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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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501–550 of 1397 comments
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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Oct 15, 2020 at 5:25 a.m. Sio Says...

I can't wait to see this place!!!!!

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Oct 15, 2020 at 3:25 a.m. john cressy Says...

Havnt been in years , would love to win and go again , thanks for the chance

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Oct 15, 2020 at 3:12 a.m. Tony Platz Says...

Thanks for the info it will make planning a lot easier .

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Oct 15, 2020 at 2:55 a.m. Krissal Says...

I'm planning to return to Universal just to ride Hagrid's Motorbike! This website helps the all the decisions I need to make to get there. Thanks!

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Oct 15, 2020 at 2:09 a.m. Kim N Says...

I would like to go between Jan 27-Feb 3.. I've never been to Universal Orlando but I would love to.#disney

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Oct 15, 2020 at 1:43 a.m. Lula Ruger Says...

It is good to know the best times to plan a visit ! Thank you

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Oct 15, 2020 at 1:25 a.m. Anna Andrews Says...

I absolutely love Universal studios! I made amazing memories that I will never forget. I especially loved all the Harry Potter parts.

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Oct 15, 2020 at 1:12 a.m. Angela Armbrecht Says...

Sheesh, people are lucky to have a resource like Undercover Tourist. Back in the day when I first started planning trips to WDW, there was no internet LOL let alone an Undercover Tourist website!

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Oct 15, 2020 at 12:46 a.m. Nia Simone Says...

Definitely can’t wait to go back to Disney! Thanks for this helpful information!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 11:57 p.m. Kelly Findley Says...

Never been, would love to win!!????

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Oct 14, 2020 at 11:53 p.m. Brenda King Says...

Love Universal! It's been so long since we've been

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Oct 14, 2020 at 11:01 p.m. Cheryl Fetterly Says...

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

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Oct 14, 2020 at 10:36 p.m. Carrie Edwards Says...

Would love to visit and see the Harry Potter attractions. Haven't been to Universal since 2001.

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Oct 14, 2020 at 10:30 p.m. Loc Vu Says...

Love going to Universal Studios Orlando. Thanks for the tip on best dates to go! I hope to take my son after this pandemic is over.

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Oct 14, 2020 at 10:19 p.m. Myoshamoga Says...

Great tips that are helpful during all the uncertainty going on right now. Love your blog. :)

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Oct 14, 2020 at 9:53 p.m. Kim Malone Says...

Love this site for tickets!!!!!!!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 9:33 p.m. Angela Caddy Says...

I have not been to Universal since before HP arrived- I have a lot to catch up on ! AMAZING !

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Oct 15, 2020 at 4:23 a.m. rporter Says...

Would be a great three day trip

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Oct 14, 2020 at 8:58 p.m. Jill Finley Says...

This looks like a blast!!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 7:35 p.m. Kristin Jamison Says...

Thank you for this helpful information...I love your company/so helpful/great resource!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 7:26 p.m. bryan deege Says...

Great advice!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 6:52 p.m. Jason C Says...

Looking forward to going off season!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 6:23 p.m. Valentina Says...

Great tips. Does weather vary drastically year round?

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Oct 14, 2020 at 6:12 p.m. Jen Freese Says...

Would love to win this mini getaway!

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