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Is Universal Studios Busy In October? | 2023 Forecast

Despite Halloween Horror Nights causing reduced operating hours and increased nighttime crowds, October is one of the least busy times of year to visit Universal!

Our Universal Studios Busyness Guide details what types of crowds you can expect to see at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando in October, as well as some ways to plan around Halloween Horror Nights!

Questions We'll Answer About How Busy Universal Studios Will Be:

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

Halloween Horror Nights Pardon Our Dust Sign 

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. 

Welcome To Universal Orlando Resort Sign

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. 

 Universal Studios Hollywood Archway

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.

 Spiderman Ride Exterior

Is Universal Studios Hollywood Busy In October?

October is one of the best times of year to visit Universal Studios Hollywood not only because no major holidays or school closures are bringing in extra travelers, but the weather in Southern California will really start to get beautiful!

October falls right after the busy travel season and just before Thanksgiving break in November, which means a lot of the country has just wrapped up a lot of traveling or will be preparing for some traveling in the near future.

While of course people travel throughout the year, October is a slow period because of where it falls on the usual travel and holiday calendar. 

Because Universal Studios Hollywood will mostly be visited by Southern California locals during this time of year, weekdays in October will be especially great to visit as a lot of folks will either be in school or working.

Universal Studios Hollywood Sign

The weekends will see a bit of an uptick in busyness, but Universal will be generally tame in terms of wait times and crowding.

The only downfall to visiting Universal Studios Hollywood in October is Halloween Horror Nights.

While Halloween Horror Nights is a truly incredible event, it's not designed for children and impacts the normal operating hours of Universal Studios Hollywood.

Halloween Horror Nights will cause Universal Studios Hollywood to close as early as 5 PM on many days throughout September and October as employees switch the park over from "normal" Universal to "Halloween Horror Nights" Universal.

Hogwarts Express Train

Halloween Horror Nights requires a special ticket to enter the event and a regular general admission ticket to Universal Studios will not get you access to the event.

The downfall here with the reduction in operating hours to accommodate Halloween Horror Nights is you'll of course have much less time to spend experiencing the attractions at Universal Studios Hollywood.

If you don't mind reduced operating hours and planning around Halloween Horror Nights or if you'll be attending Halloween Horror Nights then October is an excellent time to visit Universal Studios Hollywood.
October Busy Scale: 4/10

Is Universal Orlando Busy In October?

Travel both internationally and domestically will have slowed by October and with no long weekends in the month October sees some of the lowest crowd levels all year at Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure.

Florida can still be quite hot in October but temperatures will start to moderate a bit making the days much more enjoyable. 

Weekends however will be noticeably busier than weekdays when Florida locals will flock to Universal Orlando to take advantage of their days off. Weekends in October won't be too hard to manage but the parks will certainly feel busy and you should expect some elevated wait times on Saturdays and Sundays.

Dragon In Diagon alley

Just like at Universal Studios Hollywood, the biggest consideration to keep in mind is Halloween Horror Nights.

Halloween Horror Nights will cause Universal Studios to close as early as 5 PM on many days throughout September and October as employees prepare the park for the event.

Halloween Horror Nights requires a special ticket to enter the event and a regular general admission ticket to Universal Studios will not get you access to the event.

If you won't be attending Halloween Horror Nights, then you'll have much less time to enjoy Universal Studios and will need to make sure you have your to-do list planned in advance to help you get everything done in time.

Islands of Adventure Sign

The good news is that Islands of Adventure remains open to those without Halloween Horror Nights tickets for some of the evenings. 

While it's nice to have Islands of Adventure remain open for a bit after Universal Studios closes, a lot of people will flock to the park to take advantage of these last few hours.

The park will be noticeably busier for a bit, but will then start to empty as it gets later into the evening, but it'll still feel busier than a normal October evening when both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure are open.

October is a great time to visit Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, but take note of operating hours and what you need to get done at Universal with less time available than usual.

October Busy Scale: 4/10

 

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