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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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1101–1150 of 1420 comments
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!

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

I’d love to go to Universal!

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

Thanks for another great post! We had to cancel our April trip and are considering when would be the best time for us to visit!

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

Loved the service we’ve gotten from UnderCoverTourist in the past and we’ll be back in the future. We always refer our friends to you.

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 4:38 p.m. Sarah Herbst Says...

We love all of the information!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:38 p.m. 9erica1 Says...

I have never been to any theme parks in Florida. I am excited to go this year. Although it is under these circumstances but I am hoping for the best.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:38 p.m. felten4u Says...

Always great tips. Can't wait until our trip in December.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:37 p.m. Ryan Says...

Looking forward to traveling again soon! We haven’t been to Universal since we were in high school.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:37 p.m. Mindy worly Says...

Relied on this device to take four grandchildren to Disney World in 2018 and 2 grandchildren to Harry Potter’s World in 2019. Will use them again when this Covid mess is through. Would not do it any other way.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:37 p.m. AmyK Says...

I don’t think there’s a wrong time to visit! Every time of the year is magical!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:37 p.m. Didi Marie Says...

Honestly? I'm thinking ANYTIME would be the best time to visit Universal Orlando in 2020/2021! We missed our annual Halloween Horror Nights this year, and have the DTs something fierce!! ;)

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:37 p.m. Jennifer Says...

We love Universal Studios. Our favorite is HHN. Last year I watched a "demon" chase a girl toward me. I told him "NO, bad demon"...gotta give the actor credit, he just looked at me like I was crazy and stared me down, freaked the hell out of me lol, Loved It!!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:36 p.m. Mikenziec Says...

I would love to go to Universal some time next year for my 40th birthday!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:36 p.m. Karen Wolfe Says...

Our family has never been to Universal, but we sure would love to!! When we are done having to shelter in place (we have a medically fragile kiddo), we are hoping to make a trip down!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:36 p.m. Worapitcha Jariyanantakul Says...

I gonna go there next month. Can't wait to visit!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:36 p.m. Cassy Says...

My family loves Disney but we've never been to Universal. We've talked about it a lot and I think we will go sooner than later!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:36 p.m. Nicole Taylor Says...

We visited this last week Oct. 6-9th! Tuesday & Wed essay we’re not busy at all at Universal Studios! We were able to ride every single ride we wanted to. Thursday & Friday we’re busy but we rode the rides we wanted to do again and visited the two haunted houses. We really enjoyed our stay. Definitely recommend going this time of year.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:36 p.m. Amdhawkins Says...

Great tips. I would love to take my son for his birthday

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:35 p.m. Christine Hawkins Says...

Still crossing my fingers that I can take my whole family to Universal September 2021.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:35 p.m. OhioTam Says...

We had planned to go Thanksgiving week, but cancelled and rescheduled for May when school is out. Although if things get better with COVID, hopefully we could take a short trip in the spring!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:35 p.m. Linda Says...

We usually make an annual trip all the way from our home in Hawaii with our daughter and her best friend week after thanksgiving But due to my husbands sudden illness and catching covid Could be devastating to him, we have decided to wait a year. But next year will make up for it as we plan on fifth wheeling with my sister to Orlando and staying on site. Christmas won’t be the same as we always begin the holidays with Mannheim steamroller and magic kingdom. Happy holidays to all

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:35 p.m. Loren Says...

Hello!

We will be visiting in January and this will be our first time visiting Disney world and universal! Any tips and tricks for us? ????

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Oct 13, 2020 at 2:16 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Loren!

We are so excited for you! We'll let others in the Frog Pond weigh in, but we definitely suggest being a flexible froggy. The good news is that planning for a trip right now is much more relaxed! You'll need to make a Disney Park Pass reservation before heading into the park and potentially look into springing for Express at Universal. But other than that, you'll just have to show up and enjoy :)

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:35 p.m. Emily B Says...

Hope to win this amazing vacation!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:35 p.m. Aimee Parsons Says...

Help me I’m poor. LOOOL

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:34 p.m. TIA Says...

We like going for the Mardi Gras Celebration in the Spring. I love the parade and all of the great food.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:34 p.m. Rachelle F Says...

Couldn't agree more! We were just there for the last week of September. The weekends were packed with huge wait times for food & beverages but the weekdays were amazing. We even rode Hagrid's twice!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:34 p.m. M. D. Says...

Can't wait to get back to the parks! It's been a long time...

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:34 p.m. Warren Says...

It's been a few years since we last went to the Orlando parks. We'd love to take advantage of the lower crowds at this time and visit again soon. Thanks for the great blog post!

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 4:34 p.m. Flamingogurl Says...

Thanks so much! Cannot wait to return to the Magic, and this definitely is a big help in planning :)

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