For movie buffs and adrenaline junkies who prefer more than It’s a Small World-level thrills, Universal Studios is the theme park of choice. From the iconic backlot tour to the death-defying drop at the end of Jurassic World—The Ride, Universal offers a full day of entertainment value for film enthusiasts and thrill-seekers. And let’s not forget, Universal is the mecca of all things Harry Potter fandom. However, when you’re standing in line for an hour waiting to ride the Hogwarts Express, hunger suddenly hits you and you need more than a Kind Bar from Starbucks. 

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As of spring 2022, Universal Studios has offered a range of vegan options (although, maybe hold off indulging until after you ride the somewhat nauseating 4D rides–The Simpsons in particular). 

From vegan Butterbeer to an English shepherd’s pie, here is your vegan guide to Universal Studios Hollywood.

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Does Universal Studios Hollywood have vegan options? 

Just off the 101 freeway, you’ll find the original Universal Studios. The studio campus was established in 1915, followed by the theme park decades later in 1964. The park underwent major renovations in the years before 2015, when it debuted The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and premiered massive updates to its aging rides. This reboot installed 4D experiences to many of its attractions, updated the Jurassic Park ride to include characters from the most recent Jurassic World film franchise, and revamped the narratives on the famous backlot studio tour. More recently, in 2019, the park underwent construction once more to build out Super Nintendo World, which officially opened in February 2023.

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The vegan options at this park have massively improved in recent years, but not quite to Orlando standards. The good news is there’s enough to satisfy you during the day, and three fabulous vegan-friendly restaurants (SunCafe Organic, Broken Engrish, and H.O.P.E) are just across the 101 and open for dinner. 

Note: this guide does not include CityWalk—the shopping, dining, and entertainment precursor to the park. We would still prefer to go across the freeway to a vegan restaurant for dinner, but we can’t fail to mention Voodoo Doughnuts here. From frosted cake options to voodoo-shaped, yeasted, and jelly-filled, this pink sweet shop is a must whenever visiting Universal Studios Hollywood. 

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What are the vegan options at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? 

While the Wizarding World in Orlando  celebrated a vegan menu update in the spring of 2022, these options weren’t adopted by its California counterpart. However, you do have some choices.

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According to the Universal Studios Dietary Food Guide, one vegan-friendly entrée at The Three Broomsticks is the Asparagus Platter. Thankfully, there’s more to it than just asparagus. The plate consists of jumbo seared asparagus, mashed potatoes, cabbage, minted peas, and roasted tomato. Note: when ordering this or any other option at the park, specify that you’re vegan. If you’re looking for just a snack, the fresh fruit, corn on the cob (request no butter), and garden salad are also vegan here. 

The eatery also now serves a Vegan Shepherd’s Pie with a side salad, too. Plus, you can also wash it all down with a non-dairy, non-alcoholic Butterbeer.

Vegan food options at Universal’s Upper Lot

The Upper Lot is the best bet for vegan food options at the Hollywood theme park. Of course, there’s Starbucks, but you’ll also find snacks and sandwich options at a number of the Upper Lot venues. 

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Both Hollywood & Dine and Mel’s Diner  offer a vegan Beyond BBQ Cheeseburger (yes, made with dairy-free cheese), and Krusty Burger offers a more vegetable-forward Mother Nature Burger. A word of caution: the fries at Hollywood & Dine are not vegan-friendly. Universal advises that you order the Beyond Burger without fries at this restaurant, but confirms it’s ok to get the side at both Mel’s Diner and Krusty Burger. 

Cocina Mexicana also offers chips and guacamole or pico. For a sweet treat, unfortunately, Lard Lad’s Donuts is out of the question, but the Spiced Cashew Brittle served at City Snacks and Cocina Mexicana is animal-free. You’ll also find a satisfying soft pretzel (salted or cinnamon) at the Universal Snack Shop plus fresh fruit cups. 

Vegan food options at Universal’s Lower Lot

Remember this: you will have to walk back up these stairs eventually. Universal’s Lower Lot is 345 steps (or 18 stories) below the Upper Lot. Some pass holders even use these steps for a daily workout. Vegan food options are slim down here—we suspect the herbivorous dinosaurs from Jurassic World are hoarding them all. However, this portion of the park does offer a fun island-themed getaway that serves over-the-top alcoholic beverages. Isla Nu-Bar is the place to park it if you’re in the mood for a tiki-themed cocktail. 

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Food-wise, Studio Cafe serves up a decent vegan bánh mì along with fruit-based popsicles and Minion cotton candy. The Jurassic Cafe also offers a Beyond Meat patty, though the accouterments are not vegan-friendly. And at the park’s newest attraction, Super Nintendo World, vegans can rely on Toadstool Cafe for a hearty meal. Here, the plant-based option is the Tomato Soup in Super Mushroom Bowl, which features vegan tomato basil soup topped off with micro basil, sliced mushroom, and truffle oil.

Another important thing to remember: When all else fails (or you just need a caffeine boost to get up those stairs), the Lower Lot Starbucks will provide (check out our guide to ordering vegan at Starbucks here).

For more vegan food guides, read:
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