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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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1051–1100 of 1397 comments
Oct 12, 2020 at 4:51 p.m. Scott Says...

I hope my family and I can finally get to see universal in 2021 we have been watching HHN videos from years past and have never been to universal yet but we'll see

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:50 p.m. CaptainLando Says...

My wife and I have been to Universal three times, but never stayed on-site. The experience at Disney hotels is incredible (we've stayed at Coronado Springs and Art of Animation), so we're hoping to stay at a Universal resort next time we go!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:50 p.m. BRIAN Says...

Thanks for all the great info!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:50 p.m. Del Says...

We haven't been to Universal since the early 2000s, pre-Harry Potter. Hoping to plan a trip in 2021!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:50 p.m. Ashley Says...

I haven’t been to universal in years!!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:50 p.m. Natalie Says...

It’s the most magical place on earth ????

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:50 p.m. Patty F Says...

We pandemic eloped this August - so we're thinking of taking a trip down as a one year anniversary trip, August 2021 - it looks like the later half of August will be good for visiting! Hopefully travel will be a bit safer by then!! ????????

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:49 p.m. Rebecca Simons Says...

We visited last year and would love to return. We used undercover tourist to help us make the most of our trip.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:49 p.m. Matt Says...

I can’t wait to visit Universal in 2021, since it has been a couple years since we last went. The times we have gone in early February and early May the crowds were low. The weather was perfect in May.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:48 p.m. Kylie Says...

I'm so excited to visit ! It all looks like a dream!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:48 p.m. Jerzchris Says...

Thank you so much for this info. Covid has pushed back my planned trip to Orlando/Disney/Universal 3 times, so currently planning on maybe early in the new year and this info helps me greatly.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:48 p.m. MariaB Says...

Looking forward to our trip!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:48 p.m. Kevin Poindexter Says...

Can’t wait to bring my kids to Universal now that they are tall enough to ride most of the rides!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:48 p.m. Patricia Piek Says...

We’d love to visit the parks again in 2021 with our family (four teenage sons). Let’s hope that the Covid situation will be better so we can travel from the Netherlands ????????

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:47 p.m. Alicia Garcia Says...

I love Disney ????

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:47 p.m. Amanda C. Says...

Love knowing when the best times to visit the parks are! Great article thanks for keeping us up to date with this information.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:47 p.m. Kerry Klatt Says...

❤ Universal Studios and HP World!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:47 p.m. Pedro Yánez Says...

Excellent!!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:47 p.m. JG Says...

I hope wait times are not horrible for our visit in 2021!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:47 p.m. Heather T. Says...

Would absolutely love to be able to visit sometime early next year. I miss Florida & Orlando in general and haven’t been able to visit in years due to money, loss of my job and other reasons. The theme parks have also gotten too expensive, so it’s been really tough making a trip happen from NJ.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:46 p.m. CarrieVictoria Says...

I was there in January and I can’t wait to go back!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:46 p.m. Jamie Smith Says...

We visited this year in late January. It was freezing cold! Many of the roller coasters didn't even start running until after lunch due to the extreme cold.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:46 p.m. Robin Taylor Says...

This would be a great contest to win!! It’s hard to go to Universal when I’m such a Disney fan!!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:45 p.m. Doug Says...

Great post, can't wait to go back!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:45 p.m. Oscar Navarro Says...

Got to visit Orlando and the theme parks 3 days before the pandemic, scored great deals with undercovertourist. Hope everything is back to “normal” for us to go again next year.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:45 p.m. FunRuss47 Says...

We visited Universal Studios the 2nd week of January in 2020 and thought that was a fantastic week to go. Crowds were medium to light most days.

Have fun!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:45 p.m. Jessie Says...

We missed the opening of Hagrid’s motorbike adventure by 3 days when we went last summer :( I can’t wait to go back!!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:45 p.m. Nicole Tuinstra Says...

This would be so much fun for our family who had to cancel 3 vacations because of Covid.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:44 p.m. EMILY LONG Says...

This info is so helpful when trying to plan. After I look at school calendar and package pricing, I always wonder if I an choosing the best or worst dates! Thank you!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:44 p.m. CJ Ochs Says...

Thanks for this info! You guys are the best. We'll be buying more tickets in the near future, as we are planning a big family trip for next year.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:44 p.m. Carlos Flores Says...

Great Information if someone is planning to go to Disney or Orlando very soon... I´m going o plan a trip for end of 2021 hopefully!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:43 p.m. Serena g Says...

❤ have only been to Disneyland, looking forward to Disney world hopefully soon!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:43 p.m. Allan J Mayo Says...

Love Undercover Tourist & the Frog Family. I've been planning my family vacations with them for near a decade!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:42 p.m. Gerardo Noria Says...

Hope to vacation here in 2021! Unfortunately 2020 was a bust for many. Good luck to us all next year!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:42 p.m. Serena g Says...

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:41 p.m. Jenn Thompson Says...

Great info. I’m glad you e collected all that data over the years to help us plan a same time to visit when the crowds are lower.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:41 p.m. Perri Fuerst Says...

I love reading Undercover Tourist's posts - always so helpful! Can't wait until I can visit again! Was supposed to go in February, then got since with the flu a day before my trip. Reschedule for May and that got canceled (obviously!) Can't wait for my next trip!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:41 p.m. Danyeall Williams Says...

WOW!! Awesome Sauce!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:41 p.m. Heidi Crowder Says...

This weekend will be our first time back in 20 years! Excited to see all the changes. Hope there are some things to keep our toddlers (ages 4 & almost 2) hoppy.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:41 p.m. JHwang Says...

Iam waiting for Mid 2021, when I should be able to safely visit theme parks

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:40 p.m. Bethany S Says...

We always visit Disney, but one of these days we're going to visit Universal!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:40 p.m. Kayla Boyd Says...

I can’t wait to make it back to Universal to ride Hagrid’s and VelociCoaster (when it opens)!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:40 p.m. Mindy worly Says...

When will park operations return to normal?

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:40 p.m. Rebecca Her Says...

Can’t wait to go in 2021.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:39 p.m. Charles T Musselwhite Says...

We'll be at Universal Orlando next week! Looking forward to finally seeing the 2nd half of the Harry Potter attractions.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:39 p.m. Terry Says...

Undercover Tourist is great! We got our Disneyworld tickets through them in 2019. Always wanted to visit Universal too. Hope we win!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:39 p.m. Tracey Chauvin Says...

I have been to Disney several times but never leave property. I went to Universal when I was a child and would love to go back as an adult

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:39 p.m. Samantha Says...

Our favorite week is the one after thanksgiving. Weather is great, Christmas decorations are up, and most kids are in school since they just had thanksgiving break and christmas break is coming up, so parents don't tend to pull them out of school.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:38 p.m. Sandy Says...

Thank you for your helpful information! I used your guides to plan our family's first trip to Disney World and I can't wait to plan another one!

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 4:38 p.m. Tasha H Says...

I’d love to go to Universal!

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