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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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101–150 of 1420 comments
Oct 29, 2020 at 8:10 p.m. Julie Borus Says...

Awesome giveaway!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 8:02 p.m. Beth S Says...

Hope to win the contest!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 7:57 p.m. Elisa Says...

I’m afraid to share this but January is our favorite time and you have to stay in proper to get the quickest wait times for rides!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 7:56 p.m. Alaina Says...

Awesome!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 7:48 p.m. Danielle Says...

Can’t wait to go back

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Oct 29, 2020 at 7:47 p.m. Elizabeth Skillman Says...

Can't wait to get back to the parks.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 7:45 p.m. Kristi P Says...

We lived visiting the parks during the holiday. With all the decorations, it just made it that much better. I just hate the large crowds during those times.

Reply
Oct 29, 2020 at 7:44 p.m. Jan Fuller Says...

I love all the information you always have in your newsletters and blogs. It is so helpful in planning a trip to Orlando for either Universal or the many other attractions. I have visited many times and will continue to do so with your good advice. Thank you for all your research and work.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 7:42 p.m. Tana Says...

Great info to help plan. Thank you!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 7:38 p.m. Ability travelers Says...

I can’t wait to go. It seems like so much fun.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 7:25 p.m. Sarah Gil Says...

Can't wait to take my daughters, great tips!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 7:20 p.m. Alison P Says...

Thank you for these tips! I can't wait to go back!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 7:13 p.m. megan h Says...

I just want to go visit it can be anytime

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Oct 29, 2020 at 7:01 p.m. FMG Says...

Best trip planning site EVER! So helpful

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Oct 29, 2020 at 6:59 p.m. FMG Says...

Best trip planning site EVER!!! So helpful

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Oct 29, 2020 at 6:42 p.m. Katie H Says...

Hoping my fiance and I can take our baby for the first time in 2021 to experience all that Universal has to offer!!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 6:34 p.m. SHEILA RESSEL Says...

Thanks for the dates to avoid. I will keep this in mind when scheduling my next trip.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 6:27 p.m. Chris Greco Says...

Hoping to go in 2021!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 6:24 p.m. Moose Says...

This is great. Thanks for the service and information!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 6:09 p.m. Bethie L Says...

The magical world of Harry Potter keeps me coming back to Universal over & over again! It feels so real as if you’ve been transported to another world!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 6:03 p.m. April Gremillion Says...

Planning to head back to Orlando soon! I always buy my tickets through undercover tourist!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 6 p.m. Stacie Boyer Says...

I love the options undercover tourist has for me. I'm happy there's an alternative way to purchase tickets!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 5:57 p.m. Amanda T10 Says...

Very helpful!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 5:54 p.m. April B Says...

I love your site. It is definitely a go to when planning our vacation in Florida.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 5:49 p.m. Meagan Kasza Says...

Can't wait to get planning!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 5:45 p.m. Chanda Says...

Hoping to see Orlando soon. Haven't been able to go on a vacation in years. Thank you Undercover Tourist for this spectacular opportunity! I'm so thrilled!!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 5:40 p.m. Ange Walters Says...

We are looking forward to planning our next trip in January!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 5:28 p.m. Txsharcake Says...

Hoping to go in 2021! Undercover Tourist is the first place I go for trip info!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 5:25 p.m. Heidi Says...

I love that I can plan a vacation around crowd levels. Covid has thrown things off though. Thanks for trying to help us plan with the all of this going on.

Reply
Oct 29, 2020 at 5:24 p.m. Susie S. Says...

Love all the helpful information on this page. I think the best time to visit the parks, by far, is in the morning. I usually try to go during low seasons. Thanks for all the tips!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 5:13 p.m. Mark S Says...

Can't wait to visit the parks again. Undercover Tourist makes planning so much easier

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Oct 29, 2020 at 5:13 p.m. Phoenix Says...

Good information! I love universal and I love being prepared so that I can enjoy it to the fullest. These kinds of blog posts really help me out.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 5:09 p.m. Alex Petersen Says...

Looking forward to visiting in 2021!!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 5:08 p.m. Chani Says...

Only been once, it was in November and it was perfect!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 5:03 p.m. gwhiz Says...

Can't wait to visit again!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 5 p.m. Jane M Says...

I'm frugal and skeptical and give my seal of approval to Undercover Tourist. I've booked lodging and purchased tickets through them and it's safe and saves me money. And they've got the most reliable Crowd Calendar!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 4:57 p.m. Joanna B Says...

My son was heartbroken when we had to cancel our first trip to Universal last March. Very much looking forward to going when it is safe to do so. Thanks for the great blog!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 4:56 p.m. Lewisd2579 Says...

Every time I have visited Disney we used Undercover Tourist, always very helpful.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 4:55 p.m. j-ice Says...

the best time is during the week! weekends are too busy.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 4:53 p.m. Leslie H. Says...

As a So Cal native, we have never been to Florida. I would love this opportunity to explore!! ????

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Oct 29, 2020 at 4:46 p.m. AMIE Says...

I love Harry Potter Land during Christmas season!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 4:38 p.m. Anne Blair Says...

Would love to go 1st week in December. Weather would be nice and Hogwarts would be decorated for the holidays and it would be my birthday!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 4:37 p.m. Ami Brown Says...

Love Universal Orlando!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 4:26 p.m. Gabby Perez Says...

This would be an amazing Christmas vacation!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 4:25 p.m. Russell Ellsworth Says...

Can’t wait!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 4:22 p.m. Jennifer Souveroff Says...

I am so ready for an Orlando Vacation!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 4:20 p.m. Nathalie Says...

Would love to go to universal me and my family have never been!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 4:17 p.m. Lisa Says...

Best place to get tickets! Their discounts are amazing!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 4:16 p.m. Gabby Says...

I would love to visit Hogwarts!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 4:16 p.m. Kat Leo Says...

We will be visiting in a couple of weeks and I'm excited for the break from our current reality and to have a little normalcy.

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