TouringPlans is pleased to welcome guest author Jon Self.
Have you heard about the Universal Orlando Quick Service Dining Plan?
The Quick Service Dining Plan is a card that entitles the guest to one quick service entrée with a qualifying beverage, a snack credit, and another beverage credit. The cost currently is $25.99 plus tax per day. According Universal, the plan can save you up to 25% on select entrée, snack, and beverage combinations. There is also a version of this plan that replaces beverage credits with a Coke Freestyle refillable cup, which costs $34.99 plus tax.
There are many ways to purchase a Quick Service Dining Plan. You can buy it online and then pick up the card at the front kiosks at each park. You may also buy one in person at the dining reservation carts at each park, the Universal Ticket Center at your on-site or partner resorts, and or at any participating Quick Service Dining Plan location. This means if you want to wait to decide about buying this plan to make sure it works for you then you can. One word of warning: even though Universal states you can buy the plan at any Quick Service Dining Plan location, there are many guest reports of difficulty doing this at busy times.
The Quick Service Dining Plan is valid at over 100 dining locations throughout Universal, including CityWalk dining locations such as BreadBox and Hot Dog Hall of Fame. You can essentially check the menu boards at participating locations for items honored by the plan indicated by the Universal Dining Plan symbol next to that item. One important caveat is that the Quick Service Dining Plan is not redeemable at the restaurants at Universal Orlando Loews resort hotels.
Now this dining plan can save you money. The credits never expire so as prices go up you may find you saved money in the long run by buying a plan or two in advance. These plans are not attached to a specific person, so they may be used by more than one person.
Because Universal Orlando doesn’t readily have detailed information about what qualifies as a snack credit versus an entree credit, guests can be confused thinking they are using a snack credit to find out late they used an entrée credit. Examples of this are turkey legs, Starbucks sandwiches, crepes, nachos, and corn dogs which are considered entrees, not snacks. This can be a frustrating waste of funds.
Another issue to know about in advance is that most of the beverages in the Wizarding World area are not counted as a “qualifying” beverage for Quick Service Dining Plan, but instead are considered “snacks. This can be confusing since your entrée comes with a beverage, but if you get a Butterbeer with your entrée at a Wizarding World restaurant, you won’t get a “beverage” with the entree, and you will have spent a snack credit.
One final issue is that you cannot use your Quick Service Dining Plan to mobile order meals. This can make the Quick Service Dining Plan cost more in time than paying out of pocket through mobile order.
There are a few more practical details to consider. If you choose to upgrade to the Quick Service Dining Plan with a Coke Freestyle cup, you only get one snack credit. However, you can bring your Freestyle cup back on future visits to “recharge” it for a fee for unlimited refills. In addition, especially if you do not like to drink soft drinks all day and or have already paid for a Freestyle cup, you may get lucky with your Quick Service Dining Plan. Universal’s official line is that with the plan that you get an entrée with qualifying beverage, a snack, and another beverage, may guests report seeing that their plan indicates they get one entrée with beverage and 2 credits that can be either a beverage or a snack. Check your receipt because if you are lucky enough to get two snack credits, then the Quick Service Dining Plan is a much better value.
If you use your American Express card to purchase the plan with the Freestyle cup, then you will get 10% off. On the flip side, if you are a Premier or Preferred Annual Passholder, you do not get a discount on the plan but you normally get 10-15% off some food and beverage offerings. In this case, the plan may not save you money.
Is the Quick Service Dining Plan worth it? It can be, but you will need to evaluate all the factors involved. Stay tuned for more detailed breakdowns of how to maximize the Quick Service Dining Plan plan in future blogs. Keep vacationing like you mean it and keep checking the site for more tips on how to save money on vacation.
Have any questions about Universal’s Quick Service Dining Plan? 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.