Universal Studios Orlando Resort has hit a major milestone–finally moving forward with extending park hours so crowds of guests can enjoy more time at Universal’s theme parks, but how long with Universal’s extended hours remain in place?
Universal Studios Resort in Central Florida is The Walt Disney World Resort’s largest competitor in the state. Like Disney World, Universal Studios Orlando Resort features more than one theme park and a water park as well.
The resort is home to Universal Studios theme park, which opened in 1990 and features rides of various thrill levels, live shows, and other experiences–each attraction more exciting than the one before–that largely center around an entertainment theme, including popular films, television shows, and the like. At Universal Islands of Adventure theme park, which opened in 1999, guests are invited to “take an unforgettable journey as the world’s most cutting edge rides, shows, and interactive attractions” that bring their “favorite stories, myths, cartoons, comic books, and children’s tales to life.”
Both theme parks include the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, where guests can visit Diagon Alley, Platform 9 3/4, Hogsmeade, and more as they make their way through Harry’s old stomping grounds. The Hogwarts Express is available to transport guests between the two Harry Potter-inspired areas, given they have purchased a ticket that allows park-to-park access.
Universal Studios’ Volcano Bay, which opened in 2017, is the resort’s water park and features multiple thrilling attractions located across four themed areas that were originally inspired by Polynesian islands and cultures: Wave Village, River Village, Rainforest Village, and Krakatau, which features a 200-foot-tall artificial volcano called Krakatau.
For many guests, Univeral Studios Resort in Orlando is the theme park resort destination of choice in Central Florida when it comes to summer vacations, weekend getaways, and trips made over the winter holidays.
For the remainder of November 2023, the Universal parks in Central Florida will open at 9:00 a.m. each day and close at 7:00 p.m.
Beginning December 1 and continuing through December 23–high crowd level times for the resort–normal park operating hours will see the parks at Universal opening at 9:00 a.m. and closing at 7:00 p.m., with only a few exceptions, including December 2, 9, 15, 16, and 23. On those days, Universal Orlando’s theme parks will close at 6:00 p.m., 8:00 p.m., or 9:00 p.m., depending on the specific date.
But beginning on Christmas Eve, Universal Resort in Orlando will offer slightly extended operating hours to guests who have plans to visit the parks over the Christmas holiday. On December 24 and 25, the parks will open at 9:00 a.m. and close at 10:00 p.m. Then, from December 26 to December 30, the parks will open one hour earlier–at 8:00 a.m.–and close at 10:00 p.m.
But the best news is about Universal Studios’ decision to move forward with even longer park hours on New Year’s Eve. Much to guests’ delight, the parks at Universal Orlando Resort will open at 8:00 a.m. on December 31 and remain open until 1:00 a.m. in honor of New Year’s Eve and the accompanying celebrations and events in the parks.
As of the time of this publication, it’s not clear what Universal’s operating hours will be beginning on January 1, 2024, as the park hours calendar at Universal Orlando Resort’s official website is only available through December 31. But many who frequently visit Universal Studios in Central Florida are hopeful that the extended hours toward the end of December at the theme parks will serve as the beginning of longer hours so guests can enjoy more of what they love most at the resort.
Only time–and associated park hours–will tell.