How to: Vegan at Universal Studios, Orlando

March 23, 2016,

While you’re in kid mode at Universal Studios (jumping from one ride to another, in awe of all the colours and characters, walking in freakin’ Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley…), it’s natural to want to indulge in some treats. You’ll also need to refuel. Here is where and how to eat vegan at Universal Studios Orlando (some not-so-healthy treats and some very healthy fuel)!

At Universal Orlando Theme Park/City Walk

Antojito's Authentic Mexican Restaurant // Photo by ThemeParkInsider // Vegan at Universal Studios at happiestwhenexploring . comPhoto by Theme Park Insider

Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food
I’m not usually one for themed restaurants but Antojitos is the opposite of what you’d think a Mexican restaurant in a theme-park would be. Antojitos is classy and like its name, it really does serve authentic (so, mouth-wateringMexican food and drinks!. This means LOTS of fresh vegetables, handmade tortillas, guacamole made fresh tableside and traditional Mexican drinks like frozen horchata and sweet tamarindo.

As a vegan or vegetarian, you won’t be limited for options (same for GF). We ordered the guac and vegetarian enchiladas (we removed the cheese to make them vegan) and we were able to take some “home”, making two meals out of one. I would go back in a heartbeat  – not only was the food amazing, so was the entertainment (a mariachi band). Each musician sang and played their instruments beautifully and even added modern songs to the mix. 

Vegan Pretzel at Auntie Anne's at Universal Studios, Orlando, FL // Vegan at Universal Studios on happiestwhenexploring . com

Auntie Anne’s Pretzel
Ask for a fresh pretzel without butter. You can add salt but just be sure that your pretzel is not glazed with butter. This was the first time I had a “natural” pretzel and I actually preferred it to the butter-glaze – the result was a lighter pretzel. Check out Auntie Anne’s food allergen checklist here to know which other options are also vegan, and if you have any other restrictions, what you can/cannot order. 

Dippin Dots Rainbow Ice by WildWaves // Vegan at Universal Orlando at happiestwhenexploring . com Photo by WildWaves 

Dippin’ Dots
If you’re craving something sweet while at the park well, good news – Dippin’ Dots has (accidentally) vegan flavours: most of the “ice” flavours including Rainbow Ice and Blue Raspberry Ice are vegan. Both happen to be two of the available flavours at their stall in CityWalk.  

 

Vivo Vegan Pizza photo by Laura Verbich // Vegan in Universal Studios at happiestwhenexploring . com Photo by Laura Verbich

Vivo
An Italian restaurant at CityWalk, Vivo has pizza, salads and freshly-made pastas. What does that mean for vegans? Pizza is the best option; we chose the Margherita pizza, added some arugula and mushrooms (without the cheese, please!) and a side salad. As for the pasta, it is freshly-made which means it contains eggs (no pasta for us this time!) but that’s no big deal because the pizza is perfect. P.S. No GF dough… yet! 

Starbucks
Starbucks are found in many locations throughout the park, the many hotels (Cabana Bay) and even CityWalk. At Starbucks, you can choose between almond, soy and even coconut milk. Starbucks is the safe bet if you’re looking for a vegan latte or cold brew. 

Vegan Meal at the Three Broomsticks by Laura Verbich // Vegan at Universal Studios, Orlando at happiestwhenexploring . com Photo by Laura Verbich

Three Broomsticks
Yes! Finally, we’re talking about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (isn’t that why we’re all here in the first place?!) In Hogsmeade (in Islands of Adventure) you’ll find the Three Broomsticks, where Harry and his friends spent a good amount of time guzzling Butterbeers and plotting against dark wizards (You-Know-Who). At the Three Broomsticks, you can do the same thing! Unfortunately, Butterbeer is not vegan but there are a lot of delicious things you can have at Three Broomsticks. First, pumpkin juice is vegan. As for food, a lot of the sides are accidentally vegan or can be made vegan upon request. The staff is very accommodating – we had corn on the cob, baked potato and steamed vegetables (we asked them to hold the butter, just to be safe). This is quite a delicious and impressive meal for a theme park. We found it easier to eat vegan at the Three Broomsticks compared to the Leaky Cauldron (which is more pub-style, finger food).  

Onsite at the Universal Hotels

Portofino Hotel // Vegan Orlando at happiestwhenexploring . comLowes Portofino Bay Hotel
Portofino is an Italian-themed hotel (Portofino, Italy). It is a charming hotel and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to the little sea-side village. What’s great about Portofino Hotel is the food – simple, authentic Italian eats which means lots of veggies and pizza. My favourite was Mama Della’s restaurant, where the menu is simple (easily made into vegan or vegetarian!) and you’ll be serenaded by “Mama” in Italian. You’ll feel like you’ve been welcomed into an Italian home (I felt like I was at my Italian grandmother’s dining room!) 

Cabana Bay Hotel
Cabana Bay is a 50s-themed hotel (so much fun!) From the outside, the restaurants at the hotel (Bayliner Diner) will seem unhealthy (diner food) but I urge you, go on and check out the menus. There are a handful of vegan-friendly options. The bean burger at the Grill is actually vegan (even the bun – we checked!) Just ask for no cheese! You can replace the cheese with sautéed onions, mushrooms and peppers. It is probably the best bean burger I’ve had, including many vegan restaurants! You can pick up other vegan-friendly snacks, get a salad or freshly-made pizza sans cheese. Easy enough! We were pleasantly surprised at the food quality and options at the Bayliner Diner 🙂 


Offsite

Vegan Meal at Whole Foods in Orlando, by Laura Verbich // Vegan at Universal Studios Orlando at happiestwhenexploring . com Photo by Laura Verbich

Whole Foods
Turkey Lake Road
Whole Foods (or any other health food store, for that matter) is my secret weapon when I travel. I stock up with snacks, fruit, veggies, pre-washed and cut lettuces in boxes, bread, PB and jams. With that, I’m set for breakfast, lunch and snacks. Not only will you save a ton of money, you’re sure you’ll have healthy meals and you won’t be stuck without a healthy snack option. There is a Whole Foods 5-minutes (driving) from the Theme Park on Turkey Lake Road. On “grocery day”, we had lunch at Whole Foods (they have an incredible amount of healthy and ready-made, buffet food) and even took some quinoa, rice and beans in cups to-go. One night, we went to Whole Foods for dinner and had a vegan pizza (Daiya!), stocked up on some coconut water (hydration!) and picked up a few more snacks. If you leave the “resort” area for anything, let it be Whole Foods. 


Your turn! Where and how did you eat vegan at Universal Studios? Have you found any other vegan options on or offsite? Share this with your fellow HP (and theme park) crazy friends! How To: Vegan at Universal Studios Orlando & Harry Potter Theme Park // at happiestwhenexploring . com (See article for photo credits)

 

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29 Comments

  • Reply Becky Padmore March 24, 2016 at 11:52 am

    Love Vegan food (I’m mostly Vegan) so very useful guide thanks 🙂

    • Reply Happiest When Exploring March 28, 2016 at 3:32 pm

      hey Becky! Thanks for reaching out 🙂 I’m happy you found this post!! I hope it can be helpful for when you visit 🙂

  • Reply Ilena C. March 25, 2016 at 12:20 am

    Whole Foods is a theme park in itself! There could be many vegetarian and vegan options when travelling and again, thanks for the great ideas! Buon appetito!

    • Reply Happiest When Exploring March 28, 2016 at 3:32 pm

      Grazie mille!

  • Reply Celia March 27, 2016 at 2:36 am

    I can’t not wait for the day that I go back to Universal Studio. I want to see the Harry Potter world once again and eat at the Three Brookstick once more. Butterbeer is so delicious, and the world of Harry is magical. Auntie Anne has amazing pretzels!

    • Reply Happiest When Exploring March 28, 2016 at 3:33 pm

      The Three Broomsticks was so fun with you… we really had a blast together 🙂 I am excited for you to visit again, too!

  • Reply Everything You Need to Do at The Wizarding World of HP March 28, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    […] Have a Butterbeer Indulge in a Butterbeer at one of the many establishments or stalls throughout the HP World (The Hopping Pot, The Fountain of Fair Fortune, The Leaky Cauldron, The Three Broomsticks). I prefer the latter since this is where HP and his friends have their sugary elixirs. N.B. Pumpkin juice is the choice for the vegan lifestyle (Butterbeer is topped with dairy cream). For a complete guide to eating vegan in Orlando, check out my most recent guide here.  […]

  • Reply Laura Verbich April 9, 2016 at 10:38 pm

    We had SO MUCH DELICIOUSNESS I can’t complain at ALL! I loved all the meals we had and you portrayed and shared them perfectly. I want to encourage those veggies who travel to not be afraid to ASK QUESTIONS & ask for modifications in the menu! Just be kind – be nice – smile – repeat yourself a LOT – and tip generously!

    I wanna go back just for the food!! OK… thats a lie… I just wanna go back! 🙂

    • Reply Happiest When Exploring April 10, 2016 at 2:26 am

      hehe yes, I love that “go back for the food… no let’s just go back”!

  • Reply Alexandra June 14, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    They serve vegan Peanut Butter and Cookies Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor at the main ice cream shop in the New York area. 🙂

    • Reply Happiest When Exploring June 15, 2016 at 10:51 am

      Oh yum!! I’ll check it out next time! Thanks, Alexandra!

    • Reply nikki tucker January 15, 2017 at 4:53 pm

      I just googled Ben and Jerry’s to see if they sell it at Universal studios and they do!! I can’t wait. we can’t get it in the UK! I’m going to Orlando in August and already checking out where i can eat! this guide is so useful! most pretzels at aunt Annies are vegan without butter! happy days.

      • Reply Happiest When Exploring January 24, 2017 at 2:33 am

        Hey Nikki! I’m so excited for you 😀 enjoy Orlando and Universal… it’s definitely going to be a VERY happy day 😀

      • Reply Lyndsay March 11, 2017 at 5:05 pm

        Hey,
        I’m going in may from the UK. I can’t wait! Ben & jerrys

  • Reply Tracy August 26, 2016 at 10:47 pm

    We LOVE Universal Studios and are annual pass holders, so we visit often. There’s some really great vegan restaurant’s not too far from the area. Etho’s Vegan Kitchen is in Winter Park, about a 30 minute drive, but so worth it. The Mellow Mushroom is a pizza place that is vegan friendly, Valhalla Bakery is a vegan bakery. They have donuts and cakes if you’re looking for a vegan bakery while on vacation. Pei Wei is a asian food restaurant that’s right beside Whole Foods. They offer vegan options. You can substitute meat with grilled tofu, so yummy! You can dine in or take out. You can also download the happy cow app to find more vegan friendly places where you’re staying!

    • Reply Happiest When Exploring August 28, 2016 at 9:48 pm

      Hi there Tracy! I love that you’re an annual pass holder – what a blast! It’s so awesome to hear from you & get all this amazing info.. wow! Thank you. I will keep this comment in mind for my next visit 🙂 Can’t wait!

  • Reply mary August 28, 2016 at 3:24 am

    At the bay liner in cabana bay the GF pizza is vegan ( it has dayia cheese 😉 ) but what we found out is all you have to do is the ask chef at any restaurant there to prepare you a vegan meal and guess what they do! We go to universal every year and have found they are welcoming to the plant based meals. Conficsos (sp?) at islands has the best hummus and fresh baked pita in the park.

    • Reply Happiest When Exploring August 28, 2016 at 9:44 pm

      Hey Mary! Omg that is so cool – I had no idea that the Bay Liner diner had Daiya cheese.. that is awesome! Thanks for the info <3 Love it!

  • Reply amanda August 29, 2016 at 3:50 am

    very helpful guide- thank you!

    • Reply Happiest When Exploring September 27, 2016 at 12:10 am

      My pleasure Amanda! Thanks for reading 😀

  • Reply Claudie Frid October 18, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    This is great since hubby and I are going to play there in the 29th and we were told it wasn’t vegan friendly so thank you.

    • Reply Happiest When Exploring January 10, 2017 at 4:02 pm

      Hey Claudie! That’s great – I’m happy that you found this post! I hope you had a beautiful trip <3 Enjoy your future travels!

  • Reply MEL November 7, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    do you know if the Bertie Bott´s (Harry Potter´s beans) or other candy at honeydukes are vegan ?? Sorry if something that i wrote is wrong , i don´t speak english. Thanks

    • Reply Happiest When Exploring January 10, 2017 at 3:54 pm

      Hi Mel! Thanks for reaching out (and your english was perfect!) I don’t think that Bertie Bott’s beans are vegan (I think they may have some non-vegan colouring that I can’t be too sure about!) BUT as for other candies at honeydukes.. I have heard through the grapevine (ehem…peta2.com) that “Cinnamon Balls, Sherbet Lemons, Pepper Imps, Jumping Snakes, Blood Pops, Sugar Quills, Candy Floss, Fruit Slices, and more!” are vegan! Have fun at the Wizarding World!

  • Reply Stephen Cagnina January 14, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    This is the first I have heard the pasta at Vivos is not vegan. I’ve always heard it is. Strange.

    • Reply Stephen Cagnina January 15, 2017 at 12:52 am

      Ok I found out the penne at Vivos is the only variety without egg. Maybe because that is their non-fresh gluten free option.

      • Reply Happiest When Exploring January 24, 2017 at 2:32 am

        Hi Stephen! Thanks for commenting here about Vivos! We asked our waiter about the pasta and he informed us that since the pasta is fresh, it is made with eggs! You are right! Thanks for fact checking (and letting us know about the vegan penne!) 😀

  • Reply Ashlee April 8, 2017 at 9:53 am

    Great blog, thank you! To add for all of your readers: Breadbox at citywalk has a veggie sandwich can be customised and made vegan! Ask for no cheese, no pesto & no butter. I spoke with the chef and she was so lovely and accommodating! It comes with fries which are also vegan! 🙂

    • Reply Happiest When Exploring April 15, 2017 at 1:41 pm

      That’s so awesome! Thanks Ashlee 🙂

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