Today we’re going to take a stroll through Springfield USA at Universal Studios Florida to see all the recent developments. While Universal has yet to give a date on when the entire area will be open, several Team Members have told us they expect the area to be fully operational by next weekend (Friday, August 2, is the rumored date). With the speed Universal’s construction crews have been working at over the past year, any time frame seems possible.
Our first stop will be inside Fast Food Boulevard and inside Moe’s Tavern. A familiar face has made his return in the form of Barney Gumble. This figure originally opened with Moe’s Tavern back in June, but after a few short days the mug that Barney was holding was painted completely white, and soon after that the figure was removed from the building with no explanation. It’s good to see Springfield’s resident town drunk back in his second home at Moe’s and that his mug has been returned to its original design.
Since opening, Moe’s Tavern has had several pieces of artwork and design pop up unexpectedly, each adding to the overall ambiance. Recently this lighting fixture was added over the pool table area. We also asked the bartender about aluminum bottles of Duff Beer; he expected them to be available around the time that Duff Gardens and the rest of Springfield USA open. The reliability of a Moe’s bartender when it comes to good intel is equivalent to that of a Disney bus driver, so take from that what you will.
Once we step outside Fast Food Boulevard we encounter a whole bunch of tables with umbrellas. While practical in the sense of giving guests a place to sit down in the shade to either take a break or eat a meal, it’s hard to deny how obtrusive they seem to be and all but ruin the great outdoor theming of Krusty Burger. I’m all for more outdoor seating in any theme park, but I guess the old adage is true: be careful what you wish for…
Across from Fast Food Boulevard we can see that Duff Gardens is getting ever so closer to being able to serve us an ice cold Duff beer on a hot Florida day. New signage has popped up, reminding guests that they “can’t get enough of that wonderful Duff.” Many of the new Springfield projects include interesting lighting elements – such as the “Duff Beer” in this sign – which should make the entire area really pop once the sun the goes down.
Right next to Duff Gardens we see that the Jebediah Springfield statue is in place. Near the statue will be Lard Lad Donuts, and it’s rumored that a Lard Lad statue will be arriving shortly that will be even taller than the gigantic Optimus Prime that stands in front of Transformers: The Ride-3D.
Walking down the road a bit we see that some more signage has arrived for the Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl ride. Again, you can see all the lights within the sign itself that will really stand out at night.
Here’s a look at the Twirl ‘n’ Hurl ride. Testing has been going for a while and, unlike what happened when the new Dumbo attraction at the Magic Kingdom was built, the Twirl ‘n’ Hurl ride vehicles do not rub against the concrete.
We end our jaunt through Springfield walking back towards the entrance of Universal Studios Florida, and after we pass Duff Gardens, the Jebediah Springfield statue, and Lard Lad donuts, we see that yet another dining experience was added to the area with Bumblebee Man’s Taco Truck. It’s hard to believe that what many would have considered one of USF’s worst areas of the park in the past (an area which contained almost nothing except the old International Film & Food Festival food court) has been completely remodeled into one of the most fun places to walk around in any of the Orlando theme parks.
With Fast Food Boulevard, Moe’s Tavern, Duff Gardens, Lard Lad Donuts, and the taco truck, Universal has added a bunch of new and interesting food and drink options, many of which you can’t get anywhere else on property and that are themed directly to the Simpsons universe. The stale lagoon area is now alive with action, and with Twirl ‘n’ Hurl another attraction has been added that the entire family can enjoy. In one swoop Universal fixed many of the park’s weaknesses at once.