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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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951–1000 of 1420 comments
Oct 12, 2020 at 5:51 p.m. Renee Smason Says...

We love to go. Have never been there.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:51 p.m. Jana bush Says...

We can’t wait to visit the parks with our 4 kids! We’re all huge Harry Potter and marvel fans! Plus all the classic rides. It would be so awesome to get to surprise them with a trip!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:51 p.m. Jackie S Says...

My son is turning 11 later this year and will hopefully get his Hogwarts letter so we can visit USO. We’ve been to USH but would love to ride the Hogwarts express. It would be during the holidays but I’m optimistic we can get everything we want done with a bit of patience.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:50 p.m. Alberto Alonso Says...

Would love to win

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 5:50 p.m. Jen Says...

So tempted to get away but seems a little reckless to travel during the pandemic. Would love to take advantage of lower than normal crowds.

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 5:50 p.m. ssh68 Says...

I love posts like this. It helped me plan my Disney trip 3 years ago. I went in between Halloween and Thanksgiving and everything was perfect, the weather, the crowds, etc. I hope to do Universal this time around and this post is just what I need to help in my planning. Thanks frog!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:49 p.m. Richard LASHER Says...

Love Undercover Tourist and Universal Orlando Resort!!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:47 p.m. Sydney vought Says...

I have my fingers crossed for the sweepstakes!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:47 p.m. DHY Says...

Tons of info, very usefull

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:46 p.m. Janet Says...

Very helpful tips for my upcoming trip to WDW. Thank you!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:46 p.m. Rachel E. Says...

Our first visit to Universal was in September & I have to say that it was PERFECT. Great weather & not too busy!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:45 p.m. Snlmom Says...

We really enjoyed our trip to Disney Word in July of 2020. We're seriously considering sneaking in a Universal trip as well. This is good guidance! Hopefully we'll book soon!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:45 p.m. Lawrence Alworth Says...

WE like Undercover Tourist

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:45 p.m. Anousone Says...

Can't wait to visit central Florida again!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:44 p.m. Jon West Says...

Would love to visit this as I’ve heard so many great things with the theming.

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 5:44 p.m. Haley Cawelti Says...

I have been using Undercover Tourist for all of my theme park purchases. They always have great information and discounted options

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 5:44 p.m. Amber Jenkins Says...

Go during the winter! It's the best especially if you live somewhere that's cold in winter!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:42 p.m. Violet Hos Says...

Thank you for this article. Sadly I missed my trip this year as my country’s borders are closed. Hopefully I’ll be back 2022 or 2022

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:42 p.m. DemoDawg Says...

We have used Undercover Tourist several times for Disney tickets. Everything was great the whole experience plus we saved a lot of $$$ versus the gate prices. I highly recommend them and will continue to use them every time we visit the Orlando area.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:40 p.m. Emily Zimmerman Says...

Great info!! Thanks :)

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:38 p.m. Darren W Lewandowski Says...

Undercover Tourist is the one to go to for all news when it comes to theme park news in Florida

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:38 p.m. Taylor Says...

So cool!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:38 p.m. Virginia Alworth Says...

Love when Undercover Tourist has sweepstakes

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:38 p.m. Lizz! Says...

So sad we had to return our universal tickets twice in a row now ???? once due to pregnancy and the latest due to covid.. Thank you for having such an amazing return policy, we can't wait to get AND USE our tickets from you again when everything is back to normal!!????????

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:35 p.m. Rebecca Cook Says...

Great information! Thank you!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:35 p.m. Overmind99 Says...

I am planning to go in early December and this post is giving me great ideas about how to spend the trip. Super excited!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:34 p.m. Jonna Says...

I have been coming down to celebrate my Birthday every year for the past 15 years. And I am 64 y/o. I Love it so much. I have the app on my phone and use it the whole time I am there. I missed this year 2020 because of the pandemic and am so looking forward to next year to celebrate my 65th Birthday and Retirement!!! Winning this trip would be a great gift to me! :-) Thanks for the opportunity to enter!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:34 p.m. md9802 Says...

Informative post

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:33 p.m. Lora W Says...

Thanks for the info!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:31 p.m. DD Says...

September is a great time to visit

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:31 p.m. Renee Says...

Excellent article! It all still looks amazing and magical to me. If it were possible for us to visit now we certainly would!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:31 p.m. Mandy W. Says...

We are looking at taking our son on a combined WDW/US trip next Spring for his third birthday. Do you think he will be too young for US. He's been to WDW a few times already & loves it.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:30 p.m. Hailey Collins Says...

I have two trips booked one in December and one in January. I hope I am able to go and seriously cant wait! I originally bought tickets from undercover tourist in march so I am excited to put them to use soon!

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 5:29 p.m. deadkid14 Says...

Cool blog post thanks for the info

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:29 p.m. WillTN Says...

Would love to get back to Universal Orlando.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:27 p.m. Irma Z Says...

I want to ride Hagrids Motorbike Adventure again so bad!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:26 p.m. Vivian Says...

Late October-before Thanksgiving is best time to visit!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:26 p.m. Maya Says...

So excited to visit with my friends!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:25 p.m. Jenifer Says...

I love this website for info!

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 5:25 p.m. SHSCHAUMBURG Says...

I need to visit soon!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:25 p.m. Linda Ramos Says...

Thank you for such great information. There is so much to do in the Orlando area and when planning a trip it is easy to feel lost. Undercover Tourist helps so much with not only ticket discounts but planning ideas and recommendations.

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 5:25 p.m. Erin P Says...

Great info - thanks!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:25 p.m. Melissa Heiser Says...

My family has never been to universal we could definitely use a vacation

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 5:24 p.m. Gail Whitworth Says...

exciting and definitely a dream to visit!

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 5:24 p.m. Erika J Says...

Great info! This is needed since this virus has thrown many plans and quite frankly the whole year off. Looking forward to getting away

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:24 p.m. Shannon Says...

Definitely hoping to visit in Sept... thanks for breaking this down!

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 5:23 p.m. Andrea Synyshyn Says...

Thank you for the info, I am planning to go if finances will allow.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:23 p.m. Kate Johnston Says...

Planning a trip in 2021! Can't wait!

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 5:23 p.m. Izzy I. Says...

A must-visit site for any Orlando vacation! Thanks for all the info, keep up the great work.

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 5:22 p.m. Rachel L Says...

Great post! We haven’t visited Universal yet but when we do, we’ll be ready!

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