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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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301–350 of 1420 comments
Oct 29, 2020 at 12:52 p.m. Cindy Young Says...

We always go to Disney with Undercover Tourist tickets, but would love to try out Universal with free tickets!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:51 p.m. Brieanna Says...

Thank you! This post will be super helpful for me. I haven't gotten to Universal yet, and I'm DYING to go for the Harry Potter areas!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:51 p.m. Lori Says...

Hoping to take our Harry Potter fans to Universal soon! Undercover Tourist is a great resource for planning, tickets and more.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:50 p.m. Karin Says...

Universal is awesome! I would love to take my family for a much needed vacation!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:50 p.m. Miguel Enrique Sarti Villela Says...

Hi, I'm getting married on January and our next trip after our honeymoon is to vacate on Olrando and visit Disney and Universal!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:50 p.m. Carrie Says...

I love this company and their many offers and discounts!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:50 p.m. David Watson Says...

October!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:50 p.m. Mumargie Says...

Great insight. Thanks

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:49 p.m. Stacey Nations Says...

Fingers crossed!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:48 p.m. Larrywcc Says...

Been twice and was great and would like to go again with winning free trip

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:48 p.m. Felicia R Says...

Thanks for all the great tips & discounts over the years! Your service is fantastic!!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:48 p.m. Bill Drace Says...

I've found that anytime of year has it's pluses and minuses. This was a little more useful in determining when we'll go.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:47 p.m. Donnie Hodges Says...

great place to visit. I like the harry potter stuff.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:47 p.m. kroos2006 Says...

Haven't been to Universal in a few years, been visiting the mouse instead. Would love to go back soon, especially while the crowds are down!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:47 p.m. M. Rechkem Says...

Visiting Disney soon and would love to go to Universal sometime too! Thanks for all of the great info!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:46 p.m. Joni Says...

Love using Undercover Tourist. Always has helpful information. Would love to win a free trip for my granddaughters.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:46 p.m. Pezaddict231 Says...

Have ordered tickets from Undercover Tourist many times. Great Article!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:46 p.m. Sophie Says...

I wish I could take my kids there soon

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:46 p.m. Makala Says...

Can’t wait to go back!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:46 p.m. Brad Says...

Uh oh, looks like we'll be there during one of the worst times :( I wish we could go another time instead.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:46 p.m. Daniel Carman Says...

I wanna go to hogwarts...

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:45 p.m. Dana Says...

We would love to visit Universal again!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:43 p.m. Brittney Says...

My boyfriend hasn’t been to US or IOA before and I would love to show him how amazing it truly is. He laughs when I talk about my trips because he doesn’t understand how magical it is! 2020 has been so tough so I don’t know when I’d be able to share the wonderful world of US and IOA to him.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:43 p.m. Michael Leonard Says...

Universal Orlando is great! I cannot wait for Super Nintendo Land!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:41 p.m. Katherine L Says...

Love, love, love Universal, especially Hagrid's Motorbike!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:41 p.m. Mark Page Says...

Universal Orlando - Heaven on Earth

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:40 p.m. Rebecca Collins Says...

My husband and I just found out that we are expecting our first child! I cannot wait until we can share magical places, like this, with them!

Reply
Oct 29, 2020 at 12:39 p.m. Gina Wilkes Kenyon Says...

Love the information. Always comes in handy when we visit disney and universal.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:39 p.m. Helpful Says...

Super helpful to know the busy times!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:39 p.m. Steph Dee Says...

We went last year early December and it was a great time to go! Not too crowded (we did have unlimited express pass by staying at RP) and all the Christmas stuff was up.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:38 p.m. JEANNE FISHER Says...

I can't wait to travel again!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:37 p.m. Brian Says...

Family is obsessed with Harry Potter, so this trip would be amazing!! Good luck to everyone!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:37 p.m. Adriana Moss Says...

I hope to get back to Universal Studios and the most wonderful place on earth (Disney World, duh!) after I have my first baby and share all the with him!!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:36 p.m. Erin Says...

I can't wait to go back!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:36 p.m. Laura Campbell Says...

I hope that the mask requirements go away before I visit in 2022.

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:34 p.m. Lisa Snow Says...

We so need this right now! Thank you for all you do!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:32 p.m. Mother of 2 Says...

Can't wait to get back!

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Oct 29, 2020 at 12:31 p.m. Jennifer Zapata Says...

Awesome!

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Oct 28, 2020 at 10:46 p.m. Brad J Says...

Had a great time here last week. Would have a better time if I win a free trip

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Oct 28, 2020 at 5:49 p.m. Shawna Boltz Says...

The only thing that beats an adventure like this is a free adventure like this!

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Oct 28, 2020 at 3:35 p.m. Eileen Laferriere Says...

Watching the Harry Potter movies again, can't wait to see Harry Potter's world in person at Universal!

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Oct 28, 2020 at 2:33 p.m. KATHRYN TEEL Says...

I have my fingers crossed I love Disney and so do my grandchildren. This would be wonderful!

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Oct 28, 2020 at 5:44 a.m. Marla Jones Says...

I need a vacation really bad! I have only had 2 in my life!! pick me please

Reply
Oct 28, 2020 at 3:22 a.m. Clinton Says...

This is a very informational read!!!

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Oct 27, 2020 at 11:11 p.m. Jen_A_Lang Says...

I so badly want to go to Universal Orlando again. It has been years since I have visited. My daughter is a big Harry Potter fan and I would love to surprise her with a vacation for Christmas!

Reply
Oct 27, 2020 at 9:54 p.m. MomOTwins Says...

Curious if there may be an uptick in Universal crowds in October 2021 due to people going to WDW for its big anniversary and swinging by Universal for a couple of days. That could make spring/summer 2021 a better bet than the fall.

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Oct 27, 2020 at 9:23 p.m. Tammy Pereira Says...

I have never had issues with visiting in November. The weather is generally good and it is usually less crowded.

Reply
Oct 27, 2020 at 5:05 p.m. educ8rpj Says...

This blog is really awesome! There's so much info here, I'm almost overwhelmed at where to start! Thanks for sharing all of this and keeping our dreams of Disney alive!!!

Reply
Oct 27, 2020 at 4:49 p.m. Stacey Says...

We loved our stay at Loews Royal Pacific and 4 days in Universal September 2017 - definitely a terrific time of year to visit!!

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Oct 27, 2020 at 3:26 p.m. jerry hardie Says...

well I really want to visit in this lifetime so hopefully every other guest will be at home. when i do go there

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