This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Reasons We Love Universal’s Springfield USA. In case you were living under a rock this week, this Wednesday was Back To the Future Day. October 21st was the day Marty McFly took the DeLorean and traveled Back to the Future. With it brought the news of Nike actually creating power lace sneakers, a five star must-watch video of Marty and Doc Brown arriving in 2015 on Jimmy Kimmel, and a BTTF themed cover of USA Today (which even appropriately came out on Thursday, because Marty and Doc went back a day before the paper came out to stop the events from happening.) What does any of this have to do with theme parks? I’m glad you asked. BTTF used to have a ride in Universal Studios Florida until it was replaced by The Simpsons Ride in 2008. Since then, the area around The Simpsons Ride has expanded into an entire land in Springfield, USA. While no one can touch Diagon Alley as a whole, Springfield is one of our favorite areas in any theme park, and hands-down the funniest. Today we are going to going to countdown our six favorite parts about this wonderful land that truly brings an animated television show to life. So sit back, live out your Brewster’s Millions fantasy and crack open that bottle of Pepsi Perfect you bought off eBay for $500, and let’s begin our countdown starting with…
# 6 – Fast Food Boulevard
With Fast Food Boulevard, Universal pretty much did the impossible. Previously, the area was home to the International Film & Food Festival, a food court which made the offerings in Fantastic Four Cafe seem Michelin star worthy in comparison, and was certainly one of the worst themed areas in the entire park. Fast Food Boulevard brought to life Krusty Burger, the Frying Dutchman, and Luigi’s Pizza straight from The Simpsons television show. It also gave us Cletus’ Chicken Shack, which was rumored to originally be Kentucky Fried Panda (and if true, was a good decision by Universal.)
Krusty Burger facade for Fast Food Boulevard (photo by Brandon Glover)
The Simpsons show has a long history of mocking restaurants, and seeing places like Krusty Burger in the real world is a dream come true. Now you can finally order the Ribwich (a sandwich the show created to mercilessly parody the McRib,) a Krusty Burger, and the Clogger, all straight out of canon. Springfield USA has almost 30 food and drink items you can’t get anywhere else inside the Universal parks, including the incredible Chicken & Waffle sandwich, tater tots, and curly fries.
Chicken & Waffle Sandwich? Check. Themed Napkins? CHECK. (photo by Brandon Glover)
The Frying Dutchman in Fast Food Boulevard. (photo by Brandon Glover)
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Contrary to popular belief, this is not a sign for the FP+ kiosks at WDW
This week’s SATURDAY SIX covers Our Six Favorite Jokes in Universal’s Springfield U.S.A. Universal Studios Florida has received a lot of attention over the past two years. The park fixed many of its most glaring weaknesses by adding a new daytime parade, a nighttime spectacular, a new E-Ticket in Transformers: The Ride 3D, an incredible family ride in Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem, and of course will shortly be debuting the first ever park-to-park attraction with the Hogwarts Express that will travel to what could possibly be the most immersive land in the history of theme parks with Diagon Alley (keep up to date on all the Potter construction with Seth Kubersky’s PotterWatch articles.)
And while all of this is no less than exciting, throughout all these developments one area of the park has quietly become one of our favorite places in Orlando: Springfield U.S.A. The Simpsons Ride has been a favorite of many since its debut in 2008, with the television show’s trademark sarcastic wit taking its aim at the world of theme parks. Now the area is a completely developed land with a second attraction, a Photo Connect opportunity, elaborately themed carnival games, an outdoor bar in Duff Gardens, and some of the best quick service food items in any theme park including Fast Food Boulevard, Bumblebee Man’s Taco Truck, and Lard Lad Donuts.
But what makes Springfield U.S.A. stand out is the clever use of jokes and humor throughout the entire land. Today we’re going to look at our six favorite bits.
# 6 – Kwik-E-Mart Merchandise Signs
The Kwik E Mart says what we’ve all been thinking since 1971
When you step into the Kwik-E-Mart, the gift store for The Simpsons Ride, you would be best served by walking around and noticing all the details throughout the store. Our favorite gags are the clever signs above some of the merchandise saying things like, “C’mon, if you ran a store I’d buy your junk!, “Satisfaction begrudgingly guaranteed,” and “Today’s merchandise at tomorrow’s prices!”
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Loews Royal Pacific Resort
Had a big weekend at the Universal Orlando Resort this past week and found out a couple interesting items along the way. To start off, I checked into the Loews Royal Pacific Resort on Friday and now I am completely convinced that it is pound for pound the best hotel at either Universal or Disney. This decision was made after a lot of consideration. I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed the Portofino Bay Hotel on Universal property, and I have several favorites over on the Disney side of the fence including Art of Animation, the Beach Club, and the Polynesian. What takes the Royal Pacific to the head of the class is the combination of its Disney Deluxe level of theming and feeling of relaxation, combined with the lower price point of a Disney Moderate and the near priceless amenities of having Universal Express Unlimited and being within walking distance to both Universal theme parks and CityWalk. It probably helps that Loews actually runs the hotel, as well, as its Star Service is among the best customer service I’ve seen at any hotel chain across the country.
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