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After a whirlwind ten days in Orlando, Florida we are unfortunately home. It was incredible, there are no other words to describe our love for Orlando, the parks, the food, the people and obviously, the sunshine makes for an action-packed vacation of endless fun. The Universal Studios Resort was one our favourite stops on our visit, having developed so much since our last visit five years ago, it has fast become one of our favourite attractions – seriously, Diagon Alley is just breathtaking. But aside from the two theme parks and the Citywalk nightlife area, we loved the food, Universal is raising the bar for theme park food, from the taste to the atmosphere – we were so impressed. You will be spoilt for choice when trying to decide where to eat in Universal Studios.
Despite our limited time, we researched (read – ate) as much as possible in order to give you the best places to eat at Universal Studios, Orlando! It’s a tough life.
The Best Places to eat in Universal Studios
Located inside Springfield, obviously, we knew we wanted to visit here before we even reached the parks. Being massive childhood fans of The Simpsons, it was a dream to visit this part of Universal Studios, apart from the rides, Kwik-E-Mart and Moe’s Tavern, there is a big eatery in this area of the park. We loved Krusty Burger, which sells Krusty Burgers, Clogger Burgers and Sideshow Bob’s Foot Long, all with very tasty curly fries, also in this section, you will find Cletus’s Chicken Shack, Luigi’s Pizza and Lisa’s Treehouse of Horrors. The food inside Krusty Burger is considered a quick-service meal and therefore on the lower end of the price spectrum.
This area does get busy at peak times, but it is very well organised, however, if you don’t feel like queuing pop just outside to Bumblebee Man’s Taco Truck or Lard Lad Donuts. Be sure to pick yourself up a Flaming Moe before heading off to the next section of the park!
A must-do experience for any Harry Potter fan, here we suggest The Leaky Cauldron where you can dine with fellow muggles on traditional British food such as Bangers and Mash as well as Fishermans’ pie. In Diagon Alley you can also rehydrate with some Gilly Water and of course, purchase the infamous Butterbeer and Chocolate Frogs. Again the Leaky Cauldron is considered a quick service meal, quick service meals are generally meals where table service is not included.
Other notable places to dine in Universal Studios include:
Bone Chillin (Located behind the Transformers ride) – Frozen drinks and Pretzels
Richter’s Burger Co (Located on the waterfront just past The Mummy Ride) – Burgers, salads and Milkshakes. Richter’s burger is part of the full-service meal options, therefore it will be a higher price than a quick service meal and grautity will also be added.
The best places to eat in Universal Island of Adventures
After catching the Hogwarts Express between the two parks, be sure to head into Hogsmeade for a drink at the Hog’s Head, where you sip on more Butterbeer or even try a Pumpkin Juice. If you are feeling peckish you can head down to the Three Broomsticks for some Cornish pasties or Turkey Legs.
Located just past Confisco Grille, the Backwater Bar is the perfect place to chill out with a few cocktails during a busy day at the parks, they also sell a range of appetisers. Remember, to drink alcohol the USA you have to be 21 or over, be sure to remember your I.D as everywhere is very strict with this, no matter your age.
Green Eggs and Ham Cafe
If you are anything like us and read Dr Seuss books as a kid, you will want to try a Green Eggs and Ham Sandwich in Seuss Landing, it may just become your new favourite lunch! There is not much seating around this cafe, meaning you may have to eat on the go.
The best places to eat at Universal Studio City Walk
After a day in the parks, you will build up a massive appetite, luckily the Citywalk is located on site to help you with that. We absolutely loved everything the City Walk Offered and ended up visiting on multiple occasions to try new things. Not only is it a great place to eat, but they also have multiple bars as well as many shops and a strong contender for the best mini-golf in Orlando (Hole 18 on the haunted house course is sheer genius)
Toothsome Chocolate Emporium
Home of the holy grail of Freakshakes, we couldn’t believe our eyes when they arrived at our table and they did not disappoint, pictured above is the Marshmellow Crisp, we also tried the Expresso Buzz. There is also a full-service restaurant attached to the freakshake bar, indulge in classic dishes like steak and seafood, as well as an all-day brunch menu featuring crepes and quiches, each with their own novel twist.
Bob Marley – A tribute to freedom
Here we chilled out and drank rum cocktails while listening to a live band, it was the perfect way to chill out after a hectic day. Again a full-service restaurant is attached, with the meals being of a Jamaican theme. Due to the live bands and music theme of the bar, I would say this restaurant is better for sharing snacks and drinks.
Remember: The legal drinking age in Florida is 21. If you are from the UK, it is recommended you carry your passport on you a form of ID, there were many occasions where our driving licenses were not accepted without our passports being presented alongside.
The Hard Rock Cafe
It appears we have formed a habit of visiting the Hard Rock Cafe wherever we go, but they just sell damn good food. The Hard Rock Cafe Orlando is also the largest in the world, so it had to be done. We completely recommend here for your evening meal. The draft beer here is also incredibly fairly priced at around $5 (Blue Moon), this was one of the cheapest places we found in Orlando and a great price for inside the parks.
Another chain restaurant, but we have to admit, no one does Bubba Gump’s like the USA, the coconut shrimp here is the best on earth. If you have not visited a Bubba Gump’s before, it is a whole restaurant themed around the movie class Forest Gump. However, as the chain has grown across the world it has also established itself as a brilliant place to eat and not just a gimic restaurant.
If you are looking for something a little lighter after a day of filling up at the parks, we suggest the Orange Chicken from Panda Express or grabbing a fresh burrito from Moe’s Southwest Grill and then washing it down with one of the 10 Margarita options from Margaritaville or its sister bar opposite the Lone Palm Airport.
Universal offers so much in the form of themed dining and choice, we were not disappointed by any of the food we tried and did find there was something to fit all budgets. Over the years, the theme parks in Orlando have become so much more than rides and parades. Food has become a massive part of the experience, with options to suit every taste and dining style. If you are a big food enthusiast eating at The Universal Studios Resort is something which should be planned in advance in order to dine at the best places across the park.
If you are working on a budget, I would recommend checking out the Universal Dining Plan to make your trip more cost-efficient (only available when pre-purchasing a Vacation Package or at the Universal Orlando Ticket Desk for on-site resort hotel guests). The various plans are available in order to help you spread of the cost of your day and include your meals, drinks and snacks through your day inside the park. These plans are also available throughout Universal Horror Nights.
If you are still looking to buy your park tickets and you are based in the UK, I always purchase mine from Attraction Tickets Direct for ease and the best price. On ATD you can also purchase various combinations which is useful if you planning on visiting various other parks while in the Orlando area.
We were guests at the Universal Studio Resort Orlando, but as always all opinions and our love food are all ours.