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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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751–800 of 1397 comments
Oct 12, 2020 at 10:41 p.m. Misty S Says...

We had to cancel our trip for this September with Covid, so we really hope things will be better for a trip next year! We are thinking sometime in the spring or next September would be great!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:39 p.m. apengmar Says...

I can't wait to get back and take my fiancé to see all of the Harry Potter rides and the new Jurassic World coaster!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:39 p.m. Michelle Tortora Says...

So glad I read this! I had completely forgotten that they decorate Harry Potter for Christmas. Getting even more excited for our Christmas/New Years trip!!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:37 p.m. Randy Says...

Would a fast pass be needed for universal studios from 15th February to 25th will be visiting on a weekday

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:30 p.m. Linda Sue Says...

Universal 2021, YES!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:25 p.m. Raymond Langer Says...

I took my family to Universal in Florida about 7 years ago. We loved it. This would be wonderful to take the family back again!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:23 p.m. Lynseymac Says...

Love visiting in February time - get the best of the weather and less crowded

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:20 p.m. Lesli Ramey Says...

I am dreaming about taking my kids to Universal! I would be so happy to go anytime of year but it would be extra awesome to be able to stay on site and get front of the line access. I introduced my daughter to the the Harry Potter movies during quarantine and we watched them on repeat, I’m so glad to share some thing I love with her. She is so excited to see the Wizarding world and to get a wand at Ollivanders. Good to know they are implementing safety measures too.

Thank you for your crowd calendars. It definitely helps to pick and choose days that we will be able to maximize our time with less crowds. I’d love to go in December and see the holiday decor!!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:18 p.m. Jill S Powers Says...

Can't wait to be back.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:17 p.m. Janet Says...

I've used your service before for various tickets and that service was excellent. I've also followed your advice regarding the best times to visit Orlando and I will definitely follow your advice when I'm planning my next visit too. Keep up the excellent work!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:14 p.m. Debbie Says...

ANY time would be great to visit for me- it’s been way too long and I need my Disney Fix! :)

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:10 p.m. Elaina Cole Says...

Whenever I feel comfortable traveling again, I can't wait to use Undercover Tourist to plan my next Orlando trip :)

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:10 p.m. ANITA HILL Says...

Great

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 10:06 p.m. Shannon Hoffman Says...

I can’t wait to go here!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:04 p.m. Dacia P. Says...

I would love to take a trip to Universal!!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 9:58 p.m. Chuck Says...

Whens the best time to visit the Harry Potter sections of Universal.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 9:58 p.m. Amanda Outland Says...

We've been to Disney several times. But have yet to visit Universal.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 9:54 p.m. Michelle Linebach Says...

Love Disney and Love to save money !!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 9:51 p.m. Ryan M Says...

So looking forward to being able to go again

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Oct 12, 2020 at 9:44 p.m. Jennifer Says...

Thanks Undercover Tourist!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 9:42 p.m. Mackenzie Kalp Says...

Great tips! I have never been to Universal. My sister and I are looking for a trip to do in late 2020 or early 2021 to celebrate her 21st birthday and me finishing my master's degree. This will have to be a contender!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 9:41 p.m. Angela Wheeler Says...

Would love to visit Universal with out teens for Christmas!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 9:39 p.m. Kristen D Says...

Haven't been in forever! Great tips!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 9:36 p.m. Hazel Says...

Thanks for the great info! We were supposed to visit the Universal Orlando parks during our fall break. Hoping to visit next year!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 9:30 p.m. Robert morrison Says...

I’m supposed to leave a comment for the sweepstakes entry so.... comment.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 9:20 p.m. Sweetz71 Says...

This looks like the vacation of a lifetime. After a very bad car accident and many surgeries this would be a slice of heaven!! Thank you so much for the extremely generous giveaway :)

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Oct 12, 2020 at 9:12 p.m. Brittany Gilley Says...

Thanks for the tips

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Oct 12, 2020 at 9:09 p.m. EMC Says...

Can't wait!

Will be my first visit to Universal!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 9:09 p.m. Bill Carson Says...

Looking forward to visiting this December!!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 9:07 p.m. Stephanie Says...

Hi,

Do you think it will be better to visit Universal in 2021 or 2022. Is there anything new opening in Universal next year?

Thanks

Stephanie

Reply
Oct 13, 2020 at 11:33 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Stephanie!

You can see a full list of what's coming to Universal Orlando Resort in our post here.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 9:03 p.m. MissaLS Says...

So ready for a vacation! Thank you Frog Family!

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 9:01 p.m. Cheryl Lee Says...

How is Universal handling Covid safety guidelines?

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Oct 13, 2020 at 11:34 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Cheryl!

Great question - we have a full post detailing Universal's health and safety procedures here.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 8:50 p.m. Robert Says...

Best park ever

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:49 p.m. Brittany Marie Says...

I NEVER plan a trip to the parks without using your crowd calendar! I can’t wait to get back to Universal. My fiancé and I haven’t been there since we met there 5 years ago!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:48 p.m. Maria Says...

A definite magical and adventurous experience!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:47 p.m. BFF STEPH Says...

The crowd calendar is awesome, seems to be pretty accurate! Will def use in the future!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:41 p.m. Lisa Daddazio Says...

I love Undercover Tourist I have gotten my tickets throw you and you have great information.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:40 p.m. Bobbie Says...

Great article! Undercover tourist is such a amazing resource for Universal and Disney World!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:40 p.m. linda battiparano Says...

love disney contests!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:39 p.m. Monique Y Cox Says...

I love your site/blog. Thanks for all of your travel tips. The Crowd Calendar is important when to visit. I hate long lines and it's nice to know when the best time to go so we can use our time wisely.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:38 p.m. joe dunne Says...

lot of good info, but i'm not travelling any time soon

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:37 p.m. Debbie Dietz Says...

I can’t wait until I am allowed to travel to Florida again.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:37 p.m. Kimberly A Kline Says...

I love visiting the second week in December and mid January! Weather is great and crowds easily manageable!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:36 p.m. Ken Cosco Says...

Universal is great when it's slower. I hope it will get back to normal soon.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:35 p.m. Micah Roberts Says...

We loved universal so much and can’t wait to go back!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:33 p.m. bn100 Says...

helpful info

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:31 p.m. Julie Says...

Undercover Tourist is a great resource for discounts and crowd projections. It’s my go to source when planning a theme park trip.

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 8:26 p.m. Aj Says...

Can’t wait to explore all things Harry Potter again....

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 8:25 p.m. Catherine R Says...

Undercover Tourist knows their stuff! We miss Disney and Universal: it's been a couple of years since we've been. We can't wait to get our little girl back to the magic!

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 8:24 p.m. Kyle Says...

Never been to Universal before. I just can't justify going there instead of Disney. Unless I win a contest or something......

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