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Universal Orlando Food Prices: How to Cut Meal Costs

When you travel to Universal Orlando and you’re trying to stay on a budget, the easiest way to cut expenses is to save on food. You can save on Universal Orlando food prices by using these simple money saving hacks.

woman with huge pink iced donut at Universal Studios Orlando Resort

Whether you are trying to stay on budget, or you just like to have the most value for the money that you spend, these tips to save money on Universal Orlando food prices will keep you on the right track.

And you can use those savings to indulge in Butterbeer!

Bring Your Own Food into Universal Studios

Can you take food into Universal Studios Orlando?

Yes, you can!

The best way to eat cheap when you go to Universal is to pack food to bring into the parks. Bring your own drinks and snacks in a backpack so you can satisfy your hunger without paying theme park prices.

Bringing food into Universal Orlando is allowed. You can bring snacks and water (up to 2 liters) into the park.

Insulated bags are allowed that are no bigger than 8.5″ x 6″ x 6″. That’s pretty small, so consider this soft cooler than can be squished down to the right size and completely fold down when not in use.

Soft drinks are allowed, but alcohol is not.

Simpson character with empty beer mug

You are also permitted to bring food for special diets and medical purposes as well as baby food and formula.

Keep in mind you cannot bring glass containers. And you cannot bring hard sided coolers. 

Eat Outside of the Theme Park

One of the best things about where Universal Orlando Resort is located is that it is so close to major areas where Orlando locals eat and live. 

I say this from experience! I used to live less than 2 miles from Universal Orlando Resort. In fact, we walked to Universal Orlando during our daily exercise walks. So, yeah, I know the area well!

In general, eating outside of the theme parks is a better way to go for Universal Orlando food savings. You can get a lot of great quality food off of Universal Orlando property and get a better value.

You can even eat in your hotel room for breakfast before you leave to spend a day in the parks.

kitchen in universal cabana bay hotel room

refrigerator in hotel room

Depending on your accommodations, you may have the appliances needed to cook up something bought at a local supermarket. That’s why we loved staying at Universal’s Cabana Bay Resort, which has a microwave, refrigerator, and more.

Close by to Universal Orlando is Sand Lake Road, considered Restaurant Row by all Orlando residents. All of the chain restaurants can be found on Sand Lake Road, from budget restaurants to high end restaurants. If you have a car, drive to Sand Lake Road for meals. Or even Uber (it was around $11 or so).

Dr. Phillips is also another MAJOR road just a few blocks from Universal Studios Orlando. (Dr. Phillips and Sand Lake Road intersect.) You’ll find two Publix supermarkets in the area, along with CVS, Walgreens and tons of shopping and dining.

One of the best deals is to get Happy Hour at Morton’s in the Dr. Phillips Plaza. You’ll spend way less money but have a really great time!

Quick Service

If you want to buy food in the parks at Universal, but you still want to save money, you can do so by eating at quick service locations.

Krusty Burger restaurant Universal Orlando Resort

Quick service locations are what’s considered fast food outside of theme parks. However, quick service locations inside theme parks are usually really well themed, with much nicer food! (Check out these amazing 10 quick service restaurants at Walt Disney World.)

You can customize meals a lot more at quick service restaurants in order to save money. For example, it is much easier to share an entree. You can order from the kids menu without a problem. Prices are generally a lot lower than their table service counter parts.

Universal Orlando food prices menu

Lard Lad Donuts Menu Universal Orlando Resort

And ask if you can leave off a side and get a discount. Sometimes you can skip the fries or fruit cup and get a reduced meal cost.

Plus, without a server, you don’t have to pay the additional tip. All of those extra costs add up, so quick service meals can save you money. (This is also a way to save money on food at Disney World.)

Another quick service deal to take advantage of is refillable drinks and popcorn in the parks when you buy a refillable bucket or a souvenir cup. With a $5.99 purchase of a bucket refills are just $.99 each. This is awesome for sharing!

woman holding pink glazed donut at Universal Studios Orlando Resort

Discounts

Whether you want to just spend as little as possible, or you want to save a few dollars on your dining experiences, it always makes sense to take advantage of the discounts offered on dining at Universal Orlando.

There are a few ways to save 10% on your dining costs. Such as AAA membership and preferred annual passes.

You can also save 10% with an American Express card which will even save you money on the park tickets.

You may even get coupons at your hotel for dining in the park, if you stay at a Universal partner hotel.

When you purchase tickets in advance you also get a booklet with a 10% discount coupon for dining.

***Here’s more tips on how to enjoy your visit to Universal Studios Orlando!

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