Universal Orlando Crowd Calendar Update – March 2021

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Crowd levels at Universal Orlando Resort continue to hit record highs and our wait time models are underpredicting as a result. So, we need to make some adjustments to the Universal Crowd Calendar to better represent what we think will parks will look like through April. Never in our near-20 year history of predicting crowds have we seen a resort post 17 days in a row with one or more parks at a level ’10’. Between March 7 and yesterday Universal Orlando did just that. The average crowd level during that time was 9.6. That is astonishing. The previous record for a 17-day stretch was Christmas 2018 at 9.3.

So, today we are posting another update to the Universal Crowd Calendar. There just isn’t any good reason to predict a crowd level less than a ‘9’ for the foreseeable future – at least through mid April. Let’s see what develops during the rest of Spring Break and the Easter weekend. After that we expect to reevaluate and post another update.

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Fred Hazelton

Fred Hazelton maintains the crowd calendar, theme park wait time models and does hotel rate analysis for the Unofficial Guides. He's also done the models for the new mobile wait times product Lines. Fred Hazelton is a professional statistician living in Ontario, Canada. His email address is fred@touringplans.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @DisneyStatsWhiz.

12 thoughts on “Universal Orlando Crowd Calendar Update – March 2021

  • March 25, 2021 at 10:05 am
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    Yikes!! This is terrible. We’ll be at universal studios april 13 and 14. We specifically chose these days based on crowd calendars. Do you know if they’ve increased the capacity, and that’s the reason for the huge jump? I can’t find anything on their website.

    Reply
    • March 25, 2021 at 11:02 am
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      They have not increased capacity, it is just an enormous number of people that seem to be drawn to those parks this spring. Some of the issue is a reduced operational capacity at the attractions themselves (for social distancing). But here’s the good news – our touring plan testing is showing that you can drastically reduce your wait times by following an optimal plan. If you can do that, you will be way ahead of the crowd.

      Reply
  • March 25, 2021 at 11:02 am
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    I got the updated today – can you explain why 4/19 jumped to a 9 out of 10 but the rest of the week remained in the mid-range?

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    • March 25, 2021 at 3:47 pm
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      Our hope is that whatever phenomenon is driving these extremes will dissipate by the 20th. However, it is certainly possible that these extreme crowd levels will continue into May and possibly all summer. It is too difficult to know, exactly.

      Reply
  • March 25, 2021 at 11:21 am
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    This post is like predicting “high water” during the middle of a flood. We just finished a vacation in Orlando (March 24), and it was obvious the whole 10 days we were there that crowds were overwhelming from both personal observation and news reports. We originally planned to visit Universal on 3/23, as Touring Plans consistently predicted crowds at a reasonable “4 – 5” level, up through and including that day. This was never changed, even though the actual crowds were so large Universal was at maximum capacity for a week prior to that day. Fortunately, we ignored the Touring Plans predictions and canceled our plans in time, which kept us from suffering through a day at the park that again was at maximum capacity.

    I understand that we are living in unusual times, but the inability to timely update information in this age, and to ignore trends and available information until after the fact is inexcusable. Years ago, one could reasonably rely on this platform as a planning tool. However, for our last three Disney trips it has been totally unreliable. This latest episode is the final straw, and I will no longer use or recommend Touring Plans until they can prove to be what they claim they are.

    Reply
    • March 25, 2021 at 3:54 pm
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      Hi Brian, thanks for the honest feedback. We certainly understand your frustration. It is our philosophy to develop tools that rely solely on the data we collect. However we are in a situation where we have no data. With the ‘3’s and ‘4’s we saw in early March it looked like Universal crowds had settled. Obviously we were surprised to see that they did not. I would agree that the value of the Crowd Calendar is diminished when it becomes as inaccurate as it has lately but the touring plans are performing really well. Our recent testing showed that following the plan at Universal can greatly reduce your wait in line and we feel that tool alone is worth the price of a subscription.

      We hope to have the chance to earn you back as a customer very soon.

      Reply
  • March 25, 2021 at 1:15 pm
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    Do you think the AP blockout dates for power and seasonal pass holders beginning 3/27 will have any effect in decreasing crowds?

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    • March 25, 2021 at 3:46 pm
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      No. Those blockouts are there because the parks are busy enough from day guests. We expect the ‘9’s and ’10’s to continue at least through mid April.

      Reply
  • March 25, 2021 at 6:26 pm
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    Ouch, I hope these adjustments are temporary. We were so excited to be visiting on April 11-14 where the crowds were 3-5.
    This time we’re hoping your team is wrong. 🙂

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  • March 25, 2021 at 6:52 pm
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    Fred, my wife and I will be visiting the week of 4/19. We are staying at Portofino and will have Express Pass (by way of staying onsite at premium resort). How does this play into wait times? If we have Express Pass, how do your wait times affect it?

    Reply
  • March 25, 2021 at 8:35 pm
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    People have been pent up for a year and now the government is sending people $1400ea, including kids. What’s a family of 4 with $5600 and cabin fever going to do? Go to Orlando. It’s not rocket science. People are fed up with being told they can’t go anywhere or do anything. Of course Florida is going to be a sh*t show.

    Reply
  • March 27, 2021 at 1:59 pm
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    I am not surprised to see Universal’s crowd calendar going up. Right now, universal is easier to tour than WDW. No park passes required and guests can “park hop”. Plus the unlimited express pass at the deluxe resorts is a game changer!

    Reply

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