Although dual theme parks, a water park, CityWalk, and numerous hotels keep Universal Studios Orlando lively year-round, the resort becomes especially vibrant during Halloween Horror Nights, an October tradition that involves "scare zones," haunted houses, and TV and movie-inspired ghouls. Even with the special programming, though, October visitors are often treated to shorter lines and wait times for attractions, cheaper airfare and accommodations, plus a refreshing break from the Florida heat and humidity.
The theme parks are open daily, but they close early in the evenings for the separate-ticket Halloween event. Because it can get chilly at night, Universal’s Volcano Bay water park also closes early throughout the month.
Read up on the resort's newly implemented safety guidelines before visiting in 2020.
Universal Orlando Weather in October
Universal Orlando is typically hot enough to hop aboard Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges and other water rides during the day, but noticeably cooler at night, especially as November nears.
- Average high: 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29 degrees Celsius)
- Average low: 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius)
Early in October, humidity (and the resulting heat index) can still be high in Central Florida, but the stickiness quickly recedes as the month progresses. Orlando’s rainy season ends in September. With an average rainfall total of 3.31 inches, October is among the region’s driest months. However, October is still hurricane season, and while Orlando is rarely directly affected by these storms, travel to and from the area may be impacted. Begin checking the weather forecast about a week before your trip to find out what to expect from the tropics.
What to Pack
Short sleeves, shorts, and comfortable sneakers are the quintessential October uniform here. Parkgoers should plan to do a lot (a lot) of walking, so be sure to pack your best walking shoes. Bathing suits are a good idea for potential hotel pool breaks and water rides. You’ll also want to bring warm layers for nighttime activities.
Anyone planning to wine and dine at Universal Orlando’s more upscale restaurants should pack resort-casual attire for the occasion. Even though it’s the fall, sunscreen and hats are a must for protecting against Central Florida’s still-potent rays. Think about bringing your own water bottle to avoid constantly purchasing beverages, but be sure to indulge in at least one butterbeer while you're there.
Expect to pay a premium for any last-minute necessities (umbrellas, ponchos, hats, etc.) purchased from a gift shop.
October Events in Universal Orlando
October at Universal Orlando is dominated by Halloween happenings. Heart-pounding haunted houses and cinematic horror performances abound.
- Halloween Horror Nights: Nearly all theme parks offer Halloween events, but with Universal being the film studio that pioneered the horror genre with movie classics like "Frankenstein," "The Mummy," and "Dracula," it takes its Halloween celebrations seriously. Halloween Horror Nights takes popular franchises like "Stranger Things," "The Exorcist," and Jordan Peele’s "Us" and turns them into real-life experiences. The event includes a handful of scare zones, haunted houses, shows, and more. Note that this is a separate-ticket event and it's not recommended for young children. It can also draw enormous crowds, especially on weekends. In 2020, Halloween Horror Nights have been canceled.
October Travel Tips
- While lines shouldn’t be excessively long for rides, shows, and attractions, don't expect to walk onto everything. If you want to make the most of your time at the parks, learn how to skip the lines with the resort’s Express Pass program, and how to utilize the Virtual Line system to your advantage. The VIP Experience will give you front-of the-line access to all rides and shows, plus a guide to escort you around the parks, for an added price.
- The room rates at Universal Orlando's three premier-level, on-property hotels—Portofino Bay, Hard Rock, and Royal Pacific—include entry to the Express Pass program. Visitors staying at other hotels, both on- and off-property, have to pay for Express Passes.
- All of Universal’s resorts allow guests to get into the Harry Potter lands before the parks open to the general public.
- The lines can swell after dark during Halloween Horror Nights. If you want to experience the event in a single evening, consider buying a Universal Express Pass (to skip the maze lines) or springing for an R.I.P. Tour (which includes guides as well as immediate access to the mazes and shows).
- Be sure to check Universal Orlando’s deals and specials—including package deals that combine hotel accommodations, park tickets, and Halloween Horror Nights—before you go.
To learn more about visiting Universal Orlando during the shoulder season, check out our guide on the best times to visit.