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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!
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901–950 of 1420 comments
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!

Reply
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!

Reply
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!

Reply
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.

Reply
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.

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

We have never been to Universal, but we are big Harry Potter fans. What are the must-do's at each park?

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Oct 13, 2020 at 11:58 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Laura!

We'd definitely recommend getting a park-to-park ticket so that you can take it between parks - it's different each direction! Outside of that, we'd suggest spending your time exploring both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley (including a trip to Ollivanders - right now, it's only one party per show, so you'll have a private show!).

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:11 p.m. Julie Says...

Looks fun.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:11 p.m. Natalie Stover Says...

Hi there! I now have a child in Kindergarten so this is really helpful with relating the crowds and Covid. It has definitely been a stressful time with me being laid off, and he would have such a blast if we were able to attend! He is a huge superhero fan :) Also, the Cabana Bay looks really inviting! I've also heard Hagrid's is the best new rollercoaster so that is always something to look forward to! :)

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:10 p.m. Rach Says...

Thanks for the info!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:09 p.m. Whitney Says...

I have never had the opportunity/ability to go to Universal! I WISH we could!! ...maybe someday!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:09 p.m. Desiree Wilkins Says...

I can't wait until we can go back!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:09 p.m. NICOLE BECKER Says...

Thank you so much for posting this very informative article! Now I know when to book my trip for my family. I have not been there since my daughter was 6 and now she is 28 with children of her own. We can't wait!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:09 p.m. Chris Says...

Great tips!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:08 p.m. Rachel Masten Says...

Never been to Universal. Can’t wait to take the kids!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:08 p.m. Staci Whatley Says...

Great blog post!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:08 p.m. Heidi B Says...

Love your site! Great planning advice and awesome tips.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:06 p.m. Shawn Baer Says...

Love to take my family to Universal to celebrate my daughter graduating from college No other place my daughter wants to go but here hoping to win

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:06 p.m. Elisa Says...

My daughter loves Harry Potter! She would enjoy this trip as well as her brother, since they both have never been to Universal yet. Thanks for the advice!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:06 p.m. Amanda P Says...

Thanks for a great experience last fall! We are looking forward to our next adventure with you!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:02 p.m. Sarah Adair Says...

I love your blog!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:02 p.m. Laura Says...

Went last year the week before Thanksgiving - AWESOME week to go!!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:01 p.m. Alison Says...

I live near the parks, and I would agree. However, Labor Day was one of the most crowded this year - because of covid - I think next year might be better. We did go during the week in September and may try again before the end of the year - good article, thanks!

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 6 p.m. Dusty Brennan Says...

I have found the crowd calendar to be extremely helpful when planning which parks to attend on which days.

I'm looking forward to my next trip in Sept 2021!

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 5:58 p.m. rustgeun Says...

I always get my Universal and Disney World tickets through Undercover Tourist's discount tickets link. They are also full of good advice in these blogs!

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 5:58 p.m. Angela Says...

Thank you so much for all your tips. I have always used your crowd calendars and recommendations to plan my trips to Disneyland and Disneyworld. I can't wait to read all your recommendations for Spring Break 2021 as that is our next trip. Keep up the great work!!

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 5:56 p.m. Charlotte Ross Says...

This was very useful information. Thank you!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:56 p.m. Catherine Touhsant Says...

I'm loving all these great tips! I'll be back at Universal Nov 1-3. I'm hoping to finally get on that Hagrid's ride!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:56 p.m. BrianJL Says...

I really miss the parks - it would be great to go back!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:55 p.m. Beth Ferguson Says...

Would love to visit the Harry Potter area of Universal! I think it would be almost like being at Diagon Alley!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:54 p.m. Kate Says...

YAHOO! Wish I was there

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:53 p.m. John Rogan Says...

Thank you for the info

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 5:51 p.m. London Says...

Love it!❤️

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