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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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1001–1050 of 1397 comments
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?

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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?

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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

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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!

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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!

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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.

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

A must have site for a must visit destination

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

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

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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?

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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

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 4:59 p.m. Says...

So many tips I have to take notes!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:59 p.m. Dawn Says...

I’ve always had good luck with crowds in late January and the weeks between Easter and mid-May.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:59 p.m. Tia Says...

February is a great time to go.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:59 p.m. VJ Davis Says...

Hoping to come in Fall 2021! First time without kids.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:58 p.m. CASSIE VAN WINKLE Says...

Thank you Undercover Tourist for always making ticket buying so easy and giving me a discount!! I am hoping I could win that trip to Universal my daughter is a HUGE harry potter fan and has always wanted to go!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:57 p.m. Libby Barrett Says...

We love undercover tourist. We have bought tickets through them and it was so seamless and easy. They have such a great price and no hidden fees which I appreciate. I love using their crow calendars and reading the blogs for tips. I highly recommend them. They sure helped me plan two trips to universal studios orlando and 2 trips to disney world for our family of 6. I will be using them for our family reunion trip next year for our family of 13.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:57 p.m. Candace Says...

Super helpful info! Thanks!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:56 p.m. Jeri Ann Munoz Says...

I went a couple of years ago for the first time. I really want to go back soon.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:56 p.m. Cindy binks Says...

Thanks for a great post! I love this company and the discounted theme park tickets. Finding this blog is an added perk.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:56 p.m. Jenny Jung Says...

These tips are great to refer back to when going to the parks! I’ve only been to Universal Studios Hollywood, so going to Universal Orlando would be an amazing opportunity ???? Thank you Undercover Tourist for this fantastic chance!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:55 p.m. Janice Kossman Says...

If you have children, Orlando is a must.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:55 p.m. MrsPharoah Says...

Great deals on Orlando parks!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:55 p.m. Peggy Says...

I have always wanted to see Universal Florida. It would be lovely to win the contest and get the opportunity. I so enjoy seeing all of the fun things this sight shares.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:55 p.m. Mark W Says...

Would love to win. Never been there.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:55 p.m. KariLorr Says...

My family likes to go in February. That seems to be a slower time, and the lines are much shorter than during the holidays.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:53 p.m. Debbie Says...

this site has great info!!!????❤

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:53 p.m. Ginacr Says...

We love universal and we love undercover tourist!! Thank you for being the go to for information when we travel to Orlando!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:53 p.m. BoonaTheTuna Says...

Visiting my friends in Orlando in November! We most likely won't go on the weekday which you guys said is a better time, but we are still so excited! ❤

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:53 p.m. Shelia Says...

I am looking to go in 2021 for my 50th birthday/graduation trip. My husband is graduating also and we could celebrate our anniversary there. Is September or the first week of December a better time to go?

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Oct 13, 2020 at 2:12 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Shelia!

Both are comparable in terms of crowds, but we'd recommend December from a weather standpoint - it'll be much cooler! :)

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 4:52 p.m. Karolyn Says...

Miss traveling and can't wait to get back to FLA and visit Disney and Universal!

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 4:52 p.m. TRACY MULLIGAN Says...

Would love to visit Orlando! Do they have any special accommodations for special needs children? We have a child that is partially blind and autistic.

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Oct 13, 2020 at 8:21 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Tracy!

They sure do - you can find more information about the Attraction Assistance Pass (AAP) here.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 4:51 p.m. Aurie Jenkins Says...

We love universal. I take my kids when they turn 11 (hello Harry Potter nerd here ????????‍♀️) And we want to take the whole family for Christmas. I’d love to see it all decorated for the holidays since I haven’t seen that yet.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:51 p.m. JS Says...

I just can’t wait to get back to Orlando!!

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