Universal Orlando held an annual passholder preview today for the new TODAY Cafe at Universal Studios Florida. This new eatery offers pastries made fresh daily, sandwiches, salads and much more.
The TODAY Cafe is located near the entrance of the park, in the space formerly occupied by the recently closed Beverly Hills Boulangerie. The outside of the building is fairly plain, with the TODAY Show logo over the entrance, welcoming guests on their way in. There is also a nice seating area at the front and side of the building.
The interior of the building is a bit more complex, with screens showing clips from the TODAY show and seating areas on either side of the entrance. As you walk in you will see the cashier directly in front of you and the line to order your food to your left. That’s where you’ll find the main attraction of this new cafe: the case full of pastries. We’ll get into that a bit more later.
Now that we’ve covered the venue, let’s talk about the food. Like I mentioned earlier, the case full of pastries (and other food that I mostly ignored) is mesmerizing. If you like dessert, you’re going to love this place. If you like dessert and you’re an indecisive person, this place if going to be a nightmare for you. There are dozens of options and they all look delicious.
As you approach the counter, a team member will be available to answer any questions you have about the food and get any pastries you want to order. Some of your options include muffins, croissants, cakes and various other pastries and breads. Sandwiches, salads and other entrees and drinks are ordered with the cashier.
I unfortunately was not able to sample all of those treats (despite how badly I wanted to). Instead I ordered one of the few sandwiches the TODAY Cafe offers as well as one of those delicious desserts (yes JUST one). A team member greeted guests at the door with a menu for you to study. It was about 5 PM when I was there so only their lunch/dinner menu was available, but the cafe also offers a breakfast menu available daily until 11 AM.
Most of the sandwiches on the menu were right up my alleys so that was another tough decision, but I eventually decided to go with The Bulls & The Bears, a beef brisket sandwich. I also decided to go with the Chocolate Torte to finish off my meal. Both were great choices.
The sandwich was fantastic. The combination of the brisket and the horseradish cream was delicious. In fact, this might be my new favorite quick-service item in Universal Studios Florida. Sandwiches are served with a side of either potato salad or fruit salad. I opted for the potato salad which was a bit different from what I was accustomed to, but not bad.
The Chocolate Torte was also delicious. The only negative thing I could say about it, was that by the time I was finished eating my sandwich the torte had gotten a bit warm as I was sitting outside. Aside from that it was great, it just would have been a bit better if was straight out of the fridge.
If there’s one negative thing about The TODAY Cafe, it’s the price. It’s not too bad, but as quick-service goes it’s a tad pricey. My meal – which again included the sandwich (with a side), the Chocolate Torte and a soda – cost almost $22 after the annual pass discount. Compared to your typical theme park burger and fries, that’s a bit much. But then again, this is much better than your typical theme park burger and fries.
Plus, if you just want some dessert (which I almost certainly will every time I’m there now) the Chocolate Torte was just $4.69. Not bad for a theme park snack.
Overall, The TODAY Cafe is a great addition to a park that badly needed another quick-service option. Now, guests will no longer be limited to the Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley or the few unique options in the Springfield area. I highly recommend trying The TODAY Cafe before going back to either of those options.
According to the team members at the preview, The TODAY Cafe will be in soft opening starting tomorrow. A grand opening for the new eatery has not yet been announced.
Mike is a writer that has covered comic cons, theme park events, video game showcases and other fun events. He is a fan of theme parks, sports, movies, Marvel Comics and is a self-proclaimed “nerd.”