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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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751–800 of 1420 comments
Oct 12, 2020 at 11:50 p.m. sweepermom Says...

Great blog with lots of info! We enjoy Universal Orlando! Harry Potter was a fun experience!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 11:40 p.m. Nancy Evens Says...

I'm not a huge fan of visiting during holidays as I don't like the extra crowds. We prefer to visit during the middle of summer, when most people stay away due to the heat.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 11:36 p.m. Justateacup Says...

Thank you, I always enjoy your posts!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 11:36 p.m. Dennis Westrick Says...

Love this site!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 11:35 p.m. jim karas Says...

We visit Universal several times a year. Annually for Rock the Universe and Halloween Horror Nights.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 11:33 p.m. Shauna K Says...

I want to go to USO to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter very badly. It's on my bucket list. :)

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Oct 12, 2020 at 11:29 p.m. Minta Boggs Says...

An express pass sounds awesome especially trying to get into Harry Potters rides.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 11:28 p.m. RICARDO Says...

Wish we could visit the parks soon

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 11:26 p.m. Ben D. Says...

What a great post! Always such helpful and detailed information. My Orlando theme park trips each year would not be complete without regularly consulting Undercover Tourist.

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 11:25 p.m. JMartinson Says...

I enjoy getting emails from Undercovertourist!

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 11:15 p.m. Mary Jo Says...

Thank you for all the great information. I can't wait to go!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 11:14 p.m. Eva M Macias Says...

Best prices and easy to book!! Love you guys!!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 11:11 p.m. Nancy Van Ert Says...

Anytime is a good time to visit!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:58 p.m. Liz Kilcher Says...

thanks for the great info!!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:56 p.m. TraceyBax Says...

Great tips! Planning a surprise trip for my family!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:56 p.m. Nicole Says...

We loved going to Universal! We would love to go back some day! Thanks to undercovertourist for getting us cheap tickets.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:55 p.m. Susan T Says...

We've never been to Universal, but I'm hoping to plan a trip in 2021. Your guides are the best at helping plan an approach for the day!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:52 p.m. Michelle Says...

Thanks for the great post, it will be very helpful in planning the 2021 vacation we are hoping to take to Florida. Keep up the good work

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:52 p.m. Jessi Housel Says...

Wow! I would have thought that the end of May, early June would have been still a good time to go as many schools are still in session. Crowd knowledge is key to making a trip go smoother and be less stressful

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:51 p.m. Steph H Says...

I have never been to Universal during christmas season and the photos look magical! We will be at disney mid december so i’m thinking of staying a few extra days and checking our universal too!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:46 p.m. Tami R Says...

I’d love to get back!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:45 p.m. Jennifer Goldberg Says...

I would sure love to win this prize for my family. Last week, I bought tickets from you, for our trip to Disney World the last week in December.

Yeah!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 10:44 p.m. geom6682 Says...

I haven't ever been to Universal Orlando but would love to go someday!

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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

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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.

Reply
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 :)

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

Thanks for the tips

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