by Seth Kubersky on March 15, 2014
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.