Smaller crowds are one of the main factors that make February a fantastic month to visit Universal Studios Orlando. The New Year’s holiday has passed, most children are back in schools, and the cooler Florida weather is rolling in.
The month of February is also the sweet spot in between the Christmas rush and the Spring Break rush, and this period historically sees the lowest daily attendance numbers amongst theme parks across the nation. Knowing when to visit and what to expect can largely be determined by reviewing variations of a Universal Studios Orlando Crowd Calendar.
By the end of this article, you will know what to expect of crowd levels at Universal Studios Orlando win February, as well as have a good understanding of what theme park events and other external factors might impact crowd levels during the month as well.
Universal Studios Crowd Levels
The most crowded times of the year at Universal Studios Orlando include major federal and religious holidays, spring break (basically the entirety of March and early April), and the summer months when children are out of school on vacation. There are exceptions including periods when there are major theme park events like Halloween Horror Nights or Mardi Gras.
Weekdays versus weekends are also important distinctions to make that can help better understand crowd levels during any month of the year. The general rule of thumb is that weekend days are typically more crowded than weekdays.
Before you plan to visit the park, visit the official Universal Studios Orlando website to check if your passes have any blockout days, which are days you cannot enter the theme park depending on the specific ticket you have. Some annual passes feature blockout out days, as well.
You can check this information in The Official Universal Orlando Resort App, too.
What is a Crowd Calendar?
A crowd calendar is a resource for vacationers to utilize when considering a visit to theme parks or major attractions. It shows the expected crowd density broken out by date and location for each theme park or attraction site.
Crowd calendars for Orlando, for example, will contain crowd breakdowns for all of the Orlando-based theme parks like Universal Studios, Walt Disney World, and SeaWorld. Some crowd calendars are extremely detailed and provide scores based on estimated crowd levels for each park located on a larger property (as an example, Universal Studios Orlando has 3 parks: Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay).
One of the most comprehensive crowd calendars available for free online is from the Undercover Tourist. You can access this crowd calendar here to view expected crowd levels for February, but there are also crowd calendars created on this site for other months of the year, as well.
Each crowd calendar might be slightly different based on how each creator rates and perceives crowd levels, as well as how in depth they go with the specifics of each theme park’s attendance levels.
Some other great examples of crowd calendars that reference Universal Studios Orlando can be found on The Park Prodigy and The Orlando Informer. It is best to review several crowd calendars when researching crowd levels of the parks. According to these sites and other crowd calendars available online, the consensus is that February has low to average crowd levels throughout the month.
However, important to note is that crowds are anticipated to increase toward the end of February into March. Crowds are also expected to flux during weekends in February likely due to Mardi Gras related events.
Is Universal Studios Crowded in February?
In February, Universal Studios Orlando and Islands of Adventure are both slow. Wait times for popular attractions will likely be 30 minutes or less during the weekdays and 40 minutes or less during the weekends. There is no need to splurge on Express Passes if you are planning a visit to the theme parks in February because most rides will feature shorter wait times anyway.
The Harry Potter attractions tend to have slightly longer wait times than other attractions inside the parks, but these wait times will still be shorter than normal in February. Water-based attractions will likely have little to no wait due to the cooler weather and smaller crowds.
The best time to visit the parks in February is at the beginning of the month. The first two weeks of February are traditionally less crowded than the last two weeks of the month. If possible, try to visit on weekdays as opposed to weekends. In February, weekend days will be more crowded than usual due to Mardi Gras. Avoid visiting Universal Studios Orlando on Saturday’s or Sunday’s if you do not want to experience heightened crowd levels.
The best time of the week to visit the parks in February is during the middle of the week when crowds are at their lowest. Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s are the quietest days of the week to visit the parks because children and adults are in the middle of a school or work week. If you can start your trip in the middle of a week in February, you will get the opportunity to experience the parks with minimal crowds.
This is the best time to visit for capturing awesome photos of the park with fewer people. You will also be able to ride more attractions, eat at more restaurants, and enjoy more games when you visit during the middle of a work or school week.
Also try to avoid visiting Universal Studios Orlando during the weekend of Presidents Day. This holiday is on a Monday, and crowds are expected to be high the day of and the weekend preceding the holiday because many visitors will have the day off work or school.
If you want to avoid crowds altogether, you might want to consider an Express Pass. Though crowds are lower in February, waiting in lines of any length is likely inevitable unless you have an Express Pass. If you have the money to spend, and you want to avoid waiting in queues of any length, Express Passes would be a sensible investment.
Buying one Express Pass does not cover an entire travel party. Everyone in the group must purchase an Express Pass. These passes are also non-transferable, meaning you cannot buy 3 passes for more than 3 people to use interchangeably. The Express Passes are tied to one named individual and cannot be transferred to anyone else after purchase.
Also important to note is that Express Passes cannot be copied or resold to anyone else. As you can guess, purchasing Express Passes can get pricey, and it is not necessarily worth investing in when crowds are already low. However, if you are fully committed to buying Express Passes, there are two different types of Express Passes available for purchase.
The one you pick will ultimately determine how many times you can utilize the Express Lane at each attraction. To find more information about pricing, and compare the two different Express Passes available, visit the official Universal Studios Orlando website.
Some of the onsite hotels include Express Passes for each guest in the property to use during their stay (valid theme park admission or Annual Pass admission is not included and must be purchased separately). The hotel category that includes Express Passes for guest use is the Premier Resort category. Hotels in this category include the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, the Hard Rock Hotel, and the Loews Royal Pacific Hotel.
The hotel rates across all categories during the month of February typically reflect the lower demand and smaller crowds. This is especially true toward the beginning of the month before Mardi Gras commences.
If you’ve ever wanted to stay at a hotel in the Premier Resort category, February might be a good time to do so to get the best value out of the nightly room rate.
Conquering one park in a day is doable in February, and it might even be possible to do two parks in one day if you are committed. The smaller crowds and shorter wait times make it easier to breeze through the queues and hop over to the other park by the early afternoon. If taking this approach, visit Universal Studios in the morning and hop over to Islands of Adventure by 2pm.
There is a new attraction that recently unveiled at Islands of Adventure, and typically newer attractions tend to have slightly longer wait times than other rides. In Islands of Adventure, the newest addition to the park is the Jurassic World Velocicoaster.
The Velocicoaster is a high-speed thrill rollercoaster perfect for adrenaline junkies. The ride reaches speeds of 70 mph, and it is arguably the most intense thrill ride on Universal Orlando property. Expect slightly longer wait times and larger crowds outside of this new, exciting attraction.
The most crowded area on-property in February is likely CityWalk, which is open to the public year-round. You do not need a park admission ticket to enjoy the CityWalk area or restaurants. There are many fun bars, shops, and activities located at CityWalk. This section of the property truly has something for everyone to enjoy.
Depending on your home base location during your Universal Studios Orlando trip, you might need to walk through CityWalk to access the front entry for both parks. CityWalk gets most crowded during the early morning when parks open, and in the mid-afternoon around dinner. There can sometimes be many people funneling through CityWalk when parks close each night, too.
Just a few miles down the road from Universal Studios Orlando is of course Walt Disney World, another popular theme park spot in Central Florida. There’s always a chance that certain events happening at one park can alter the crowd levels a bit of another (such as people being excited to visit Disney World on their 50th Anniversary” back in 2021).
Any Events at Universal Studios Orlando in February?
The biggest event Universal Studios Orlando holds during the month of February is Mardi Gras, which typically runs from February to April. There is no added fee or ticket for purchase to enjoy this event, making it one of the most popular events for annual passholders and local Universal devotees. The Mardi Gras event and festivities are included with any theme park ticket or Universal Orlando Annual Pass (UOAP).
This is important to keep in mind if considering a visit on a weekend day during the month of February because there will be higher-than-normal crowd levels at Universal Studios. Though the crowd levels will be elevated, this might not necessarily impact attraction wait times. Most of the crowds visiting for Mardi Gras likely have other priorities including visiting the Mardi Gras Tribute Store, enjoying the Mardi Gras parades, or queuing up for the concerts. Because the Mardi Gras event is exclusive to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure will likely have lower-than-normal crowd levels during the month.
Mardi Gras concerts and parades are among the two most popular highlights of the event. Concerts happen around 8:30pm on select Saturday’s and Sunday’s, as well as select Friday’s, throughout the course of the Mardi Gras event.
The concert line-up for February and March can be found here, and the concerts will feature top-name musicians like Jason Derulo, Diana Ross, and Becky G.
Are Universal Orlando Hotels Crowded in February?
Hotels on Universal Studios Orlando property are not expected to be crowded during the month of February. Despite the occurrence of Mardi Gras throughout the month of February, hotels on property are large enough to accommodate the possible influx of guests wanting to stay on-property overnight.
Universal Orlando hotels feature 295,000 square feet of meeting space and 9,000 guest rooms across multiple hotels. There are occasional conferences and meetings held at some of the on-property resorts, which might impact crowd levels at specific hotels. To check if a large event or convention is occurring at the hotel during the dates of your trip, call the hotel directly.
For more information about booking a conference or event at an onsite hotel, visit the official Universal Orlando Meeting and Events page.
Staying at an onsite hotel has several perks. One of the perks people often don’t realize is that if the parks reach capacity, you are still guaranteed entry so long as you are staying at a hotel on Universal Orlando property.
The parks likely won’t reach capacity at any point during the month of February, but this is important to know just in case. There is nothing worse than traveling to Universal Studios Orlando and attempting to purchase tickets, only to be turned away at the gate due to the park being at capacity. The Universal Orlando parks reached capacity often during the summer months, but it is not common for parks to reach capacity during the month of February.
Parking at Universal Studios Orlando in February
Compared to more crowded months, parking at Universal Studios is relatively easy and stress-free. During crowded months like July and December parking can be atrocious, and you might be expected to park in spots farther away from theme park entrances due to the volume of cars in the garages. Luckily, if you plan to visit Universal Studios Orlando by car in February you will likely not face this issue. Parking rates do change occasionally, so be sure to call ahead or visit the official Universal Studios Orlando website to find the most up-to-date information. As of now, parking ranges from $27 to $50 (prices are of course always subject to change). You may also qualify for free parking if you arrive after 6pm.
You may be eligible to receive a free upgrade to Prime Parking with either Avis or Budget car rentals if rented from the Orlando International Airport. You will still need to purchase the regular parking. A voucher is required to receive this free upgrade.
If you want to elevate your experience and get closer to the park entrances upon arrival, try the valet service and avoid self-parking. Valet service is much higher in price compared to self-parking, but it might be a worthwhile investment if you want to avoid self-parking, the chaos at the main security terminal, or if you simply want to arrive and depart closer to where the action is taking place. Prices for valet can vary, and range between $27 to $75. Annual Passholders may also be eligible for free or discounted valet parking. Check here for more details.
If staying at an onsite hotel, each hotel has separate options for parking while you enjoy your vacation. To find out more information about each hotel’s parking policy and fees, contact the front desk or the hotel’s guest services department.
Is Universal Studios Crowded During COVID-19?
In mid-March 2020, at the time of the emergence of COVID-19, Universal Studios Orlando closed to the public for an initially undetermined length of time. Universal Studios Orlando was able to successfully reopen to the public on June 5, 2020, and it has remained operational since that date.
Universal Studios Orlando took considerable precautions upon reopening to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 including the requirement of masks, a temperature check of every guest prior to security screening, and distributing hand sanitizer to each person prior to their boarding of the ride vehicles.
Currently, the only precautions that remain in place are the availability of hand sanitizer before boarding ride vehicles (though this is not enforced in the same way that it was in 2020), as well as the requirement of masks and face coverings at all restaurants, shops, indoor hotel public areas and at all attractions. Universal Studios Orlando does not require proof of vaccinations or negative COVID-19 tests to enter the property.
The official Universal Studios Orlando website states that each guest must confirm they are not feeling sick, experiencing flu-like symptoms, or have a recent loss of taste or smell before visiting. The website also states that if you are under self-quarantine orders or have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 or COVID-19 symptoms, you must also refrain from visiting the park. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, visit the official Universal Studios Orlando webpage outlining their safety guidelines.
COVID-19 risk is still present in Florida and at the theme parks, but the pandemic is not impacting crowd levels in the way that it did in 2020 and 2021. Crowds are seemingly back to normal, pre-COVID levels. Historically, February is a month with smaller crowds and, thus, shorter wait times, so crowd levels and wait times should not be of too much concern if you are visiting at any point in February.
If possible, try to avoid standing in large crowds without a mask or face protection. You must keep your face covering on while waiting in all ride queues and while on the attractions themselves. Hand sanitizer is available for us around the parks, but you should bring your own small bottle for personal use and for when you cannot access a hand sanitizer station.
To stay on top of wait times and ride operations, download The Official Universal Orlando Resort App. Utilizing this app during your trip will help you streamline your visit and strategize which rides you want to ride at which times. Inside the app, you can view attraction wait times, utilize park maps for directions to and from key points around the park, and place mobile food and drink orders at select dining locations.
Visiting Universal Studios Orlando in February means that you will likely experience lower than normal crowd levels and endure shorter wait times at the most popular attractions. While planning your visit, utilize this article and other online resources like crowd calendars, the Universal Orlando Resort App, and popular Orlando tourism blogs.
Referencing crowd calendars from a variety of sources will help you determine the most strategics days to visit the parks during your visit. Remember that the general rule of thumb for visiting Universal Studios Orlando is that weekend days are typically more crowded than weekdays. However, any visit to Universal Orlando in February is sure to be memorable and exciting.
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