When planning a Disney vacation, it is important to consider dining options well in advance. The booking window opens 180 days prior to your desired date, and some of the popular restaurants are fully booked at the six month mark. During busy times of year and periods of “free dining,” a majority of the table-service spots can be full months in advance.
Because of the well known difficulty in obtaining popular dining reservations at Walt Disney World, many guests believe they will find the same issues at Universal Studios Orlando Resort. Fortunately, this is not the case. Although Universal has many excellent restaurants, it is very easy to find openings at most of them, without the need to book months in advance.
In fact, many of the dining reservation windows are only 30-60 days. During much of the year, it is common to find availibity only days in advance at a majority of the table-service restaurants. In many cases, you can even find same day availibility.
As I mentioned, the reservation windows are typically one to two months in advance of your desired date. Unlike Walt Disney World, where the window is standardized at 180 days, there are inconsistencies between Universal restaurants. This is mostly due to the fact that many aren’t owned or operated by Universal, especially when it comes to CityWalk. Because there is no standardized reservation system, it can be confusing when it comes to time to book.
Although there is no tool for searching for the entire resort for available reservations, Universal does provide individual restaurant links on their website. The major drawback is that you have to search each location individually, but it isn’t a difficult process. Most booking can be done online, but some spots require you to call for reservations. Also, there are even spots inside the parks (as well as at the Universal hotels) that can help you book your dining. Here is the link to the dining section of the Universal website:
So, to summarize, there are many great dining options at Universal Studios. You should never assume that reservations aren’t available just because you are visiting in the near future. However, during busier seasons, you should book your dining well in advance to guarantee a spot at some of the popular restaurants. One of the nice features is that there is no credit card needed to book and no cancellation penalty. I hope this overview helps you enjoy some excellent meals during your next visit to Universal!
I hope you enjoy “Tour Guide Tuesday.” If you want additional tips while you’re in the parks, WDW Guided Tours is happy to help!