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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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801–850 of 1397 comments
Oct 12, 2020 at 8:19 p.m. Chet Says...

Never been to Universal Orlando, looking forward to it in November.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:13 p.m. Anony-mouse Says...

You have some of the most interesting contests

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:10 p.m. Tiffany Richter Says...

I would love to win a trip to Universal! We go to Disney often, but never Universal. My question, would my 4 year old enjoy it, or would it be better to wait a few years. The biggest problem we have, our oldest is 16! We don't want her to miss out on the fun and that may happen if we wait. Thanks!

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Oct 13, 2020 at 2:10 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Tiffany!

We'd go now - there are several rides for little ones, and your older tadpole will have a blast!

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:04 p.m. David Says...

Super helpful! Would love to avoid crowds if we can!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:03 p.m. Salina L. Says...

Such great information!! Can't wait to take my daughter on her graduation trip that got cancelled!! Please pick us!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:57 p.m. Amanda Wylie Says...

We use you guys every time we buy tickets to the Florida Theme Parks. I really appreciate you and all you do!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:53 p.m. Amelia S Says...

Weekdays are the best! We are homeschoolers and have always gone in late April/early May. It’s after spring break and before summer crowds. There is usually little to no waits. This year we are going November 11 for a few days as they were closed for our April trip. My daughter is 12 and has FINALLY decided that she loves roller coasters. Normally I ride alone (my daughter is a big weenie and my husband is disabled). I’m really exited to have a ride buddy this year!!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:52 p.m. Kelly Gallagher Says...

Great post! Can’t wait to go back!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:50 p.m. samina Says...

Hi.. i've heard a new rollercoaster coming in 2021 .. what are any other new attractions coming up in winter and next year 2021? thanks

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

Hi Samina!

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

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:49 p.m. abby Says...

hope i'll be there next sept! thanks for the tips.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:49 p.m. Shirley Says...

I would love to visit Orlando again, it has been years since I been there.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:45 p.m. SaraP Says...

Universal is such a fun place to visit! And if you are any sort of Harry Potter fan, you HAVE to go!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:45 p.m. PedsNursePatt Says...

Can't wait to go in January. Perfect for my birthday on January 11th!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:41 p.m. Jennifer Sansom Says...

We love Disney!!????

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:41 p.m. Nd814 Says...

Loved World of Harry Potter

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:40 p.m. GBH Hornswoggler Says...

I like to off-season as much as possible -- November and February are both great months to visit.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:39 p.m. Cheryl Akers Says...

I bought my Disney World tickets and Disney hotel through you last year. Heading back to Magic Kingdom in two weeks!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:36 p.m. Tina Sharp Says...

We LOVE Universal Orlando!! Harry Potter is THE best!! :)

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:33 p.m. Burtonelli123 Says...

We had planned a family trip in April, and then moved it to September, but had to cancel as my oldest left for Basic in the Air Force. We will not get to see him in person again until after he finishes tech school, so we are really appreciate these blogs to help us figure the beat time to go and get the most of our brief time with our son. Thank so much for sharing all this info!!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:31 p.m. Lisa P. Says...

Nice job guys! As always!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:31 p.m. Heather Says...

was hoping to get to Orlando in 2021 just not sure I'm ready for all that yet

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:29 p.m. Selda Says...

Love your tips and advice on theme parks even when we are locals...we always love the help. Thanks guys

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:26 p.m. Sonia K Says...

I’ve never been to Universal and have heard great things. Would love to take my kids someday!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:24 p.m. WhooHoo Says...

Thank you for the info. Great post!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:23 p.m. Sheena Jones Says...

Would love to visit the parks during the holidays!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:22 p.m. delrahim69 Says...

ive always wanted to visit orlando universal

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:22 p.m. Tammy Jenanyan Says...

We have never been to any theme park in Florida but would love to go one of these summers, especially after all this Covid junk is gone. Universal looks like a great place to take our teenagers!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:22 p.m. Chris L Says...

Great post

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:21 p.m. Christina P. Says...

We've already booked ourselves for a weeklong visit to Disney World for end of January beginning of February 2021. I'm glad I got it right!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:20 p.m. Will Buck Says...

What do we think about COVID and Universal? How are they handling it? Are there many cases being traced back to therE?

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:18 p.m. Kyle Fujimoto Says...

We miss Disney and Universal! Hope to visit next year.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:17 p.m. Jennifer Stump Says...

Thanks for always sharing updates!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:17 p.m. Soraya M Says...

Thank you for this great information. We knew we wanted to go to Universal in 2021 but were not sure which days. Because of this information, we have decided to book for April 15th thru 18th. Thanks again.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:14 p.m. Britt Says...

Definitely the best time to visit was during late August and early September. Time will tell with Covid but I am looking forward to attempting a late summer trip next year!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:14 p.m. JessH Says...

Great post. Can't wait to take my kids in 2021!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:12 p.m. Stephen Eubanks Says...

Great info for missing the crowds!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:12 p.m. Alexia Says...

Was planning a trip the week after Thanksgiving but am thinking of pushing it the first week of May since that still seems like a good time to go! Thanks for the info!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:11 p.m. MeKisha Hecht Says...

Great info! We were super impressed with the Harry Potter World areas of Universal! Well done!!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:09 p.m. Terrie Johnson Says...

Disney World is so much fun. This 70 year young kid loves everything about the park. Orlando Universal is a blast. I love going in the winter with the snow capped village. The rides are a blast.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:09 p.m. Pamela Says...

Great Article with lots of useful information! Really helps me to make plans for next year. Already have this year scheduled. We will be in Florida next month, can't wait! :)

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:09 p.m. Shelley Says...

Sounds like so much fun! We love Universal!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:08 p.m. Rebecca Says...

Thanks for the great post and the great savings on our tickets! We are going in Dec 2020 and can't wait!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:07 p.m. Fabian Hinojosa Says...

I would like to visit Orlando this year

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:05 p.m. Amy H. Says...

just visited and loved it! what a great experience!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:03 p.m. Nancy A Says...

Hi!!!! I have bought from you for many years. Always 100% perfect and I refer everyone to you!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7:01 p.m. Dayna Horner Says...

So much good information. I may have to take my birthday off (Jan 4) and spend it at Universal! I don't love the crowds!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 7 p.m. FatmanOSU Says...

I hope Haggert's is open next time.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:59 p.m. James Russell Says...

Great value. Easy to use.

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 6:58 p.m. Marti Wolf Says...

Great way to give us all essential info in one place for easy access! Love this site.

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 6:58 p.m. Rose Says...

Thank you for the information! It’s very helpful for planning our next trip!

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