TouringPlans is pleased to welcome guest author Jon Self.
Did you know that Universal Orlando offers mobile ordering for select restaurants? Here’s how it works, as well as the pros and cons.
How to Use Mobile Ordering
Mobile ordering is available through the official Universal Orlando Resort app. Once you have installed the app, you will also need to set up the wallet feature with your credit/debit card information in advance. Mobile order only works while you are inside Universal Orlando property (no mobile ordering from your off-site hotel room before you head over!). But when you are at Universal and ready to order, open the app. Universal recommends being connected to their Wi-Fi but many guest report mobile ordering works better on cellular service. From the app, hit the menu button on top left and then hit “mobile food & drink ordering.” This will take you to a screen listing all places accepting mobile ordering.
Places currently accepting mobile ordering either by pickup and/or table service in CityWalk are
- Bread Box Handcrafted Sandwiches
- Hot Dog Hall of Fame
- Red Oven Pizza Bakery
- Voodoo Doughnut
At Universal Studios Florida, the options are:
- All locations within Fast Food Boulevard
- Leaky Cauldron
- Louie’s Italian Restaurant
- Mel’s Drive-In
- Richter’s Burger Co.
- The Fountain of Fair Fortune
- The Hopping Pot
- Today Café
The Islands of Adventure options are:
- Cafe 4
- Captain America Diner
- Circus McGurkus Café Stoo-pendous
- Comic Strip Café
- Fire Eater’s Grill
- Burger Digs
- Three Broomsticks
- Thunder Falls Terrace
Volcano Bay offer mobile ordering at:
- Whakawaiwai Eats
- Kohola Reef Restaurant and Social Club
- The Feasting Frog
Mobile ordering availability is subject to change.
Once you have decided on a restaurant, look up the menu on the app. For example, I have chosen the Leaky Cauldron. Hit the link for the restaurant you want, and can scroll through the menu.
Each menu item has a description and price. Simply select the items you want and enter the quantity to add it to your cart.
If you select a menu item with certain customizations, like Fishermen’s Pie, then the app will ask you to select a topping or a dressing.
Some restaurants offer table delivery, and others offer pickup only. For table delivery, you cannot complete the order until you are seated at a table, since it will ask for your table number. Once you enter the table number and complete the order, your order will be prepared. If it is a pickup order, the location will not start working on your order until you hit Prepare My Order. After you press Prepare My Order, you can check the order status and see when it is ready to be picked up.
Once you have started this process, you can check the app for your order’s progress.
Pros and Cons of Mobile Ordering
There are many down sides to Universal’s mobile ordering. First is that seating can be a premium. At many locations there will still be a line outside to wait for a table, even at quick-service dining locations. Depending on the location and time of day, you may have to wait 30 minutes just to be seated, at which point you can have your food prepared for you. Far and away the biggest negative is the slowness of service.
A second negative is that the app can be glitchy, especially for Android phones older than 2 years. You may need a team member help you to order, which defeats the point of mobile ordering.
Next, if you have a type of Universal Orlando annual pass where you can get a discount on food and beverages, you will need to scan your pass each time you order.
Finally, payment options are limited for mobile order. Presently, credit/debit cards are the only form of payment. You cannot redeem gift cards or dining plans via mobile ordering. If you need to use alternate payment, then you will have to communicate that to a team member in advance when arriving at the location. They will generally tell you to find an open table, then ask you to come to counter to order and let them know which table to deliver the order to.
But it isn’t all doom and gloom with mobile ordering. Fans of mobile ordering speak about the ease of viewing the menu beforehand and how quickly they get their food after hitting “prepare my order.” Large groups find mobile ordering a rescuer, especially at places like Fast Food Boulevard, since you can order different type of items from the convenience of your table. In addition, parents can mobile order for the teens anywhere in the parks, so the teens do not need to have money with them.
One of the biggest successes for mobile ordering is if you want a Butterbeer in Diagon Alley. If you use mobile order at the Hopping Pot or The Fountain of Fair Fortune, you will get you order within minutes while others are stuck waiting.
Although the system can be improved, there are still quite a few benefits to using Mobile Ordering at Universal Orlando.
Are you a fan of mobile order? Let us know in the comments.
Jon Self is an avid theme park fan who has the high privilege to serve as a pastor at an American Baptist Church (fbcmacomb.com) while also trying to find the proper life path with his loving spouse, a bigger theme park fan than Jon. You can follow him at @pastorjonself on Twitter and read more of his writings at faithelement.net.