This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Snacks at Universal Orlando That You Gotta Try! A couple weeks ago we flew across the country to check out some of the great Disneyland snacks, and today we’re back home in Florida to look at even more delectable delights. We’re going to head over to the Universal Orlando Resort, home of some of the most outrageous and most extreme food options we’ve ever seen in the theme park world. However, instead of looking at crazy desserts that should come with an insulin pump, we are going to set our sights on some of the most original, creative, or just plain fun treats in either Islands of Adventure or Universal Studios Florida. So sit back, prepare to channel your inner Homer Simpson, and let’s begin our list with…
# 6 – Lard Lad D’oh-nuts
The fine folks in Springfield USA are no strangers to delivering great donuts to us theme park fans. The area opened with the debut of the classic Lard Lad giant pink donut, which immediately became a huge hit. In 2016, Lard Lad introduced more donuts to the menu, but in true Simpsons fashion, they didn’t go with the same ol’ same ol. Instead we got the donuts we dreamed of. Donuts topped with crushed Oreos, Fruity Pebbles, bacon and more! This at least gives us in Orlando a small taste of the type of donut options available in Universal Studios Hollywood’s Lard Lad. Unlike Orlando, USH’s Lard Lad does not serve ice cream because their Springfield has Phineas Q. Butterfat’s Ice Cream Parlor, so instead they opened with a larger variety of donuts.
Lard Lard Oreo d’oh-nut. (photo by Brandon Glover)
Lard Lad Fruity Pebbles donuts. (photo by Brandon Glover)
A selection of some of the D’oh-nuts available, and take a look at that GIANT apple fritter in the back! Universal a clear supporter of #MAGA. (photo by Brandon Glover)
# 5 – Character Themed Candy Bars
Several years ago, Disney started releasing some very fun candy boxes featuring many of their iconic characters from both movies and the theme parks. However, the actual candy had very little to do with the characters outside of silly puns. For example, there was the Haunted Mansion’s Madam Leota on the box of I See Chocolate In Your Future (dark chocolate hot fudge truffle.) Alice in Wonderland’s Cheshire Cat was on the box of I’m Just Mad About Chocolate (milk chocolate mint meltaways) while Monster Inc’s Mike Wazowski and Celia Mae had the Eye Know What Women Want! Chocolate! (milk chocolate peanut butter.)
Universal has many generic candy options themed to their brands as well (including my favorite, the Jaws themed gummy fish candy,) but there are also ten candy bars which are completely tied into the characters they feature. The candy bar with Despicable Me’s Minions uses banana in its recipe, while the one with Agnes is cotton candy flavored (in the film, the kids came home from Super Silly Land with Cotton Candy.) The E.T. bar is a chocolate peanut butter bar with Reeses Pieces, while Spongebob Squarepants has a white chocolate pineapple bar with pineapple bits. The synergy between these bars and the characters they feature is a great touch, and something we can hopefully see more of from both Universal and Disney in the future.
This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Best Pressed Pennies at the Universal Orlando Resort. Regular readers of this fine blog know that we have extolled the virtue of pressed pennies in our article on The Best Souvenirs at Walt Disney World and anyone who follows Your Humble Author on social media knows I am pretty much obsessed with them. Today we are going to head over to the Universal Orlando Resort and check out the best pressed coin designs they have to offer. So sit back, drive yourself crazy looking through all your change to find two quarters and a penny, and let’s start off with…
# 6 – Jurassic Park
The Jurassic Park logo is just as awesome today as it was when it made its debut over twenty years ago, and in the gift shop of the Jurassic Park River Adventure (way in the back) you can find a pressed penny design with this very image.
Iconic Jurassic Park logo.
# 5 – The Simpsons
There are a good amount of Simpsons pressed penny designs found throughout the entire Universal resort (not just in Springfield USA), and in fact our favorite design is located over at Islands of Adventure in front of the Islands Trading Post. One of the biggest strength of the Simpsons TV show is its huge cast of characters, however almost all of the pressed penny designs at Universal feature the actual Simpson family of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. One design features Homer, Moe, and Barney Gumble at Moe’s Tavern. Until we can get a pressed penny featuring Comic Book Guy (Worst. Penny. Ever.), Cletus the slack jawed yokel, Duffman, or even Poochie, the Moe’s Tavern penny is going to be #1 in our book.
The day after Thanksgiving has become one of America’s most important secular holidays, as young and old celebrate capitalism by camping out for dirt-cheap televisions. I was also out there shopping on the big day, but in true Best Week Ever fashion I spent my Black Friday at Universal Orlando among the vacationing throngs.
I started my Black Friday shopping with a major purchase by renewing my Universal Orlando annual pass. After disconts, my Premier pass costs just under $1 per day. That’s a lot more than it was when I first became a passholder 15 years ago, but still a great value considering how quickly the parks has been adding new attractions.
Once inside Islands of Adventure, I was greeted by the still-jarring sight of the Incredible Hulk Coaster…or rather the lack thereof.
We’re back with everyone’s favorite theme park advent calendar: a daily countdown of our favorite drinks at Walt Disney World,Universal Orlando, and SeaWorld building anticipation to the Big Day.
Criteria: Drinks can be alcoholic or nonalcoholic. Drinks can come from any venue on property. Bonus points awarded for atmosphere where the drink is served. Any drink with glow cubes is immediately disqualified. Ready? Let’s go!
DAY TWO: Dufftoberfest at Duff Brewery (Universal Studios Florida)
Themed Dufftoberfest taps at Duff Brewery. (photo by Brandon Glover)
When Universal Studios Florida expanded Springfield USA in 2013, it brought with it a dream come true for fans of The Simpsons television show: Duff Beer. Homer Simpson’s favorite drink made its first appearance on the TV show all the way back in 1990 during the very first season, and has been one of the longest running gags ever since. Exclusively brewed by the Florida Beer Company for the Universal parks, Duff beer is available in three varieties: Duff, Duff Lite, and Duff Dry. Now, one of the best jokes on The Simpsons is that Duff beer comes in almost every possible form you can think of: Lady Duff, Duff Extra Cold, Duff Zer0 (alcohol free), Duff Blue, Henry K. Duff’s Private Reserve, and many more. While it was fun to consider the possibilities, surely Universal wouldn’t create more versions of Duff just for the parks…would they?
Allow us to introduce Dufftoberfest. Arriving with no advance notice (and originally with no fanfare at the parks), the Dufftoberfest brew made its debut at both Duff Brewery and Moe’s Tavern this fall for a limited run. A märzen style beer, Dufftoberfest is not as heavy as most seasonal Oktoberfest-style brews (which is a good thing considering you are spending the rest of your day touring a theme park in Florida weather), but does have a caramel tone and subtle spice. A wonderful surprise and has us wondering what other seasonal options may also make their way into Springfield.
Dufftoberfest was also available inside Moe’s Tavern. (photo by Brandon Glover)
This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Hidden Mickeys at the Universal Orlando Resort. Most of us who have traveled to “The World” have become well versed in the concept of Hidden Mickeys: three circles placed together to resemble the iconic silhouette of Mickey Mouse. Walt Disney Imagineers have placed them all across the WDW parks and resorts (including some of our favorites at Art of Animation). The term itself has expanded to include hidden references beyond the classic Mickey head, such as the Nautilus from the old 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction hidden in the rock work of Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid, the ride which replaced it. Believe it or not, there are references to Disney all over the Universal Orlando Resort as well. Today we are going to look at six of our favorite “Hidden Mickeys” at Universal, starting off with…
# 6 – The Simpsons Ride Pre-Show
Like the TV show it is based on, The Simpsons Ride pulls no punches in mocking the world of theme parks throughout the attraction. Disney, Universal and SeaWorld take a lot of playful jabs from the attraction’s queue all the way to the gift shop. Some of our favorites are seen during the the first pre-show, in which guests watch a video that sets up the storyline of the ride. In between the video, fake ads for attractions at Krustyland (itself a parody of Disneyland) air including ones making fun of The Haunted Mansion, Hall of Presidents, Pirates of the Caribbean, and even Epcot’s defunct Kitchen Kaberet.
Reference to The Haunted Mansion. (photo by Amusement Buzz)
Reference to The Hall of Presidents. (photo by @AmusementBuzz)
Spend Back to the Future Day with Doc Brown at Universal Studios Florida for this Best Week Ever. (Photos & video by Seth Kubersky)
Great Scott, what a Best Week Ever it’s been! As all cinema lovers know, October 21, 2015, was the day that Doctor Emmett Brown and Marty McFly arrived in the futuristic Hill Valley in Back to the Future Part II. As of yesterday, we all officially live in the future! Even though hoverboards and Mr. Fusion machines aren’t yet commonplace, scores of sci-fi fans showed up — many in elaborate costumes — to celebrate Back to the Future Day at Universal Studios Florida.
This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Great Souvenirs From the Universal Orlando Resort. After two straight years of covering The Disney Outlet Stores each and every month for this fine blog, you can assume that we are pretty big fans of theme park merchandise (that or we did something awfully bad in a previous life). While exiting into a gift shop has become a running gag for many theme park guests, browsing those stores is actually something we here at the SATURDAY SIX offices look forward to almost as much as the rides themselves.
Today we are going to look at great souvenirs found at the Universal Orlando Resort. Until the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade in 2010, it was actually rare to see guests walking around with merchandise bags, but today it is more rare NOT to see someone carrying around loads of souvenirs. But how to determine the best theme park souvenir? Sparing no expense, we used the Arnim Zola algorithm (along with such factors such as price point, usage in actual movies/TV, and theme park exclusivity) to break down the best of the best on property. So sit back, relax, and let’s begin our countdown starting with…
# 6 – Bort Keychain (Kwik E Mart, Universal Studios Florida)
No one has mercilessly attacked the world of theme parks with sharper wit than The Simpsons television show. One classic moment when they turned the screws on the parks we all love happened way back in 1994 with the episode “Itchy & Scratchy Land.” One of the more memorable gags from the show was Bart Simpson running into one of the most ubiquitous pieces of merchandise at any theme park, the gift with YOUR name of it. In this instance, Bart was looking at personalized mini-license plates and found the names Bert, and Bort. What happens after is even better but the capper comes later in the episode when it is revealed the park has sold out of Bort license plates. Universal’s own Springfield USA pays tribute to that classic moment with a Bort keychain found in the Kwik E Mart gift shop.
Bort keychain at the Kwik E Mart.
They even have more personalized items with Bort!
Bort, the Kwik E Mart’s employee of the month. (photo by Darren Schmidt of the Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast)
Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World. And sadly, yes, the title is true. This will be my last Best Week Ever article! 🙁 Remember that day job that keeps me from posting photos of myself? Well, I’ve been given an incredible promotion that will involve much more travel. While I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity, it will make it impossible to keep up with my weekly updates.
I’m so thankful to all of you that have read over the last year. I’ll still be helping out on the Touring Plans instagram account, so if you miss me you can find me there. (I know I’ll miss you!) And they’ve told me I can still stop by and post when I have time. So it isn’t really goodbye. 🙂 But that’s enough sad stuff, let’s get going with all the theme park goodness from last week!
As you can tell from the photo above, I started this week at Universal Orlando. We don’t make it out that way nearly enough, but we love the parks. Arriving just after opening meant there were no crowds! It was great! I think we enjoyed the quiet morning walk as much as the park itself.
So where did we head to next? Why don’t you click to find out? 🙂
The Christmas season is my absolute favorite time of the year. Growing up, one of the little things I loved most was getting an Advent calendar and counting down the days until Santa would be coming down the chimney. As I grew older, I had to leave Advent calendars in the rear view mirror,* but I still miss that daily countdown building anticipation to the big day. So, we’re going to start a virtual Advent calendar here at TouringPlans. For 2014, we are going to countdown our favorite drinks at Walt Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort.
Criteria: Drinks can be alcoholic or nonalcoholic. Drinks can come from any venue on property as well as the Disney Cruise Line. Bonus points awarded for atmosphere where drink is served. Any drink with glow cubes is immediately disqualified. Ready? Let’s go!
DAY THREE: Flaming Moe at Moe’s Tavern (Universal Studios Florida)
“Hey, Homer came up with the drink, but I came up with the idea of charging $6.95 for it.” – Moe Szyslak, The Simpsons (photo by Brandon Glover)
Available in Springfield USA, the Flaming Moe became the first signature drink in Universal history that guests wanted to watch before they drank. Based on an iconic episode of The Simpsons, the Flaming Moe uses a unique dry ice effect to simulate the drink being on fire. While the Flaming Moe itself is little more than orange soda, the overall experience of seeing the Flaming Moe in action is more than enough to include it on the list.
This week’s SATURDAY SIX covers the Top Six Photo Ops at Universal. Previously we have covered our favorite Photo Connect experiences at Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure, but this week we are going to look at the six must-get photos when we walk around the parks. For first time visitors, these are the locations that are going to make you stop in your tracks and get out the camera. Some are iconic, others are breathtaking, but all are memorable and should be considered for your vacation scrapbook. Let’s start off by heading into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade Village….
# 6 – Hogwarts Express and Conductor (Islands of Adventure)
Muggles stepping foot into Hogsmeade Village for the first time are going to love the great photo op with the Hogwarts Express and interacting with the train’s conductor. Holding his enchanted pocket watch, the conductor is the go-to person with any question on Hogsmeade as he is always well versed on Potter-lore and everything within this magical land.