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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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251–300 of 1420 comments
Oct 29, 2020 at 1:26 p.m. Laurielle W Says...

Love Undercover Tourist! They make saving easy

Reply
Oct 29, 2020 at 1:26 p.m. Jason Says...

Thank you for the info. Can’t wait for things to get going again

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Oct 29, 2020 at 1:25 p.m. Wes Says...

Was in Disney and Universal at the beginning of October! Had a blast thanks to Undercover Tourist. From buying the tickets to navigating the parks, we were able to get everything done that we wanted! Can’t wait to go back.....hopefully soon!!!

Reply
Oct 29, 2020 at 1:23 p.m. wtcjr Says...

October and May are good times to go. Weather is good and small crowds.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 1:22 p.m. Brandon Says...

Very helpful info! Thanks much!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 1:22 p.m. DANNELL S ROBERTS Says...

We are planning our first trip to Universal in December and I am very excited. I have been reading all of the tips and guides!

Reply
Oct 29, 2020 at 1:19 p.m. Tammy F Says...

Love all the tips from Undercover Tourist! We saved so much money and had such a great time when we went to Universal a couple of years ago. Can’t wait to go back again!!

Reply
Oct 29, 2020 at 1:16 p.m. Debby Fontenot Says...

Never been. Looks awesome!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 1:15 p.m. Ben Says...

If I win, I guess I need to learn something about Harry Potter before I get there.

Reply
Oct 29, 2020 at 1:15 p.m. Mylee Says...

Can't wait to get back to Universal and ride The Hogwarts Express!!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 1:14 p.m. NonnaLaurie Says...

I would love to start a new tradition for my older grandchildren.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 1:12 p.m. Chastity Davis Says...

Great article! I’m planning on taking my kids in December.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 1:11 p.m. Kristen Fisher Says...

Sounds incredible!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 1:11 p.m. A Duque Says...

Always awesome info. Thanks!

Reply
Oct 29, 2020 at 1:10 p.m. Meg N Says...

Love Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Working on planning a trip now!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 1:07 p.m. Mmarizona Says...

Our family would love to visit. We have never been, but my daughter and I watch videos and dream-

Reply
Oct 29, 2020 at 1:07 p.m. Denise Says...

Thanks for all your info. It helps with my planning.

Reply
Oct 29, 2020 at 1:06 p.m. Jason Says...

Thank you undercover tourist for this opportunity! Our trip was canceled in May due to covid shutdowns! Can't wait to be back.

Reply
Oct 29, 2020 at 1:06 p.m. Nina77 Says...

Harry Potter world in Florida is definitely on the family bucket list. Hopefully all this craziness will die down soon.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 1:05 p.m. Melanie Holt Says...

Universal is my happy place! 2020 has been a tough year so I can’t wait to get back to my Universal “home”.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 1:04 p.m. Sara N Says...

I can't wait to go back.. my thrill seekers are patiently waiting!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 1:04 p.m. Colin C. Says...

Honestly the best time from this point forward will be anytime AFTER Covid and the post-Covid rush crowd.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 1:04 p.m. Mike Lambert Says...

Need something to look forward to.

Reply
Oct 29, 2020 at 1:03 p.m. Kate Says...

Love all of tye planning tips, thank you for your hard work

Reply
Oct 29, 2020 at 1:03 p.m. I mags Says...

We were supposed to be there this week. :( Looking forward to returning some day soon!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 1:03 p.m. Rachel Bailey Says...

I love visiting in December around the holidays! Maybe next year ????

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Oct 29, 2020 at 1:02 p.m. D Dunkley Says...

Thank you for all this info!

Reply
Oct 29, 2020 at 1:02 p.m. Joanna ortiz Says...

You guys are great!! We have order our park tickets through your site. You make it so easy and offer such helpful information, thank you!!

Reply
Oct 29, 2020 at 1:01 p.m. Claire Says...

I love the guides on when there will be heavy crowds. I always use this when planning trips!

Reply
Oct 29, 2020 at 1:01 p.m. Christine Tranter Says...

Heading out to the parks Jan 30-Feb 7, 2021 - Can't wait!!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 1:01 p.m. Nicole F Says...

We miss universal so much. Haven’t been in a while. We love your crowd calendar. We use it every time we plan our Universal or Disney trips to pick the best times to visit!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 1 p.m. Adara Armey Says...

Cannot wait to go

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Oct 29, 2020 at 1 p.m. Bethony Holt Says...

Thanks for all the great info!

Reply
Oct 29, 2020 at 1 p.m. Aaron Says...

Been to Disney numerous times, never been to Universal, but looks like we need to make plans.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:59 p.m. Bethony Holt Says...

Thanks for all the great info!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:59 p.m. Chris Jepson Says...

My wife and kids are dying to visit Harry Potter

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:59 p.m. Heather Parker Says...

I love undercover tourist! We’ve still been waiting to ride Hagrids and hope to one day do that!

Reply
Oct 29, 2020 at 12:59 p.m. Canadianmeesh Says...

Can’t wait to go!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:57 p.m. Tina arteaga Says...

Great safety precautions in place and a wonderful getaway for kids during this pandemic!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:57 p.m. Kristen Says...

Undercover tourist rocks!! I get all my theme park info and tickets from here!!

Reply
Oct 29, 2020 at 12:57 p.m. Amanda Says...

Would love to go back to Universal!!!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:56 p.m. Amanda H. Says...

Sounds like I need to start planning a September trip!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:56 p.m. Stefwithanf Says...

My kids have never been to Universal Studios, I cant think of a better school vacation trip to get away from the snow!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:55 p.m. Danielle Says...

Fantastic tips, wish I read this before my last visit!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:55 p.m. Erin Jordan Says...

Can't wait to spend Christmas at Universal this year!????

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:55 p.m. Melissa Says...

This is so helpful! I can’t wait to finish planning our trip!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:55 p.m. Michelle W Says...

This is so helpful for our first trip!

Reply
Oct 29, 2020 at 12:54 p.m. Suzanne Says...

I wish I could convince my husband this was a good idea

Reply
Oct 29, 2020 at 12:54 p.m. Sharon B Says...

We had a Universal vacation planned in July, but of course had to cancel. Undercover Tourist made it so easy to cancel the plans and get my refund. Can't wait to be able to rebook!

Reply
Oct 29, 2020 at 12:53 p.m. Marie Says...

We would love to go when it's warm, but not too bad and low crowds. I want to try the donuts!

Reply
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