1. Share meals, snacks, and drinks. While I do say yes quite often on vacation. I also know our stomachs can only hold so much food without making us miserable. Usually you have tried some fun new snacks or drinks thru out the day. Probably more then you want to admit. I have that problem! Add in extreme heat. The last thing you want to do is stuff yourself like its Thanksgiving only to go out in the Florida heat and be miserable. Been there done that. I am the crazy woman that went to a character buffet style meal and stuffed my face to get my monies worth. Then was miserable the rest of the day. Trust me that is no fun!
It’s a balancing act to not over indulge while making sure you don’t feel deprived. We all want to try new foods and have those special one of a kind dining adventures while on vacation. What I have found that works really well for my family is to share meals. Not only am I saving money which is a win win in my book! No one is left feeling sluggish for a few hours after a meal. Sometimes this means my husband and I fore go getting what we really wanted to share with a kid. While those occasions are rare. We have had times when the kids each wanted something different. In those situations my husband and myself share with the kids. My 3 best quick service value meals at Universal can be found here!
Normally this is how is how it works. My husband and myself share, Chloe and Valentin share, and Nico gets a kids meal. If my grandma is with us she usually will share with Chloe. Then Valentin and Nico will share. We always remind them if they are still hungry we can buy more food. Most of the time we have more then enough food. On the rare occasion someone is still hungry we buy something else.
2. Water is free at all dining locations and most snack carts! Just like at Disney they will give you as many cups of water as you would like for free at restaurants, and most snack carts. Some snack carts don’t have a soda machine. Those are the ones without water. I am HUGE water critic. The water is filtered and tastes just like bottled water. Added bonus there is nothing to carry around all day. It is very easy to throw away the plastic cups they give you when you are done.
When eating meals order water. Its cheaper, plus soda, tea, and juice just makes you thirstier. They don’t quench your thirst like water. Water is what your body needs in the extreme heat. Fountain drinks, tea, and juice all run around $3.00 each. Most of the time tea and fountain drinks do come with free refills.
While $3.00 might seem like peanuts. Lets do the math. My family has 5 people if we all got a beverage of our choice it would cost us $15.00 per meal. That is for one meal. If we all buy one beverage per meal for 3 meals a day. That runs us $45.00 a day. If we do this for all 6 days of our vacation. We have just spent $270.00 on soda, and tea!!!
3. Buy a Coca Cola Freestyle Beverage souvenir cup if you are going to drink soda, or tea. They cost $15.99 per day for as much as you would like to drink. Technically the fine prints say only 1 pour per 10 minutes. This is a huge value for all my soda drinking friends! For what you would spend on 3 beverages while dining, you get unlimited access all day. If you are going to drink soda you might as well save a few bucks!
Universal has Coca Cola freestyle machines all thru the parks and resorts. You just bring you mug with you daily. Refill it as you would like thru-out the day. The only downside to this option is having to keep up with your mug all day. If you have a bag you could add it to the bag.
4. If you are staying on site get the dining plan! There is 2 options one with the Coca Cola Freestyle mug and one without. The dining plan at Universal is different from Disney’s. You do not have to get it for each day you at Universal. You can pick and choose your days. Everyone in the room reservation has to get the meal plan. I like having the option of picking and choosing my days to get the dining plan.
Now here is the tricky part. Is it a value? I think it is if you are strategic! Most quick service meals will run you at least $15.00. Snacks are about $5.00. Butterbeer is $7.99. Even if you get a fountain drink that will cost you $3.00. The best way to figure out if the dining plan is a value for your family. Is to look at the menus on Universal’s website, figure out what your family would most likely order. Do the math and see if there is a value to be had in the dining plan for your family.
How does that tie into tip number 1 split meals? Well, you only get 1 quick service meal, 1 snack, and 1 non alcoholic beverage a day for $23.99. If you choose the option with the Coca Cola Freestyle mug you don’t get the beverage. That plan costs $29.99 per day. Most people will eat at least 2 meals a day. You could get the quick service dining plan and split the meals still. That way you will have 2 meals, snacks, and beverages a day covered.
If you are looking to book a Universal, Disney, cruise, or other vacation, Kristin’s dream team of travel agents would be happy to help you!