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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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851–900 of 1397 comments
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!

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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.

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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!

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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

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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?

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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

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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!

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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.

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

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

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

What Halloween activities are still available at Universal during Covid?

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

My daughter can't wait to go back. Hoping for next year, fingers crossed.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:29 p.m. Rebecca Aragon Says...

Thank you so much on your tips and tricks! I'm planning to make my very first trip out to Orlando and cannot wait!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:27 p.m. Gretchen Lord Anderson Says...

I depend on Undercover Tourist!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:27 p.m. Valerie Says...

Love your site!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:27 p.m. DavidT Says...

We've never been to Universal Orlando. My family (kids 15, 13, 7, 5, 3) loves Harry Potter but doesn't think Universal looks that exciting outside of that. I tried to tell them otherwise, but they still insist on Disney World. Someday maybe...

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:24 p.m. Adam Says...

I so want to visit Universal one day

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:24 p.m. Nicholas Hartley Says...

I so want to visit Universal one day

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:22 p.m. Jen Ward Says...

Sounds like fun

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:21 p.m. Amber Pridgen Says...

Entering the giveaway

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:20 p.m. Whit A Says...

Best time to visit is any time! Always a treat!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:19 p.m. Vanessa G. Says...

We went the beginning of February and the crowds weren't bad at all! Plus the price is cheaper than too! We enjoyed going this time because it's freezing up North this time so it was a nice change ????

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:17 p.m. VB Says...

The only place to buy your Walt Disney world tickets. I’ve been using them for 10 years or more!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:17 p.m. Jessica H Says...

You have saved me money!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:16 p.m. Mixmaster Says...

Universal remains the best theme park to visit in the Orlando Area.

The best times to visit really depend on your crowd tolerance and heat tolerance. I love going when it's warm enough to enjoy the water park but not too hot that standing in any line is unbearable.

For me that is always May, but due to spring breaks and end of school celebrations it can get a little crowded at times depending on when you go.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:16 p.m. Therese Says...

Absolutely live the crowd calendar. Thanks!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:16 p.m. Kelli Hughett Says...

We hope to visit Orlando in September 2021 with my WHOLE family! Ages 5-65! So excited to see what Orlando has to offer and I always visit this blog for planning and ticket purchases!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:16 p.m. Sabrina Woodruff Says...

We just bought tickets through y’all, for the 3rd time! We will be leaving for Disney and Universal November 30th! Thanks y’all

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:15 p.m. Russ Says...

I have ordered from them before, it was easy.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:14 p.m. Laurin Jeffrey Says...

We're going nuts up here in Canada waiting for it to be safe to travel again :(

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 6:13 p.m. Leah Says...

Universal Orlando really hit the mark with Harry Potter. They have done an amazing job with creating a fully immersive experience. We love Undercover Tourist and can’t wait to visit Universal and WDW in December!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:13 p.m. Jen Says...

Love this!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:13 p.m. Kelly Tulley Says...

Love this website.We've been purchasing tickets from you for 18 years now! We recommend your site to all our friends. Thanks!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:13 p.m. Susan Bachman Says...

Planning on a visit to Orlando in 2021. Always use Undercover Tourist for best prices on tickets when we go.

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