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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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1001–1050 of 1420 comments
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.

Reply
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?

Reply
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

Reply
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!

Reply
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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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:10 p.m. Karlee Says...

Love UCT! ❤️????

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:10 p.m. TIM STARNES Says...

Knowing when to go to Universal is crucial for our fam. We have limited time therefore need to make the most of it THis helps alot.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:08 p.m. Larissa Says...

You do such a nice job compiling and conveying the info we need to visit the parks. Thank you for all your attention to detail!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:08 p.m. Pink8 Says...

I always check for the best time to go on This site! Great info! Thanks!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:08 p.m. SUSAN ROPER KENNEDY Says...

Never been to Universal! Hope I win this trip!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:08 p.m. lynn m miller Says...

I am looking forward to a visit later this year.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:07 p.m. Teresa Moore Says...

Like everyone else, we had to cancel all travel this year. We are beyond ready to get back on the road and start having fun again!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:06 p.m. Amanda Says...

What kinds of precautionary measures have been put in place at the parks in regards to Covid 19?

Reply
Oct 13, 2020 at 11:45 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Amanda!

We have a full post detailing the health and safety measures currently in place here. Hope this helps!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 5:06 p.m. Henry Talley Says...

Hello, I’m entering the sweepstakes.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:06 p.m. CAMILE PUNCH Says...

We have had success with going in early May.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:06 p.m. Jason Takhtadjian Says...

I've only been to Orlando once and it was to go visit Disney World. It was an absolute blast! I did more research after I left Orlando, when it comes to theme parks, and I realized I should've stayed longer to visit Universal Orlando! I've loved the Universal Hollywood park & I realized that Universal Orlando offers far more, especially to the ride enthusiasts! Hopefully I can get to visit one day & maybe this sweepstakes is my golden ticket back to Orlando.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:05 p.m. Donna Says...

We love to visit during spring break!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:05 p.m. Scott Jones Says...

Very informative! We are planning a trip here on Nov 21 and it wouldn't be a trip without a visit to Universal!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:05 p.m. lorna seay Says...

Can’t wait to go back!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:04 p.m. Steve H Says...

Great advice! Can't wait to visit!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:04 p.m. Bari Joi Says...

Wow!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:04 p.m. Jessica Says...

I would love to visit during Christmas in Harry Potter world! We’ve never been to Universal Studios before with our Harry Potter fans so I can only image how much more magical it would be around Christmas. This is such great information on the best times to go! So my question is, would it be worth it to have to fight the crowds but experience Christmas in Harry Potter world?

Reply
Oct 13, 2020 at 2:06 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jessica!

We really enjoy Christmas in the Wizarding World! Besides the décor, the shows (Frog Choir & Celestina Warbeck) have Christmas songs, and there’s HOT BUTTERBEER. The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle may not happen this year, but we also love that version of the lights show. This year may be the year to go with limited capacity! Have fun!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 5:03 p.m. Daniel Stump Says...

I hope to one day full-fill my dream of visiting Disney World! Thanks for the great article to help be decide when to come!

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 5:02 p.m. JaxGall Says...

Amazing, thanks for sharing this great content!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:02 p.m. Valerie C Says...

So many tips and suggestions I have to take notes!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:02 p.m. Says...

I’ve only visited Universal once and it sure would be great to go back! Thanks for the comprehensive post.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:02 p.m. Melissa Says...

Can't wait to get back to Orlando!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 5:02 p.m. Tuseda Says...

I cannot WAIT to return. Everything about the park brings me joy!

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 5:02 p.m. Edragon8 Says...

Thanks for all the great information in one location. Saves me a lot of time researching it myself.

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 5:01 p.m. John Copping Says...

A must have site for a must visit destination

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 5:01 p.m. Cathy Grant Says...

Looking forward to getting back to Universal Orlando!!!!

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 5 p.m. Karen H. Says...

Thanks for the great info. We were scheduled to visit in April, 2020 and got cancelled due to COVID. We are now planning on coming 12/26-29th, even though it will be busy. Any advice for visiting during that time?

Reply
Oct 13, 2020 at 2:11 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Karen!

Our best tip would be to stay at a Universal hotel and/or spring for Express if it's not already an included perk in your hotel stay. Skipping the lines is especially helpful when it's busy, and if you're staying on-site, you can't beat the convenience of walking to/from the parks (and being included in the day's capacity count!).

Keep hopping!

Leap

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