Universal Studios is generally a no brainer. The amazing details, and thrilling rides. Express pass or no express pass? One park or two? These used to be the toughest questions, but have you considered adding the Universal dining plan? Well, Dream Maker Jenn and I decided to try it out for ourselves, on a recent trip. First, we ventured out to City Walk to see if we could find a great meal, that was included in the full-serve dining package. There were quite a few options included in City Walk. We had been to NBC Sports Grill & Brew, which we loved and Jenn had eaten at the Red Oven Pizza Bakery in the past, which Jenn also enjoyed. We finally settled on the Italian restaurant Vivo and we didn’t regret it.
Truth be told, I could only eat half of my chicken parmigiana and I did manage a few bites of my warm cookie and ice cream dessert. Jenn had the chicken Marcella and her only complaint was that there was a bit too much sauce. The portions were big and the quality was good. After leaving the server a generous tip, we were off to see what else was included in our dining plan.
The snack credit was next on our plan of attack. We were told that the best value was to get the butterbeer. This appeared to be true, and I’m all about getting bang for my buck, so I was quick to get a nice icy butterbeer.
My regret was not listening to my new friend, from the boat, about the regular butterbeer being better than the icy butterbeer (Say that 3x fast!). Other snack options, Cinnabon, Starbucks, and Ben and Jerry’s, to name a few.
I’ll be perfectly honest, I think Universal needs to up their snack game. Having said that, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I had another non-alcoholic drink to use on the dining plan. I did find that it was difficult to figure out what types of drinks were included. My bad for not doing my research on this one beforehand. I ended up with a refreshing soda, but wondered if I was missing out on something more special! Is Moose Juice a snack or a drink? I may never know.
The last stop in our food adventure was getting a yummy quick service meal. So the next day, we got some rides knocked off our list and then landed at the Three Broomsticks (no pun intended). I may have been extra hungry, but I really enjoyed our rib and chicken platter, which included roasted potatoes and corn on the cob! Yum! This meal included a non-alcoholic beverage. Once again I walked away feeling like I got my money’s worth. Winner winner, chicken dinner! Sorry… I had to say it!
So the big question, Would I pay for the dining plan at Universal Studios Orlando?
Yes! I liked it.
Would I get it for each day of my stay? I’m not sure, but I would get it for most of my stay.
- bang for my buck! I definitely saved money on what I would have spent on the meals I ate. Universal claims you can save up to 25% using a dining plan. After doing the math, I’d have to agree!
- Flexibility; Unlike other popular theme parks, you can purchase as many or as few days of dining as you want. You can also mix types of dining plans. This is great for those non-committal/skeptic people! You can even purchase the quick service dining plan if you don’t have a vacation package. This can also purchase it in the parks.
- Snack Variety and uniqueness! Self-explanatory.
- Convenience. You can’t use this dining plan in your resort. That is a disappointment. Your hotel quick-serve and restaurants, although lovely are not included in the dining plan. Character dining is also not included.
In conclusion, you gotta eat! Let’s be realistic. It’s a high energy, non-stop, fun-filled vacation! Don’t forget to sit down and fuel yourself. And if you can save a bit of money, all the more reason to pre-buy a dining plan!