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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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851–900 of 1420 comments
Oct 12, 2020 at 7:22 p.m. Chris L Says...

Great post

Reply
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.

Reply
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!

Reply
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.

Reply
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!

Reply
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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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:54 p.m. J Says...

We're hoping to go to the parks at the end of May 2022. I'd like to go sooner, but we have high risk family. Just can't risk it!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:53 p.m. Heather Indelicato Says...

Thank you for all you guys do!! I have grown up going to Disney World almost every year. I am now 39, I think it is past time I visit universal for the first time!! I been wanting to the last few years, but it just hasn’t worked out for one reason or another. With the help of undercover tourist when I do finally get to visit I will be well prepared! Thank you!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:53 p.m. Kate Says...

We would love to visit Universal!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:52 p.m. Kristin J. Says...

Great post! We have visited several times and love the parks! Any time is a good time to visit. We even bought tickets through Undercover Tourist. It's a very valuable resource to have!

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 6:52 p.m. Kate Says...

I am dying to visit Universal!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:52 p.m. Susan Bell Says...

We went to Universal last year and saw the Thanksgiving parade with the Macy’s balloons - it was awesome! Would love to go back!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:50 p.m. Miranda C Says...

We loved our trip to Universal!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:50 p.m. Birdita Says...

Love your site! Thanks for keeping up on all the ever changing news that we need.

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 6:50 p.m. Kim C. Says...

I really hope to get back to Universal Orlando soon! I miss The Mummy ride and The Hulk!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:50 p.m. Jenn Says...

We’ve been doing Disney every other Thanksgiving since our son was 4. He’s finally tall enough to ride most of the coasters so in 2021 we’re adding Universal for sure !!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:48 p.m. Molly O'Reilly Says...

My husband and I attended your VIP night last March for our 10th Anniversary! Wow did we have fun!! Can’t wait for the next one!!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:48 p.m. Zulma Says...

I miss Orlando and the theme parks. Good luck to everyone.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:46 p.m. Diana Says...

I haven’t been to Universal since I was 10 years old. 2020 just might be my year. :)

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:46 p.m. Coralis Says...

Thank you for the information. Do you guys have knowledge if there are strict rules due to COVID-19? I would love to be prepared and have everything in otder to visit while taking care of me and the others.

Have a great day and thank you!

Reply
Oct 13, 2020 at 11:35 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Coralis!

You are so welcome! You can see all of the health and safety protocols currently in place at Universal in this post.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 6:43 p.m. Christina Stephens Says...

Looks like so much fun!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:41 p.m. Says...

My son and I would love to go back go back to the parks and we would absolutely love to win this trip!!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:41 p.m. Michael Says...

So with how COVID has affected things and the fact that Universal does not use a reservation system, do you foresee issues with Social Distancing and large crowds during the Holidays?

Reply
Oct 13, 2020 at 11:39 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Michael!

While there's not a reservation system in place, Universal is limiting capacity to enter the parks, and has incorporated things like queue markers on rides, outside of stores and in restaurants so that proper distance can be maintained between parties. There is sometimes a queue to get into certain areas of the parks (such as Hogsmeade) too, so that staff can properly monitor capacity and keep everyone safe. Separate parties will be spaced out on attractions, as well. There have also already been a few days where the parks have hit capacity, so Universal has had some experience with a "full" day. That said, we think it should be manageable! One important note: If you are a Universal hotel guest, you are automatically counted in park capacity for the day - an added perk! :)

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 6:40 p.m. Mallory Leigh Carnes Says...

Hoping to visit next fall!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:38 p.m. Manny Perez Says...

Thanks for the post. We were in Universal Orlando for our first time a few weeks ago. We went on a Saturday. It was busy, but we were still able to ride many rides. The best ride there was in my opinion was, Hagrid's Motorbike Adventure. Our family had a blast.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:37 p.m. Justin C Says...

Great info: I’m really excited for the new velocicoaster.....just don’t know when we’ll get to go next

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:36 p.m. Jrowens Says...

Is there something going on at the end of January that makes it not a recommended time to visit?

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:34 p.m. Scot Eaves Says...

I haven't been to Universal in years, and my wife has never been! We've been married 4 years and are now almost empty-nesters (we're a blended family). She's not a theme-park girl, and I grew up visiting the Orlando parks since the 70's when vacationing with the family to nearby beaches from Tennessee. I would love to take her and show her how much fun a theme park can be!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:31 p.m. Gabby Perez Says...

Great Post!... We were actually there on Saturday September 26 and yes it was busy but we still got to ride a lot of rides! It was my first visit and my family and I were traveling from California. We were there for a Disneyworld vacation. We had Saturday free so we thought we should just go to Universal Orlando. Had a blast!

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 6:31 p.m. Tracy Ayres Says...

We live and breathe by Undercover Tourist's Crowd Calendar. It has never led us down the wrong path.

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. Michele Says...

I've never been to Universal Orlando but I would love to go!!

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. L montag Says...

What Halloween activities are still available at Universal during Covid?

Reply
Oct 13, 2020 at 11:57 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi there!

There is trick-or-treating at Universal's Islands of Adventures, as well as limited-time haunted houses at Universal Studios Florida. You can see a full rundown of the fall fun in store in this post!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. Shelly Says...

We will be in Orlando in late May and hope to add a day or two at Universal. In past years, late May has been great since it is before many schools on the East coast are out for summer.

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