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Universal Orlando is no longer selling dining plans as of July 2021. The information below remains for historical purposes, as well as to guide those who may have already purchased a Universal Dining Plan for their future vacations. (Universal stated that it will honor already-sold dining plans.)
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Universal Orlando Dining Plans

Universal Orlando offers two different Dining Plans:

  • Quick Service Universal Dining Plan
  • Table Service Universal Dining Plan

Quick Service Universal Dining Plan

Universal offers two dining plans that allow guests to prepay for their food, and potentially save some money in the process. The Quick Service Universal Dining Plan provides one quick-service meal (including an entrée platter and soft drink), another soft drink, and one snack. The cost is $25.99 for adults and $17.99 for kids age 9 and younger. It’s valid at most quick-service eateries in all three parks (including Three Broomsticks at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter–Hogsmeade, the Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley, and Fast Food Boulevard in Springfield), plus a smattering at Universal City- Walk, but not at any hotel eateries. You can view a complete list of participating restaurants on the Universal website.

Virtually every entrée at participating venues can be purchased with a quick-service meal credit, even combo platters that include a side salad or milkshake. A few of the most expensive items, such as whole pizzas, aren’t covered. For your nonalcoholic beverages, you can choose from a regular-size fountain beverage; bottled water, juice, or sports drink; or coffee, cocoa, or tea (including tall Starbucks brews). Eligible snacks include churros, pretzels, popcorn, ice cream (regular-size cup or cone, or novelty bar), fruit, cookies, and pastries. Some larger items from snack vendors, such as turkey legs and hot dogs, count as a quick-service meal. Credits can even be used inside The Wizarding Worlds, though the Universal Dining eligibility logo doesn’t appear on Potter menus for thematic reasons. However, signature beverages such as Butterbeer will count as a snack, not a drink.

If two sodas a day isn’t enough for you, a souvenir Coca-Cola Freestyle cup can be added to any quick-service dining plan for an additional $9, which includes one day of unlimited refills from the Freestyle machines found around the parks.

Universal claims the plan can save you up to 25%, but unless you use all your credits and order carefully, adults will probably do as well or better buying à la carte with an annual pass discount (which cannot be applied to purchasing the plan). We’re also not big fans in principal of prepaying for meals, but thankfully Universal doesn’t force you to book it for every day of your vacation or for every member of your party. It is possible to purchase the quick-service dining plan in advance when reserving your vacation, but there’s really no need to.

Instead, take advantage of your ability to buy into the plan on a day-by-day basis at any participating restaurant after you’ve already made your menu selection. If your entrée and drink add up to at least $18 before tax, and you aren’t eligible for any discounts, it’s probably in your best interest to ask the cashier to sell you a quick-service plan. The extra few dollars will net another beverage (worth about $3–$5) and snack (worth $2.50–$8) for the afternoon, saving you up to $2–$4 on average. Order a ribs platter and pumpkin fizz from Three Broomsticks with a dining plan, and your second drink and snack will add only $3 to your bill. On the other hand, if you order a chicken sandwich, two bottles of juice, and a giant cookie, you’ll lose about $5.50 on the deal. As for the kids, the children’s plan is almost universally a good deal. Because kids’ meals all cost $7.49 without a beverage, even buying bottles of water and a bag of chips puts you in the black. (And there’s no law saying that adults with smaller appetites can’t order from the children’s menu.) Finally, the key to maximizing the value of your dining plan is using the snack credit on a Butterbeer. At $7.99, it’s the most expensive eligible snack item in the parks, and arguably the tastiest; order one with the aforementioned ribs and you can save up to $10. Lard Lad’s Big Pink Donut from The Simpsons Fast Food Boulevard in USF is another excellent use of your snack credit and can feed a family of four. The dining-plan cards aren’t tied to a particular person, so they can be traded among family members, and they don’t expire at the end of the day—unused credits hold their value as long as you hold onto the card. Just be aware that if you have a large group, juggling the plan’s plastic can become a pain, because each person receives a separate card for every day. One more major minus: at press time, dining plans could not be used with mobile ordering.

Table Service Universal Dining Plan

A Table Service Universal Dining Plan is also offered to on-site hotel guests buying vacation packages, but it’s a much worse bargain. The full-service plan costs $64.99 per adult per day ($24.99 for kids) and includes everything the quick-service plan does, plus one table-service meal (entrée, soft drink, and select dessert; tax and gratuity not included) per day. Unfortunately, there are only about a dozen participating restaurants on property, none of which are in the resort hotels—which is strange because the only way to buy the table-service plan is as part of a Universal Orlando Vacations hotel package. And if you’re visiting during the off-season, eligible table-service locations inside the parks may stop serving before you’re hungry for dinner. The table-service plan probably wouldn’t be a great deal even if Universal gave it away “free”; at full price, you’re basically throwing money away.

Last updated by Seth Kubersky on July 2, 2021

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