Universal Studios Hollywood ALL YOU CAN EAT PASS Review
Universal Studios Hollywood:
A review of Universal's All You Can Eat Pass. Attention Robert Niles, TPI Member Audition.
Last week my three brothers and I took a day and decided to enjoy the off season lack of crowds at Universal Studios Hollywood. With all of us having annual passes to the park, it seemed like a fun day trip of male bonding and other assorted he-man behavior.
We decided to throw the diets out the window today and try Universal's ALL YOU CAN EAT PASS. I had never had it before, it wasn't because I hadn't heard about it. Practically every restaurant in the park pushes the program, it was just the fact that I really don't eat like that anymore. I used to be a much heavier young man and scarfing down 3500 calories in a day was child's play. Not so anymore, as pushing 40 can really make you take a second look at your health.
That being said, we decided to go for it and try it this once, besides at 19.95 a person it wasn't really THAT expensive. Our rationale was in thinking that at lunch normally a burger with fries and maybe a cookie would run about 12 bucks, so why not have lunch and dinner and enjoy the snacks?
The deal includes all you can eat at 5 park eateries: Mel's Diner (burgers and chicken strips), Louie's Pizza and Pasta, Jurassic Cafe (burgers, chicken, pizza hut pizza and panda express chinese), Panda Express and Doc Brown's Chicken (the last two were closed that day). You can go back as many times as you'd like. You can get one platter with a salad and a desert everytime you go through the line.
Universal closed at 5 pm, so we figured we'd have an early lunch and early dinner and try to get our money's worth.
I'm a pizza fiend, so I called a stop at Louie's Pizza and Pasta first. I opted for the rather generously sized slice of veggie pizza and a salad with jello. I've got to tell you, for theme park pizza this stuff was pretty good. Along with being a fiend I am also a pizza snob. Some people say "even bad pizza is still pizza", those people should be left alone with their Mama Celeste's frozen pizzcicles. Good pizza should have a dense, doughy almost chewy quality to it and this does. If someone had given me this pizza and told me it was from a corner pizza store in New York I wouldn't have blinked. It was warm, full of cheese and toppings and quickly was joined by a slice of pepperoni. The salad was nothing to write home about, and the jello was jello. Jello is what it is, I doubt Wolfgang Puck himself has won many awards for his jello molds. its kind of hard to screw up jello.
An hour later we stopped by Mel's Diner. I wasn't by any means really hungry yet, but with the pass and the money spent you kind of feel obligated to eat not wanting to let it go to waste. The burgers didn't look very appetizing. They reminded me of the high school cafeteria's vaguely beef looking, greyish brown mystery meat. One bite was enough, it was dry and tasted just "meh". The fries on the other hand were hot and tasty, as were the chocolate chip cookies.
4pm rolled around and it was time for the early dinner we planned. After a ride on the Mummy Coaster we headed into the Jurassic Cafe. It seemed by the look on the faces of the staff that they were surprised to see people looking to eat at less than an hour until park closing, but they were pleasant nonetheless.
I grabbed a plate of Panda Express chinese. Panda Express, like jello, is pretty much you get what you expect. I am a fan of the Orange Chicken and this didn't disappoint. No one is going to accuse Panda of being P F Chang's but they do right by their orange chicken. The noodles though, I can say I've had better. They tasted a little long in the tooth, like they had been sitting there on the hot plates for an hour or so. Dessert this time came with me and got stuffed in my bag (cookies for later).
The biggest drawback for me really was the fact that you have to really eat A LOT in order for this deal to make financial sense. Park hours were 10 to 5 that day and without this pass we would've eaten lunch in the park and then waited until we got home for dinner. We really did force ourselves to eat much more than we planned and the day became as much about food as it was about the rides and brotherly bonding time.
One big warning for anyone thinking of indulging in Universal's fast food eatathon, the deal DOES NOT include drinks. I imagine that's where they make the real money from this deal as those drinks ran us about 10 bucks each throughout the day.
Has anyone else out there opted for the meal deal? I'd like to hear about it. For that matter, does Universal Florida do this as well?
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I've done the Meal Deal at Universal Orlando. It's similar - 19.99 for adults for 3 restaurants in the park (Mel's, Louie's, and IFFF at studios or Circus Mcgurkis, Cafe 4, Burger Digs at islands) with the same foods described. It's pretty much the same except Orlando has an add on for drinks: you can get a 8.99 souvenir cup and they will refill it all day for free on that day only at those places only. There are no .99 refills afterward like the rest of the separately bought cups have though.
I did it on a day with longer park hours (closing at 9) and so got my money's worth without forcing it, but I would never buy it for a shorter day.
My sister and I were just talking about this deal and she was asking me how easy it would be to cheat the system. Meaning, buy one deal for 2 people and just have to go through the line twice. I don't endorse it by any means but was just a discussion.
Real reason for posting! Like Hermione said Orlando has a opt in for Souvenir cups for the meal deal, but they also have just regular Souvenir cups that get refills for .99 for as long as you own that cup... and free water refills. I have about six of these things as I ALWAYS forget to grab them as Im walking out the door.. Anyways- If you're going to invest in the meal deal I would advise not buying the meal deal cup and just getting a regular one. I believe mine were 6.95 or something with .99 cent refills. Maybe I will have more insight in the coming months as I plan to try this out soon.
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