Universal Studios Springfield USA Serves Up Some Tasty Treats

Have you ever wanted to have a Krusty Burger and be able to wash it down with a beer from Moe’s Tavern? What if I told you that there was a real live place where you could do exactly that! The place I’m talking about is Universal Studios Orlando’s Springfield USA. Here you can rub elbows with Homer, Bart, Marge, Lisa and Maggie and even your most favourite side characters like Moe, Mr. Burns and even Apu at the Quickie Mart. Probably the best of it all are all of the delicious foods and treats that we have all watched time and time again on the television.

Universal Studios spared no expense when they created Springfield and my most favourite little dive has to be Moe’s Tavern. Here you can sit at the very bar where Homer spends most of his spare time at. The famous beer of all here is Duff beer. Nothing like a good cold Duff beer to start your day or if beer is not your thing try the Flaming Moe instead! It is just orange soda with dry ice, but is on par in sale to Harry’s Butterbeer. Here you can have your picture taken with Moe’s patron saint Barney Gumble who has a statue at the end of the bar.

By now you should be feeling pretty hungry so peel yourself off of your bar stool and walk to the back where you will find 4 counter service dining options. On of my favourites has to be Cletus’ Chicken Shack. Here you will find big o’le chicken sandwich platters with fries. Cletus’ is sure to fill the biggest of appetites. Also you will find The Flying Dutchman that serves up fried foods, Luigi’s Pizza and Lisa’s Teahouse of Horrors. Lisa’s would be the place for any vegetarians in the group!

If you’re the type of person who likes to sit outside and people watch while you eat, try out the local food truck fair at Bumblebee Man’s Taco Truck. Here you can grab a cold Duff’s beer and chow down on some tacos or nachos! If savory dishes are not your thing then I have just the treat for you. Lard Lad Donuts are famous in Springfield. Sit down and savor the taste of the Big Pink. This donut is about as big as a open man’s hand wide and about four inches thick of sweet decadent goodness! Tell Mayor Quimby I said hello!


Universal Orlando’s New Design Concepts are Original Masterpieces

If you have ever visited Universal Studios Orlando you most certainly have walked through Citywalk. Here is where Universal Orlando borrowed the idea for the very successful Downtown Disney now known as Disney Springs. The people at Universal knew that they had to have a place for their guests to play and dine when not in their theme parks. This business model served Disney very well and Universal made CityWalk their very own. Bringing heavy hitters like Jimmy Buffett and the world famous Hard Rock Cafe, Universal was poised for great success!

There have been some hits and misses over the years and Universal watched this very carefully. Taking out what was not working and replacing them with current original works like the all new Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen, NBC Sports Grill & Brew, Vivo Italian Kitchen and Red Oven Pizza Bakery. I guess the NASCAR cafe restaurant and NBA City did not work out as planned but with these replacements, they are sure to be big winners! I remember eating in the NBA City restaurant and was not impressed at all. I am personally glad that they got rid of that one. Very happy that Margaritaville made the cut!

CityWalk has always been a great place to party and eat at! With all of the new additions, Universal resort guests will never need to leave the resort grounds and I think this is what Universal had in mind for good reason. Keeping their guests there instead of at SeaWorld or Disney keeps the Benjamins in Universal’s pockets. At the end of the day, that’s what it is all about. Keeping that money in house in order to build bigger and better things for their guests. I can remember when it was just Universal Studios with no CityWalk and I am sure glad that they had the foresight to make this type of expansion!

The one thing I look forward to is the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen. They said that they took steampunk era designs and incorperated it into their ideas. Should be pretty amazing. I imagine it as a Willy Wonka heaven on earth but not all sweets! I hope I’m right.

Staying at Universal Studios Orlando Resort

Have you ever wanted to stay at a resort that is at one of your favourite theme parks? Universal Studios Orlando has five at this moment with a few more on the way. After a busy day at the theme parks, the last thing you want to do is get on a crowded tram and climb into your sweltering hot car and drive back to your hotel room that you booked on some online search engine. The newest big thing in accommodations is the onsite resorts, especially the one over at Universal Orlando.

The people at Universal are very smart people and currently the trend is offer a great room plus admission tickets and dining and people will come stay at the resorts. Well this winning formula seems to be working as rooms are filling up for this summer fast. The coolest of all of the resorts there would have to be that all new Cabana Bay. Here one will find the comforts of the 1950 Florida beach scene. The goal here was to transport their visitors back in time to a place that was the tourist destination of North America. The other hotel that would be my second would have to be the Hard Rock. Located right next to Universal Studios, this iconic stay is just the place for younger families who loved growing up in the 1970’s and up.

Being the closest to the park comes in handy as you can just walk out back and jump on one of their water taxi’s and bam, you are at the front of the gates. Or even better walk out back and down a beautiful walkway along side the water and within 5 minutes, you are in the parks. Portofino Bay is also attached by water taxi and would be my third favourite resort. It is very beautiful and reminiscent of a European beach side resort. Beautiful, but not my favourite. I would have to take the Royal Pacific over the Portofino as I am a pacific rim kind of guy! Plus the Royal Pacific has some sweet eat stops like Emeril’s Chop Shop. This place is also connected by water taxi which make life so much easier at the end of the day. So next time you look online for that best deal, try calling up one of these places and ask what kind if discount packages they are offering.

Universal Orlando’s Incredible Hulk Gets A New Life

You may have seen over the winter at Universal Studios in Orlando, The Incredible Hulk Roller Coaster at Islands of Adventure was missing! Littey the whole super structure was dismantled and removed. The reason why was just revealed and it is going to be awesome. The new ride was an awesome ride to begin with but with all of the new Marvel movies being a huge success, it would have been a big mistake not to do a little redesigning and script rewriting! Probably the biggest update will be the que line itself. The riders will walk through a massive military base laboratory where the rider become the new lab rat of sorts in General Thaddeus Ross’s experiment. Here he will be doing tests that were pioneered by Dr. Bruce Banner. The hope here is that you will emerge from the test as a Super Soldier or something else entirely!

During you wait in the que line you will be able to see that actual gamma rays being sent into tubes that engulf the ride cars. Speaking of ride cars, there will be new ride cars! These new sleek state of the art cars are loaded with new lights, speakers and are designed after the latest military fighter technology. I have seen them and they are something right out of the movies! They still have the green paint but look a whole lot sleeker. When you get into your ride car, you will be put into a Gamma Core Tube in which you will be ejected out of and on your way to transformation!

The ride itself is the same but now you will be jamming out to some Fall Boy while riding the loops. The main goal was to give the rider the new experience but keep the ride that everyone enjoyed for years and years. Probably one of the coolest things is at the very beginning of the que line. They have a big statue of the Hulk holding a piece of the old track. This will be a big photo op for all of the riders getting ready to ride the ride. Can’t wait to ride it.

Many New Changes to Universal Orlando this Summer

As many of you know already, Universal Studios Orlando has purchased Wet n Wild and is closing it at the end of this year. No one knows as of yet what they will do with the water park but one thing is for sure, something bigger and better is in the works, The new water park to take its place will be Volcano Bay and it will be on Universal’s own property next to their resorts. Many feel it was time for something new as Wet n Wild has been around forever.

New is good in the theme park business. It is what make travelers come back year after year. The other newest addition to open at Universal is Reign of Kong at Islands of Adventure. This is modeled after Peter Jackson’s movie and not the old Kong that was inside Universal Studios. Things like this make people want to come back. Ever since the addition of the two Harry Potter areas in their parks, travelers from around the world have been booking their vacations in order to immerse themselves into this world wide love of J.K. Rowling’s books. The theme parks have learned to give guests what they want and million dollar playgrounds are it.

Gone are the single ride rides and now it seems that full blown emersion is the new trend. Even getting to areas of the theme parks have become a ride into themselves. The new Hogswort Express in Universal’s Monorail. Guests get on at either park’s Harry Potter area and are transported to the next via train ride. It is not exactly a train ride but a attraction where you will see all of your favourite Potter friends and characters. Staying at the parks is now even more fun as their resorts have grown and carry some of the coolest places to stay in Orlando. The newest is Cabana Bay Resort. It is circa 1950 Florida beach style with all of the bells and whistles. You are greeted in the drive up guest check-in area by vintage 1950 cars and a lobby that goes straight back to the time of my parents. All this and more awaits you at Universal Orlando Resort.

Taking Pictures at Universal Studios Orlando

If there was ever a place to take the coolest pictures in the world at, Universal Studios in Orlando Florida would have the been one of them. Both of their parks Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure have some of the best picture taking areas in Orlando. Probably the best areas would have to be their Harry Potter areas. Going during the day with your camera or even better your cell phone, can produce some of the best picture ever.

Day shots at Diagon Alley can be the most rewarding as there they have a 50 ft. dragon that spits fire! Stand back and wait for it to shoot fire and this can be made into a sweet poster for your photo taking collection. Better yet, wait until night time and take the same shot and see the big difference. Night time in this area can take on a whole new feel as the magical vibe is everywhere you look. There are so many travelers who come in their wizard cloaks waving their wands toi enchanted objects that react to their spoken spells. This is great to snap shots of and to see magic happen before your eyes. The darkened alleyways may be a problem shooting as light is almost non-existent. Take flash shots in these areas or set your camera to take a long exposure shot.

The next area is the Hogsmeade area of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter over at Islands of Adventure. Here you can again take some really cool shots during the day and probably one of the best little gems is inside the Three Broomsticks. In here you will find a restaurant area and also a very cool little bar call the Hogs Head Tavern. The tavern is probably one of my favourites as they have nice cold Butterbeer and a enchanted talking boar’s head attached to the wall. Everywhere you look there are little items that make for good closeup shots. Now walk outside and there will be the best picture taking subject ever, the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft. This looms over the whole area and is the best for pictures at sunset as the sun slowly sinks behind it. Happy photo taking!

Universal Studios Halloween Horror Night Set To Posses You Soul

Possession is the word this year at Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights. Universal has brought the most terrifying movie ever made, “The Exorcist” to life in one of their haunted mazes and it is sure to posses you before leaving! There have been some very terrifying haunted houses there in years past but this one should be one to remember. I did see a little taste of this last year and it was awesome! It was just a little room in one of the houses but it must of had a great effect on visitors to have been brought back and have it’s own billing.

The creators had their work cut out for themselves. How do you get the little split pea vomiting girl in a room to projectile vomit without spraying everyone who walks through or to have the infamous spider crawl down the staircase. Well leave it to the creators at Universal Studios to make it happen. The last few years they brought back, “An American Werewolf in London” and it was amazing! The most memorable scenes were done justice with all of the guts and gore. I can’t wait to see what they can do with a little possessed girl. A great many attendees are in the 30 to 40 something and this movie is pop-culture. Most everyone I know has seen this movie or has had nightmares about it.

From what I have read and seen, it will be a maze either inside a house or outside in it’s own area and will be a story of possession. You will go through the story of the little girl Regan MacNeil and her horrifying ordeal that she had to endure during her demon possession. We might see a few additional character like father Damien Karras.  I can see her playing with the Ouija board on the floor and talking to Captain Howdy. If they don’t have either of these two rooms, I will be very disappointed! By the end of this maze I better see some split pea soup being sprayed all over the place! I am so happy that they brought this master piece to real life and I will probably nightmares for the next few years!

Home at Universal Studios Orlando for the Holidays

So you have decided to pack up this year and go south to sunny central Florida for the holiday season and you expect something spectacular. With all of the theme parks competing for your business, it’s going to be pretty hard to choose which ones best for you and your family. This year I would have to give the Holiday Cheer award to Universal Studios Orlando. With all of their new additions, It’s a new face to an old industry! Universal Orlando Resort has heard the call of the people and has delivered in many ways. First and foremost are their resorts. Situated within walking distance of the world famous theme parks are four amazing locations. My favourite for the holidays is the Hard Rock Hotel. Decorated in it’s Rock n’ Roll holiday flair, this resort has it all! From 4 star dining to world class entertainment at their Velvet Sessions, the Hard Rock Resort is sure to fulfill your every expectation of a fun filled Universal Studios vacation!

Next would have to be the all New Cabana Bay Beach Resort. This flash back to the 1950’s A-1A era is probably the coolest resort in Orlando! Even if you don’t stay there it’s a fun stop in to see how Christmas was back in the days of Cool. Rockin around the Christmas has never been so fun and make sure to take time to roam this one of a kind resort that can only be found at Universal Studios. If you are a lover of the Pacific Rim vibe then the Royal Pacific Resort might be a destination for you. Have you ever wondered what Christmas would be like on an Island? Well this is your chance! With palm trees decorated with holiday lights and luau style buffets surrounded by hula dancers, the Royal Pacific resort is the next best thing to celebrating Christmas somewhere out in the Pacific. Last is Universal’s Portofino Bay.

If you are a lover of Christmas tradition the Italian way, then this is for you! Enjoy enchanted evenings of wine tastings, samplings of amazing foods, strolls to the sounds of holiday music and sights! The Portofino Bay Resort is truly a gem in the Universal Orlando Resort treasure box. One of the most beautiful at Christmas! All of these resorts are located on Universal Orlando Resort property and provides transportation to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.

Once you decide which holiday accommodations are best for your high standards, now is the next most important decision to made on your vacation and that is what type of ticket to buy! There are two Universal parks, three if you include Wet n’ Wild but I don’t think anyone is going to be swimming during the cold Florida Christmas. But the two parks Universal Orlando gas are two of the Best in Florida. I would imaging that if you are going to be here for the holidays, you are going to be her for more than a few days. There are two types of tickets they have to offer. Universal Base tickets and Universal Park to Park tickets. The big difference here is the Base ticket is just good the park you enter into at the start of the day. You go in and this is the park you stay in. Pretty simple. You can come and go all you want in that day, trying to enter another park is not going to happen. This is why I recommend the Universal Park to Park tickets. This ticket allows you to visit both parks in the same day and also allows you to ride the all New Hogwarts Express train that connects Diagon Alley to Hogsmeade in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Both parks put on holiday entertainment, so be sure to make time to experience what both parks have to offer. No one wants to miss the Grinch!

Every dollar counts during the holidays so if you can save time and money on your Universal Studios tickets, then make sure to check out the prices at Orlando’s most recommended discount attraction ticket company, The Official Ticket Center. Located in the heart of Orlando, this company has the best discounts on everything Universal.

The Best Attractions at Universal Studios Orlando

This isn’t one of those lists where we try to rank the best attractions at Universal Studios Orlando — that’s going to depend way to much on your age, gender, tastes, and age. Nope, this is just a no-particular-order list of what you need to see when you visit Universal Orlando — and why.

E.T. Adventure
The only original Universal Studios ride that is still in operation — if you remember the words “penis breath” being gently rebuked by a laughing mother and bicycle silhouettes against the full white moon, this one is for you. The ride actually puts you on ‘bikes’ and sends you sailing across the scenes of the movie, ending with a twist — a visit to E.T.’s home planet, which looks like Jim Henson had a psychedelic experience, had Bob Ross paint it, and then asked a foam rubber company to bring it to life. So basically spot-on accurate to the movie.

Revenge of the Mummy
If you’ve ever ridden on the California classic coaster Space Mountain, you might think you know what the roller-coaster-in-the-dark experience is all about. You’re wrong, unless you’ve also ridden Revenge of the Mummy, which intersperses the darkness with amazing glimpses of massive sets designed to make you feel like some sort of hyperkinetic Indiana Jones (OK, well, Brendan Frasier) exploring an ancient Egyptian ruin. And just on the off chance that you aren’t a Brendan Frasier fan, this is exactly the ride for you…because in this case, in the end, the ‘good guy’ dies.  Proper.

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
Diagon Alley, a subsection of Universal Studios Orlando, genuinely feels like its own miniature world, unique and fully-formed. Every element of the architecture, from rooftops to pavement, is just a little bit off — enough that you know you’re not in Kansas anymore. Smack dab in the middle of it is the Escape from Gringotts…experience. You can’t call it a ride; it’s easily the single most immersive experience offered at any modern theme-park. Even waiting in line is epic, as mystical bank tellers and magically-animated newspaper headlines keep you engaged until you get inside. Then, inside, the train cars can (and do) split up, rotate a full 360 degrees, and otherwise put you fully engaged into a story of Harry and friends battling Voldemort’s forces as they attack Gringotts bank. It’s so good, they have special mechanisms in place to keep people from coming back through too quickly. Just ponder that. 

Time Management at Universal Studios Orlando

Universal Studios Orlando is one of those magical places where time doesn’t seem to pass — until suddenly it’s dusk and you hear the call: ‘The Park is Closing in Fifteen Minutes!’ What happened to your day? There was so much more you wanted to do! Don’t let that be you — with a bit of proper prior planning, you can get through a lot more of your list than you would if you just came in blind. Here’s what you need to do to get the most of Universal Studios:

Buy Your Tickets (and Everything Else) in Advance
Don’t wait in line for your tickets at the park gates — what a waste of time! Have your tickets purchased before you get on your plane (or however you’re getting to Orlando). Better yet, have your hotel room reserved, your important meals planned out if not pre-purchased, and — most importantly — buy your swag first. There’s nothing like the aggravation of blowing two hours of potential amusement time watching your children flirt with the gift shop. The swag is usually cheaper outside the park as well.

Visit on an Off Day — and Month
Universal Studios operates on a pretty well-defined schedule of business. Summer break, major school holidays, and weekends — a Park Jedi craves not these things. If you want to spend less time watching your soles bake to the concrete and more time screaming and pointing, come midweek in the first two weeks February — after the Christmas folk have stopped coming but before it threatens to get warm enough for the Alaskans to wear shorts — though really, any time that isn’t the peak times mentioned above will do.

Schedule Your Day According to the Shows; Fill In with Rides
At Universal Studios Orlando, the rides run open-to-close except for maintenance and upgrades — but the shows happen at specific times and places. That means that you can (and should) make a list of which shows you intend to see on which days — but you can hit up the rides any time you feel like it. The first shows generally don’t start until the late morning, so you can totally get there, bust hiney over to Minion Mayhem (Diagon Alley on your second day), then down to the Lower Lot to do that whole scene. Come back up and do everything else just in time for your first show –this avoids using the elevators, which by themselves can take 10 minutes of your day.