Before theme park conversations needed to involve talk of facial coverings and social distancing, enjoying a meal at Universal Orlando seemed simple. Except for peak crowd level days or restaurants like Mythos, guests could easily get day of reservations for full-service dining places. Since reopening in June 2020, full-service dining required more far effort to get a table. Many veterans Universal Orlando fans find this change hard to process. If you want to enjoy dining at a certain full-service location at Universal Orlando, I suggest some planning.
In fairness, this planning fails to reach the complexities of reservations at Walt Disney World. You should not expect to have to book 60 days ahead at Universal Orlando. Most of the time you cannot book that far ahead at Universal Orlando anyway.
The process of making reservations can be done three ways. You can do it in person, call 407-224-3663, or book online via Zomato. You can find the reservation page on Universal Orlando’s website.
When you reach individual restaurant’s Zomato page, select your date, number of guests, and reservation time. After you enter contact info, the system will confirm with email and text messages.
What should you do if you really want to dine at a particular place? Well, this answer depends on the restaurant so I will simply list some guidelines.
- Unlike Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando does not charge for no-shows regarding reservation. So, please be kind and cancel when not using a reservation. Also, this means spots open during day as people cancel. Check back often or restaurant you want.
- For lunch time dining, reservations should be encouraged for Mythos. You might want to consider, if going on a busy park day, for all in park full-service dining.
- You cannot make reservations for the Wizarding World restaurants. Those places are quick service places thus no ability to make reservations.
- Not all full-service places at Universal Orlando take reservations. For example, Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Company does not accept reservations.
- Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen continues to be hardest place to get a table. Reservations fill for busy dining hours several days ahead. To get preferred dining time you want here, you need to make reservations at least 3 weeks in advance.
- The next hardest places to get a table are Hard Rock Café and Cowfish. The evening busy dining hours, especially near park closing time will require reservation being made a few weeks before.
- The next group of full-service dining places that are tough to get a table for are Bigfire, Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, and Vivo. These places require patience if you wait until a few days before to book a table in evening dinner hours. You should be fine in most cases booking a table a week or two before for dinner hours.
- Antojitos and NBC Grill and Brew remain easiest places to get a table in CityWalk. Still, during bust time of year, you need to consider making a reservation a week in advance.
- If you are stuck without a reservation, inquire about bar area seating. Most CityWalk restaurants have a bar. The seating areas work first come first served.
- Do not forget about great full-service dining options at nearby resort hotels. The Kitchen at Hard Rock Hotel provides some of best food on property. Royal Pacific Resort offers two full-service places. These places are within easy walking distance. Portofino Bay Resort also offers excellent full-service dining options. Portofino Bay Resort offer water taxi service from CityWalk.
The restaurant industry continues facing a labor shortage. In the case of Orlando area, many theme park service workers moved out of the state. With fewer trained food service staff, restaurants handle fewer guests. Many places, like Toothsome, continue to have empty tables. These empty tables have more to do with short staff situation than interested guests. Until these conditions pass, full-service dining demands more effort. However, Universal Orlando offers so many options. If you have your heart set on Toothsome or Cowfish for example, plan a few weeks ahead. 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.