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The Very Best Times to Visit Universal Orlando in 2021 and 2022

by Leap on February 1, 2021 1657 Orlando

This is what Universal Orlando Resort trip planning sounds like around the frog pond:

"We have to do Forbidden Journey first."

"Are you crazy? Escape from Gringotts!"

"I was thinking of splashing into the pool at Cabana Bay Beach Resort right after we check in."

Yes. Even us savvy trip planners can get hung up on how to tackle a Universal Orlando vacation. One of the few things we can agree on is WHEN to visit. Crowd levels have a big impact on everyone's theme park vacation. This post outlines the very best times to visit Universal Orlando in 2021 and 2022. It also outlines the more crowded times to visit. The year 2020 brought more challenges than most with COVID-19, and now there is even more criteria when deciding the best time to visit Universal Orlando.

Universal is limiting park attendance and has introduced health and safety measures to help keep everyone safe. You can read more about what to expect if you visit Universal Orlando now. We understand that visiting the parks now isn't for everyone, and you have to make the call on what is best for your family. While some of you are waiting for a return to "normal" times, those of you who are OK with a modified experience and a mask requirement may actually find it's a better time to visit. While we have no crystal ball on when things will return to normal, we expect there won't be a full return to normal until at least the second half of 2021 and probably 2022. We can at least give you our best guesses on crowd levels based on our years of data collection and insights. We'll dive into the trends for the rest of this year below.

Best Time to Visit Universal Orlando - Gringotts

The Best Time to Visit Universal Orlando in 2021 and 2022

As we've said before with visiting Disney World, there's never a bad time to visit Universal Orlando. The Frog Family has hopped down during every season and successfully managed the crowds. We stick with our basic plan — get to the park at opening, take breaks in the afternoon when the parks are at their busiest, make use of our park plans and Orlando park plans app, and use Universal Express. For those of you who can, we highly recommend visiting the parks on weekdays, especially over the next few months.

Best Time to Visit Universal Orlando in 2019 - Loews Portofino Bay Resort

We also highly recommend you consider staying on-site at one of Universal’s official hotels that offer Universal Express Unlimited  basically unlimited skip-the-line access on most rides at Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. The Universal hotels that offer the benefit are Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Universal's Hard Rock Hotel and Loews Royal Pacific Resort. This skip-the-regular line benefit is a big help for saving time in the parks, especially if you are visiting on weekends.

While crowds are currently lower, largely because of caps on attendance to better maintain social distancing, they have picked up considerably since the early days of reopening. Keep in mind that the parks have and do hit capacity during peak times, usually around the holidays.

Since we're still in the early rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and many domestic and international travel restrictions are currently in place, we expect the first half of 2021 to be one of the best times to visit Universal Orlando in years. That said, the parks have been hitting capacity during holidays, and they are busier on weekends, and we expect this trend will continue. For most of March through mid-April, expect elevated crowds with spring break hoppening.

Determining the Best Time to Visit Universal Orlando in 2021 and 2022

People on RipRide Rockit Coaster

Before booking your vacation to Universal on our site, we recommend you check our Crowd Calendar. You can get a view of the crowd levels by day, month or the whole year. You'll also find individual park recommendations so you can easily see at a glance the best time to visit Universal Orlando.

There's no denying there are better times to visit Universal Orlando than others. It should come as no surprise that the best time to visit Universal Orlando usually falls along school schedules. Generally, when the tadpoles are out of school, there are higher crowds at Universal. This usually applies to one-day holidays such as Martin Luther King Day, weeklong spring break or the big draw — summer vacation.

Special events should also be a consideration in deciding the best time to visit, and they are also displayed on the crowd calendar. For example, Halloween Horror Nights can scare up a good crowd (yes, I went there). Even Universal's scaled-back Halloween event last year, featuring two haunted houses, was enough to bring out more visitors. 

VelociCoaster Ride Vehicles

Big openings, like we had in June 2019 with Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, can also bring big crowds who want to be among the first to experience the magic. Even openings at other resorts, such as Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Disney World, have some trickle-over effect. The opening of this new land in a galaxy (and resort), OK, not so far, far away no doubt has brought additional visitors to Universal. I mean, if you are already coming to Orlando for Star Wars, why not experience the Wizarding World too?

While understandably there are still reasons for more uncertainty this year, know that ride and land openings do influence crowds. The big opening for 2021 is Universal's Jurassic World VelociCoaster. It doesn't have an exact opening date yet but is scheduled to open summer 2021. 

So When Is the Best Time to Universal Orlando in 2021 and 2022?

The very best times to visit Universal Orlando in 2021 are ...

  • Jan. 4-14, Jan. 25-Feb. 12
  • Feb. 22-March 5
  • The second half of August
  • Most days in September (minus Fridays with Halloween Horror Nights)
  • Most weekdays in October (minus Fridays with Halloween Horror Nights)
  • Weekdays in November (minus the week of Thanksgiving)
  • Weekdays in December (minus the week of Christmas and New Year's Eve)

The very best times to visit Universal Orlando in 2022 are ...

  • Jan. 5-13
  • Jan 24-Feb. 17
  • Feb. 28-March 4
  • The second half of April
  • Weekdays in the first half of May
  • The second half of August
  • Most days in September
  • Most weekdays in October
  • Weekdays in November (minus the week of Thanksgiving)
  • Weekdays in December (minus the weeks of Christmas and New Year's Eve)

Historically, September has been the very best month of the year to visit Universal Orlando in terms of crowds because the kids have just returned to school. It is still our pick for the best month to visit. The popularity of Halloween Horror Nights, however, has brought in more crowds, and the event regularly sells out. If you're visiting the resort for that time, and specifically for that event, make sure you purchase your tickets first and book your hotel early. Those weekends could see more guests who come in for the event and spend their daytime hours inside the parks.

Best Time to Visit Universal Orlando in 2019 - Incredible Hulk Coaster

Keep in mind that September is the height of Orlando's rainy season. You should prepare for daily afternoon thunderstorms and possibly more rain than that. Come prepared with ponchos. With those caveats out of the way, we still feel that fall is a good time to visit Universal Orlando.

The Most Crowded Time to Visit Universal Orlando

The worst times to visit Universal Orlando in 2021 are ...

  • Jan. 1-3, Jan. 15-24
  • Feb. 13-21
  • March 6-April 11*
  • Weekends in May
  • June
  • July
  • The first half of August
  • The week of Thanksgiving
  • The week of Christmas through the week of New Year

The worst times to visit Universal Orlando in 2022 are ...

  • Jan. 1-4, Jan. 15-18
  • Feb. 19-27
  • March 5-April 24*
  • Weekends in May
  • June
  • July
  • The first half of August
  • The week of Thanksgiving
  • The week of Christmas through the week of New Year

*The big variable for spring is when Easter falls. When it's earlier in the season, there is generally a shorter, more intense "spring break" as school districts narrow down the week they give kids off. When it's later in spring, there is generally a longer but less intense "spring break" season as school districts have more variance in the week they give kids off. In 2021, Easter falls on April 4, making it a shorter season than 2022, when it falls on April 17. These are still more spread out and less intense than when Easter lands in March.

Holiday Crowds at Universal Orlando in 2021 and 2022

Holidays bring crowds, and for good reasons. People are off from work and want to enjoy their time in the parks. Many families make it a tradition to gather at Universal Orlando to celebrate everything from Easter to Thanksgiving. Universal Orlando Resort has festive and frightening holiday events.

We've already mentioned the impact of crowds from Halloween Horror Nights. Christmas has also become a bigger deal at Universal Orlando than in past years with the arrival of Christmas In The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Muggles and wizards alike are flocking to the parks to enjoy the holiday decorations, entertainment and food in Hogwarts and Diagon Alley.

Universal Orlando's Most Crowded Holidays:

  • New Year's Day - Jan. 1
  • Easter - April 4, 2021, and April 17, 2022
  • July 4th
  • Thanksgiving -  Nov. 25, 2021, and Nov. 24, 2022
  • Christmas Eve - Dec. 24
  • Christmas - Dec. 25
  • New Year's Eve - Dec. 31

Best Holidays to Visit Universal Orlando in 2021 and 2022

Stock up on those precious personal days and consider visiting on these less crowded holidays. It will still be busy, but not as noticeable as Christmas. Do keep in mind that for 2021 we expect these dates to be busier than normal because of pent-up travel demand after COVID-19, especially if the vaccine rollout remains on schedule.

  • Labor Day - Sept. 6, 2021, and Sept. 5, 2022
  • Columbus Day - Oct. 11, 2021, and Oct. 10, 2022
  • Veterans Day (and Veterans Day Observed) - Nov. 11, 2021, and Nov. 11, 2022

Now you know the best time to visit Universal Orlando in 2021 and 2022. Wondering how crowds will be during your trip? Check out our Crowd Calendar. You'll find more resources to help you plan your Universal Orlando vacation on our When to Visit Orlando page inside the Orlando Planning Timeline!

Keep hopping!

Keep hopping, Leap!
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451–500 of 1397 comments
Oct 19, 2020 at 3:56 a.m. Kelley Q Says...

Love these guides! Thanks!!

Reply
Oct 19, 2020 at 3:14 a.m. Amy B Says...

I think I *need* this trip!

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Oct 19, 2020 at 1:26 a.m. Kala D Says...

I always use Undercover Tourist when deciding when we go to Orlando. Our last trip was in Jan 2019 and undercover tourist was spot on! Good info for next year!

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Oct 19, 2020 at 12:45 a.m. JNCVAL Says...

I'm way overdue for some butter beer!

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Oct 19, 2020 at 12:19 a.m. Eliese Says...

I can't wait till the pandemic is over so we can travel!

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Oct 19, 2020 at 12:06 a.m. Smiley face Says...

Can't wait to visit!

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Oct 19, 2020 at 12:02 a.m. CarolC Says...

Can't wait to get back to WDW.

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Oct 18, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Samantha Says...

We're planning for November 2021. I'm glad to know that you expect this to be a good time to visit! Can't wait for Wizarding World!!

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Oct 18, 2020 at 11:46 p.m. TRF Says...

Looks like fun!!

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Oct 18, 2020 at 11:20 p.m. Amanda B Says...

We are so hoping to go one week in November! Great information in this post, thank you!

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Oct 18, 2020 at 10:50 p.m. CARLA JO Says...

One of the better times to attend WDW is right after the kids go back to school, the first part of September.

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Oct 18, 2020 at 10:17 p.m. Deborah Munkirs Says...

My son and husband love Harry Potter!

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Oct 18, 2020 at 9:44 p.m. Mindi Eden Says...

2020 is a bust for us BUT thanks for the wonderful info!

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Oct 18, 2020 at 8:44 p.m. Karen W Says...

I would love to visit Universal, all the helpful information for planning is great.

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Oct 18, 2020 at 7:28 p.m. Shelby Calkin Says...

Thanks

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Oct 18, 2020 at 6:56 p.m. MELISSA WILKINSON Says...

We hope to go next year for sure! Can't wait!!!

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Oct 18, 2020 at 5:52 p.m. Katie L. Says...

I just booked a trip for Disney next November and am hoping to be able to add in a couple Universal days as well. Thanks for the information!!

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Oct 18, 2020 at 4:37 p.m. Emily M Says...

I’m a huge Disney world person but have been dying to go to Universal for years! Love the tips and I’m sure they’re going to be very helpful in planning a universal trip since I don’t know nearly as much as I do about Disney.

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Oct 18, 2020 at 4:27 p.m. Kristin Says...

We were planning a trip in July, but the parks were still closed. We hope to visit in 2021!

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Oct 18, 2020 at 3:50 p.m. P.S. Says...

Thank you for the very informative blog.

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Oct 18, 2020 at 3:03 p.m. JEFFREY O. Says...

This is super helpful. Thank you.

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Oct 18, 2020 at 1:34 p.m. Anna Cook Says...

Want to go

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Oct 18, 2020 at 1:17 p.m. Angela C Adelman Says...

When I went to Universal Studios it was magical. I would love to go back. Thank you for this chance.

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Oct 18, 2020 at 4:02 a.m. Cathleen Clark Says...

We went a few years ago and it was wonderful. We had a trip planned for May, but that got canceled. It would be wonderful to rebook a trip and take our grandkids. :)

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Oct 18, 2020 at 3:45 a.m. Bev F Says...

Really want to visit in 2021!

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Oct 18, 2020 at 1:42 a.m. JenD Says...

My family loves Universal Orlando! Amazing rides, great hotels, tons of food options. We can't wait to go back- fingers crossed that it is soon!

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Oct 18, 2020 at 1:06 a.m. Caroline Says...

Can’t wait!

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Oct 18, 2020 at 12:04 a.m. Carla S Ogden Says...

We love to be at Universal Orlando's Cabana Bay with tickets to the Parks. I lived in Orlando and worked for Disney many years ago and I must say in all honesty Universal Tops Disney in so many ways. Hope every day to be able to go back soon. Love coming your way from Illinois.

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Oct 17, 2020 at 10:03 p.m. beebee Says...

What a great thing to do in February when you live in Wisconsin!

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Oct 17, 2020 at 8:09 p.m. Shantell Bentley Says...

Love Universal been twice when I was in school but would love to go again it has been years since I been back and would love to take the kids.

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Oct 17, 2020 at 7:52 p.m. Debi F Says...

My family have used undercover tourist for years. They have the best prices!

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Oct 17, 2020 at 6:07 p.m. amybaker3 Says...

I can not wait until my family can return to Universal Orlando - it has been way too long!!!

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Oct 17, 2020 at 6 p.m. Shannon Knowles Says...

Our whole family are Harry Potter fans and would love the opportunity to go to Universal Studios.

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Oct 17, 2020 at 4:52 p.m. Karl Says...

Disney Orlando Free Trip Contests are the Best

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Oct 17, 2020 at 4:29 p.m. Mindy Fogg Says...

Early December seems like the most magical time to enjoy the parks and avoid large crowds. Undercover Tourist has the best tips and tools for planning such a trip! :)

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Oct 17, 2020 at 4:15 p.m. Devin Says...

I would love to do all the Harry Potter stuff at Universal. I'm a huge fan!

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Oct 17, 2020 at 4:10 p.m. Roosevelito Cyrius Says...

This looks absolutely amazing it would be a great opportunity and blessing to visit and see such amazing things, I've always wanted to experience such wonders.

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Oct 17, 2020 at 3:54 p.m. Lindsay Klamp Says...

Won't be able to visit universal studios during our upcoming trip to Florida. I really hope that we can make it back some time tonsee what universal has to offer.

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Oct 17, 2020 at 3:53 p.m. Lindsay Klamp Says...

Won't be able to do Universal during our up coming trip to Florida. Hoping to make it back some time to be able to experience what Universal has to offer.

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Oct 17, 2020 at 3:11 p.m. Robin Kossman Says...

Looking forward to taking my family with covid numbers are decreasing

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Oct 17, 2020 at 2:52 p.m. Levi dudden Says...

Dream of a lifetime for my 3 kids and the parents too! Just to see their faces, when they walk in. My 3 yr old sees the castle on disney movies and thinks shes going there. Grandparents were going to take her but had to cancel because of covid.

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Oct 17, 2020 at 1:51 p.m. Jack palmer Says...

I would love to win this , I haven't had a vacation in years. thank you

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Oct 17, 2020 at 1:25 p.m. YoAdrian Says...

So happy I found undercovertourist.com! I love the crowd calendar! <3 :)

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Oct 17, 2020 at 1:06 p.m. Natalie Lyons Says...

I have been wanting to take my boys for years, hopefully next year

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Oct 17, 2020 at 12:06 p.m. Holly Ludwig Roark Says...

We want to visit so bad. We had planned on visiting and then our son was diagnosed with cancer...Waiting for him to get better so we can go!!!

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Oct 17, 2020 at 11:35 a.m. A Lo Says...

I have never been but looking forward to it very much!

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Oct 17, 2020 at 10:59 a.m. Lanie Pearson Says...

Thank you so much for the wonderful information. I loved this site and all the deals. Every ticket purchase has been easy, fast, and saved money! The tips and info is great!

Reply
Oct 17, 2020 at 4:16 a.m. Tristen Carl Says...

That’s wild

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Oct 16, 2020 at 9:16 p.m. JShaw Says...

We were planning to go in 2020, but we will hopefully get to go in 2021 or 2022.

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Oct 16, 2020 at 3:50 p.m. elizabeth miller Says...

My daughter has wanted to go to Universal for years. We were going to surprise her this past Easter and take her but then the shut down happened. Hopefully we can recoup and save to go in the next year or 2.

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