Today the Universal Crowd Calendar gets a refresh. Lately, the crowd levels at Universal Studios have been two or more points higher than expected, on average. We thought that the end of the very successful Florida Ticket promotion would reduce the crowd sizes at Universal Studios, but wait times held steady right through the first week of January. In the first few days this week we have seen crowds closer to the predicted levels so that might be an indication that things are returning to normal. At Islands of Adventure crowds are up a bit, but not as much as the other park.
The busiest days at Universal since June have been Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. We expect that pattern to continue and it is reflected in this latest update. If you can avoid weekends at Universal we strongly suggest you do so.
What to Expect in 2021
Covid-19 is still the most important driving factor in crowd levels at Universal Orlando Resort. Social distancing regulations are keeping ride capacities restricted to levels less than 100%. This means wait times will be higher and therefore the crowd levels will be higher too. There is also some evidence that the posted times are inflated a little more than usual. If you arrive at an attraction with a long posted wait time but the physical queue looks reasonable feel free to get in line. You might find that the actual time you wait in line much less than the posted time.
This update impacts crowd levels between now and May 31. Many days remain unchanged or change 1 index point higher or lower. If you have a touring plan scheduled for any day between now and June it would be a good idea to re-optimize it. If you re-optimize and the order of attractions doesn’t change, that’s okay. We find that is often the case.
We are examining our wait time models more frequently than usual. This means we may update the calendar more often than just once a month. A lot will depend on the status of Covid-19 regulations. If vaccination rates in Florida continue to grow and the recommendations from public health officials change, that would lead to another update to the crowd calendar. Until then we will continue to track the daily crowd levels and update our wait time models as needed.