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Universal Studios on Labor Day: Is it Open and How Crowded?

If you are thinking of visiting Universal Studios on Labor Day weekend, you won’t be alone! The 3-Day Labor Day holiday in the U.S. can be one of the busiest times of the year.

After living in Orlando for more than a decade and visiting the theme parks during that time, I can tell you firsthand that Labor Day will be busier than normal at the theme parks, but it won’t be as crowded as other times of the year.

Photo Courtesy of my friend Caroline at ThisisMySouth.com

Is Universal Studios Open on Labor Day?

Yes, Universal Orlando Resort is open on Labor Day and the entire 3-day holiday weekend.

The Labor Day holiday is the first Monday in September. It is a federal holiday, with banks and government offices closed. Labor Day weekend (Saturday, Sunday and the Monday) is considered the unofficial end of summer in the U.S.

The Orlando theme parks do not close for any day of the year, except for severe weather such as hurricane threats.

(We actually had a hurricane come through on Labor Day weekend one year and the theme parks were indeed closed. Here is our story of evacuating a hurricane to shelter at a Walt Disney World Hotel.)

Universal Studios Theme Park Globe Sign

What Hours Is Universal Open on Labor Day?

Universal Orlando Resort has three theme parks that are open on Labor Day. You might think you could expect extended opening times during the weekend and on Labor Day to accommodate larger crowds. However, that is not happening in 2022.

Universal Studios theme park will be open from 8 a.m to 7 p.m. on Labor Day. The rest of the weekend the park hours are from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., so there is not much difference.

Islands of Adventure will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. throughout the holiday weekend.

Check their Theme Park Hours calendar to see dates that have been released.

How Crowded is Universal on Labor Day Weekend?

Labor Day weekend is one of the busier times of the year at Universal Studios. However, the crowd levels do not rival other holidays, such as Thanksgiving at Universal Studios, the busy Christmas season at Universal Orlando, New Years or Easter.

Labor Day weekend is a 3-day weekend at the beginning of September. Because it is a federal holiday, many people will not be working and schools will have time off. Which makes the holiday one of the busiest times at the theme parks.

Many school systems around America do not start back until after Labor Day. In the Southeast U.S., schools usually start in August but have Labor Day off as the first school holiday. This means that many families will try to visit Orlando theme parks during school holidays.

Orlando and Florida residents, especially Universal Orlando pass holders, will take the opportunity to visit the theme parks on their days off.

Unlike other holidays, Labor Day crowds usually peak just during the 3-day weekend. There is not as many crowds leading up to the weekend and after Labor Day, visitation goes back to normal levels.

Federal holidays are among the busiest times at Universal Studios. The theme parks can reach capacity by mid morning, which means they cannot allow anyone else to enter the parks until someone leaves.

Once you are inside a theme park, you can stay all day until closing, even if the parks reach capacity levels. However, if maximum capacity levels have been reached, expect very long lines for attractions, food and shopping.

While wait times are often 1-2 hours for the most popular attractions at Universal theme parks normally, you might encounter wait times of 2-4 hours for one attraction on the holiday.

In 2020, all three Universal Orlando Resort theme parks were at maximum capacity and closed to additional guests on the Saturday before Labor Day. (2 days before the official holiday.) However, keep in mind that Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and Volcano Bay had just reopened to guests in June of that year, and pent-up travel demand was high.

We suggest bringing your own snacks into Universal Studios on days like this so that you can eat while waiting in line and not waste time ordering foods. Here are some great snack ideas for theme parks.

How to Guarantee Getting into Universal Studios on Labor Day Weekend

The only way to guarantee to get into Universal Studios during Labor Day weekend is to get to the theme parks very early. Do not arrive at opening time. You must arrive at least 30-45 minutes before official opening opening to get parked, get in line, and potentially be allowed early entry.

This is when staying at an official Universal Orlando Resort hotel can pay off. You will be given early entry as a hotel guest, which helps you beat the crowds and get inside the park.

As a guest of a Universal Orlando Resort hotel, you are also guaranteed entry into the theme parks even if they are at capacity.

Be advised that hotel shuttles and shuttle boats from Universal Studios hotels will be very busy as everyone is trying to get in early. Expect longer than normal lines.

You can also expect more traffic driving into parking at Universal Studios.

While there is no guarantee that a theme park will definitely reach maximum capacity, it is best to plan your day accordingly.

Does Universal Cost More on Labor Day?

Universal Studios has not introduced dynamic pricing, where the prices increase as demand increases. Therefore, the base ticket price to enter Universal Orlando theme parks is the same as it is every day of the year.

However, the cost for Express Pass at Universal does increase with the expected crowds. You do not need to purchase an Express Pass to enter the theme park. However, if you are worried about standing in long lines, an Express Pass will allow you to skip the line.

With the theme parks being so busy, you can understand how everyone will want to use this benefit. Therefore, the cost of Express Pass might be more expensive during Labor Day weekend.

Express Passes often increase in price as it gets closer to the date of your visit. It is smart to buy an Express Pass as soon as you know for sure when you are visiting Universal Studios.

In late June 2022, the cost of an Express Pass on Labor Day, September 5, 2022 is currently $119.99 each person. This is the same price as all weekday Express Pass tickets during the entire month of September.

Are the Theme Parks Decorated for Labor Day?

Labor Day is not a holiday that has decorations. No, Universal Studios isn’t decorated for Labor Day but might be decorated for Halloween already.

What is the Weather Like During Labor Day?

Early September will be hot and humid! Expect temperatures in the 90s and high humidity levels, which makes the weather feel even hotter.