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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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951–1000 of 1397 comments
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!

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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!

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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.

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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

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

exciting and definitely a dream to visit!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:22 p.m. JenLee Says...

We just got back from Universal and it was amazing! The Harry Potter World in both parks was incredible. We only had one day there since we visited the Disney Parks as well. Our only regret was that we wish we would have done at least another day there.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:22 p.m. Mickey Says...

If you're not a thrill seeker (no roller coasters or high heights), which attractions and shows are best for me? Will there be any Christmas events this year?

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Oct 13, 2020 at 2:08 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Mickey!

If you’re OK with the simulation rides, then we’d recommend: Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, Skull Island: Reign of Kong, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, any ride in Seuss Landing (except for the trolley train) in Islands of Adventure. Universal Studios Florida has a lot more to offer: Minion Mayhem, Shrek 4-D, Race through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon, Transformers: The Ride 3D, Men in Black Alien Attack, The Simpsons Ride, Animal Actors, Universal Horror Make-Up Show, the Bourne Stuntacular and the Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone (which includes the ET ride). We are still waiting on details for Christmas events, but you can see all of the details on the Holidays at Universal in our full post here. We expect that the event, with modifications, will still happen this year.

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:21 p.m. Lori B Says...

Went to Universal and Disney in Jan 2020 and had the best time. Gringott's and Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, was awesome! Visiting Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Disney World, Flying the Millennium Falcon, riding Rise of the Resistance, and getting a lightsaber from Savi's workshop were just a few highlights of our trip. Weather was perfect! Purchased our tickets from Undercover Tourist and they were able to help us get a refund for ticket to Universal when someone in our party had to cancel due to illness.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:20 p.m. KIM HOFFMASTER Says...

WOW... I didn't know there was a blog!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:20 p.m. Crystal Green Says...

I love going on your website and reading everything you can do, and all the fantastic deals! I am a family of 7 who needs all the help we can get to plan a trip. I'm so glad you guys exist ☺️

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:20 p.m. Natalie Says...

I cannot wait for things to be back to normal. Really hoping to visit in January, but we’ll see how it works out!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:20 p.m. Shannon Says...

Thanks for the information! Looking forward to getting back in 2021 and trying to pick dates.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:19 p.m. Romy Says...

Love the post! Thank you for the information. We've always bought our tickets on your site. This year we were planning on going to Disney and universal in California but it got cancelled. When it's safe to travel again we will definitely get our tickets at undercover tourist again! We love your service! Thanks so much.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:18 p.m. Ashley Y Says...

I loved visiting at the special UC night at Universal in March. Hope it returns for 2020.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:18 p.m. Elizabeth MarcBeth Says...

Love the information! Thanks Undercover Tourist you’ve done it again! We definitely will be continuing to use your services for our future family vacations! ❤️❤️

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:18 p.m. Pam Says...

Never been. Looks like fun!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:18 p.m. Mara Vergon Says...

Great tips, thank you!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:17 p.m. Elizabeth Smock Says...

We grabbed the wonderful "play the rest of 2020" passes and we can't wait for the holidays in the Wizarding World!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:17 p.m. Rebecca D Says...

If I can ever leave the state, I can’t wait to ride Hagrid and go back to Universal. We have had to cancel twice already.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:17 p.m. Wendy de Gomez Says...

Universal is amazing in every single way!!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:16 p.m. Alicia O'Neal Says...

Ready for a Christmas trip to celebrate the END OF 2020!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:16 p.m. Michelle Says...

Love UC Tourist! Thanks for all the great info!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:15 p.m. Noah T Says...

Thanks for the info!!! very helpful for my next trip.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:12 p.m. Rob F. Says...

Thanks for the post! We have been using Undercover Tourist for years to plan our Orlando visits. Great info on crowd levels and touring plans.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:12 p.m. Runningwthsizors@yahoo.com Says...

Thank you for your info..!! Love this post

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:12 p.m. Carol Trainor Says...

Undercover tourist is my go to site for theme park tickets. Always professional, prompt, and cost effective!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:11 p.m. Roetutu Says...

I was just thinking of looking at a trip in late February or wait until early December. Thanks for all the great suggestions!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:11 p.m. akela_415 Says...

I'd love to live in Orlando and be able to visit theme parks every month

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