The long queues and frustration of Universal Orlando guests using mobile food ordering in first part of 2021 reminds us that not all mobile ordering remains equal. When mobile food ordering returned to Universal Orlando after the summer season in 2021, few guests noticed. If you are visiting Universal Orlando anytime soon, you should possess some questions about how the system currently works. I will strive to answer a few. In this case, I am answering as a person planning a visit in very near future planning my meals. As someone who dabbles in writing theme park dining reviews, the planning of meals weighs heavy of my mind.
Do I have to use mobile ordering for quick service dining at Universal Orlando?
Short answer-NO! With current procedures, every quick service place takes walk-in orders at the counter. In fact, many of the popular quick service places, like in Wizarding World area, do not use mobile order at all.
How do I use mobile ordering if desired?
Mobile ordering is available through the official Universal Orlando Resort app. Once you have installed the app, you will also need to set up the wallet feature there with your credit/debit card information in advance.
Mobile ordering only works while you are inside Universal Orlando property. When you are at Universal and are ready to order, open the app. Universal recommends being connected to their Wi-Fi. Many guests report mobile ordering works better on cellular service. From the app, hit the menu button on top left. After that, hit “mobile food & drink ordering.” This will take you to a screen listing all places accepting mobile ordering.
Once you have decided on a restaurant, look up the menu on the app. Hit the link for the restaurant you want. You then can scroll through the menu. Each menu item has a description and price. Depending on item ordered, you may need to customize or confirm things like type of dressing. Simply select the items you want and enter the quantity to add it to your cart. Follow checkout procedures.
At this point, you wait to be notified order is ready and/or check-in via app when you arrive. On a personal note, I have experienced several failed attempts at mobile ordering at places that serve doughnuts. Other guests report similar issue. The mobile ordering system often fails to know inventory. If this happened, team members will politely ask you to substitute something for your order. If this happens, I suggest cancelling order because, like at other theme park resorts, you may be overcharged when making a substitution in a mobile order.
What dining locations currently utilize mobile ordering?
Red Oven Pizza Bakery (table service and pickup)
Bread Box Handcrafted Sandwiches (table service and Pickup)
Voodoo Doughtnut (pickup with its own mobile pickup stand)
Cinnabon (according to Universal Orlando mobile app, table service only here. In fairness, I know people have gotten mobile orders to go at a pickup window there)
Universal Studios Florida (Pickup only unless indicated otherwise):
Richter’s Burger Co.
Fast Food Boulevard (all options within this food court)
Universal Studios’ Classic Monster’s Café
San Francisco Pastry Company
The Burger Digs
Louie’s Italian Restaurant (table service)
Islands of Adventure:
Thunder Falls Terrace
Circus McGurkus Café Stoo-pendous
Fire Eater’s Grill
Croissant Moon Bakery
Cinnabon (in case you missed Cinnabon in CityWalk
Comic Strip Café (table service)
How is mobile ordering functioning currently? Is it worth my time?
In fairness, I’m not sure I can answer that for you. Currently, a small percentage of guests utilize mobile ordering. Thus, we lack data for definitive statement.
Technical glitches happen periodically. In my small sampling of using mobile ordering, I have gotten my food 2 out of 4 times. Now, two of these glitches happened at Voodoo Doughnut. If you eliminate that place, I am getting my food 100% of the time.
Does this system save time currently, maybe? However, every park day is different. You may want to dine at Thunder falls Terrace (good choice by the way). However, you view a long queue there. You could use mobile ordering instead to save some time in queues.
How does the system work best so far?
So far, larger groups receive their food sooner using mobile ordering compared to ordering at the counter. Also, since you ordered on the app, you have easy record of items paid for in case of issue. In some cases, the prices are different on mobile app than on menu board at counter. As a result, you could comparison shop to save a few pennies.
Are there any discounts with mobile ordering?
Well, no discounts except for annual passholder discounts. The annual pass discounts are same as ordering at the counter though. You will have to scan your annual pass during mobile ordering process also.
As with all dining choices, your personal preference matters so much. If you have not used mobile ordering at Universal Orlando, give it a try. You may love it. However, you may dislike it. Hopefully, you possess the info to make an informed choice at Universal Orlando. As always, eat like you mean it!
Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.