Christmas Eve crowds at Universal Orlando?Universal Orlando: How crowded will it be?
From Bryce McGibenyThis Christmas Eve I'll be driving down to Orlando for a day at Islands of Adventure. I heard it was an absolute nightmare to go once Christmas is over, so Christmas Eve my only option because I've got a lot happening this weekend. Are the parks crowded on Christmas Eve (specifically Islands of Adventure)? I'm a little worried as I've never gone to Universal this close to Christmas...
Posted December 22, 2012 at 5:20 PM
Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.
From Dominick DHave fun fighting crowds.
Posted December 22, 2012 at 5:56 PM
From Bryce McGibenyYou've been on Christmas Eve before?
Posted December 22, 2012 at 6:31 PM
From Dominick DI've never been on Christmas Eve, but expect lines of at least 90 minutes. You'll just be wasting your time going.
Posted December 22, 2012 at 7:22 PM
From Bryce McGibenyHas anyone actually gone on Christmas Eve to either the Disney or Universal parks? I read that the crowds really pick up on 12/26, so I thought Christmas Eve wouldn't be too bad...
Posted December 22, 2012 at 7:28 PM
From Dominick DAccording to wait time apps, the parks were mobbed today. Alot of rides had at least a 60 minute wait.
Posted December 22, 2012 at 7:30 PM
Bryce, you're right, crowds pick up on the 26th, but that doesn't mean the parks are quiet.
From Bryce McGibenyHmmm. Okay. I'm really hoping that since its technically a holiday, it won't be as crowded.
Posted December 22, 2012 at 7:44 PM
But alas, that's probably hoping too much.
From Brittany NelsonI've never been on Christmas Eve, but I went on July 4th thinking it would be packed, and it was the slowest day I have ever seen at Universal, so I would assume that holidays aren't too bad. I went last Thrusday as well and it was moderately busy then, but nothing over an hour on the Universal side of things.
Posted December 23, 2012 at 1:24 PM
From Dominick DI just checked the wait time app, it's packed! FJ and Hippogriff have two hour waits and everything else is at least a hour (except for Popeye and Storm Force)
Posted December 23, 2012 at 2:14 PM
From Daniel EtcheberryI went to IOA last Thursday 12/20/12; FJ was just 45 min. wait, and Spider-Man was just 30 min. wait. The temperature was in the upper 70s.... Ok, I'll stop bragging.
Posted December 23, 2012 at 3:38 PM
From Amy SmithIt's probably too late to change your plans at this point but I've been at IOA the last 3 days and have watched the crowds swell each day. This afternoon and night and it was packed and very difficult to maneuver through the park - it took me 25 minutes to walk from Marvel to Jurassic Park and along the way I noted times of 75 minutes for Doom, 90 for Spiderman, and 80 for River Adventure. It's only going to get worse as the week goes on so I guess if you must go this week then Christmas would be the best of all bad choices.
Posted December 23, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Also, 4th of July is not a high crowd day at Universal parks because IOA has no fireworks at all and Studios only has cinespec - which does not come close to other parks' 4h of July fireworks showings.
From Dominick DNot only are all the parks crowded, but according to WDWMagic MK has reached Phase 2 lockdown and might reach Phase 3 soon.
Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:55 AM
From robert morrisDue to the Calender this year the "26th crowd" started on the Saturday prior to Christmas this year...lines almost doubled overnight from Thursday
Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:36 PM
From Bryce McGibenyYep. You guys were right. Even though I still had fun, it was impossible to walk around because you were constantly swarmed with people.
Posted December 24, 2012 at 5:18 PM
Here's a few notes:
1. When the park opened, it was perfect. Everyone obviously rushed to WWoHP, but we headed to Marvel Super Hero Island first. The Incredible Hulk had no wait, and the same went for The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man and Doctor Doom's FearFall. We finished this land in no time.
2. Jurassic Park River Adventure was also a walk-on in the morning.
3. WWoHP was awful. 145 minute wait for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, 60 for Flight of the Hippogriff, 70 for Dragon Challenge. You also couldn't move. We did try Forbidden Journey later, but that's another story.
4. The crowds really peaked at around 11:30. The Incredible Hulk was up to 70, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man was up to 110, etc.
5. Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls and Popeye & Bluto's Bilge Rat Barges were consistently 5 minute waits. We did Ripsaw Falls.
6. We tried to queue for Forbidden Journey and it started near the entrance of Jurassic Park River Adventure. I thought it wouldn't be that bad since we are just going straight to the castle. Instead, the line turned and went past the castle, past the greenhouse, behind the show building and then extended in the backstage areas of Jurassic Park. Then you had to go back to the entrance of Hogwarts and then through the regular queue. The ride kept breaking down also and then they closed it and everyone had a mad rush and we ran for the emergency exits and ended up in Jurassic Park. People were crying and it was just too horrible.
Overall, I had fun still but we should have been more wise. I was also slightly upset because it was my dad's first visit and I could tell the crowds were bothering him as much as me.
From Dominick DAt least you got to ride everything in MSHI and JPRA. Did you happen to catch any pictures of the FJ line?
Posted December 24, 2012 at 6:27 PM
From Bryce McGibenyTrue. And we did Cat in the Hat, Dragon Challenge and Ripsaw Falls. And I did get one picture. It's pretty bad quality because I was too worried to bring my camera in the park so I took this with my phone.
Posted December 24, 2012 at 7:11 PM
This along the side of the show building in which is basically in Jurassic Park. It was honestly never ending and this was already about 45 minutes into the line. We still had to go back to the front of Hogwarts, through the first part of the castle, the greenhouse and the rest of the castle. This is also about where we bailed.
It's crazy though compared to when we went last month. Forbidden Journey was a walk on, as was everything else basically. And I've never seen Dragon Challenge at more than a 10 minute wait. Never again.
This discussion has been archived, and is not accepting additional responses.
Theme Park Insider Guidebooks
Top U.S. Theme Parks
Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Other Top International Parks
Readers' Top Themed Rides
Top Roller Coasters
Top Theme Park Shows
Features, News and Advice
2013 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2012 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2011 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2010 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2009 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2008 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2007 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2006 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2005 Blog PostsDec.
2004-2005Staff column archive