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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!
View Comments
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601–650 of 1420 comments
Oct 14, 2020 at 12:23 p.m. Emily Says...

We like to go mid-January. I'd love to go early December or late September to get some holiday cheer (Christmas or Halloween, both are so much fun)!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 12:22 p.m. Asia Walker Says...

This is great info thanks

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Oct 14, 2020 at 12:09 p.m. Sean D Says...

I love visiting at Christmastime. The holidays are fantastic.

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Oct 14, 2020 at 11:52 a.m. Janet Holman Says...

Looking forward to my next vacation.

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Oct 14, 2020 at 11:51 a.m. Chris D Says...

Always the best information! Thanks!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 11:42 a.m. candy Says...

Never been looks like fun!!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 11:35 a.m. Jessica Walker Says...

I would love to take my daughters here one day.

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Oct 14, 2020 at 11:15 a.m. Whitney J L Says...

I wish we could visit Universal soon!!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 10:41 a.m. Hector Says...

I already purchased my park tickets with Undercover Tourist for my January 2021 vacation. I can’t wait to return to Orlando!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 10:19 a.m. Steve Says...

A very good guide

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Oct 14, 2020 at 7:54 a.m. Angel B. Says...

We would love this! We live in Florida and haven't been to Universal yet due to prices so fingers crossed! <3

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Oct 14, 2020 at 7:01 a.m. Maryn Says...

Love Universal Studios!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 5:19 a.m. Delora Mccracken Says...

Thanks for all the great info. I learned a lt. Now I have more of an idea when to plan our Disney trip for 15 of us!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 4:55 a.m. shoppinmom77 Says...

We love to visit Universal and IOA! I agree with the recommendation to go when school is in session, and during the week. Can't go wrong!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 4:45 a.m. Andrew P Says...

Curious when the VelociCoaster will open!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 4:37 a.m. CassCass Says...

Looking forward to a crowded but “less crowded” Thanksgiving trip! Thank you for the insight!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 3:38 a.m. Christina Wahrmund Says...

Any time you go to Universal is the best time!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 3:06 a.m. C. Weller Says...

I love going to Orlando in the first two weeks of December! The weather is amazing and it's great to get out of the cold in PA! We have only visited Disney and Kennedy Space Center though, and would love to go to Universal!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 3:06 a.m. Stephanie Bryant Says...

Great contest

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Oct 14, 2020 at 2:40 a.m. M. Elliott Says...

We will be there next week! Can’t wait!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 2:10 a.m. Jon Heil Says...

I havent been there in ages but I loved animal kingdom and the dinosaur ride and bringing back the Trex on the plane. Wish could have went to universal, maybe get the chance!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 1:33 a.m. Andrew Hall Says...

I want to visit Harry Potter World with my grandchildren!

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Oct 14, 2020 at 1:33 a.m. Joann D Says...

Can't wait to visit

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Oct 14, 2020 at 1:11 a.m. Matiman Panda Says...

I want to visit it

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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!

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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!

Reply
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..

Reply
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

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

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

Reply
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

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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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