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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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601–650 of 1397 comments
Oct 14, 2020 at 1:11 a.m. Matiman Panda Says...

I want to visit it

Reply
Oct 14, 2020 at 1:09 a.m. Kim Key Says...

Would love to Escape to Gringotts...or anywhere at this point! ????

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Oct 14, 2020 at 12:54 a.m. Frances Knighton Says...

We love the Universal Parks and can't wait to get back there.

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Oct 14, 2020 at 12:05 a.m. April Lane Says...

I have always used undercover tourist to purchase Disney/Universal tickets and have always had a great experience. We have been to Universal Hollywood but not Universal Orlando. My kids are huge Harry Potter fans and have been begging to go for a very long time. Love all the info we get from Undercover Tourist via email regarding deals and information on all the parks!!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. Barbara J Kalter Says...

Undercover Tourist is the best of all sites to use when booking your vacation to Disneyworld and Universal Studios! We so look forward to a vacation there in 2021!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 11:32 p.m. Shawn Seeds Says...

Good information to know when visiting

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Oct 13, 2020 at 11:22 p.m. Nicole Olsen Says...

I Can't wait to go there for a vacation with my awesome sis Sherry.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 11 p.m. Karenf Says...

Huge Disney fan- thanks for the tips! Hope to be able to return soon.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 10:56 p.m. Mandy Says...

I WANT TO GO!!! This place is so magical. Not a day goes by I’m not wishing to be there!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 10:52 p.m. Ashley Byrd Says...

I have never been to a Universal theme park and would have loved to go this year (along with back to Disney for the holiday season). Time will tell if we will make it this year or next!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 10:29 p.m. Betsy M. Says...

What a treasure trove of information!

Reply
Oct 13, 2020 at 10:26 p.m. Nancy Mae Says...

We ALWAYS use Undercover Tourist for purchasing our theme park tickets in Orlando. They have never let us down with trusted service, advice and travel trips! We especially appreciate the Crowd calendar!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 10:14 p.m. Laura Taylor Says...

Exciting!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 10:12 p.m. Kanani Burdett Says...

Love all your research, info, tips and discounts, especially on park tickets. You really helped us when we planned our family trip to WDW/Universal in November 2018.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 10:04 p.m. Matthew M Says...

Can't wait to get back out to universal for vacation!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 9:39 p.m. mejoisi Says...

I really don't mind the crowd , i'm normally here all day to get the full experience. Would love to give my twins the same adventure i had all my life. i have family members my age that have never been neither has their kids and this is my dream to bring them to have a fun filed vacation full of adventure.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 8:52 p.m. Happierinflorida Says...

We used Under Cover Tourist to purchase 5 day park tickets and 3 day Universal tickets and it worked out so well. We had a blast and hope to be back soon, especially since winter is on its way to us in Utah. Use these guys, so convenient and save you some money, not to mention they have a ton of useful info on their website. Thank you UCT..

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Oct 13, 2020 at 8:34 p.m. Katrina J Says...

I can't wait to get out to travel more next year...thank you for the recommendations!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 8:23 p.m. Joanne W Bello Says...

WOW....learned so much....in particular, the days that the parks are least crowded!! Very important during COVID! Thank you. What beautiful photos too!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 8:02 p.m. David Mills Says...

I sure could use a vacation for my family soon. I am sure everyone could.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 7:56 p.m. Audrey Says...

What a informative article! Thanks for the tips

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Oct 13, 2020 at 7:46 p.m. Valerie Cebertowicz Says...

These guys are the best helped me pla so many vacations

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Oct 13, 2020 at 7:33 p.m. Kelly Says...

Great info. Saved lots of time and helped plan a great time.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 7:32 p.m. Monique Says...

I have used undercovertourist. Wonderful experience. We have never been to Universal, definitely would love to go!

Reply
Oct 13, 2020 at 7:08 p.m. Kelli Says...

Great article and advice

Reply
Oct 13, 2020 at 6:42 p.m. LizS Says...

My next stop!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 6:39 p.m. Peter Gwiazda Says...

Great info.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 6:35 p.m. Morgan Says...

Cool!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 6:32 p.m. Richard P Reinbolt Says...

good info

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Oct 13, 2020 at 6:32 p.m. Bryan Says...

Hope we win. Getting out of the house would be great after everything going on this year.

Reply
Oct 13, 2020 at 6:10 p.m. Molly Says...

I love this page!

Reply
Oct 13, 2020 at 5:52 p.m. Janine Carlson Says...

Extremely helpful information for trip planning. Thank you!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 5:44 p.m. Sue F Says...

My boys have been asking when we're going again, especially since Hagrid's Motorbike Adventure didn't exist on our last trip.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 5:33 p.m. Sierra Warren Says...

Looking forward to having our new addition visit for the first time.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 5:17 p.m. Melinda Schmidt Says...

Looking forward to things getting back to normal so we can schedule our trip! Thanks for the great information!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 4:38 p.m. Erica Says...

Can't wait to start traveling again and get back to our favorite theme park!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 4:14 p.m. Charles Sedano Says...

Haven't been in ages. Would love to visit once the pandemic is over.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 4:11 p.m. Grit Webb Says...

I want to take my grand daughters as soon as the virus is on the decline! Unfortunately we'll have to go during a school break.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 4:05 p.m. Dmom Says...

Missing Universal! Looking forward to traveling there this year for all the fun, excitment and to relive memories of times past!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 3:57 p.m. Pamela Alarcon Says...

I was going to travel in 2020 but we had to reschedule our trío for 2021, We hope to go on september and that thing are a little bit more like before covid19 ☺️

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Oct 13, 2020 at 3:56 p.m. Aly Says...

Of course all the times I would want to go are CRAZY busy. I may have to pull my daughter out of school to go next year.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 3:47 p.m. A-Niklaus Says...

Hoping things go well so all with be up and running at full capacity soon!! Bring on 2021!!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 3:40 p.m. Briana Koertner Says...

Awesome!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 3:31 p.m. Wilkins Says...

Can't wait!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 3:31 p.m. ValQ Says...

Holidays are the best time of year to visit!! Thank you for the inside info as always!!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 3:17 p.m. Erio66 Says...

I always buy my tics for Universal and Disney World from Undercover Tourist. No one beats their deals!

Reply
Oct 13, 2020 at 3:10 p.m. Noreen Walsh Says...

Love to read the blog and looking forward to christmas

Reply
Oct 13, 2020 at 3:03 p.m. Nicole Says...

Can't wait to visit. Harry Potter World here I come!!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 2:55 p.m. Nancy Steward Says...

Want things to get back to "NORMAL" so we can go back to Universal.

Reply
Oct 13, 2020 at 2:49 p.m. Deb Says...

Great giveaway!!

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