First time at Universal- Cheap Food Tips?

Discussion in 'Universal Orlando Resorts & Hotels' started by Aubrav, Sep 13, 2017.

  1. CoachZ

    CoachZ Mouseketeer

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    Good idea! I'll be doing the same with my nephews for our June trip. They've already given me their list of quick breakfast items. Lol. They know I'm a planner.
     
  2. robfamily

    robfamily Mouseketeer

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    We did universal for the first time last year after having free dining. We bought a dining plan with the free style cup. We shared a freestlye cup easily. We really liked the freestyle because you can get icee refills. The meals are decent sized, but I think a little smaller than disney quick service meals. My daughter and I shared a chicken dinner at three broomsticks. It was very good and almost enough food. We were adequately full, but not as full as we were after sharing a disney meal. Probably because there is not dessert included like at disney. We brought most of our food into the park. We definitely missed free dining. We did find that the simpson donut was a good price for $5 considering the size.
     
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  4. TommyJK

    TommyJK DIS Veteran

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    With a car, we ate at CiCis all you can eat pizza a couple of times our last trip. It's SUPER cheap and not far from Cabana Bay (maybe a 5 min drive or so)

    We also did invest in a couple of refill cups at the resort and definitely got our money's worth. We got 2 cups for the 4 of us, as time between refills is only a couple of minutes at the resort AND it includes the Icee Machine in the Food Court as well has hot chocolate & coffee. Used it before and after the parks on park days, and a whole lot during non park days.
     
  5. cruiser21

    cruiser21 DIS Veteran

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    You know you walk up to any food venue and get a cup of ice water for free. We do this at WDW and are usually given the cups they use for soda. I believe it's a Florida Law that they can't charge you for the cup.
     
  6. Aubrav

    Aubrav Mouseketeer

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    We did get a Groupon for CiCi's pizza for 4 people for $14, I got some coupons for Sweet Tomatoes for $30 for 4, and we have 2 Olive Garden gift cards that we can use for 2 dinners if we want. So you think the resort cups are a better value than the park cups?

    Yes! This is our favorite feature and we use it often!

    Does anyone know the incidental hold policy at Cabana Bay?
     
  7. nkereina

    nkereina Last chance to lose your keys.

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    For a quick, easy, and tasty breakfast we will stop by Cinnabon at City Walk before returning to our resort at night. We will each get a big cinnamon roll and one bottle of water. That will be breakfast the next morning for less than $10 total. As previously suggested, we will often share apps and even entrees since many of the portions are large.
     
  8. mamabearof4

    mamabearof4 Earning My Ears

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    This will really depend on how much you think you'd be drinking pop on any given day. And if you like all the choices from the freestyle or you'd just be picking "regular" pop anyway. There are less freestyle machines around the parks, but you can refill the park mugs just about anywhere. as a side note....$5.99 is the price for additional days of freestyle mug...the initial cost is more.


    Also FYI: The resort mugs to not work in the parks, and park mugs to not work at resorts. In my opinion it would not be a good option to leave the park to go back to hotel for just a pop refill. (too far/long) Now if you're headed back to hotel anyway for a break and can wait till you get there for a drink then yes, the resort mug might be a good option. In addition, at CB they have freestyle machines, and an ICEE machine that you can use for refills if you buy their sonic mug! (price varies depending on # of days you activate it for)
     
  9. sunsetbeachgal

    sunsetbeachgal DIS Veteran

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    After checking in and getting settled we took a quick drive to Wal Mart and stocked up on breakfast items, fruit and prepackaged snacks to carry into the parks. But if you want a hot breakfast one morning the kids scrambled egg and bacon breakfast is decent sized and actually was very good.

    For dinners we ate at Margaritaville one evening, great views of the parks and City Walk from the outdoor patio tables up on the second level, and if you aren't huge eaters their portions are large and a sandwich could be split. We also ate at the Asian place in the food court area and the Mexican place too which was good as well.

    If you want to stay on a budget stay away from Toothsome!! While a scoop of ice cream in a dish wasn't a budget breaker, a sundae or milkshake if I remember was well over $10.
     
  10. TommyJK

    TommyJK DIS Veteran

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    IMO we got great/better value out of the resort cups since we used them heavily used them every day. On park days we took mid day breaks back at the resort so used them then. Then after the parks. Then of course all day during non park days.
     
  11. TommyJK

    TommyJK DIS Veteran

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    We also did the cicis groupon (twice) and just got water since pop there is where they tack on the extra cost and we just binged again on our resort mugs when we got back to Cabana Bay after dinner.
     
  12. elaine amj

    elaine amj DIS Veteran

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    Cheap eats:

    Panda Express is always good. We share two "pick 3" meals between the 4 of us.

    Louie's has reasonably priced pasta that is easily shareable - very large portions.

    We didn't find anything at Simpsons to be shareable. But we didn't like the place much at all.

    Three Broomsticks ribs and chicken deal (buy the quick service dining plan!). We would buy 2 quick servuce plans:
    - split two orders of the ribs and chicken meals between the 4 of us
    - get 2 fun drinks (like pear ciders and my fave pumpkin fizz)
    - get fresh lemonade/more pumpkin fizz elsewhere during the trip (extra drink credits)
    - 2 $$ snacks like frozen butterbeer, the gigantic Lard Lad donut, or our favourites..any cheesecake from the Boulangerie (JUST like Cheesecake Factory at the fraction of the price).

    - Mythos is very reasonable for table service. We would spend $50-60 for 4 of us (my kids usually got apps/kids meals).
     
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  13. aneka

    aneka Mouseketeer

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    we are staying the the royal pacific resort king suite

    is there a microwave, toaster and fridge in them to be able to save money and have breakfast in the room
     
  14. tony67

    tony67 DIS Veteran

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    Also - most stand that sell soda will give you a free cup of water - it comes from the machines and is filtered. I did not have any interest in carrying around the refillable mug.

    As for that tap water in the room (at Sapphire) - I did test it for non-dissolved solids and it was around 140 - which is very good - tap water at home is around 350
    I was wondering if they filter and soften the water.
    "cheap" bottled water often tests at 75-100. Poland spring is usually around 50. much of the bottled water in the parks is just filtered tap water
    Since there is a fridge in the room it might be worthwhile to buy a zero water filter - but since you have a car you can always bring a case of water with you.

    I also felt I was better off buying a beer somewhere and having a few glasses of water with it in many of the bars around the park.
    I usually just have an appetizer for a meal.

    It may also be worth looking at their QS dinning plan - it's not always the best deal - but about $25 you get a meal with a drink credit , a drink credit, and a snack credit.

    For the snack I usually get the ice cream Harry Potter Ice cream shop - that's about 7.50.
    A bottle of water is around $3.


    There are lots of options for meals - but choose wisely when you use you credit - dont use it on a 9.99 meal - the credits dont have to be used on the same day.
    So for example you can use it on a burger combo meal - that's about 17 and comes with a thick milkshake. In addition you still get your drink with the meal - so another $3
    There are lots of QS meals in that price range.

    It only saves you about $5 - but it's stuff I would have bought anyway, so worthwhile.

    As for coffee - the k-cups in the room are awful IMO - undrinkable.
    I usually get the largest Ice coffee at Starbucks as far as coffee goes - they are in the parks and in Cabana bay.
    You can use your snack credit for a coffee at Starbucks as well - unfortunately it is not the drink credit (unless i am mistaken).

    For breakfast - I always bring a box or two of breakfast bars - they have lots of flavors - chocolate and peanut butter - and are high protien - so they fill you up

    There are also breakfast sandwiches for around $5 at Starbucks or the bakeries in the parks
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2017
  15. tony67

    tony67 DIS Veteran

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    Toaster - no - never heard of a hotel with a toaster in the room - seems pretty risky insurance wise
    Microwave - They are available for $15 a day as far as I recall - I have not stayed at RPR for about a year but was always upgraded to a king suite for loews status
    fridge - yeas all the rooms have a fridge
     
  16. macraven

    macraven Proud Redhead Moderator

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    I'm in a king suite now at Rpr

    Mini fridge and keurig are in all rooms

    Like Tony67 said, no toaster and micro can be rented

    The microwave would be on a cart and would take up floor space in the room
     
  17. wellesleyprincess

    wellesleyprincess DIS Veteran

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    Cabana bay also has it's own refillable mug if you stay there

    As others have mentioned Moe's, BK, and Panda are at City Walk

    Also run the numbers, the QS meal plan can be a good/reasonable deal especially if used it to split meals like the ribs & chicken combo
     
  18. elaine amj

    elaine amj DIS Veteran

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    Starbucks drinks are a drink credit. You get a choice of small servings of a limited array of drinks. The Starbucks in Citywalk even showed me a laminated sheet of available options. The Starbucks in the park had no clue and had soooo much trouble processing a drink credit, I avoided it after that.
     
  19. nighttowll

    nighttowll DIS Veteran

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    When we go with everyone in a big group, we pay the $15 for the microwave and plan breakfast and dinner for the room. We go grocery shopping and get fruit, cereal, sandwich meat, soup, popcorn, and other snacks. Then we eat our one big meal at lunch in Citywalk or the parks and take the leftovers back to the room for dinner. Usually we pick one runner, to go take the food back, or we all go back to take naps or hang by the pool. Between lunch leftovers, and all the other food we bring, we are good for dinner in the room. This saves us so much money.

    It is also easy to go off property for dinner since the parks usually close so early. Sweet Tomatoes has a good deal on take out if you like that kind of food, and there are plenty cheap fast food places nearby.

    We also give the kids a snack / souvenir budget which they earn ahead of time, so essentially only their own money goes to snacks in the park like ice cream, butterbeer, pretzels, bakery items, or Starbucks. This saves us a lot too.

    The feast at Three Broomsticks is a good deal, and we've always been able to feed 6-7 people off of it.

    The nachos at the pool bar at Royal are a meal and not a bad deal to split between 4 people. We had 3 adults last time, and I'm not sure we managed half.

    The pizza in Citywalk isn't my favorite, but not a bad deal.
     
  20. tony67

    tony67 DIS Veteran

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    Good to know - I though it was a snack credit - Universal does poor job of marking things so you know if it is a drink or a snack - or available as a meal in some cases

    The Starbucks in UO seems to be very poorly run - long waits - wrong sandwiches on more than one occasion - a black Ice Coffee can take forever as they do the drinks in order - they should have someone handle the simple stuff - seems like I always get my sandwich and I am waiting on the coffee
    The one in IOA is much better- not sure why it is not a busy - I do notice many employees at the one at UO so that may be part of it
     
  21. jdrum3

    jdrum3 Earning My Ears

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    So, this is a topic near and dear to my heart and we just got back from our first USO trip with 2 adults, 1 teenage boy, and 10yr old daughter. I like reading what people like, but it's all pricy. Here's my top trick that we didn't realize and that is you can bring food and water into the park! Now, probably not allowing a hibachi grill in your backpack, but sandwiches, bottled waters, snacks are all good. Also, any ride that won't allow loose items, offers free locker rental while you ride. Craziest locker rental experience is Forbidden Journey in IOA, not a lot of room in there and lots of people!
    Margaritaville nachos are 16.95, but easily shareable for our family. Here's where we ate, Three Broomsticks, Bumblebee Man Taco Truck, Margaritaville, Panda Express, Jake's at RPR, Jurassic Predattoria, Lard Lad, and Hogs Head (frozen butter beer). We bought milk and cereal and had that for breakfast in the room. When I go out to eat I like flavorful food that surprises me. I did not experience anything at any of the hotel/park locations that made me want to go back with the exception of the butter beer as the bartender was super friendly and the treat was original and delicious. The frozen fried fish from fish and chips at three broomsticks, fish tacos at Margaritaville, and Jake's kids fish and chips seemed to all be the same and was not anything exciting. The atmosphere of Three Broomsticks was kind of disappointing and Margaritaville meh. Jake's atmosphere was ok, but service was fantastic, but easily the most expensive meal, over $100 for kids meal, soup, 2 entrees, and 2 drinks.
    Things I would buy again, frozen butter beer, Margaritaville nachos and Panda Express kids meals/3 entree to share.
    We are going back in December as we bought season passes, going to try Cabana Bay this time, pack more food into the parks and eat more in room. Have fun!
     

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