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

by Leap on November 10, 2021 1707 Orlando

Best Time to Visit Universal Orlando - Crowd Calendar

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 are even more criteria when deciding the best time to visit Universal Orlando. Universal 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.

Best Time to Visit Universal Orlando - Marilyn Monroe

While we have no crystal ball on when things will return to normal, as vaccination rollouts continue across the US, more and more guests are making their way back to the action. After a strong spring break season, where the parks hit capacity most days, we saw a busy summer, too, especially with the launch of the epic new VelociCoaster. After the long-awaited return of Halloween Horror Nights this fall, we expect the momentum to swing all the way through the new year. While we think things will continue to pick up, there will still be some times when crowds are lower. We're here to 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 during peak times such as the week of Thanksgiving and the end of December into early January.

Best Time to Visit Universal Orlando in 2021 - 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. All Universal Orlando Resort hotels offer Early Park Admission, which is also a super hopful tool to get a jump on your day.

Keep in mind that the parks have and do hit capacity during peak times, even though a reservation system is not in place. We cannot emphasize enough just how much we recommend getting to the parks early! For even more tips for visiting Universal during a peak time, hop over to our full post.

In addition to hitting capacity in the parks themselves, there have been several days this summer where ticket sales have hit capacity — meaning Universal has sold out for specific dates. The sooner you can purchase your tickets, the better chance you'll have at selecting your desired dates (and the more hotel availability you'll find!). Planning ahead is the name of the game — and you've already taken the first step by reading this post :)

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

Best Time to Visit Universal - 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 with school schedules. Generally, when the tadpoles are out of school, there are higher crowds at Universal. This applies to one-day holidays such as Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a weeklong spring break or the big draw — summer vacation. The week of Thanksgiving and from Christmas into the new year are notably busy, as well.

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). 2021 was especially busy to commemorate the event's 30th year.

Best Time to Visit Universal Orlando - VelociCoaster Ride Vehicles

Big openings can also bring big crowds who want to be among the first to experience the thrills. 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're already coming to Orlando for Star Wars, why not experience the Wizarding World too? This same trickle may happen with Disney World's 50th-anniversary celebration, which kicked off Oct. 1, 2021, and will run for 18 months.

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 was Universal's Jurassic World VelociCoaster, which launched June 10, 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 last week 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 2021 - 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 fell 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

Best Time to Visit Universal Orlando - Hogwarts Castle

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 17, 2022
  • Independence Day - July 4
  • 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.

  • Veterans Day (and Veterans Day Observed) - Nov. 11, 2021, and Nov. 11, 2022
  • MLK Day - Jan. 17, 2022
  • Presidents' Day - Feb. 21, 2022
  • Labor Day - Sept. 5, 2022
  • Columbus Day - Oct. 10, 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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501–550 of 1420 comments
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!

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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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Oct 16, 2020 at 3:27 p.m. Chelsea Says...

Hoping to go sometime in 2022 and can’t wait!

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Oct 16, 2020 at 2:53 p.m. Jill Nauyokas Says...

Universal is definitely a place I would love to visit. Even with the crowds I would make sure to pack e yea face masks

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Oct 16, 2020 at 2:52 p.m. Candace P Says...

The weather is great in November!

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Oct 16, 2020 at 1:43 p.m. Sarah Storm Says...

I would love to visit during the holiday season.

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Oct 16, 2020 at 7:36 a.m. MikeB Says...

I think anytime is the perfect time to visit!

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Oct 16, 2020 at 3:52 a.m. julio Says...

I wanna go this year

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Oct 16, 2020 at 2:13 a.m. Bessie Clay Says...

I'm excited to visit oneday!!!

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Oct 16, 2020 at 12:55 a.m. Sherri M. Says...

Y’all seriously have the best information and tips out there and are the greatest resource for tickets! I recommend you to everyone I know ( and to strangers too ) ????

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Oct 15, 2020 at 11:22 p.m. mark gross Says...

I would really love to share Universal park experience with my grandson He has never been to Florida before

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Oct 15, 2020 at 10:53 p.m. Tessa M Says...

My favorite is from Dec-Jan. Florida just has the best weather during those times. We always go in April and August as well, but the heat can be tough,

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Oct 15, 2020 at 8 p.m. LB Says...

Would love to visit Universal anytime!!

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Oct 15, 2020 at 6:40 p.m. Elizabeth Says...

Yes please!!

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Oct 15, 2020 at 5:10 p.m. Amanda L. Says...

Universal is impressive. I'd love a getaway!

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Oct 15, 2020 at 4:23 p.m. MARY Says...

I would love to visit Universal Studios for 3 days!

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Oct 15, 2020 at 3:49 p.m. Laura Ann Adams Says...

Love Universal but hate the crowds.

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Oct 15, 2020 at 3:36 p.m. Tracy Says...

One of my favorite places in the world!

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Oct 15, 2020 at 3 p.m. YARDEN ATAR Says...

OMG , It look so good i can't wait to be there. It been one of my biggest dream

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Oct 15, 2020 at 2:34 p.m. Robert Russ DuRocher Jr Says...

Thanks for the info.

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Oct 15, 2020 at 2 p.m. BeccaM Says...

Just got back from a great trip to Universal. Saturday was insanely busy, but the rest of the week was great!

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Oct 15, 2020 at 1:58 p.m. Sam Anderson Says...

Thanks for trying to figure this out! We love Universal and every time we come we utilize the crowd calendar but this next couple years are going to be different. Thanks for putting in the work to help us out!

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Oct 15, 2020 at 1:51 p.m. lagoonc Says...

Love this!!!

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Oct 15, 2020 at 12:44 p.m. Nina Says...

So, happy I found this site!!

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Oct 15, 2020 at 12:20 p.m. Barbara Bronson Says...

Any time of year is the right time of year to visit Universal!

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Oct 15, 2020 at 12:20 p.m. Barbara Bronson Says...

Any time of year is the right time for Universal!

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Oct 15, 2020 at 12:18 p.m. Jeffery William Blanchard Says...

I cant wait to visit

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Oct 15, 2020 at 5:57 a.m. Annette Says...

Great Site!

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Oct 15, 2020 at 5:32 a.m. julie Says...

Thank you for the fun time i had at universal studios in March of this year. I hope I can do something again.

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