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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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51–100 of 1397 comments
Oct 30, 2020 at 3:03 a.m. Irasutex Says...

Love your posts and helpful tips. Thank you!

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Oct 30, 2020 at 2:25 a.m. Caterina Levato Says...

FYI~ One of the best times I think to visit the parks are the week end right after Thanksgiving~

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Oct 30, 2020 at 2:18 a.m. leeny Says...

this blog is so informative and fun to read. thank you

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Oct 30, 2020 at 2:12 a.m. Sanaz S Says...

We do Disney every year in January. We are excited to try Universal now that our boys are a little bit older. Thank you for the helpful information!

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Oct 30, 2020 at 2:08 a.m. JS Says...

Most years, right after labor day

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Oct 30, 2020 at 1:31 a.m. Brandy Says...

We would love to go. We haven’t been there yet.

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Oct 30, 2020 at 1:18 a.m. Alicia Says...

Thank you so much for the chance! A trip here would be amazing!!

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Oct 30, 2020 at 12:03 a.m. Katie Says...

My kids love Universal Studios and constantly ask when our next trip will be. Undercover Tourist has the best ticket deals.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 11:43 p.m. Andrea C Says...

Always a great resource when planning my trips!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 11:36 p.m. Jstewart Says...

Great site! Wonderful discounted tickets.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 10:49 p.m. Rob L Says...

Helpful info! Looking forward to a visit

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Oct 29, 2020 at 10:10 p.m. Isabelle Butcher Says...

You guys have been the best for disney tickets! Love it!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 10:07 p.m. Mishalle Roza-Ingram Says...

This is great! I've never been to Universal Studios and look forward to going one day soon. Universal has so much to offer!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 10:05 p.m. Samantha Parker Says...

I have been so many times to Orlando and I’m never disappointed I always have a great time!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 9:55 p.m. drealuck Says...

ready to visit again!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 9:44 p.m. Paolo Repetto Says...

Sick!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 9:35 p.m. Allison B Says...

We love universal and can't wait to return

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Oct 29, 2020 at 9:16 p.m. Juan Perez Says...

Orlando is one of our best vacations.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 9:13 p.m. Darlene Hirschhorn Says...

I love the information I find on undercovertourist.com. I also purchased DW tickets through uct and unfortunately they had to be refunded due to covid. How nice everyone was and what a positive experience! Thanks uct!!!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 9:08 p.m. Erin G Says...

We didn't have a crystal ball, but this is pretty close!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 8:50 p.m. Alisa Says...

Well written and useful!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 8:49 p.m. Alisa Says...

Well written and useful!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 8:40 p.m. Tabitha Bemis Says...

Helpful info!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 8:35 p.m. Madison Emlet Says...

I've never been down for the Holidays, I would love to go someday though! It looks absolutely magical during that time of year!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 8:31 p.m. Curt Says...

I am commenting to get an entry into a contest

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Oct 29, 2020 at 8:28 p.m. Jeff Says...

Universal was a great family trip when my family went 4 years ago and would love to get back again.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 8:10 p.m. Kelli P Says...

Can't wait to go!! ????

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Oct 29, 2020 at 8:10 p.m. Julie Borus Says...

Awesome giveaway!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 8:02 p.m. Beth S Says...

Hope to win the contest!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 7:57 p.m. Elisa Says...

I’m afraid to share this but January is our favorite time and you have to stay in proper to get the quickest wait times for rides!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 7:56 p.m. Alaina Says...

Awesome!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 7:48 p.m. Danielle Says...

Can’t wait to go back

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Oct 29, 2020 at 7:47 p.m. Elizabeth Skillman Says...

Can't wait to get back to the parks.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 7:45 p.m. Kristi P Says...

We lived visiting the parks during the holiday. With all the decorations, it just made it that much better. I just hate the large crowds during those times.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 7:44 p.m. Jan Fuller Says...

I love all the information you always have in your newsletters and blogs. It is so helpful in planning a trip to Orlando for either Universal or the many other attractions. I have visited many times and will continue to do so with your good advice. Thank you for all your research and work.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 7:42 p.m. Tana Says...

Great info to help plan. Thank you!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 7:38 p.m. Ability travelers Says...

I can’t wait to go. It seems like so much fun.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 7:25 p.m. Sarah Gil Says...

Can't wait to take my daughters, great tips!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 7:20 p.m. Alison P Says...

Thank you for these tips! I can't wait to go back!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 7:13 p.m. megan h Says...

I just want to go visit it can be anytime

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Oct 29, 2020 at 7:01 p.m. FMG Says...

Best trip planning site EVER! So helpful

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Oct 29, 2020 at 6:59 p.m. FMG Says...

Best trip planning site EVER!!! So helpful

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Oct 29, 2020 at 6:42 p.m. Katie H Says...

Hoping my fiance and I can take our baby for the first time in 2021 to experience all that Universal has to offer!!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 6:34 p.m. SHEILA RESSEL Says...

Thanks for the dates to avoid. I will keep this in mind when scheduling my next trip.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 6:27 p.m. Chris Greco Says...

Hoping to go in 2021!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 6:24 p.m. Moose Says...

This is great. Thanks for the service and information!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 6:09 p.m. Bethie L Says...

The magical world of Harry Potter keeps me coming back to Universal over & over again! It feels so real as if you’ve been transported to another world!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 6:03 p.m. April Gremillion Says...

Planning to head back to Orlando soon! I always buy my tickets through undercover tourist!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 6 p.m. Stacie Boyer Says...

I love the options undercover tourist has for me. I'm happy there's an alternative way to purchase tickets!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 5:57 p.m. Amanda T10 Says...

Very helpful!

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