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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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701–750 of 1420 comments
Oct 13, 2020 at 12:42 p.m. Lori Hunter Says...

I LOVE Undercover tourist. 2 summers ago we were blessed to be able to go to Universal and I had forgotten to order my tickets a few days earlier. I ordered on the day of driving down. The email said the tickets may take 24 hours I was devastated. I called and talked with someone at undercover tourist she was such a blessing and helped us so very much. She was unsure is it would work but she put a rush on things for me and BAM Praise The Lord our tickets were available. We saved so much money going through them and I recommend you to everyone I talk to about Universal!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 12:17 p.m. JL Granger Says...

Can not wait to go back!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 12:01 p.m. Rhonda Nieto Says...

Hoping to go in 2021!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 11:43 a.m. Chana B Says...

Thanks for the info! Your blog and website were so helpful when planning our trip!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 11 a.m. Heather Bannigan Says...

Can’t wait to visit Florida again next year (hopefully) and will definitely be referring to this blog for all the handy tips and advice

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Oct 13, 2020 at 10:58 a.m. Trica Hotard Says...

December 7th thru 11th

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Oct 13, 2020 at 10:55 a.m. Kara Says...

We always use Undercover Tourist for our Orlando trips! We were referred by !

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Oct 13, 2020 at 10 a.m. J Says...

Live the Harry Potter books at Universal! It's magical!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 9:52 a.m. Joy Marish Says...

Great Info to know. Thank You.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 6:27 a.m. Kristina Fitzpatrick Says...

What an awesome opportunity!!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 6:16 a.m. Dominique Says...

Looking forward to a visit once the pandemic is gone and travel bans are lifted!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 5:51 a.m. Brandi Christensen Says...

Love the Disney parks but I’ve never been to Universal Studios. Would be fun!!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 5:49 a.m. David Cotton Says...

I think a person may need a week to do this! Soo much there :)

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Oct 13, 2020 at 5:04 a.m. Laurel Says...

I love the frog family! I’ve used Undercover Tourist for 3 of my Disney trips. They are legit. I had no problems with any of my reservations or tickets. I love their reviews and tips and I’ve recommended them to friends and family quite a few times. Keep up the good work!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 4:57 a.m. James Says...

Never been to Universal. I always take the kids to Disney World when we go to Florida. Planning on go to Universal next year.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 4:53 a.m. Ivy Gallegos Says...

I have been buying Walt Disney World & Universal Studios tickets for about 10 years now & have ALWAYS been pleased with their knowledge of both Parks & their professionalism. I have ALWAYS been pleased with how courteous, pleasant, knowledgeable & how professional they are! And have been referring people to them for years! I've never had an issue with their service or tickets & will continue to recommend them to everyone & anyone looking to save $money & have a hassle- free experience! Thanks for ALWAYS being there for your customers & us all these years!! :)

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Oct 13, 2020 at 4:47 a.m. Mable Says...

Miss Universal Orlando! Hope to be able to visit again!!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 4:37 a.m. Lynhob Says...

Love both Universal and Disney World. Heading to DW at then end of Oct thanks to the updates from Undercover Tourist

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Oct 13, 2020 at 4:25 a.m. AnnW Says...

If you only have one day to go, Wednesdays are a great day to hit the parks. I could really use a park fix right now.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 4:04 a.m. Bridget Dybdahl Says...

Would love to win this sweepstakes and take my grandchildren to Orlando since they moved to Indiana & I live in Michigan and have not seen them to since they moved and am missing them terribly with this Covid we have been feeling so isolated and could use some love aim this unprecedented time????

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Oct 13, 2020 at 3:53 a.m. Marilyn Magann Says...

I have never visited Universal. I hope to visit soon!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 3:32 a.m. jene4423 Says...

Pinning this for the future! We were planning on taking a family vacation to Orlando this year before the pandemic threw a wrench in everything, we're definitely going at some point though!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 3:31 a.m. Camille Says...

This site helped me save 100s of dollars on park tickets and we used the crowd calender to visit the parks on their least busy days. Longest wait time was 45 min. It was a success. Thank you!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 3:26 a.m. Jennifer Fellabaum-Toston Says...

We were so happy to have found Undercover Tourist when planning our trip to Universal last year. We cannot wait to travel again!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 3:24 a.m. Kerri1207 Says...

I’ll pack my bags and go!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 3:19 a.m. Nancy Klein Says...

Great tips!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 3:15 a.m. Tracy Z Says...

I cannot go this year, but will definitely try for Sept 2021! Thanks for the heads up!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 3:08 a.m. Dawn Says...

Have used UnderCovertourist in the past and had an excellent experience particularly with customer service. It was smooth, hassle-free.

Will definitely use again!!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 3:06 a.m. Melissa Says...

Sounds frogtastic! I would love to take my kids someday. Definitely on our list.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 2:32 a.m. Erin McCullough Says...

Love Harry Potter at Universal! Looking forward to visiting again someday!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 2:23 a.m. Mary Rodowicz Says...

Thank you sooo much for all the info and all the best dates to go !! My family has never been and would go bonkers if I won the trip ! Thank you for having the giveaway and thank you so much for the chance !

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Oct 13, 2020 at 2:15 a.m. Debora Hess Says...

We visited UOR in August and used your website and APP for planning and while we were there. They were a huge help!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 2:11 a.m. Michael Says...

Do you know when the new Jurassic World Velocicoaster coaster will be completed?

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Oct 13, 2020 at 2:07 a.m. Barry Wallace Says...

I can’t wait to go back. It’s been several years since I’ve been there. The Kong ride wasn’t even open yet 5 years ago :)

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Oct 13, 2020 at 1:58 a.m. Says...

Love me some Orlando! Can’t wait to plan a return visit for our family!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 1:47 a.m. Ethel Turkowski Says...

Can’t wait to be able to revisit WWOHP!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 1:37 a.m. Heather Says...

I hope my family can make it there in 2021

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Oct 13, 2020 at 1:13 a.m. Jaime Zielinski Says...

Great post

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Oct 13, 2020 at 1:12 a.m. Jarod Munoz Says...

Ever since I discovered Undercover Tourist I am constantly on here looking for my next vacation! Universal Studios, here I come!!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 1:01 a.m. Lkirk21 Says...

LOVE Disney! We won’t do Disney again without meal plans...we are big fans of the meal plans.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 12:59 a.m. Lynn Says...

These Best Time to Visit posts are really helpful. Thank you!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 12:56 a.m. Leigh Law Says...

GREAT info! I am ready, ready to get back to Orlando for a few days!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 12:55 a.m. D Wayles Says...

We can't wait to visit Universal Orlando to celebrate our daughter's Sweet 16 birthday!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 12:46 a.m. Tammy Says...

Thank you for the tips. I do hope things get back to a more “normal” soon.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 12:28 a.m. Kim Says...

Why is Feb 19-22 the worst but the very next weekend the best time to visit?

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Oct 13, 2020 at 11:30 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kim!

There's generally a lot of visitors for Presidents Day Weekend (and through the following week), which falls on Feb. 15.

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Oct 13, 2020 at 12:25 a.m. Janjet R Says...

Thank you for posting the Crowd Calendar! We are now figuring out the dates that we need.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 12:03 a.m. stlMary Says...

I can't wait to get back to Florida... trying to figure out if we can sneak away for a long weekend in January.....

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Oct 13, 2020 at midnight Charlotte Sims Says...

I always buy tickets from Undercover tourist and recommend them to others. Looking back at this worst time to visit 2020, I wish I could have gone early March before everything got chaotic.

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Oct 13, 2020 at midnight Paula A Says...

Definitely avoid March!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 11:51 p.m. Julianne Says...

We're planning to visit Universal Orlando right before Christmas. Wish us luck with the crowds!

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