The ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus created a philosophy with purpose to bring happiness to people causing them to have a tranquil life. He is supposed to have said this about dining: “We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink, for dining alone is leading the life of a lion or wolf.” Maybe you are someone who likes the idea of dining alone or maybe you do not. However, in terms of enjoyment dining as a solo traveler at Universal Orlando has many advantages. I am not so sure about being a lion or wolf, but I have enjoyed dining as solo theme park visitor many times.
Now solo dining can be awkward, but it also can be freeing. There are a few things you need to personally access about yourself beforehand. Are you comfortable at a full/table service restaurant dining alone? If not, do not force yourself to do this. You have the freedom of being on a theme park vacation alone so avoid anything that makes you feel odd. What style of diner are you in relation to a day in the theme parks? Do you sometimes forget to eat going from attraction to attraction? Do you just eat snacks all day with a more substantial meal near end of theme park day? Once again, be consistent to what you want not what you might do in a group. Since every solo traveler is a bit different, the following suggestions may help. Be honest with yourself on your style.
For full/table service dining, I would recommend Mythos in park and Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville in CityWalk. Now, despite honors each claim on menus and/or banners hanging at their entrance, these are not the best full-service places you will enjoy. Mythos is high-quality full-service dining at a reasonable theme park price. In addition to food quality, Mythos makes this list because it can require reservations that large parties cannot get but a solo diner will have far more success without a reservation. You should request an outdoor seating because then you can just relax while enjoying the view of the lagoon.
Margaritaville makes this list because of its patio with excellent people watching opportunities with bonus of live music at times. This location is an easy walk from Islands of Adventure which I have used numerous times to solo dine on busy days at the park. You should avoid the larger portion items and select a sandwich, salad, or a cheeseburger in paradise to be ready to continue your solo adventure.
Now before we move on from full-service dining, are you willing to dine at the bar? For a solo diner, the bar can be empowering. Obviously, you can have an alcoholic beverage. The bar is also a great place just to make conversation if you desire. You do not need reservations to sit at the bar, but you have access to full menu. Most common guest suggestions for bars with good food options are Finnegan’s, Hard Rock Café, NBC Sports Grill and Brew, and The Palm at Hard Rock Hotel. I have a friend who usually makes a priority to dine at The Palm every trip usually dining at a table, not the bar. It is your solo trip; do it your way!
In terms of quick service options, in Universal Studios Florida, solo guests suggest a potato jacket at London Taxi Hut and Bumblebee Man’s Tacos since you can easily walk with you food to seating by the water. A common solo dining suggestion in Islands of Adventure (IOA) is Burger Digs. This is not so much for the food but to enjoy the ambience of the Jurassic World VelociCoaster nearby. The other solid solo dining suggestion is Green Eggs and Ham. I do not hide my love of pizza tots (which are better than pizza fries) but this location has lots of seating near the lagoon to enjoy your meal.
Two more things to consider as a solo diner: to go orders and in room delivery. The Universal Orlando Resort hotels, especially the value and value plus ones, have excellent in-room delivery. Universal Orlando may struggle with in-park pizza, but the delivery pizza is worth the order, especially if you get the special with drinks and sides. I plan this for a meal once each trip.
Also, if staying on-site but not wanting to dine in your hotel restaurant or food court, getting a to-go order from CityWalk can be a great solution. Especially if you are primarily a theme park “snacker”, you will want a more substantial meal to conclude your day. You will have to enter CityWalk when you leave the parks anyway, right? If you have already ordered a to-go order that you can pick up on your way to your resort hotel then dining in your room can seem like luxury for your solo trip. I would suggest Antojito’s, Red Oven Pizza Bakery (which currently offers mobile order pickup), Vivo Italian Kitchen, Toothsome, or Hard Rock Café if selecting a to-go order.
Remember this is your trip and your time. Solo trips can be highly enjoyable but take you time to do it your way. You may decide none of these suggestions work for you. That means you are taking a good step for your solo dining to make you own decisions. Now, you may not feel like a lion or a wolf but if you solo dine correctly, you will have a great vacation.
What’s your top picks for solo dining at Universal? Let us know in the comments.