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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!
View Comments
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1151–1200 of 1420 comments
Oct 12, 2020 at 4:34 p.m. Chris Says...

Undercover Tourist is one of my go-to pages for Orlando parks. We purchased tickets from them in March for a 3 day vacation at Disney. Most likely going to do the same for Universal this year. Great prices, great advice, great site and service.

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 4:33 p.m. Kristen Hoover Says...

Thanks for this information about the best times to visit!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:33 p.m. Kathy Clark Says...

Thank you for the great post! We have not yet visited, but I am gathering information as we plan to within the next year. :)

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:33 p.m. Michael Jarecki Says...

Thank you for all the helpful dates

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:33 p.m. Jjhaas410 Says...

Coming Nov 2020 to see holiday decor! #readyw/masks

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:32 p.m. JC Says...

Great info. Thanks!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:31 p.m. Grace C Says...

I was born and raised in FL and still have never been to Universal... I hope this helps plan!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:31 p.m. Christy Lee Vawerchak Says...

I have a 4 year old daughter and we went to the parks last month . Reduced crowd , ride lines at 10 min wait and we got to ride more than once . This is AWESOME time to go !!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:31 p.m. Michelle Sanna Says...

The weather is beautiful in the fall! We are hoping to get back to Florida in March, fingers-crossed!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:31 p.m. Andrés Luzón Says...

It's the perfect play to visit

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:31 p.m. Ian McLean Says...

Love Florida, especially the theme parks. Can't wait to return once travel restrictions from the UK permit!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:31 p.m. Candice O Says...

I can’t wait to head back to Orlando!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:30 p.m. Melissa Mazzur Says...

Cant wait to come for a December visit!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:30 p.m. jnutz25 Says...

I can't wait to plan a trip!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:30 p.m. Johns Says...

I need to get here soon!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:30 p.m. Karla Says...

Great post! Very helpful!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:30 p.m. Adele P Says...

I hope to visit Universal Orlando next month and I'm hoping that strict protocols will be followed.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:29 p.m. Zoe F Says...

I cannot wait to visit the park and see the Harry Potter area!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:29 p.m. Madison Olson Says...

Hoping to go sometime in May 2021. We will be utilizing the crowd calendar to figure out when is best!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:29 p.m. Jennifromtheblock Says...

Cannot wait to get back to Universal for a much needed vacation. Thanks for always keeping us up to date on the happenings!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:28 p.m. Amanda Lovett Says...

I would love tips on planning a trip, I have never been!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:27 p.m. laura ugueto Says...

Hi, is it difficult to find Universal-Loews hotel at discounted rates for Christmas time?

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Oct 13, 2020 at 2:19 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Laura!

Rates will be a little higher during peak times such as Christmas, but you can still find frogtastic hotel rates through Undercover Tourist year round!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 4:27 p.m. Kttigger Says...

What helpful information to have. Thanks!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:27 p.m. Jon B Says...

Undercover Tourist is a wonderful company! Very helpful tips and great ticket prices. We used them for Disneyland last year and are looking forward to Disney World in the future!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:27 p.m. Kim Manasco Says...

Looking forward to coming to Orlando for WDW! I would love to go check out Universal Studios another time in 2021 so thank you for the input!????????

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:26 p.m. Larisa Baldwin Says...

I would love to visit for Harry Potter. This gave me good ideas for dates that would be better than others.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:26 p.m. Mario A Says...

Can't wait to be there in a couple of weeks!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:26 p.m. Karine Baudelot Says...

Best family vacations ever and thanks to undercouvertourist we got to enjoy it all over again last winter. Hopefully we get to go try Universal again very soon.

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 4:26 p.m. Rebbeca Hersom Says...

Such good info!!! We can’t wait to be back next year!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:26 p.m. Diane S Says...

I cannot wait to go on vacation again!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:25 p.m. TomB Says...

Great info hopefully 21 will be a better year to visit!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:25 p.m. Tracy Says...

Thanks for the detailed information! We’re hoping to go next year, so this will be very helpful on deciding when!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:25 p.m. Cooper Says...

Hopefully we'll get to go while there are still no crowds!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:25 p.m. Richard M Says...

Would love to go and see Diagon Alley haven't been since it has been open.

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:24 p.m. Christopher E Says...

I can't wait to come back. When I see Orlando is back in full working order, I know the world will be safe (enough) again.

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 4:24 p.m. Stephen A. Says...

Your website is great and we have been satisfied customers for 7 years!

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 4:23 p.m. Catherine Evans Says...

Hoping to hit UA in Feb so great blog!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:21 p.m. Kamela Kern Says...

Thank you. I want to plan a trip to Orlando for Universal Studios and Disney World next year. I'd like to experience the Christmas season, but maybe in November???

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:15 p.m. Michael Staples Says...

Would love to take my son and family in a trip to get back to life

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Oct 12, 2020 at 4:12 p.m. John Says...

Would love to go back to Orlando.

Reply
Oct 12, 2020 at 4:01 p.m. Alicia M Says...

Thanks for all the helpful info!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 3:56 p.m. Amanda S. Says...

Can't wait for our next trip! Thanks for all the tips!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 9:53 a.m. Oliver Dickinson Says...

Hi. I know it’s far off but we are rescheduling our honeymoon to 2022 due to the virus.

We had originally booked April 2021 after Easter.

Easter in 2022 will be 15th April. Will the parks be quieter before Easter at start of April in 2022, for universal Orlando, Busch gardens and SeaWorld?

Reply
Oct 13, 2020 at 2:20 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Oliver!

The beginning of April should be slightly less crowded in 2022 than 2021. Congratulations, and hoppy honeymooning!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 6, 2020 at 6:58 p.m. myra van horn Says...

Best tips for enjoying the park during Oct. 27 thru Nov. 1 Is it still worth visiting at this time with covid restrictions?

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Oct 4, 2020 at 12:04 a.m. Megan Says...

Hello! Great post, thanks! We'll be passing through on Wed. Dec. 30, 2020. We will only have 1 day and would focus on the Harry Potter parts of the park. Will it be worth it?

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Oct 12, 2020 at 8:51 p.m. Jessica M Says...

I love Orlando & the frog family!!

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:04 p.m. Amanda N Says...

Hey! We are thinking of doing Universal around the beginning of January. This is typically slow for Disney, so we are hoping it’ll be the same with universal. Is it?

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Oct 12, 2020 at 6:02 p.m. Morey Says...

Any time at Harry Potter World is worth it. Gringotts is one of the best rides ever.

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

Looking forward to our trip this November! Your tips & guides are always so helpful.

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Oct 5, 2020 at 7:31 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Megan!

If you are big Harry Potter fans, we definitely think so! :) Have fun!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Sep 5, 2020 at 6:58 p.m. Markus Says...

I am going to Universal in the weekend before Labour day next year. Ik you said it should be not that bad on Labour day but will the weekend before be busy? Because it’s Labour Weekend today and the parks hit capacity

Reply
Sep 9, 2020 at 1:54 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Markus!

Generally speaking, Labor Day is busy not not unbearable in terms of crowds since kiddos are back in school - we expect that 2021 will go back to following this pattern. If we see this changing, we'll be sure to update this guide accordingly!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 24, 2020 at 6:04 p.m. Meghan Payne Says...

My in-laws are Florida residents and want to take our kids to Universal Studios. Do you know if they can purchase tickets for the grandchildren at Florida resident rates also? It’s my understanding that Disney World allows this for children under 18 but I couldn’t find any specifics about Universal.

Reply
Aug 26, 2020 at 8:54 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Meghan!

Minors don't need to present any form of ID to verify residency for Florida Resident tickets, only those over 18.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 22, 2020 at 6:07 p.m. Kathryn Says...

Since the FL resident deal ends on the 24th of December, is there any chance the Christmas to New Years week will be less crowded?

Reply
Aug 24, 2020 at 12:54 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kathryn!

It's definitely a possibility! Overall, we think it'll be a busier time than we've seen recently, but not nearly as crowded as previous holiday seasons. It may be worth keeping an eye on the crowd levels (which we'll continue to adjust and monitor) as we get closer, then springing for Express if it looks busy enough to warrant it. Hope this helps!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 18, 2020 at 8:58 p.m. Tyler Robb Says...

What is the cost of a wand at Olivander's?

Reply
Oct 13, 2020 at 2:40 a.m. Lisa Says...

I paid $50 for mine

Reply
Aug 18, 2020 at 4:38 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Tyler!

Interactive wands are generally about $55.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 8, 2020 at 11:40 p.m. Nickell Says...

Will the theme park open by may or June when the virus is over

Reply
Apr 9, 2020 at 9:13 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Nickell!

At this time, all of the theme parks are closed temporarily without a set re-opening date. As soon as we hear of an opening date, we'll be sure to update! You can find a running list of up-to-date park closure information here.

Keep hopping!

Leap

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