DiningUniversal Orlando Resort

Getting to Know Universal – Dining Service Options

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Touring the Universal theme parks builds up a ferocious appetite, but are you confused over the difference between counter service, full service, and mobile order? In this article, we’ll describe the different dining service options at the resort, their differences, and

Dining at Universal Orlando

Islands Dining Room. Breakfast Buffet.

Universal Orlando offers dozens of restaurants throughout their resort, from fast food burger places to fancy table service steak houses and everything in between. Universal offers the typical variety of burgers, chicken, and pizza found in most amusement parks but they take menus up a notch with themed entrees and dishes inspired by international cultures. Guests with dietary accommodations for allergies or religious diets should review Universal’s site for current dining options and policies at least a week before their trip.

Full Service (Table Service)

VIVO Italian Kitchen.

Pull up a chair at one of Universal’s full-service restaurants for a find relaxing, deluxe dining experience. Similar to Applebee’s or a fancy steak restaurant, guests are seated at a table where a waiter takes food and drink orders. Food quality is better at full service restaurants, minus a few exceptions, and the atmosphere is more relaxed than the rest of the park. But the entree prices are higher than at quick service locations, plus tips. Each theme park has two full service dining locations, each Premier and Preferred hotel has at least one, and a dozen are located in CityWalk.

Full service dining also encompasses buffet options like The Island Dining Room at Royal Pacific and character meals.

Fine Dining


The finest of dining at Universal Orlando, these restaurants have the best service, ingredients, and preparation on the property. These upscale restaurants are only found at two Premier hotels – Bice and Mama Della’s Ristorante at Loews Portofino Bay hotel and The Palm at the Hard Rock Hotel. Except for Mama Della’s, we do not recommend Fine Dining restaurants for families with young children.

Quick Service

Guests at quick service restaurants place orders on an app or with a cashier. There is no wait service, so you will need to get those extra napkins, but your dining time is dictated by you and not the speed of the staff. Quick service locations are best for quick meals and those with young children.

Counter Service

Flaming Moe’s. (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)

Similar to fast food restaurants like McDonald’s, at Universal’s counter service restaurants guests enter a queue and wait to place an order with a cashier. Counter service dining is found throughout the Universal theme parks and hotels offering a variety of cuisines.  This dining option is on the decline as counter service restaurants shut down for refurbishment and reopen focused on mobile ordering.

Mobile Order

Mobile replaces the queues and cashiers with a smartphone ordering system. For more information on mobile ordering and the Universal Orlando app read our article Getting to Know Universal – The New Universal Orlando App.


Mobile Order Food & Drink Pick Up.

Mobile order pick-up replaces the cashier with ordering and paying on the mobile app. Place an order on the app before you arrive at the restaurant, select a window to pick up your food, and arrive during your time to pick up your food. Pick-up is the standard option at all quick service meals that offer mobile ordering.

Table Delivery

A hybrid between full service and quick service, table delivery mobile ordering lets guests order from their phones to their tables using QR codes and table numbers, similar to a food hall. Two restaurants feature table delivery mobile ordering – Minion Cafe at Universal Studios Florida and Circus McGurkus at Islands of Adventure.

QR code on table for service.

Guests can order ahead of their visit or once seated at their table by a Team Member. On the table is an RFID sticker with a QR code that, when scanned, leads to the ordering page for the restaurant. Upon ordering from the sticker the table number is automatically assigned to your order for easy delivery. A helpful Team Member will deliver your food, drinks, and assist with any requests but does not wait at your table – you will need to locate a Team Member for additional utensils or use the app to order more food.

TouringPlans Touring Tips

  • Save Time and book dining reservations ahead of your trip. Refer to our Getting to Know Universal – Dining Reservations page for more information.
  • Save Money and order through the mobile app when available. Universal frequently offers discounts for annual passholders on dining through the mobile app.
  • Skip the combos that include a milkshake and purchase the platter to save money.
  • Some entrees at some restaurants are large enough to share between kids or adults, ask a Team Member about serving sizes before ordering.

What are your favorite dining locations at Universal? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

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Joseph Matt

Joe covers theme parks through the lens of his quality engineering day job. He has over five years of writing experience at Touring Plans and has gone on dozens of trips to Orlando over his life. When not at amusement parks you can find Joe at breweries, enjoying live theater, playing video games, and cooking.

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