Recently we covered the Despicable Me Character Character Breakfast at Loews Royal Pacific Resort (RPR,) and today we’re heading back into the hotel to have possibly our favorite meal on Universal property: The Wok Experience.
The Wok Experience takes place in Islands Dining Room every Friday and Saturday night, from 6-9 p.m. Islands is the largest restaurant at the Royal Pacific, and is located on the ground floor of the hotel, directly across from Jake’s American Bar. The cost is $25 for adults, and $13 for children. The Wok Experience is “all you can eat,” and Annual Passholder discounts can be applied.
On nights when the Wok Experience takes place, the wok stations are set up in the middle of the restaurant.
Across from the wok stations are a table with desserts and another with hot soups. Both of these are “all you can eat” and are available to those who choose The Wok Experience (Islands also offers their regular a la carte dinner menu for those guests who would prefer that). The soups are fantastic, and we’ve seen green curry, Vietnamese pho, egg drop, and miso soup as options.
Those eating the wok experience also get an all-you-can-eat salad bar included. Pro tip, as great as the soup and salad selections are at the Wok Experience, I personally consider them to be Fool’s Gold like the bread service at ‘Ohana. Be careful not to fill yourself up before you get to the main event of the evening!
Okay, here is how the wok experience works. To the left of the wok stations is an area with cups and vegetables. Guests fill up a cup with as many vegetables as they want added to their wok dish. We had a vegan dining with us who used multiple cups of vegetables for each of their wok dishes, so feel free to load up.
Next, you make your way over to the wok stations. When called by the chef, you hand him your cup of vegetables and the chef adds them into an empty wok. You’ll be asked if you’d like garlic and ginger added into the mix.
Once the vegetables have been heated up for a short while, the wok chef will ask what protein you would like added in. The options include beef, chicken, shrimp, and tofu. You can mix and match different proteins if you would like (such as “beef and chicken.”)
I’ve done the Wok Experience many times now, and it’s always amazing to watch the chef bounce in between each guest’s wok, constantly stirring each one and asking them what they would like in it.
Now the chef will ask whether you would like white rice or lo-mein noodles added to the dish.
The rice or lo-mein are then added into the wok. PRO TIP: Ask for half servings instead of a full portion so you can maximize your protein/veggie/starch ratio.
Generally at this point the chef is really hopping, stirring each dish and continuing to add each guest’s request.
Near the end, the chef will ask if you’d like a sauce added in. Choices include: sweet & sour, orange, coconut curry, Thai peanut, teriyaki, and Szechuan. Like the proteins, you can add multiple sauces together if you so choose.
After pouring your wok creation into a dish, the chef will ask if you’d like any toppings, such as sea salt, crushed pepper, or chives.
The cheesecake dessert was fantastic. I found myself grabbing them while waiting for my wok dish to finish. Popping them into my mouth like Buddy the elf does with cotton balls.
OVERALL THOUGHTS: In my mind, the Wok Experience is one of the best values at any theme park onsite restaurant. Fully customizable, all-you-can-eat, $24 and Annual Passholder discounts apply. Soup, salad bar, and desserts included. The service is always top notch. On our last trip, once we told the chef our last addition to our wok, our server volunteered to wait for the dish to be ready and brought it to our table.
While you can make reservations (through OpenTable), unlike ‘Ohana you’ll generally have no problem with a walk up, Self parking will be validated with a meal, or valet parking will be brought down to $5.
We’ll finish this article with some selections from the Islands Dining Room menu that can be ordered separately from the Wok Experience. There’s always a chance someone in your dining party will think woks are out of their comfort zone, but don’t worry, there’s a great menu they can choose items from as well (including some Must Try desserts!).
There’s an extensive drink menu at Islands, and for $5 extra you can have your drink served in the Islands Volcano Bowl.
The Volcano Bowl is available for purchase as well ($55.)