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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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101–150 of 1397 comments
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.

Reply
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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Oct 29, 2020 at 4:09 p.m. Theresa Barone Says...

Love love this page! Got my family vacation tickets, hotel and learned about wait times app!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 4:07 p.m. Phil Thorne Says...

I can't wait to go back again with my Family!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 4:03 p.m. StephanieANewman Says...

Absolutely cannot wait! Love reading this blog, keep up the great work and keeping us informed!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:59 p.m. Nikki N Says...

Thanks for the timing tips! We love going when no one else can.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:59 p.m. Esther Lee Says...

Liked the information on the best times to visit.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:54 p.m. Courtney Q Says...

We can’t wait to visit in January!!! It’s our favorite vacation spot!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:51 p.m. Lisa Lawton Says...

I have never been to Universal and I'm dying to go!! Thanks for the chance and all the great tips!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:44 p.m. Vie Says...

We are definitely dreaming an Orlando vacation soon. Great tips!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:44 p.m. RAELYN Says...

Can’t wait to go back to UNIVERSAL!!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:43 p.m. Donna Phillips Says...

Been once in 2015.. Would Love to see it again..

Reply
Oct 29, 2020 at 3:38 p.m. Sammc Says...

I live for these crowd predictions! I had to put off my Orlando vacation this year, and I’m really looking forward to making a trip in 2021. After how this year has gone, a little bit of magic sounds like a great idea!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:38 p.m. Sarah Myers Says...

Can’t wait to visit again!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:37 p.m. Kellie Gerbrandt Says...

Great tips. I always use Undercover Tourist for my park tickets and info.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:34 p.m. Alexis L Says...

Even though the holiday period is more crowded, it's still such a great time to visit because of all the extra decorations and events!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:33 p.m. happy mom Says...

went this year for the first time to universal. Would love to go back and be able to explore more.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:32 p.m. Lisa Collins Says...

Thank you so much!! We have never been to Universal Orlando & we enjoy the parks so much more when they are less crowded. This information is so valuable!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:32 p.m. SheenaB Says...

Perfect... Great info, amazing deals (pinch me), and helpful tips all wrapped up into one well-organized site :) Thank you for being sooo thorough with your blog/social media/etc. posts... I cannot even begin to explain how helpful it has been!!!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:30 p.m. Keshiaann Evans Says...

Absolutely the best website for detailed information. Also, aesthetically pleasing (which is important to me lol). Thankyou for your detail and user friendly website!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:25 p.m. Alice Says...

I would love to take our family for my son’s Senior trip! Hope I win!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:22 p.m. Lori Elder Says...

Love to go to universal at Christmas to see the grinch.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:20 p.m. Nicole B Says...

We always shop undercovertourist.com to save money on theme park tickets!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:20 p.m. Karen Says...

Can’t wait until we can Visit Universal Orlando again ????

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:19 p.m. Jenny Says...

Is such a great park, one of our favorites!

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