Universal launched the Universal Dining Plan (UDP) on July 1, 2013. The UDP is a pre-paid meal plan add-on for Universal-sold vacation packages and is different from the Universal Meal Deal, which is described below.
Universal offers an "all-you-care-to-eat" dining plan called the Meal Deal, allowing you to partake of as much food as you'd like throughout the day. The cost is $25 for adults and $13 for children ages 9 and under, plus tax; if you're eating in both parks on the same day, the cost is $30 and $15, respectively.
Only three or four (depending on the time of year) restaurants—all of which are counter service—in each park participate in the Meal Deal.
Meal Deal participants at the Universal Studios Florida park:
- Louie's Italian Restaurant
- Mel's Drive-In
- Richter's Burger Co. (seasonal)
- Universal Studios' Classic Monsters Cafe
And Meal Deal participants at Islands of Adventure:
One thing to note is that drinks are not included in the cost of the meal plan. Our advice is to carry around with you a bottle of water and fill that as needed. Universal will try to sell you a $11 all-you-can-drink "souvenir" cup with the meal plan, raising the cost to $36 for adults and $24 for kids. We're not trying to sound like New York's Mayor Bloomberg, but no one needs that much soda.
Is the Universal Meal Deal worth it?
Not in our opinion. The food selection is poor, and the quality is so far below average that we'd rather go hungry than eat the two or three times needed to break even on the cost. For example, a beef and pepper stir fry we once sampled at the Studios had absolutely no trace of Oriental spices and could have passed for "Mom's Sunday Pot Roast" at Mel's Drive-in or "Danny's Irish Stew" at Flannigan's. Your best bet is to pick up a hot dog to tide you over until you can drive somewhere better off site.