being extremely crowded at both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida.

During this time of year, you should expect to wait over an hour for all of the most popular rides, Express Pass prices to be well over $100, and even long waits for many of the restaurants across both parks.

Islands of Adventure Sign

The week following Thanksgiving will be noticeably slower, but it will still be a busier time of the year than usual to visit Universal as many families will extend their vacation or time off into the following week. 

We recommend spending Thanksgiving elsewhere unless you like waiting in long lines, but if you can manage to visit Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure early in November, you'll experience very low crowd levels.

First Two Weeks Of November Busy Scale: 5/10

Thanksgiving Vacation Busy Scale: 8/10



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