Universal Studios: how did it satisfy my dietary needs? Was there any food I could safely eat?
Being out on vacation with food sensitivities can be challenging, especially at walk-in restaurants at theme parks where you can’t find the ingredients. I have sensitivites to canola oil and soy lecithin, but you can’t find that information anywhere unless you’re able to ask a chef how the food is cooked. But, when there is no chef to ask, what do you do now? Who do you ask? Always have safe snacks with you just in case, but you can only hope that you’re able to find a meal you can eat problem-free.
The first day we went to Universal, we ate at the connecting Simpson restaurants in the Simpson section of the park. The good news is that there was fresh fruit, veggies, and yogurt along with pretzels I could eat. But, it was an open, fast food restaurant like McDonald’s where you can see the food, read the menu, but are unable to find the ingredients. So, when you have dietary restrictions, how do you know if there’s any food you can safely eat when there’s no ingredients listed, no chef you can ask, and you just go up to the register and order?
At the register, I found out that they use soy oil for frying, which means I could’ve gotten fries, but I was unsure what to get with it. I need to know the ingredients for other food items as well like what’s in the bread, if I got a chicken sandwich? The person at the register was unsure about the ingredients, for example, when we asked if she knew the pizza had canola oil or soy lecithin, she responded with, “I don’t think there is, but there could be cross contamination, if that’s what you’re worried about.” Well, a “I don’t think so” response isn’t all that reassuring and doesn’t really help me as I still don’t know if it’s safe to eat. Plus we were already at the register ordering, so it was hard to pick something last second without having really looking at the menu beforehand. In order to play it safe, I ended up just getting a yogurt, fruit cup, and pretzels. So, I technically had a snack and not really a meal, but I was still able to get some healthy snacks and have some food to eat.
Then for dinner, we stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel and ordered room service. We found out, unlike most restaurants, they use olive oil for everything instead of canola oil. Got lucky there. So, I got penne pasta with chicken and veggies topped with mushroom cream. It was delicious.
The next day, we went to The Islands of Adventure park at Universal. Last year, I learned that at the restaurant right near The Hulk ride, they make the pizza fresh, so I was able to eat pizza there and that’s exactly what I got this year. When the pizza arrived, you could tell that the dough was made fresh as it had a light color, fresh dough look to it. The pizza was good and I loved the fluffy, fresh dough taste.
Overall, I was still able to get food to eat that didn’t bother me even if it was just some fruit and yogurt. I just wish it was easier to find the ingredents at the walk-in restaurants. It would make things a whole lot easier with those of us with dietary restrictions. Why can’t they put ingredients on the menu? There’s plenty of time to read them all, standing in long lines waiting to order. Besides the inability to find food ingredients, I had a super fun time at Universal as I love theme parks; they are my happy place and I love all the rides at Universal, especially the non-simulator ones that didn’t have screens. The Mummy, The Hulk, Jurassic Park, and Spider-Man are my top favorite rides from both Universal Parks. I had a great time and can’t wait to go back.