Posts Tagged ‘margaritaville’

Dani’s Best Week Ever March 3, 2016: Universal Orlando, Treehouse Villas, Morimoto Asia, and Best Friends Pet Care

by on March 3, 2016

Sometimes the best days, as in the best ever days, are when you cram in a ton of attractions area fun into one day. In this case, I crammed a quick visit to Universal Orlando, drove to Walt Disney World, checked my dog Dodger (#DodgertheDog) into Best Friend’s Pet Care, joined my family at the amazing Treehouse Villas, took a boat ride to Disney Springs, and had one of the best meals of my life at Morimoto Asia. And this all took place after I had gone to work that day. So come along with me for a whirlwind trip over the river and into the woods from Universal Orlando to the Treehouse Villas at Walt Disney World.

Cheers to one of the best days ever!

Cheers to one of the best days ever!

After work I headed to Universal Orlando to check out the brand new Hello Kitty store. Though I am not the biggest Hello Kitty fan, it’s always fun to see something when it first opens. There’s excitement in the air, management is hovering over their new pride and joy, it’s clean and unharmed. The store is bright, bubbly, and almost saccharine. All kinds of Hello Kitty and Sanrio character merchandise fill the walls from apparel to house wares.

Hello Kitty everything

Hello Kitty everything

Hello Kitty flippy floppies

Hello Kitty flippy floppies ($19.95 plus tax)

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Margaritaville’s Lone Palm Bar – details, stories, and new improvements

by on October 28, 2015

Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville is home to the best outdoor bar at Universal Orlando’s CityWalk, and it just got better. The Lone Palm Airport Bar is an oasis beckoning passersby to come and sit in the shadow of the real life Hemisphere Dancer airplane, put their toes in the sand, and soak up the sunshine state of mind. There are some great details to be found here and the place just beckons to be the site of fun, cheerful gatherings. All new, upgraded chairs and dining tables appeared at the Lone Palm, prompting me  to share my love for this pinnacle of tropical relaxation and a Parrot Head’s paradise.

The big deal with the new chairs and tables…

I am sure for the vast majority of guests, the new tables and chairs at the Lone Palm are no big deal. For me, however, someone who clocks at least 2-3 visits a month to Margaritaville’s Lone Palm, the new furniture does change the feel of this place.

The furniture at the Lone Palm has gone through a few evolutions in the Margaritaville Cafe’s 16 year history at Universal Orlando. This is the third version of furniture that I am aware of. Intially the tables and chairs were very low to the ground and basic. A very rustic, island feel.

Original Lone Palm furniture (source Margaritaville.com)

Original Lone Palm furniture (source Margaritaville.com)

Then the tables were replaced with sturdy reinforced recycled plastic. Backless barstools with a wide base replaced the chairs. This is what I am used to and this is what I miss. The stools were very easy to maneuver, making it very easy for patrons to reconfigure the area to be more comfortable in order to socialize and gather.

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Best Restaurants at Universal’s CityWalk

by on July 25, 2015

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Best Restaurants at Universal’s CityWalk. Over the last 18 months, CityWalk at the Universal Orlando Resort has undergone an amazing transformation by opening seven new dining locations. These new venues combined with the locations already onsite make for one of the best places in Orlando to experience a wide variety of unique dining. Today we are going to look at the Very Best restaurants in CityWalk and to do so we consulted a blue ribbon panel comprised of Universal podcasters and bloggers. Their votes have been tabulated, and let’s begin the countdown of good eatin’ starting with…

# 6 – Antojitos

Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food is a postmodern tribute to Mexican street culture featuring a large open kitchen framed by graffiti graphics and eye-catching neon. The downstairs area has a central bar with surrounding booths fashioned from reclaimed wood and metal. This area can get very noisy, so if you want a quieter meal, ask for one of the private rooms upstairs. Or, grab a seat on the patio or balcony to watch the CityWalk crowds go by. With the best selection of tequila this side of La Cava del Tequila, Antojitos is at it’s best while sipping on a strong margarita and enjoying house made guacamole. The restaurant has several features that are pretty much unforgettable; several tables which look like giant bird cages, a wall of tattooed plastic baby dolls, and a multi-colored mission-style facade. While I was apprehensive about that vibrant color scheme when seeing the original concept art, I find myself drawn to this area because of the eye catching colors and the huge weather vane sitting at the top. One of the most fun parts of the restaurant is the mariachi band that will alternate between traditional Mexican music and covering popular songs from today. It’s fantastic! Antojitos was the first restaurant in CityWalk to be a Universal creation and they nailed it.

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Antojitos Authentic Mexican. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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Empanadas Tres Marias at Antojitos. (photo by Seth Kubersky)

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons We Love JURASSIC PARK at the Universal Orlando Resort

by on June 20, 2015

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Reasons We Love JURASSIC PARK at the Universal Orlando Resort. With Jurassic World becoming a worldwide smash (the first film ever to take in a half a billion dollars in its opening weekend. To put that number in perspective, the last Jurassic Park film, Jurassic Park III, made $368M in it’s entire six month theatrical run) we figured it is high time to cover one of our favorite areas in Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Jurassic Park. While the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man has been the critic’s darling since the day it opened in 1999 and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter completely changed Orlando tourism when it debuted in 2010, Jurassic Park has always been my favorite “island” in the park. Why? Several reasons, and today we’re going to count them down for you starting with….

# 6 – Jurassic Park River Adventure

Jurassic Park River Adventure hits a lot of great beats for me and it all starts with the attraction being a boat ride. From the Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean at the Magic Kingdom to Living with the Land and Gran Fiesta Tour starring the Three Caballeros in Epcot, if it’s a boat ride, it’s probably one of my favorite attractions in the park. Our journey on JP River Adventure begins by passing through the iconic Jurassic Park gates and proceeds to give a Jungle Cruise-like leisurely ride while enjoying some larger-than-life dinosaurs. As theme park rides will do, “something goes terribly wrong” and we find ourselves smack dab in the middle of a raptor attack and surprise, you’re NOT the alpha. In fact you just may be dinner. It is during the second half of the ride when the tension gets amped up, highlighted by the incredible T-Rex animatronic and a huge drop to cap off the ride.

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Splash down at the Jurassic Park River Adventure. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

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“Open Paddock 9!” (photo by Jeff Kyle)

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Universal Dining: Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville in CityWalk

by on June 3, 2014

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Main entrance to Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville

Universal CityWalk is currently in the process of a major overhaul, adding new dining options and getting rid of some of the restaurant venues that were lagging behind. Late in 2013, Red Oven Pizza Bakery opened, followed by Cold Stone Creamery and Antojitos earlier this year. Starbucks moved from its upper level location down to a much better spot next to Cold Stone recently, and just a few days ago Menchie’s frozen yogurt opened its doors. Hot Dog Hall of Fame and Vivo Italian Kitchen are expected to debut their original menus in the coming weeks, while Bread Box and the heavily anticipated Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar should be welcoming guests by the end of the summer. 

With all the new venues coming into CityWalk, it is easy to overlook some of restaurants that have been around for a while and still offer a great experience and unique atmosphere like Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville. With a prime spot close to Islands of Adventure, Margaritaville offers plenty of indoor and outdoor seating along with three full bars and a margarita to-go window. The outdoor seating at the Porch of Indecision has been recently renovated and is a great place to enjoy the weather and people watch.

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Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville with Islands of Adventure’s Pharos Lighthouse in the background

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Observations from the Universal Orlando Resort: April 26, 2014 (Margaritaville, New Merchandise, Royal Pacific Resort)

by on April 30, 2014

Last week intrepid Potter reporter Seth Kubersky scoured both Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure for the latest updates to his running series of PotterWatch articles. There were several big changes in the WWOHP world, including the arrival of the Knight Bus and the Wiseacre’s Wizarding Supplies storefront in Hogsmeade Village being converted into Madame Puddifoot’s Tea Shop. Crack photographer Brandon Glover and myself hit the parks later in the week to see what else was going on at Universal. Here’s what we found…

RPR

When your walk to the park looks like this, who wants to take a shuttle or boat?

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SATURDAY SIX: Top Six Overall Restaurants at the Universal Orlando Resort

by on November 9, 2013

This week’s SATURDAY SIX looks at the Top Six Overall Restaurants at the Universal Orlando Resort (UOR). This was a tough list to compile, and after several agonizing hours of internal debate, I had to cut a list of about a dozen eateries down to only the best of the best. It broke my heart to not include The Kitchen at the Hard Rock Hotel, as The Kitchen Sink Challenge just may be my favorite thing I’ve ever done at the UOR. Another tough one to cut was Finnegan’s Bar and Grill in Universal Studios Florida. Finnegan’s has exceptional food offerings with reasonable pricing (the Guinness Beef Stew being a favorite) and great atmosphere. And of course anyone who has heard me on the Universal NOW! podcast knows my love for the NASCAR Sports Grille runs deep, with their pretzel breadsticks possibly being my all time favorite food.

So knowing how hard it was to get to these final six, let’s have a look at those restaurants which rose above the rest…

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The Three Broomsticks

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I use antlers in all of my decorating… wait, that’s a different restaurant.

# 6 – The Three Broomsticks (Islands of Adventure)

In a word? Wow. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is filled with jaw droppers. The Hogwarts castle facade. The Forbidden Journey queue and ride. Butterbeer. The Ollivander’s wand experience. The shop windows in Hogsmeade village. The Three Broomsticks is as good as anything in WWOHP. From the great Sirius Black wanted poster outside, to the wonderful decorating and atmosphere inside, to the peaceful outdoor seating area, and of course the menu.

Whether it’s a “traditional English breakfast” in the morning featuring black pudding and English bacon to the lunch/dinner menu with roasted potatoes, corn on the cob, Shepherd’s Pie, and Fish & Chips, The Three Broomsticks has items that most counter service restaurants at the park don’t offer. It is also one of the only places in WWOHP that you can get a pumpkin fizz, so make sure you add a meal at The Three Broomsticks to your next visit to IOA.

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