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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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151–200 of 1420 comments
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!

Reply
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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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...

this site will save you some serious cash

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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

Reply
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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