Universal Orlando’s overhaul of its eateries accelerates this week as the new CityWalk Cold Stone Creamery and Starbucks Coffee locations open to the public. Over the weekend, I was invited behind the barrier to check out the new new franchise locations.
CityWalk Cold Stone Creamery
First, I sampled Cold Stone Creamery, which features hard-packed ice cream customized with “mix ins” and blended on the namesake cold stone.
This location sports unique hardwood decor and a custom-built counter with recessed topping containers.
You can use a Universal Dining Plan snack credit to purchase a “like it” small-sized cup.
The kid’s-sized ‘coffee lovers’ combo I sampled was superb, with rich coffee ice cream and chunks of toffee in a chocolate-dipped waffle bowl; if I weren’t lactose intolerant, I would have eaten two!
CityWalk Starbucks Coffee
Next, I stepped next door into the new CityWalk Starbucks Coffee location, which is quite a visual departure from the ordinary original one upstairs.
The new location is festooned with industrial equipment — like chunky factory-style light fixtures and iron table bases — and furniture fashioned from reclaimed wood.
There will be indoor and covered outdoor seating, Wi-Fi and power connections, and a multitude of ordering stations to keep the line flowing. One thing it won’t have, at least at first, is any hot food, though there will be a small pastry case.
Cold Stone Creamery is now open to the public every day, and Starbucks should open its doors on Friday, March 14.