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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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651–700 of 1420 comments
Oct 13, 2020 at 6:35 p.m. Morgan Says...

Cool!

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

good info

Reply
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!

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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.

Reply
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

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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.

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

Great giveaway!!

Reply
Oct 13, 2020 at 2:38 p.m. trindadsth Says...

I'm very conflicted. Go to WDW because of the Star Wars rides I haven't gone on or IOA for Hagrid's Motorcycle adventure.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 2:37 p.m. Michele G Says...

Can not wait to get back!!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 2:29 p.m. DataDan Says...

I love Universal Orlando! Can't wait to go this summer!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 2:27 p.m. JessS Says...

Can't wait to go back!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 2:27 p.m. Hannah Says...

Would love to visit soon!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 2:18 p.m. Ashley B Says...

Dreaming of those travel plans! Love these tips!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 2:16 p.m. Shaun Says...

My wife and I spent last Friday at both IOA and USO and had an amazing day. Lines were great, staff interactions were fantastic! We ended the night at Mythos and had an amazing meal!! Great to see that Universal is still bringing on the thrills, safely, even at this unusual time. :)

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Oct 13, 2020 at 2:14 p.m. Nancy Krueger Says...

Thanks for the detailed info. I'm hoping we can hit some date early/mid in January before school starts

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Oct 13, 2020 at 2:12 p.m. Elisa Evans Says...

can't wait to go!

Reply
Oct 13, 2020 at 2:08 p.m. Sherri DeSorcy Says...

Thank you for always having all this great information! We love Undercover Tourist!

Reply
Oct 13, 2020 at 2:07 p.m. R asvitt Says...

Looks amazing! Would love to take the family!

Reply
Oct 13, 2020 at 2:06 p.m. Cindy Perrin Says...

Thanks as always for the great information!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 2:03 p.m. sb704 Says...

Can't wait to visit again. it's been 7 years since we were last at Universal!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 2:02 p.m. Gina Wieser Says...

Thanks for the tips!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 1:58 p.m. Steven W Long Says...

This place is truly magical. Would love to visit.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 1:53 p.m. Ilona B. Says...

We have never visited but love spring break for vacations.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 1:51 p.m. Kelly VanAuken Says...

Great information. Thank you.

Reply
Oct 13, 2020 at 1:49 p.m. Chrizwald Says...

I hope I'm chosen. I've never been to Universal :)

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Oct 13, 2020 at 1:41 p.m. Js Says...

I can’t wait to take my family!!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 1:34 p.m. Merlin Williams Says...

I would love to be able to visit when things get back to normal.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 1:29 p.m. Daniel Mullen Says...

Good article.

Reply
Oct 13, 2020 at 1:15 p.m. Danielle Says...

I haven’t been yet and I want to go soooooo bad!

Reply
Oct 13, 2020 at 1:14 p.m. Michellerc Says...

Thank you Undercover Tourist. You’re information is always helpful!

Reply
Oct 13, 2020 at 1:12 p.m. Sfldhockeymom Says...

Thank you for all your info. It is very helpful when planning a trip

Reply
Oct 13, 2020 at 1:02 p.m. Rayne Torry Says...

I just left universal and cannot wait to come back already!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 12:58 p.m. APRIL A Says...

Thank you to UT, you are where we always buy our tickets to all of the FUN!!!

Reply
Oct 13, 2020 at 12:54 p.m. Cmac Says...

Really helpful post!

Reply
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