How Busy Is Universal Studios Orlando Over Labor Day Weekend?

We’ve had the pleasure of visiting Universal Studios over Labour Day weekend three times in the past decade.

This can be an incredible time to visit the parks as the summer comes to an end and just before the majority of tropical storms begin.

However, Labor Day weekend is also one of the busiest times to visit Universal Studios. While the parks are unlikely to reach capacity, you’ll find that standby wait times for rides are higher than average and the cost of hotels is more than usual for this time of year.

With that in mind, based on our own experience there are things you can do to still ensure you have an incredible time when visiting Universal Studios in Orlando over the bank holiday weekend.

Is Universal Studios Orlando Open On Labour Day?

All three theme parks at the Universal Studios Resort in Orlando , Florida are open as usual on Labour Day and across the entire three-day bank holiday weekend.

This includes;

  • Universal Studios Florida
  • Universal’s Islands of Adventure
  • Volcano Bay

In fact, the Universal Studios theme parks in Orlando don’t close on any day of the year (including Thanksgiving and Christmas).

The only exception to this is during severe weather such as hurricanes.

While Labour Day is the first Monday in September, most hurricanes and severe weather threats don’t occur until the end of September and into October.

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Therefore in most cases, the parks being closed as a result of severe weather isn’t something you’ll need to worry about.

Opening Hours For Universal Studios On Labour Day

Universal Studios provides the opening hours for the parks three months in advance.

As such the exact opening hours for Labour Day and subsequently Labour Day weekend will be available on the Universal Studios website in July.

However, in general, you’ll find;

Universal Studios Florida

Universal Studios Florida is open from 8am until 7pm on Labour Day (the Monday) and from 8am until 5pm over Labour Day weekend (Saturday and Sunday).

Universal’s Islands of Adventure

Universal’s Islands of Adventure is open from 9am until 8pm on Labour Day (the Monday) and from 9am until 7pm over Labour Day weekend (Saturday and Sunday).

Volcano Bay

Volcano Bay is open from 10am until 5pm on Labour Day (the Monday) and from 10am until 6pm over Labour Day weekend (Saturday and Sunday).

CityWalk

Universal’s CityWalk entertainment complex is open from 8am until 12am on Labour Day (the Monday) and from 8am until 2am over Labour Day weekend (Saturday and Sunday).

How Crowded Is Universal Studios On Labour Day?

While the Universal Studios Resort in Orlando gets incredibly crowded over Labour Day and the Labour Day weekend, none of the parks are likely to reach capacity.

Nor are the parks as busy when compared to other holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year.

However, because Labour Day is a federal holiday, many people will not be working and schools will be closed.

As a result, people choose to make the most of the long weekend and visit Universal Studios which results in the parks being significantly more crowded than on other weekends in September.

In fact, in contrast to other holidays, the crowd levels have no build-up before or after the bank holiday weekend.

As such by Tuesday and Wednesday the crowds have gone back to normal levels.

What Time To Arrive At Universal Studios On Labour Day?

Regardless of when you visit Universal Studios we always recommend arriving at the park at least 30 minutes before the park opens.

Not only does this guarantee your admission into the parks, but it also provides you with the opportunity to maximise the lower crowd levels inside the park during that first hour.

This is when you’re going to see the shortest standby lines for any of the rides inside the park.

If you’re staying in one of the on-site hotels at the Universal Studios resort then you’ll also benefit from an additional hour inside one of the two Wizarding World of Harry Potter areas (either Hogsmeade in Universal’s Islands of Adventure or Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida).

Wait times for rides such as Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey during this first hour can be as low as 15 minutes compared to the 80+ minutes you’d wait later in the day.

Wait Times For Rides At Universal Studios On Labour Day?

As the Universal Studios parks are significantly more crowded over Labour Day weekend, you’ll find that the standby wait time for rides and attractions is around 40% higher when compared to other weekends in September.

Some of the standby wait times we experienced during our most recent visit to Universal Studios on Labour Day (Sept 2022);

  • Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket – 110 mins
  • Men In Black: Alien Attack – 90 mins
  • Hogwarts Express (Kings Cross) – 120 mins
  • Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem – 120 mins
  • Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure – 200 mins
  • Skull Island: Reign of Kong – 90 mins
  • The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man – 90 mins

Should You Buy A Universal Express Pass When Visiting Universal Studios On Labour Day?

Given the higher-than-average standby wait times for rides you may look to purchase a Universal Express Pass. A Universal Express Pass allow you to skip the queue and as a result, can save you up to 85% of the standby wait time.

As such, if the line for Men In Black: Alien Attack is 90 minutes you’re instead likely to wait for around 20. Based on our own experience we highly recommend getting an Universal Express Pass if you’re only visiting the park for one day.

That’s because it’s highly unlikely you’d be able to experience everything just one of the Universal Studios parks has to offer on a single day over Labour Day weekend. However, the cost of a Universal Express Pass is based on the expected popularity of the park on that day.

Therefore on quieter days (off-peak) the Express Pass will be cheaper, while on busier days (peak) the Express Pass will cost more.

Different Express Pass packages are available, and the exact price for the upcoming Labour Day is currently unknown.

However, based on previous Express Pass purchases we’ve made we’d expect it to be in the region of $380 per person, per day, plus tax.

This is of course in addition to your standard park entry ticket.

As such, if you do want to go ahead and purchase an Express Pass I recommend researching premier on-site hotels that provide complimentary Express Passes for guests.

Not only does this then provide all guests staying at the hotel with complimentary Express Passes for the duration of the booking (including check-in and check-out days) but also luxury five-star accommodation just footsteps from all the action!

Does It Cost More To Visit Universal Studios On Labour Day?

The cost of tickets to Universal Studios, Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Volcano Bay vary by day.

This pricing model is based on demand, and therefore it’s no surprise that you’ll likely be paying more for your Universal Studios tickets when visiting over Labour Day weekend when compared to the rest of September.

During our most recent visit to Universal Studios over Labour Day weekend a one-day ticket to two parks (Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure) was $214 per adult.

This is around $25 more per ticket when compared to other weekends in September.

Of course, this isn’t the only thing you’re likely to pay more for when visiting Universal Studios over Labour Day weekend since hotels and rideshare platforms also increase their prices given the increased demand.

Are There Any Special Events At Universal Studios Orlando On Labor Day?

Sadly there are no decorations or special events held at the Universal Studios Resort over Labour Day weekend.

Instead, Universal Studios will begin opening for Halloween Horror Nights instead, which usually begins on Labour Day weekend.

Attending Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios requires an additional event park ticket and is only available on selected evenings.

This event is not advised for children under the age of 13.

🎟️ Where To Buy Tickets for Universal Orlando?

If you’re based in the US or Canada, I recommend Klook for your Universal Orlando tickets. Klook consistently has the most competitive prices. There’s also a range of different ticket options to suit all budgets and requirements.

Meanwhile, if you’re based in the United Kingdom. Then I recommend buying your Universal Orlando theme park tickets from AttractionTix. I personally use AttractionTix when purchasing Orlando theme park tickets. That’s because AttractionTix consistently has the most competitive prices and incredible customer service.

🏥 Should I Buy Travel Insurance for a Visit to Universal Orlando?

If you’re travelling to Universal Orlando for vacation, then travel insurance is recommended. Basic travel insurance coverage with Safety Wing averages between $5 – $10 per day and offers peace of mind.

However, if a trip to Universal Orlando isn’t part of a vacation. For example, you live locally. Then travel insurance isn’t likely to be necessary.

🚘 Do I Need to Rent a Car for a Visit to Universal Orlando?

You don’t need to rent a car to visit Universal Orlando, as the resort has Uber / Lyft pick-up and drop-off points. However, if Universal Orlando makes up the majority of your vacation, then you may want to stay on-site.

Staying onsite at the Universal Orlando Resort comes with several perks. Including complimentary transport from the hotel to the Universal Orlando theme parks. In some cases, you can even walk from your hotel straight to the theme park gates.

However, if a trip to Universal Orlando only makes up a portion of your vacation, then you may want to rent a car. I personally use Discover Cars to find the best car rental for all of my trips to Orlando.

🏨 Where to Stay When Visiting Universal Orlando?

If you’re spending the majority of your vacation at Universal Orlando, it’s a good idea to stay at a Universal Orlando hotel. Staying onsite at Universal Orlando comes with several perks, including;

While staying onsite at Universal Orlando is great value for money, it can still be out of budget for many. Thankfully, there are several budget-friendly hotels close to Universal Orlando to choose from.

Meanwhile, if Universal Orlando only makes up part of your Orlando vacation, then you may want to stay elsewhere. Kissimmee, International Drive and Lake Buena Vista are all within a 40-minute drive of Universal Orlando.

When it comes to booking hotels in Orlando, I use either Booking.com or Hotels.com. However, for large families and groups, VRBO is my number one choice.

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