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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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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:17 p.m. Joshua Stutes Says...

We have used Undercover Tourist for our last three Disney/Universal trips. They are great! And we recommend them to our friends also for their trips.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:13 p.m. S Says...

Love this and hope to get to visit Jurassic Park and the other fun attractions, soon!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:10 p.m. Vicki Says...

Undercover Tourist is a wonderful service for us, Disney and Universal fans, has great deals, and an awesome Customer Support!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:08 p.m. Berlin Says...

I love UNIVERSAL!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:08 p.m. Todd Says...

cannot wait

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:06 p.m. Terri Says...

Universal can be a good time anytime as long as you pack/remember patience!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:04 p.m. Sherry H Says...

Love it! Can’t wait!!!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:04 p.m. Karen Spiehs Says...

Our family LOVES Universal and IOA. And staying on site is the only way to go! As grandparents, watching our kids and grandkids have so much fun at the parks are memories that will last forever. We would love to go back!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:03 p.m. carl Says...

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3:03 p.m. Kim D Says...

Undercover Tourist has the best ticket prices- hands down. I would love to return to Universal Orlando!!!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3 p.m. Sweeney P Says...

I remember my first time at Universal Studios Orlando. It was so magical!! I loved the Happy Potter part of the park! It’s also way bigger than the one in California. We went for my little sister’s birthday. We purchased our tickets via Undercover tourist which saved us a lot of money. My sister found the site and I immediately became skeptical because of their price but it’s legit! Can’t wait to be there again and relive the magical experience! :)

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Oct 29, 2020 at 3 p.m. Julie Zettler Says...

Universal vacations are the best! Can’t wait to go!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:59 p.m. PBain1977 Says...

I love Universal! We were supposed to go in June and then Corona ruined it! Hoping to get there next Summer!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:59 p.m. Steven Orlando Says...

Would love to win the 3 day3 night tickets se we can bring my niece and nephew to the parks. Thanks for the opportunity.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:59 p.m. Abby Turnbo Says...

Love Universal so much!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:54 p.m. Bonnie Says...

Me and my family love ???? LOVE this place. It is our happy place!! We went in August and had a wonderful time ???? Can’t wait to go again

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:50 p.m. Goofygirl Says...

Love universal Like seeing the grinch at Christmas.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:49 p.m. Peter Says...

Just wondering how old these photos are, I do NOT see anyone wearing masks !?

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:40 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Peter!

Several of these photos are old, as you noted, and do not reflect the safety and health policies currently in place at Universal. For more up-to-date photos, and all of the safety measures in place, hop over to this post.

Keep hopping!

Leap

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:48 p.m. Christopher Dahl Says...

Love your blogs and universal !

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:48 p.m. Says...

Love your blogs and universal !

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:46 p.m. Becky Says...

Thanks for the tips! Can't wait to go!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:39 p.m. Justin A Says...

Harry Potter World is my favorite place ever. Can’t wait to go back and try out Hagrids coaster!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:38 p.m. Mercedes Says...

Love it!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:37 p.m. Niki Belden Says...

I can’t wait to get to Hogwarts!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:34 p.m. Ashly Moe Says...

Love Universal!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:33 p.m. Nelisse Says...

Great info! I love Orlando theme parks, can’t wait to visit again!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:31 p.m. E Wagner Says...

Love Undercover Tourist so much info to help plan visits to theme parks.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:25 p.m. Becky S Says...

I love that they have a lower capacity! Sounds like it is still pretty do-able even during covid, though.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:24 p.m. TAL Says...

LOVE Undercover Tourist! They are awesome to order tickets from and always offer great insights to the parks.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:23 p.m. Jill M Says...

Great info! We are planning a trip for next year!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:22 p.m. imamickeygirl Says...

You guys do a great job. I always look forward to your newsletter. thanks for hopping by....

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:22 p.m. Joan Says...

I hope I win!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:17 p.m. Sarah Bee Says...

Great article! Good to know high crowd and low crowd times. We will definitely be checking out your crowd calendar if we get a chance to go. Hagrid’s Ride looks like a lot of fun!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:16 p.m. Jennifer Says...

Thanks for always providing great information. the Frog Family are always my first go to when I’m planning trips online!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:15 p.m. Patricia A Cook Says...

Any time is a great time but I always love going in March for my birthday. It’s generally not too busy, if you avoid Spring Break weeks! Accio wizarding world tickets!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:14 p.m. Ashley Says...

Looking forward to getting back to the parks ASAP!!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:12 p.m. bedjou Says...

Really had a good time at universal this past week. Even with the masks.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:10 p.m. HP4life Says...

We love Universal!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:10 p.m. James Says...

Universal is a great experience, love the coasters.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:09 p.m. Jenni Hartle Says...

I love Orlando the second week of February!!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:08 p.m. Nicole Margrif Says...

Just love visiting Orlando and Disney

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:06 p.m. Star Says...

I love how Undercover Tourist gives you the best rates & the crowd calendar is so helpful!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:03 p.m. Jennifer Says...

Great information. Miss traveling with my family! Could really use a good time after all this COVID!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 2:02 p.m. Jennifer Banaszewski Says...

Our family desperately needs a vacay! Thanks for the opportunity!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 1:58 p.m. Martha H. Says...

It is time to go back!!!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 1:57 p.m. Allison Lorfing Says...

Thank you for making Disney planning simpler! Love the thorough behind the scenes info!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 1:57 p.m. Rebecca Bunderson Says...

Sounds like fun!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 1:56 p.m. Cherie Says...

Nothing more fun than taking a Girls Trip to the Wizarding World! We make matching theme outfits and have the very best nerd time ever!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 1:52 p.m. kimgyu Says...

Thanks for the best and worst times to go to the parks. It's extremely helpful information when planning a trip!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 1:51 p.m. Karen Nix Says...

That would be a great trip for my grandkids

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