First Look at Refurbished Mel’s Drive-In Interior at Universal Studios Florida

Shannen Ace

It’s almost time to welcome back a staple of Universal Studios Florida. Mel’s Drive-In closed for an interior refurbishment back in July 2023, but now we have our first look inside. The dark plastic covering the windows has come down, revealing the changes inside the restaurant. Through the windows, we also got a first look at the updated menu.

Mel’s Drive-In Gets Updated Interior

Exterior of Mel's Drive-In at Universal Studios Florida.

The iconic neon glow of Mel’s Drive-In has returned. The signs have been lit again and new neon signs hang in the windows. The restaurant maintains its 1950s diner style but with an updated color scheme inside.

Neon in windows at Mel's Drive-In.

The neon signs in the windows advertise different menu items from Mel’s, including hamburgers and shakes.

Mel’s Drive-In Interior

Interior of Mel's Drive-In, newly updated.

Inside, the floor is now black and white checkered tile throughout the restaurant. The semi-circle benches in the front of the restaurant now have white vinyl backs and blue seats. There are red chairs set up at diner tables.

Tables pushed together inside Mel's Drive-In.

The front of the counter where guests pick up their food is now red with black stripes. A “Mel’s Drive-In” marquee is above the counter, along with screens displaying the menu. There’s a large space in the center of the counter for mobile food and drink order pick-up.

The metal railing queue inside Mel's.

The registers have moved farther back at the counter, and the individual stands of registers have been removed. A queue of metal railings has been built on the left side of the counter, in front of the registers.

Blue bench seating inside Mel's Drive-In.

Some bench seats are sparkly blue with white deltas on their backs. Others are blue with red deltas.

A look at the mobile order pick-up counter inside Mel's Drive-in.

The red and black counters are very different from the previous black and white checkered ones.

Mel's Drive-In blue booths being removed during refurbishment.

Here’s a look at the old interior and counters from when the refurbishment started last year. You can see the stanchions and old registers in the background.

A wide shot of the restaurant seating.

The restaurant maintains the diner theme and looks classic with the red booths and jukeboxes.

Refreshed bench seating in Mel's Drive-In.

Most of the refreshed bench seats are solid red. The walls have changed in some places, losing the colorful tile mosaic pattern and neon and going for a more simple red and white theme.

A photo of the previous theming in this section of Mel's.

Here’s a look at the more colorful wall and flooring before the refurbishment. The jukebox has not returned yet.

Tabletop jukebox machines still can be found at each booth.

There are still retro tabletop jukebox machines, some mounted above the tables.

A wide shot of the dining area.

There are hanging lamps and wall lamps above the bench seats against the walls. One of the walls in the very back has a framed record hanging, so there will most likely be more decor added to the walls before the restaurant officially reopens.

Tabletop jukeboxes staged for wall installation.

Some tabletop jukeboxes were staged for installation on the walls. There are still several final touches that need to be completed before the restaurant welcomes guests again for the first time in almost eight months!

A retro Coca-Cola sign hanging from the ceiling.

A retro Coca-Cola sign points to the Coca-Cola Freestyle machines. Below that is a cutlery and condiment station (not yet stocked). It’s black with a white countertop. In the back of the room, we saw more tables and chairs waiting to be placed.

Mid-century modern-patterned dining tables inside Mel's Drive-In.

The tables have a white and black boomerang pattern, perfectly fitting the restaurant.

Mel’s Drive-In will reopen soon, so be sure to stay tuned for our full review of the new menu! Are you looking forward to visiting Mel’s Drive-In or Mel’s Die-In again? Let us know in the comments.

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