Staying at a Universal Orlando Resort Hotel with Food Allergies

Staying at a Universal Orlando Resort Hotel with Food Allergies

Staying at a Universal Orlando Resort Hotel with Food Allergies

How do you pick a resort that fits your wants, needs, and more importantly, your food allergies?  It may be surprising to some, but some of my favorite Universal Orlando Resorts are the Value and Prime Value resorts!  Besides having great prices, they have huge kitchens for cooking, and some even have an area where they cook only allergy-friendly food.  Cabana Bay Beach Resort has amazed me every time I have stayed there with my meals.  I do also enjoy the Wok Station at Aventura for a healthy meal.  Here you can choose your protein, base, and veggies and then get a fresh pan and even a chef to make sure you’re getting a safe meal!  

If you’re looking for a resort with a water taxi, a slower pace, and want to enjoy a sit-down meal, the Premier and Preferred resorts will be for you!  The Premier resorts are Hard Rock Hotel, Portofino Bay Hotel, and Royal Pacific Resort.  The Preferred hotel is Sapphire Falls Resort.  The chefs at the Preferred and Premier resorts are accommodating at the sit-down restaurants.   I’ve had some really great meals at The Kitchen in Hard Rock Hotel, Amatista Cookhouse in Sapphire Falls, and Jake’s in Royal Pacific.  If you’re looking for quick service, the Premier and Preferred resorts don’t have a huge variety of meals for allergy-friendly food because they generally don’t have a full kitchen in them. Sal’s Market Deli at Portofino Bay Hotel is one that I did have great luck at.  Premier resorts do have a club level available and they are very accommodating.  I was able to contact them prior to my trip and they had something I could eat every time!  


If you are planning to stay at a Universal Orlando Resort,  make sure to email chefs ahead of time at the resort you’re staying. I have successfully emailed the chefs at Endless Summer Surfside and Cabana Bay Beach Resort.  Both times I was super impressed with the response time of the chefs and how I was treated when I arrived at the resorts.  For Cabana Bay, I was even given names of other chefs that I should speak to if Chef Paul wasn’t there.  It really eased my worry about ordering at the quick-serve locations of these resorts knowing the chefs had a heads up and would leave some proteins out of the marinade for me so they would be garlic free!  

Kelly Van Eerden-Jenison, MI

Kelly Van Eerden-Jenison, MI

Lead Travel Advisor

In 2012, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and multiple food allergies.  Despite the challenges that traveling with food allergies can bring, our vacations have not stopped.  I still continue to travel and look for destinations that are allergy-friendly.  My favorite allergy-friendly destination is Walt Disney World because they do such a great job going above and beyond to serve their guests with allergies, but the options are endless!  

I feel that travel is an important way to connect as a family and recharge for everyday life.  I have planned numerous vacations and love that I can share my passion for exploring new places with my clients as I help them make memories that will last a lifetime.  I look forward to using my personal experiences to help make your dream vacation a reality.

Halloween Horror Nights 2023

Halloween Horror Nights 2023

Find your screaming buddy now because the 2023 Halloween Horror Nights dates have been released!  

Halloween Horror 2023 Event Dates:

September: 1-3, 6-10, 13-17, 20-24, & 27-30

October: 1, 4-8, 11-15, 18-22, 25-29, & 31

When booking the package you can include extras such as the RIP tour, Halloween Horror Nights Express Pass, or the Unmasking The Horror Tour.  When you add a 3-park ticket to your package, you can get a Stay, Scream, and Save discount of up to $200 depending on your length of stay! As always when booking a Universal Orlando Vacation Package, you can add on the everyday extras like breakfast at Three Broomsticks, daytime Express Passes, Hollywood Drive-In Golf, photo packages, and more!  Talk to your Travel Advisor to find out all the extras you can include in your vacation.   

For those that are looking to experience the houses without the scare, check out the Behind the Screams 3 or 6-hour tours.  Behind-the-Screams: Unmasking the Horror Tour includes:

Exclusive behind-the-scenes access to three or six haunted houses in a lights-on, an informational walking tour (once per house, based on itinerary)

Exclusive access to photograph select rooms in select haunted houses on the tour (as determined by the VIP Experience guidelines for the year’s event)

The morning 3-house tour is not a combination 6-house tour and may be the same 3 houses on each tour

If you want to experience Halloween Horror Nights with priority entry, R.I.P Tour may be for you.  You can choose between a private or non-private tour.  All  R.I.P. Tours include:

Priority V.I.P. entry to houses and participating park attractions (once per house, based on itinerary) while on tour with the R.I.P. Guide

Commemorative R.I.P. Tour credential & lanyard, exclusive R.I.P. pin

Complimentary self-parking (1 vehicle, based on availability)

Pre-tour reception in Cafe La Bamba™

Access to exclusive cash bar locations (must be 21+ with valid photo ID to purchase and consume alcoholic beverages)

Universal Express Unlimited ride access (with R.I.P. credential) at all participating rides & attractions for the date of their tour (valid upon check-in at VIP Experience lobby to be used before or after a tour during normal event operating hours; excludes Halloween Horror Nights haunted houses)

When you schedule a Private R.I.P. Tour for up to 10 guests, you can customize your own itinerary!

Book your vacation package early for the best price and most availability!  Hotels and tickets sell out quickly, especially on the weekends!

Visiting the Universal Orlando Theme Parks with Food Allergies

Visiting the Universal Orlando Theme Parks with Food Allergies

Visiting the Universal Orlando Theme Parks with Food Allergies


Whether you’re a Walt Disney World pro that is heading to Universal Orlando for the first time, or you are heading to Orlando for the first time, it can be hard to know what to expect when it comes to ordering safe food!  Universal Orlando does have a similar process for ordering meals when you have food allergies at their quick service and sit-down restaurants as Walt Disney World does. 

Your first step is asking to speak to a chef or a manager when you are ordering. At quick-service restaurants, you will ask the cashier to speak to a chef, and at sit-down restaurants, you will ask your server if you can speak to a chef.  The chef or manager will bring you a list of ingredients and talk to you about what will work best for you. Some places may have more options than others but they’ll let you know what is safe and how they’ll cook it to keep you as safe as possible.  The person taking your order can also help give suggestions about other things that may be an option but isn’t on their allergy menu.  Chefs will make sure the food is not cross-contaminated or cooked with one of your allergens or intolerances when they are preparing your food.  Depending on your food allergies and preferences, they may be able to make food on a fresh pan to avoid cross-contamination.

So now that you know how to order, where should you eat?  Quick-service restaurants are great places to eat quickly and get back to the parks.  One of my favorite quick-service restaurants to eat at is Captain America Diner in Islands of Adventure.  They have great chefs and have always made my food safe and delicious!  One chef there even tracked me down to double-check everything was safe for me.  If you’re hoping for a Harry Potter-themed quick service meal, Three Broomsticks is the best! They have a great selection of meals to choose from and it’s definitely worth any wait.  I have gone in and ordered at a slow time and requested a safe ½ chicken meal for a later return time and I’ve gone in and asked to be fed as soon as they can.  They have accommodated me each time and I’m always impressed by the food.


Snow covered entrance to the Three Broomsticks restaurant in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade at Universal's Islands of Adventure.

When it comes to sit-down meals, Mythos wins every time!  I have had so many great meals there, it doesn’t feel like a trip to Islands of Adventure without dining at the “World’s Best Theme Park Restaurant” as awarded by Theme Park Insider!  When you dine at Mythos Restaurant, you will feel like you’re in the setting of a Greek mythology story.  The setting and the food will make for a meal you won’t forget any time soon!  If you are looking for a sit-down meal at CityWalk, Hard Rock Cafe or NBC Sports Grill & Brew are both great options.  They both provide a fun atmosphere in their restaurant and some great food!  




Lead Travel Planner & Certified Autism Travel Professional™

 She currently lives in Jenison, Michigan with her husband, daughter, and son.  They love to travel and one of their favorite destinations is Walt Disney World. Kelly grew up visiting Walt Disney World with her family and continued the tradition with her children.  From the first time they saw Cinderella’s Castle at the age of 4 and 7, they were hooked and still are 13 years later!  As the kids have grown up, they have continued to explore new destinations as well. They went to Universal Orlando as a family in 2019 and on their first Disney Cruise in 2020.  They look forward to exploring more destinations as a family this coming year.  Shey loves being able to get away as a family to relax and recharge from the day-to-day activities that keep them busy.

Universal’s Aventura Hotel

Universal’s Aventura Hotel

Universal Orlando’s newest resort property, Aventura Hotel, is an excellent option for travelers seeking style, sophistication, and convenience on their Universal Orlando Vacation.

Situated next to Loews Sapphire Falls Resort and across the street from Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Aventura has an excellent location in the Prime resort category. Universal Orlando features a Garden Walk – a beautifully landscaped walkway that connects the property from Loews Portofino Bay resort all the way to Volcano Bay. Aventura is a very short (5 min) walk to Volcano Bay! Access to CityWalk, Universal Orlando, and Islands of Adventure is only a 15-20 min walk.  Buses also service Aventura and will drop guests at the parking garage entrance to CityWalk, leaving a short 5 min walk to the parks from the bus stop!

This resort is sleek and modern. The immense lobby feels open, airy, and bright.  Featuring windows along the side and back sections of the hotel, light floods the lobby and leads guests outdoors toward the pool and poolside bar, Sol.

Guestrooms are located on floors 2-16, and are well-appointed with 2 queen beds, floor to ceiling windows, and modern amenities. Aventura is the most high-tech of the Universal Resorts, featuring an iPad in every room to control everything from AC/heat, Television, chat with front desk team members, ordering room service and amenities from Relay. Orlando Resort.

Relay is perhaps the resort’s most surprising team member. Relay the robot can deliver small amenities such as coffee pods, washcloths, shampoo, and soap to guests on every floor simply by requesting the items via the room iPad.

Resort amenities include Bar 17, a rooftop bar with an incredible view of the Orlando area. This bar is a perfect place for unwinding after a long day in the parks, or just enjoying the evening after a day lounging poolside.

For Guests with flight times outside normal check-in/check-out windows, Luggage Services will hold bags until needed. Guests have full use of the resort from time of arrival prior to check-in availability and all day on the departure date.  Planning on spending a day at the park before heading to the airport? Aventura makes it so easy – check out in the morning via the iPad or your personal device, drop bags with Luggage Services, and enjoy the parks. When guests return to retrieve bags, there is a locker room with showers on the second floor making it very easy to clean up and change into travel clothes if desired.

Aventura Hotel is a modern, sophisticated resort that has a luxe feel without the high price tag. With easy access to all three parks, and a relaxing atmosphere onsite, Aventura Hotel will definitely elevate your vacation experience at Universal

Andrea Trelles

Andrea Trelles

Lead Travel Advisor& Certified Autism Travel Professional™ from SEVERNA PARK, MD

I love to travel and I LOVE all things Disney.   Growing up in Florida, my family and I visited Walt Disney World several times a year. From riding 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea to visiting Mickey Mouse and eating our way through Epcot, our family time was magical each visit. Though the attractions have changed over the years, the real magic of Disney has not. Bringing families together and making memories for a lifetime is true joy. 

Universal Orlando Resort Benefits That Just May Top Walt Disney World’s

Universal Orlando Resort Benefits That Just May Top Walt Disney World’s

While I will always be a Disney gal first and foremost, I must give credit where credit is due… there are some things that Universal Orlando Resort offers that Walt Disney World does not that I do believe gives Universal a leg up in some areas. 

1) Universal Express Unlimited Pass to Premier Resort Guests: Guests staying at one of three Premier Resorts at Universal Orlando Resort are given complimentary Universal Express Unlimited Passes. This means that these guests have access to dedicated lines at most attractions to skip the standby lines. While these three resorts are the three most expensive resorts on property, it is often cheaper to buy the park-to-park tickets and stay at one of these resorts for the complimentary Express Unlimited Pass than if you were to purchase the pass separately while staying at a lower category resort. Not only will you skip the lines, but you’ll be able to get on more rides in less time – leaving more time to enjoy CityWalk and relax at the fabulous resort pools!

2) Walkability: With the exception of the Endless Summer Resort hotels, everything at Universal Orlando is fairly walkable for an able-bodied person. Even when staying at Cabana Bay or Aventura, which are a bit further from CityWalk, there are still walking paths and excellent signage if you’d prefer to walk instead of taking a bus (or water taxi where available) to CityWalk. Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure parks are also close to one another to walk to. And I do also love that CityWalk is the main hub connecting everything; it makes it so much easier to grab a bite or do some shopping outside of the parks without the added step of needing to get on a bus if you don’t want to. 



3) Pool Hopping: Did you know that not only does Universal Orlando Resort allow pool hopping, but it’s actually encouraged?! With the exception of Universal’s Endless Summer Resort which is a bit further from the main area of the resort grounds, guests staying at the other Universal Orlando Resort hotels are allowed to pool hop. Are you staying at Aventura but want to check out the beach pool at Portofino Bay? Go for it! Or maybe you’re staying at Royal Pacific, which has a cute play area for younger kids but no water slide – feel free to hop over to Cabana Bay to check out one of their two pools – one has a water slide and one has a lazy river! 



Are you team Universal Orlando Resort or team Walt Disney World? Either way, you’re sure to have an amazing vacation!!

Aly Hirst

Aly Hirst

Lead Travel Advisor & Certified Autism Travel Professional™ from Gilbertsville, PA.

“For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a Disney-obsessed gal. Even though I didn’t take many Disney vacations growing up, I can remember requesting the old vacation planning videos that Disney use to send in the mail; I would watch them over and over again to learn every nook and cranny of the Walt Disney World Resort as well as the Disneyland Resort and Disney Cruise Lines. I was thrilled to be given the opportunity in college to participate in the Disney College Program for a semester – who didn’t want to spend a semester of college living and working at the Walt Disney World Resort? (Bonus for me – I moved down to Orlando in January that year so it was the best winter escape for me from snowy New England!)”

Mardis Gras at Universal Orlando

Mardis Gras at Universal Orlando

Celebrate Mardi Gras with the loudest, wildest, spiciest blowout east of the Bayou.  Visit Universal Studios Orlando now through April 24, 2022 to enjoy unforgettable food, parades, concerts, and more!  Begin your celebration in the Mardi Gras Tribute store located near The Revenge of the Mummy for purchasing your masks, beads, t-shirts, and tasty Mardi Gras-themed treats.

Where and When to See It

Enjoy the sights, sounds, and excitement of the parade select nights of Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras. Consult the Mardi Gras event map in Universal Studios for the parade route.  If you are interested in riding in the parade, check the app for the virtual line pass. Passes are released around 12 pm each day and are available until they run out or one hour before parade start time, whichever comes first.  Once available, tap Reserve Virtual Line and select the number of guests in your party. 

The parade starts at 5:15 pm on the following dates:

Feb 25

The parade starts at 6:15 pm on the following dates:­­

Feb 6-11, 14-17, 22-24, 28

Mar. 1

The parade starts at 7:15 pm on the following dates:

Feb 8, 13, 18, 27

Mar. 2-4, 7-11

The parade starts at 7:30 pm on the following dates:

Feb 21

Mar. 14-17, 21-24, 28-31

Apr. 3-7, 9-24

The parade starts at 7:45 pm on the following dates:

Feb 5, 12, 19, 20, 26

Mar. 5, 6, 12, 13, 18-20, 25-27

Concerts are available on select weekends through March and begin at 8:30 pm.  You can find the following artists performing near Hollywood Rip Rockit on the Music Plaza Stage in Universal Studios.

12 – Diana Ross

19- Barenaked Ladies

20 – Styx

26 – Jon Pardi


5 – LL COOL J feat. DJ Z-Trip

6 – Marshmello

12 – Lee Brice

13 – Becky G

18 – Khalid

19 – Seal

20 – Gavin DeGraw

25 – The Revivalists

26 – Jimmie Allen

27 – Jason Derulo

There are so many amazing food and drink options for food to enjoy during Mardi Gras this year, including a few plant-based options!  Enjoy some sweet savings to be able to enjoy some of the treats with Universal Orlando’s Food & Beverage Card. You can get $75 worth of food and drinks for just $65 or $150 in food and drinks for $120. It’s valid at numerous dining locations throughout the Resort. Purchase your card for a limited time at Mardi Gras food kiosks and select dining locations at Universal Studios Florida.  Make sure to visit the Universal Orlando Resorts and CityWalk to continue the Mardi Gras celebration with specialty food and drinks!