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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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401–450 of 1420 comments
Oct 22, 2020 at 9:55 p.m. Jaz Says...

Hope to go one day!

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Oct 22, 2020 at 9 p.m. Jenna Says...

We can’t wait for our girls to experience Universal!

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Oct 22, 2020 at 7:02 p.m. Emily Allen Says...

My family hasn't had a vacation together in over 13 years, they deserve a vacation more than anything! My mom and dad work so hard and have always been there for me no matter what. I can't help but wish that I'd be able to tell them I won them a trip of a lifetime. Thanks for the opportunity!

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Oct 22, 2020 at 4:43 p.m. Josh Says...

Can't wait to go back!

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Oct 22, 2020 at 4:24 p.m. Carrie Boyd Says...

We are dying to take our little boy to Universal Studios! Thanks for all of the great information!!!

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Oct 22, 2020 at 2:55 p.m. Amber Says...

This is just simply the best place on earth ????

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Oct 22, 2020 at 2:51 p.m. Heather Says...

Great info!

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Oct 22, 2020 at 2:46 p.m. John R Says...

Great info. Need to give Universal a try! We're usually "all ears" for a vacation, but this looks great!!

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Oct 22, 2020 at 2:38 p.m. Jessica Gutierrez Says...

Thank you so much for the great info! I can’t wait to make it back to universal!

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Oct 22, 2020 at 1:45 p.m. Courtney A Rockwell Says...

Looks like so much fun!

Reply
Oct 22, 2020 at 12:54 p.m. Sharon Pipp Says...

great commentary

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Oct 22, 2020 at 11:23 a.m. Todd J Says...

Can't wait to visit!

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Oct 22, 2020 at 4:07 a.m. Nancy H Says...

Visited a few years back & loved it! Can’t wait to go again sometime.

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Oct 22, 2020 at 3:07 a.m. camille Says...

We're going in December and cannot wait to go to Hogwarts!!

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Oct 22, 2020 at 12:52 a.m. Connie B Says...

I love visiting places during the holidays. I wish we could visit Universal during the holidays!

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Oct 21, 2020 at 9:24 p.m. Yolie Says...

I want everyone to be safe and respectful. I can't wait until we are fully prepared so everything can open up

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Oct 21, 2020 at 8:11 p.m. BethO Says...

Several years ago, I went there with my boyfriend and a couple of friends right around New Year’s. We did IoA on Dec. 30, and it was crowded, but not horrible. On Dec. 31, one friend decided to stay back at the resort, because she’d heard that the parks would be way too crowded on NYE, but US really wasn’t bad at all. (This was before Diagon Alley was built, though!) So my recommendation is to use the guides, but don’t let a prediction scare you away from attending! ????

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Oct 21, 2020 at 7:15 p.m. Erika Orourke Says...

I love your blog and all the things that come along with it! Truly a good business you have going on here. You've helped multiple members of my family go on vacation extra cheap and we all greatly appreciate it. I'm hoping to win the sweepstakes so I can treat my sister and my amazing boyfriend to a trip they've been wanting to take for years now! Thanks for all your help! Keep up the great work froggies!

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Oct 21, 2020 at 5:24 p.m. Michelle Riebeek Says...

Dying to take my two Harry Potter kids!

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Oct 21, 2020 at 3:47 p.m. Laura Says...

Just booked for next Aug - can't wait to get back to it!

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Oct 21, 2020 at 3:39 p.m. Valeriya Says...

Thank you for the awesome intel!! I've never been but hopefully I'll go soon. I'll keep this page bookmarked!

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Oct 21, 2020 at 3:08 p.m. Ari Says...

We’re planning our first trip here in a couple of weeks! We’re excited!!

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Oct 21, 2020 at 3:08 p.m. Rebecca S Says...

My very best time in Orlando was the weekdays before Thanksgiving. Kids were still in school, crowds were low, the weather was perfect and fall decor was plentiful! I'd love to go back someday!

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Oct 21, 2020 at 12:28 p.m. Peter Peter Says...

I have never been, but I would love to go. Thanks for the great tips on when to go!

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Oct 21, 2020 at 12:20 p.m. Lucinda K Says...

This information is VALUABLE INTEL!!!! Thanks so much for sharing this.

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Oct 21, 2020 at 9:25 a.m. Susan 123 Says...

Wearing a mask in the parks is not hard, and the parks are still a lot of fun!

Reply
Oct 21, 2020 at 2:37 a.m. CRH Says...

Thanks so much

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Oct 21, 2020 at 12:53 a.m. KBStitches Says...

My last trip was April of 2019, just after the Mardi Gras Celebration and just before all the school vacation weeks, it timed out perfectly crowd level wise!

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Oct 21, 2020 at 12:48 a.m. Robin Price Says...

I hope all this holds true and we get some semblance of normal back next year!

Reply
Oct 21, 2020 at 12:17 a.m. Patricia Wilson Says...

A vivid journey of sunshine, laughter, and tears

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Oct 21, 2020 at 12:17 a.m. Patricia Wilson Says...

A vivid journey of sunshine, laughter, and tears

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Oct 21, 2020 at 12:15 a.m. Maureen Says...

Thanks for some great advice on when to visit Universal!

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Oct 20, 2020 at 8:38 p.m. Isabela Rodriguez Says...

I love this place!! But I agree, I went in thanksgiving a while ago and was sooo busy

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Oct 20, 2020 at 7:46 p.m. schawn Says...

I can't wait to go back! I'm hoping that things are back to normal in late Spring so I can be there for the Mardi Gras celebration.

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Oct 20, 2020 at 6:25 p.m. Peg H Says...

went in 11/2019 and loved it!

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Oct 20, 2020 at 6:24 p.m. JustineB Says...

Love Universal!

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Oct 20, 2020 at 6:17 p.m. Alexis Gaines Says...

I would love to visit Disney with my kids

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Oct 20, 2020 at 5:28 p.m. Lisa Says...

This is so cool!

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Oct 20, 2020 at 5:15 p.m. Melanie Says...

Thank you!

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Oct 20, 2020 at 4:49 p.m. george ashmore Says...

Disney is aweful nowadays--Universal was always better.

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Oct 20, 2020 at 4:39 p.m. tinker bell Says...

Looking forward to going soon!

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Oct 20, 2020 at 4:31 p.m. TM Says...

Thanks!

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Oct 20, 2020 at 4:29 p.m. Boogs Says...

This is great information! Planning my trip now!

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Oct 20, 2020 at 3:47 p.m. Jen Says...

Any time!

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Oct 20, 2020 at 3:39 p.m. Steph H Says...

I like to visit at the beginning of February.

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Oct 20, 2020 at 3:26 p.m. Shoshannah Harrison Says...

This would be soooo fun! We all need some magic in our lives.

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Oct 20, 2020 at 3:19 p.m. Mabel Thompson Says...

Taking my second trip to Disney this December.

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Oct 20, 2020 at 2:33 p.m. LLMom Says...

We would love to visit Universal!

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Oct 20, 2020 at 1:45 p.m. Alec Says...

Helping people stay happy at the Happiest Place on Earth!

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Oct 20, 2020 at 11:13 a.m. Emily L. Says...

Just came back from a quick getaway to Universal's Island of Adventure, as I sit in my office typing this, I'm already daydreaming of returning! When we first arrived at Universal, the park was a half-hour away from opening and the crowd seemed to be a bit crowded. Once the gates opened, everyone was able to safely spread out and go about their days. Employees were constantly cleaning up or reminding guests to wear their masks properly. My fiance and I had the absolute best time and cannot wait to plan our next visit!

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