In recent years, technology has made a huge impact with wait times at theme parks. Leap and I are always amazed at how quickly things have progressed since we were young tadpoles ourselves! Universal Orlando Resort changed the game with Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon by introducing virtual queues in 2017. In late 2018, the Mobile Express Pick Up service quietly launched at a few spots. It eventually became available at many additional dining locations throughout the parks and CityWalk, and is now being utilized exclusively at some locations to help with social distancing. We’re here to help you navigate mobile ordering at Universal Orlando — skip the long lines, and satisfy your rumbling stomach faster than ever before!
Universal Orlando mobile food ordering makes planning your day super easy. You can order food at any time. All you have to do is hit “Prepare My Order” when you’re near the restaurant and ready to eat. Even if you’ve used this service before, you can always refer back to this post in case Universal adds even more options or improves the process.
How to Use Mobile Ordering at Universal Orlando
In order to use Universal Orlando’s Mobile Express Pick Up, you’ll first need to download or update to the latest version of the Universal Orlando Resort app. (Some functions will not work unless you use the latest version of the app and you'll be out cold, with hungry bellies and cold food, that is!) We’d recommend downloading it and setting up the Wallet function with your credit card information before your trip. The parks have free Wi-Fi, but sometimes it can be spotty or slow when all of the other frogs are on it. Avoid any potential frustration by having the app ready to go!
Universal Orlando mobile food ordering only works once you’re inside whichever park you want to eat at. When your frog fam is hungry, open the app and go to the slide-out menu on the left side. Follow these easy-peasy steps:
- Under Shop, you’ll see Mobile Food & Drink Ordering. It will pull up all of the restaurant options where this service is offered. Note that restaurants are currently designated as either "Pickup" or "Table Delivery."
- Once you make a selection, browse through the menu, ranging from combos and platters to sides, desserts and drinks (including beer!). You’ll be able to scroll through to see the prices and ingredients of each item.
- When you click on an item, it will prompt you to select the quantity. Depending on the food item, you’ll also choose your sides or toppings at this time (as seen in the screenshot).
- Everything’s all set? Confirm the details and check out by entering your credit card information (if you haven’t already saved it).
- After you place an order, you don’t have to head to the restaurant right away. Feel free to ride Revenge of the Mummy again!
- The venue won’t get your food ready until you hit Prepare My Order. This is perfect if you’re coming from the opposite side of the park. Rest assured, the food won’t turn cold while sitting on the counter. If you're eating at a "Table Delivery"-designated restaurant, wait until you're seated at a table before you tap the Prepare My Order button.
- After you press Prepare My Order, you can check the order status and see when it’s ready to be picked up or delivered to your table.
- Enjoy your meal!
Restaurants That Offer Mobile Ordering
It started out at only a handful of restaurants, but mobile ordering at Universal Orlando has quickly expanded. It’s still not offered at every quick-service location, but there is a larger variety of choices these days. We frogs also continue to keep an eye out in case Universal adds more dining locations in the future!
Universal Studios Florida:
- Fast Food Boulevard
- Leaky Cauldron
- Louie’s Italian Restaurant
- Mel’s Drive-In
- Richter’s Burger Co.
- The Fountain of Fair Fortune
- The Hopping Pot
- Today Cafe
Universal’s Islands of Adventure:
- Cafe 4
- Captain America Diner
- Comic Strip Cafe
- Fire Eater's Grill
- The Burger Digs
- Three Broomsticks
- Thunder Falls Terrace
- Bread Box Handcrafted Sandwiches
- Cinnabon Universal CityWalk
- Hot Dog Hall of Fame
- Red Oven Pizza Bakery
- Voodoo Doughnut
The Cons of Mobile Ordering at Universal Orlando
As frogtastic as mobile ordering at Universal Orlando sounds, there are still some drawbacks and limitations.
Currently, credit cards are the only acceptable form of payment. You can’t redeem gift cards or vouchers through the “Wallet” function. If you have a Dining Plan, you need to order in person to receive the credits. Any discounts do not apply when you use mobile ordering, though a new feature allows annual passholders to scan the barcode on their pass to apply their discount. So, if you wish to take advantage of these benefits, you’ll have to talk with a team member.
Also, on the topic of payment, it may be harder to track your spending and stick to your budget when you have easy access to food. Since you’re not physically opening a wallet, it’s toadally possible to get a little carried away with the delicious eats and treats.
The Pros of Mobile Ordering at Universal Orlando
Of course, the biggest benefit of mobile ordering is the amount of time that you save. By not dealing with long lines at restaurants, you can spend more quality time going on rides or watching shows. It’s much better than dealing with a #hangry alter ego (not naming any names, but it happens to the best of us). It’s also hopful that you can browse through menus on-the-go. Pass the time in a ride queue by figuring out your meal and ordering it so that the food is ready when you hop off. Who doesn’t love convenience and instant gratification?
Universal Orlando mobile food ordering also helps out large families or groups, especially when everyone wants to eat something different. You can easily divide and conquer mealtime without having to hand out money or wait in line twice. Family and friends should still keep a phone on hand so they can show the confirmation details. It is, however, best if you choose places that are close to each other so you’re not carrying your food all over the park. Right now, since many quick-service restaurants are designated as "Table Delivery" rather than "Pickup," it's best to order from the same restaurant. (Frog tip: One of the best places to find enough options that will please everyone would be Fast Food Boulevard in Universal Studios Florida.)
Mobile Ordering with COVID-19 Safety Measures
Since reopening after the COVID-19 closure, many restaurants are now using mobile ordering to reduce contact points. At some locations, most notably The Leaky Cauldron and Three Broomsticks, there is still a line outside to wait for a table. If you order from the app, you should wait until you are seated before you hit Prepare My Order, and yes, you do have to wait in the line. In this case, mobile ordering is replacing the need to order from the normal counters and to avoid exchanging money, rather than a way to speed up the process. After you’ve ordered and paid for your food with the app, at the "Table Delivery"-designated restaurants, you scan a QR code at your table that alerts team members to where you are seated, and they bring your food to you! If you haven't updated the app to the latest version, you will not be able to input your table number, and you may have to find a team member to assist you so your order does not get lost.
Have any questions about mobile ordering at Universal Orlando? Feel free to ask away in the comments below!