Fantastic Musingsour blog
Understanding the Universal Orlando Resort Dining Plans
Universal Orlando Resort offers two dining plan options, the Universal Dining Plan – Quick Service and Universal Dining Plan. Both plans include quick service meal, snack, and beverage components. Unlike dining plans offered by another major Orlando-area theme park resort, guests can choose their dining plan length. It’s not tied to the length of your hotel reservation or theme park ticket.
Number of Universal Dining Plan Options
- Theme Park Quick Service locations where dining plan meals can be purchased 94% 94%
Quick Service Meals
Both meal plans include quick service meals, and guests can choose from the same list of 30 quick service restaurants located in Universal Studios Florida™, Universal’s Islands of Adventure™, Universal’s Volcano Bay™, and Universal City Walk™. Note that restaurants in the resort hotels are not included in the dining plan. In the theme parks, only The Leaky Cauldron and Three Broomsticks are excluded.
For each day that you purchase a Quick Service Dining Plan you receive:
- One Quick Service Meal
- One Snack
- One non-alcoholic beverage
Adults: $25.55/day | Children (Ages 3-9): $17.03, and must order from the children’s menu when available. (Prices as of 6/1/2018, and may be subject to seasonal surcharges)
For an additional $6.39/person/day, guests can include a souvenir Coca-Cola Freestyle cup and receive unlimited refills from the Coca-Cola Freestyle machines throughout the Universal theme parks.
For each day of the Full Service Dining Plan, guests receive:
- One Full-Service Meal
- One Quick- Service Meal
- One Snack
- One Non-alcoholic Beverage
Adults: $63.89/day | Children (Ages 3-9): $24.48/Child, and must order from the children’s menu when available. (Prices as of 6/1/2018. May be subject to seasonal surcharges).
The other big difference between the Quick Service Dining Plan and the Full Service Dining Plan is that anyone can purchase a Quick Service Dining Plan. Even if you just stop by Universal Orlando Resort for the day on your way through town, you can walk up to a guest relations window and buy a Quick Service Dining Plan for the day. But the you can ONLY purchase a Full Service Dining plan as an add-on option to a vacation package, booked in advance.
The Full Service Dining restaurant list is less comprehensive than the Quick Service options. But some excellent restaurants that are included. Among the dozen choices are each theme park’s signature restaurant and more than a half-dozen Universal CityWalk options.
Full Service Restaurants Taking Meal Plan Credits
Is a Universal Orlando Resort Dining Plan Worth It?
We know the bottom line question is whether a dining plan is “worth it.” But the answer isn’t quite that simple. If the only question is whether you will save money by purchasing a dining plan, then the answer is, at best, maybe. While you CAN save as much as 25% on your food costs with the dining plan, that presumes that you always choose the most expensive meal and you don’t leave any credits on the table. But value can be measured in terms other than dollars and cents.
The three biggest benefits of a dining plan are relative cost certainty, ability to pay over time, and avoiding “menu stress.”
There’s more to value than price.
This guy THINKS that he got himself the “best deal” by paying for meals out of pocket. But this is his reaction each time he picks up a menu before a meal, or a bill after the meal, while he should be enjoying his family vacation. He’s not having a relaxing vacation, because his blood pressure spikes after every meal! He should have purchased a dining plan. The vast majority of his food costs would have been determined before his vacation even started. While they still might have been higher than he’d prefer, he would have had time to deal with it.
Paying over time lessens the blow.
If he was planning ahead, he could apply payments a bit at a time to that vacation package cost. The bill for each meal wouldn’t hit quite so hard. And he wouldn’t be dreading the credit card bill when he got home.
Vacation is about relaxation. Don’t let meals stress you out!
And don’t forget “menu stress!” This poor guy LOVES a great steak. After a long day in the theme parks, he sits down at the restaurant and sees an awesome looking steak on the menu. He’s all ready to order when he glances over at the price and he gets THIS look on his face again. “$42 for a steak!!! I can pick up just as good of a steak at the grocery store for $10!!” Or, he could purchase a dining plan. His meal would already be paid for. (OK, so he’d still need to tip the server). There’s no reason to even glance at the “price” column, and if he does, he’s just looking at the price he’s NOT paying out of pocket today. Instead of being shocked, he can relax and enjoy his vacation.