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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!
View Comments
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351–400 of 1420 comments
Oct 27, 2020 at 8:05 a.m. Paul Says...

The best time to visit is when a Covid vaccine is available.

Reply
Oct 27, 2020 at 4:56 a.m. Alex Says...

Thanks so much for all the time and effort you put into these reviews. They really do help plan out our trips. From Cali to Florida, you have done a great service to our family. Keep up the great work!

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Oct 26, 2020 at 7:06 p.m. Shannon Brannick Says...

Ahh this looks so fun!! Thanks for the info!

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Oct 26, 2020 at 4:28 p.m. Tyne Caouette Says...

I want to take the grand kids once this pandemic is over

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Oct 26, 2020 at 4:17 p.m. Macy Veto Says...

Loved this blog! Super helpful and informative!

Reply
Oct 26, 2020 at 2:38 p.m. Jmshaw89 Says...

Cannot wait to visit Orlando again!

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Oct 26, 2020 at 2:14 p.m. DONNA BOWMAN Says...

thank goodness for yall letting us know all of these tips1! never would have known otherwise!!

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Oct 26, 2020 at 12:53 p.m. Becca boo Says...

Can’t wait to go back!! ❤️

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Oct 26, 2020 at 11:24 a.m. Timothy Anderson Jr Says...

We went the first week of October 2018 For 3days and the crowd wasn't too bad. When we atttended a horror night it was packed. Durning the 3 days we were able to get on most rides rather quickly and even repeat some immediately. Spiderman for example. I do reccomend staying at the hotels you mentioned. The fast pass was a godsend. Thanks for the tips.

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Oct 26, 2020 at 2:12 a.m. Laurie shelton Says...

Thanks for all of the great information we are excited for our trip next November.

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Oct 26, 2020 at 1:55 a.m. Karen Says...

February can’t get here soon enough!!

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Oct 26, 2020 at 1:15 a.m. Mary Ronan Says...

I would never go to Disney World without checking your crowd calendar!

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Oct 25, 2020 at 3:14 p.m. Guitargirl Says...

Thank you for this! Such a great article. Would love the chance to visit !

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Oct 25, 2020 at 1:12 p.m. MN Mouse Says...

Wish this could be published for Disneyland.

Reply
Oct 25, 2020 at 5:14 a.m. Julie Elliott Says...

How FuN!!!

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Oct 25, 2020 at 4:12 a.m. Tia Says...

I love would to visit again!

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Oct 25, 2020 at 3:12 a.m. Kat Says...

Good to know. I'd visit on a weekday to avoid the largest crowds.

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Oct 25, 2020 at 1:33 a.m. Karen keyser Says...

Epic

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Oct 24, 2020 at 9:50 p.m. Jill W Says...

Dreaming of visiting soon!

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Oct 24, 2020 at 9:02 p.m. LS Abel Says...

Thank you ! Love all your information.

Reply
Oct 24, 2020 at 5:59 p.m. Brooke Says...

Love!!

Reply
Oct 24, 2020 at 3:50 p.m. Ducky Says...

I always use Undercover Tourist to help plan my Disney and my Universal trips. Their knowledge, as well as amazing customer service, really make a trip awesome!

Reply
Oct 24, 2020 at 2:16 p.m. Grace Says...

So glad I heard about this Undercover Tourist contest!! Such a great website and I look forward to keeping in touch :)

Reply
Oct 24, 2020 at 1:31 p.m. Shelby Thompson Says...

Just found out about this site while searching for Disney pricing and what a gem. Entered their contest to win tickets which I think is set up super cool because not only am I entering for a chance to win but each entry reveals more useful information. My 5 year old daughter would be ecstatic

Reply
Oct 24, 2020 at 7:17 a.m. Cambria Says...

Love yall

Reply
Oct 24, 2020 at 6:16 a.m. Jessica Hodges Says...

I'm still counting on February. :D

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Oct 24, 2020 at 5:28 a.m. Grace Cotton Says...

Would Love the opportunity to take the family and visit Universal Studios Harry Potter's world.

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Oct 24, 2020 at 3:33 a.m. Lucinda Pedroza Says...

Love your blogs and you guys give great information! I have used your blogs for every trip I’ve made with my family. It has made a HUGE difference for our vacations. Thank you!

Reply
Oct 24, 2020 at 2:55 a.m. Kaylah Treanor Says...

I have not gone to the parks yet but I want to do bad and this post is so helpful!

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Oct 23, 2020 at 11:09 p.m. Cecile vu Says...

I can't wait for the day I can ride the Hogwarts Express and sip on butterbeer, when will that come true???

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Oct 23, 2020 at 7:03 p.m. Kelly Scott Says...

I love that you give the best and the worst weeks to visit!

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Oct 23, 2020 at 5:20 p.m. tddcurtiss Says...

What a great site to find exceptional ways to save money while traveling.

Reply
Oct 23, 2020 at 5:18 p.m. Jesus Says...

Undercover Tourist stays helping me prep for my Universal Trips!

Reply
Oct 23, 2020 at 2:54 p.m. Lori E. Says...

I would love to visit during February or March - it gets so cold and gray in the midwest, that is when we are craving the sun!

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Oct 23, 2020 at 2:43 p.m. Janice Myers Says...

Thanks for all the tips! We are excited to return this Veteran's Day!

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Oct 23, 2020 at 1:53 p.m. Dana Says...

Love the Wizarding world of Harry Potter! Can’t wait to go back!

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Oct 23, 2020 at 1:05 p.m. Kelly Robertson Says...

Would love to take my family! We love universal!!

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Oct 23, 2020 at 1:04 p.m. nicmc515 Says...

I can't wait to go back for a visit. thanks for the tips on the best time to go!

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Oct 23, 2020 at 12:46 p.m. Beth Says...

I just want my niece to see the dragon breathe fire...she has gone 2 times and still hasn’t seen it!!!

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Oct 23, 2020 at 11:45 a.m. BR Says...

Our trip to Universal was our family’s favorite vacation! We can not wait to go back!

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Oct 23, 2020 at 9:57 a.m. Rebecca Pazsint Says...

I hope to WDW again someday, it's been about 8 years? Since I been there last & I have never been to Universal Studios which I would love it

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Oct 23, 2020 at 9:42 a.m. Paul Says...

I didn't get a chance to ride Hangrid's motorbike during my visit. I wish it stopped malfunctioning every time. I hope to visit the park again soon.

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Oct 23, 2020 at 9:42 a.m. Vanessa Bruland Says...

From experience usually late January, late April, and October are pretty good in October. :)

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Oct 23, 2020 at 4:45 a.m. Beckyblalock326 Says...

We haven’t done Universal yet, and I’d love to go for my oldest son’s birthday in January! It’s listed as one of the best times to visit!

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Oct 23, 2020 at 4:38 a.m. Jasmine Says...

My best friend really wants to go for her 30th birthday and winning a trip there For her would be icing on the cake!

Reply
Oct 23, 2020 at 4:08 a.m. Mikinna Mc Says...

This would be so fun!!! I've only ever been to the one in California and I've heard the one in Orlando is SO much better!! What a great trip this would be!!

Reply
Oct 23, 2020 at 2:15 a.m. Jennifer S Says...

Thanks for explaining how where Easter falls affects spring crowds. We’ve gone during spring break before and it was busy! I’d really like to go back to Universal next spring. Maybe we can take a long weekend a week or two after Easter.

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Oct 23, 2020 at 1:37 a.m. Yvonne Says...

Can't wait for a chance to visit

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Oct 23, 2020 at 1:16 a.m. Lien Says...

Thanks for the info. Very useful.

Reply
Oct 22, 2020 at 11:48 p.m. Patricia Girouard Says...

Looking forward to our first trip to Universal.

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