Ahh… spring! I always affiliate springtime with a sense of newness. Something about spring cleaning, spring training, springing forward when daylight saving time begins — it’s all the good stuff of brighter days and fresh beginnings. And, I have a feeling that will be even more necessary and even more true this year, especially at Universal Orlando Resort. To kick off the season, I’m sharing the top four reasons to visit Universal Orlando Resort this spring.
The event will include food, entertainment, BEADS, and even a few other Mardi Gras staples. Chef Jason Glus, one of Universal’s Executive Chefs who played a major role in developing this year’s menu says, “As chefs we wanted the food this year to bring everybody together to celebrate all the wonderful flavors from around the world. No matter what celebration, no matter what culture, no matter what ingredient we will all dine together.”
And with a menu like this, you can sign me up for a little bit of everything!
Nothing says spring vacation quite like a trip to Volcano Bay. Universal’s water theme park is reopening to guests on February 27 and I personally cannot wait to grab myself some jerk shrimp mac and cheese, a Waturi Fusion ice cream cone, and some volcano-front seating to soak up some rays.
Speaking of rays, spring in Florida is L O V E L Y. We can all stow away those boots and swap them out for some sandals. I truly love nothing more than grabbing a refreshing Shark Attack from Chez Alcatraz, strolling around the streets of Universal Studios Florida, and taking a ride or two on Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit on a sunny spring day. Can’t you just smell the sunscreen and hear the roller coaster screams now?
No Universal Orlando vacation is complete without a stay at one of the incredible Universal hotels — especially during the spring! I know I firmly believe that you should never miss an opportunity to swim, and Universal’s hotel pools give you plenty of opportunities to do exactly that. Plus every pool is unique to its hotel and its theming!
This year in particular I am so excited to try all of the Mardi-Gras-themed dishes and drinks at each one of the currently-operating hotels. Drinking a “Let The Good Times Roll” Hurricane while bowling at Cabana Bay Beach Resort’s Galaxy Bowl is certainly an opportunity we should all be taking advantage of!
There you have it! And just think, these are just the top four reasons to visit Universal Orlando Resort this spring! Don’t forget to pack your swimsuit, prepare yourself for a whole lot of jambalaya, and start planning your Universal Orlando Resort vacation!
This first-ever, dynamic celebration of flavor and entertainment will take place daily at Universal Studios Florida from Saturday, February 6 and continue through Sunday, March 28. This eclectic global food fest will offer more than 70 delectable dishes and beverages from 13 locations around the globe. Plus, Universal Studios Florida will be decked out in vibrant décor and guests will have the first-ever opportunity to get up close with spectacular and intricately-detailed Mardi Gras floats stationed throughout the theme park. You’ll also enjoy a Big Easy bash in the streets with energetic dancers and stilt performers in extraordinary costumes, brass band musicians, countless beads and a newly-themed Mardi Gras Tribute Store stocked with new merchandise that will give guests the perfect look for this epic celebration.
Here’s a sample menu from Universal Studios to get your mouth watering!
Puerto Rico (Pernil & Mofongo, Picadillo Empanadas, Quesitos, Pina Verde)
The great news is all of these dishes are served as sample sizes, so you’ll be able to try a little bit of everything. If this sounds right up your alley, you’ll want to check out the Mardi Gras Tasting Lanyard options, which you can use for multiple visits (let’s be real, you’ll want to come back to conquer the entire menu).
Universal Orlando continues to implement its enhanced health and safety procedures and guidelines focused on “screening, spacing and sanitization,” and those practices will be applied to all experiences taking place during Mardi Gras 2021: International Flavors of Carnaval. Key measures include screening guests and team members, enforcing social distancing, requiring face coverings, limiting capacity and increasing the already-aggressive cleaning and disinfection procedures. Guests may remove their face coverings while actively eating or drinking, but must be stationary and maintain appropriate social distancing.
All of the excitement of Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras 2021: International Flavors of Carnaval celebration is included with admission to Universal Studios. Florida residents can take advantage of an exclusive ticket offer to purchase a 1-Day, 2-Park ticket and receive three extra days free to experience both parks. Guests can also take advantage of a special offer to save up to $200 on 4-day tickets for a family of four.
With exclusive theme park benefits available to hotel guests, staying in one of Universal Orlando’s hotels is the best way to make the most of a vacation to the award-winning theme park destination. Currently, Florida residents can take advantage of nightly package rates as low as $85 per person, per night, at the all-new value property Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites for a family of 4 with a 3-night stay. Non-Florida residents can book a stay at Dockside Inn and Suites as part of a package for a family of four, with a 5-night stay.
Here in Florida, it’s always ice cream weather. Whether it’s a hot summer day or the middle of a warm Florida winter, there are a variety of incredible ice cream at Universal Orlando Resort.
Let’s see, there are unique flavors like the fruity, colorful swirl of Waturi Fusion. Out-of-this-world creations… basically anything from Penelope’s Toothsome Chocolate Emporium. And you can even step foot inside a certain ice cream parlour that this young witch could only dream of back when the first Harry Potter book came out.
Here are the top nine locations to enjoy ice cream at Universal Orlando:
This sundae is for the adventurous at heart. You’ll get one of Homer’s famous pink-frosted donuts, split in half and filled with your choice of vanilla or chocolate ice cream. You’re not done yet though! Choose your toppings from a variety of sprinkles, hot fudge, or cookie crumbles.
You can’t visit Diagon Alley without a stop at Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour. My favorite flavor is Earl Grey & Lavender, but a few other unique flavors are the Chocolate Chili, Clotted Cream and, of course, Butterbeer!
This ice cream is four different flavors with swirls of orange, blue raspberry, strawberry, and banana. Not only is it a party for your taste buds, but its colorful appearance makes it photo-friendly and perfect for your insta.
This one lives up to its restaurant’s name. Chocolate ice cream, chocolate brownies, chocolate fresh whipped cream, chocolate sauce, chocolate brownie bark, and — wait for it — chocolate sprinkles. I definitely recommend sharing with your significant other, or you know, a small army.
After a day in the parks, hang out at Emack & Bolio’s Marketplace for scoops of this legendary ice cream from Boston. You can get creative flavors like Deep Purple and Grasshopper in handcrafted sundaes or get them in candy-coated cones.
Before you dive into this cold treat, we’ll need to heat things up. Torched tableside, this Baked Alaska has chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice cream inside. I think that’s one of the things I love about Baked Alaska. You get both fire and ice working together to create one tasty treat.
In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Harry Potter and his friends enjoyed strawberry and peanut-butter ice creams. You and your friends can do the same with a cup of this delicious hard packed ice cream available in Hogsmeade at the Three Broomsticks.
Sometimes you just can’t beat a classic. Stop by for a scoop of your favorite flavor or a sundae like hot fudge or my go-to, the banana split. It’s the perfect way to take a break and cool off.
Location: Across Universal Orlando Resort
Basically, it’s ice cream in a sippable, mobile container, and we here at Universal Orlando have perfected this creamy delight. You can get milkshakes all across our destination, from the whimsical creations over at The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen to the classic hand-spun at Mel’s Drive-In to even the “spiked shakes” at The Cowfish.
One of the consistent challenges of vacation planning for large families is finding a resort that can — both comfortably and affordably — accommodate a family of six in one room, while also offering unique theme park benefits. Those options have been somewhat limited and few and far between. Until now. We are sharing five reasons to stay at Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites.
This challenge is no more for families today with our newest hotel Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites. This hotel (and its sister property, Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites) is the perfect value option for families of all sizes and comes packed with benefits for everyone. Having already stayed at Surfside Inn and Suites, I can personally tell you the Endless Summer Resort product exceeded all my family’s expectations. The quality of the food, rooms, service, and amenities were impressive and made our staycation so enjoyable.
Here’s everything you need to know about Dockside Inn and Suites:
Dockside Inn and Suites has two towers painted with colors reminiscent of a sunset. These towers will be equipped with over 2,000 rooms, with over half of those rooms being spacious 2-Bedroom Suites that can accommodate up to six people, meaning families on a budget can pay for one suite for the whole family.
Let’s deep-dive into those suites a bit more. The 2-Bedroom Suite is honestly a game-changer; they mean families like the one I grew up in don’t have to buy multiple rooms to accomodate the whole crew.
There’s privacy between the bedrooms, a sizable kitchenette area with a mini-fridge, microwave, and coffee maker, a perfect picnic table for meals and hanging out, and a bathroom with separate bath and vanity areas so multiple people can get ready at once. These suites also feature three queen-sized beds, two TVs, and free WiFi. Sign me up for all of this.
The Price is Right
While the size is pretty incredible, here comes one of the best parts about Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites — the price. During our value season, rates begin as low as $79 per night for Standard Rooms and $120 per night for the 2-Bedroom suites, based on a four-night stay. My question for you is: how can you beat that? And I haven’t even mentioned…
The Theme Park Benefits
By staying at Dockside Inn and Suites, you have access to so many great perks throughout Universal Orlando…Early Park Admission (you’ll feel like you have the park practically to yourself!); complimentary transportation (five minute ride from my hotel to everything the Universal Orlando theme parks have to offer? I’m in!); and a room key that does so much more than open doors (purchases throughout the destination, complimentary club-to-club access in CityWalk, and a future keepsake from your vacation). Check out all the details here.
When I am on a vacation at a theme park resort, convenience during my hotel stay is a big factor for my family and me. In order to maximize our time at the parks, we need a hotel that has food and drink options for the entire family at a reasonable price. Dockside Inn and Suites strikes the perfect balance for this need.
Pier 8 Market is the casual dining food court and market that is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The Pier 8 Market menu is super affordable, with most dishes priced under $12 (see what I mean by “reasonable price”?)! The hotel has an amazing lobby bar, the Sunset Lounge, that serves specialty cocktails and has its own craft beer, and a large pool bar, the Oasis Beach Bar.
The Vibes – Kick Back and Relax
TWO Pools (Pool Number Two Coming in 2021!)
Universal Studios Store
Universal Orlando Vacation Planning Center
Car Rental Desk
Game Room (Coming in 2021)
Self-service guest laundry
This hotel was designed by the same creative minds that brought you everything you love about our theme parks, giving you an immersive experience only available at our destination. It’s exactly what my large family was looking for when I was growing up and now it’s here!
Have you ever dreamed of going beyond the grounds of Hogwarts? Do you remember the excitement as you would read about the thrilling and wondrous adventures in the Forbidden Forest? Well, get ready for your dreams to come true at Universal Orlando Resort.
Whether you’re a Harry Potter fan, roller coaster enthusiast, or are looking forward to the latest Universal Orlando Resort attraction, you need this guide to Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, located in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade in Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
For the first time ever, you will get to venture to the edge of the Forbidden Forest. Alan Gilmore, Art Director for the Harry Potter film series, joined Universal Orlando Resort in making this truly immersive and magical experience for all guests to enjoy. Here are some tips and things to keep an eye out for that the team included…
Make sure to enjoy the views as you walk in because you can spot Hogwarts castle, Hagrid’s hut, and a view of the ruins that you’ll soon enter.
When you enter the ruins, you’ll spot statues of rare magical creatures found in the wizarding world.
You’ll see some incredible drawings in this room that are definitely worth your attention.
In the ruins, you may encounter some familiar faces who will help prepare you for your journey.
Once you reach the fireplace, you’ll may spot footprints belonging to a small fiery creature.
These ruins seem uninhibited, but act as a holding space for some of Hagrid’s belongings, such as a curious collection of eggs.
Keep an eye out for Hagrid. It seems he’s been up to something.
Notice scratch marks and burn marks on the walls?
Looks like Hagrid left teddy bears and blankets?
Did you spot the page in The Monster Book of Monsters?
You’ll meet Hagrid face-to-face in Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, as he takes you through the Forbidden Forest for a Care of Magical Creatures class. As you climb aboard a magical motorbike, you’ll experience how it feels to be a beloved student of Hagrid. The team at Universal Orlando left no detail untouched when it comes to this animatronic version of the beloved half-giant…
Hagrid stands at 7 feet, 6 inches tall.
His movie-real costume weighs about 50 lbs.
If you look at Hagrid’s hands, you’ll find dragon-skin gloves.
Does Hagrid look real? That’s because he’s Universal Orlando’s first human-like animated figure.
Meticulous work went into placing individual hair strands – including eyebrows and lashes.
Incredible attention to detail was taken to recreate Hagrid’s likeness from the films, including a meticulously hand-sculpted face, digital scans of Hagrid actor Robbie Coltrane’s teeth, and careful placement of individual hair strands -including eyebrows and lashes.
Get ready to encounter some of the Wizarding World’s magical creatures. As we all know, Hagrid, Hogwarts gamekeeper and Care of Magical Creatures professor, has a soft spot for even the most ‘seriously misunderstood’ creatures. You’ll encounter lots of these creatures along your journey through the Forbidden Forest…
Fluffy, Hagrid’s Three-Headed Dog
In this new adventure, Fluffy weighs 8,000 Ibs, which is roughly as big as two standard Muggle cars.
Described as a cross between scorpions and elongated crabs, Skrewts aren’t afraid to attack other Skrewts they encounter. They have incredibly strong armor that can’t be penetrated by spells – proving to be a challenge for Hagrid since they hatched.
FUN FACT: Manticores and Fire Crabs were the magical creatures Hagrid used to create Blast-Ended Skrewts.
Magorian, the Centaur
A Centaur is a magical creature with a human head, torso and arms, joined to a horse’s body. They are, however, their own species and should be treated with great respect.
This perilous plant from the wizarding world has been known to strangle people, who touch it, with its dexterous vines. Devil’s Snare flourishes in damp, dark environments and it has a strong dislike of light and fire.
Remember, “Devil’s Snare, Devil’s Snare is deadly fun, but will sulk in the sun.”
Cornish pixies are electric blue tricksters who love to create mischief – often at the expense of others. They’re about 13 inches tall and you’ll find more than a dozen pixies throughout this adventure.
Make sure you keep an eye out at the end of a tunnel in Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure as you’ll get a glimpse of a heavily jeweled shell of a Fire Crab.
You may see a drawing of this dangerous creature that has an animal head, a lion’s body, and scorpion’s tail.
They’re hard to spot, but you may hear these mischievous garden creatures as you’re headed toward the Forbidden Forest.
Traces of these fire-dwelling creatures can be found around heated areas of this attraction.
For the first time, students will get to fly to the edge of the Forbidden Forest. Not only is this an incredibly immersive ride but this roller coaster is literally a record-breaker. See for yourself what makes Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure a record-breaking roller coaster…
Longest roller coaster in Florida at 5,053 feet long
Coaster with the most launches in the world, with 7 launches
Enjoy a truefree fall vertical drop at nearly 17 feet
Other roller coaster facts:
Enjoy two unique ride experiences as you can ride Hagrid’s motorbike or the adjacent sidecar
This attraction reaches a maximum height of 65-feet
There is a 73-degree spike that goes backward in one-movement
This attraction is 3 minutes of non-stop ride time
There are over 1,200 real trees that were used to recreate this enchanted forest.
Are you excited to experience your own journey to the Forbidden Forrest after reading our guide to Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure? Book your Universal Orlando Resort vacation, choose a seat on the motorbike or in the sidecar, and experience all this for yourself!
10 Reasons to Celebrate the Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort
The holidays are an extra special time to visit the theme parks. One of my favorite things to do this time of year is visit the theme parks. You may ask, what happens at Universal Orlando during the holidays? You can enjoy gorgeous weather, roller coasters, incredibly fun holiday festivities and so much more during holidays at Universal Orlando Resort. Although things do look a bit different this year than in past years (as expected), you can still get in the spirit and celebrate the holidays at Universal Orlando Resort.
When Christmas time comes to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the land embraces the holiday season with spellbinding decorations, holiday entertainment, and the can’t-miss hot Butterbeer.
Twinkling lights and enchanting strands of garland and wreaths adorn the eaves and shop windows throughout Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. Make sure to take a close look as each shop’s decorations are uniquely themed (even Knockturn Alley gets festive with a wreath).
You can’t celebrate properly without tuning in to hear Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees perform their holiday hits like “My Baby Gave Me a Hippogriff for Christmas” (my personal favorite) in Diagon Alley. Over in Hogsmeade, the Hogwarts Frog Choir is taking the stage with their classic carols like “Christmas at Hogwarts”.
Take home a piece of the wizarding world with marvelous merchandise like Hogwarts house ornaments, stockings, and sweaters.
Hot Butterbeer: This seasonal drink has the same creamy flavor reminiscent of shortbread and butterscotch you know and love. It’s perfect for warming you up when the weather gets chilly.
See the New Universal’s Holiday Experience Featuring Macy’s Balloons
Although Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s won’t be making its way through the streets of Universal Studios Florida this year, you can see the balloons and floats up close like never before in this new walkthrough experience. See the larger-than-life Macy’s balloons and floats depicting holiday moments inspired by favorite films like Illumination’s Despicable Me, and DreamWorks’ Shrek and Madagascar. And say goodbye to waiting in long lines at the mall — Santa Claus is coming to Universal Studios. Dress in your holiday best and come get a (socially distanced) photo with Santa during this holiday experience.
Universal’s Holiday Tour: Get front of the line access and walking tour to the balloon experience with this add-on experience. You also get a private meet and greet with the Grinch while enjoying a hot cocoa bar, an exclusive viewing of The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle, and a tour of the Tribute Store.
Meet Your Favorite Characters
After meeting the holly, jolly man in the red suit, head over to Universal’s Islands of Adventure to meet the mean, green one himself, the Grinch. You can find him and the Whos spreading holiday cheer — or grumpiness in the Grinch’s case — throughout Seuss Landing.
You can also join other holiday characters for some dancing, singing, and photos in the streets of Universal Studios. Join in on the merry and mayhem with characters like the Minions and other beloved characters from Illumination’s Despicable Me, and DreamWorks favorites like the family of Shrek and King Julien and crew from Madagascar.
Don’t worry, Universal’s other famous characters aren’t taking off for the holidays. You can still meet the towering Transformers robots in Universal Studios and encounter Jurassic World’s Blue at Raptor Encounter in Islands of Adventure.
Enjoy Holiday Decor and Festivities at Universal’s Hotels
Make your holiday vacay at Universal Orlando complete with a stay at one of the resort hotels (don’t worry, you can reassure the kiddos that Santa can still find you). Besides being a short walk, Water Taxi, or shuttle ride to the theme parks, the hotels get in on the holiday festivities, too.
Do the hotels decorate? You betcha. Each hotel has a uniquely themed tree in the lobby and hundreds of lights, garland, and wreaths throughout. Just walking in to check in at the front desk will immediately put you in good spirits with the warm ambiance and holiday tunes filling your ears.
Nothing screams winter snuggles like cuddling up in front of a fire. The hotels have fire pits they light nightly, which is the perfect way to wind down after a day in the parks.
OK, so pools aren’t exactly a “holiday” activity, however, in Florida they might as well be. The fact you can lounge by the hotel pool in the middle of winter with an umbrella drink is the best gift you could give in my opinion.
Come Do Your Holiday Shopping
Another great perk about coming to celebrate at Universal? You can do your shopping at the same time, too. We’ve got a ton of unique themed gift shops throughout our entire resort destination. You can find popular finds, including some of my favorites like a classic Jurassic Park T-shirt, an interactive wand to cast spells in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and basically any piece of merch with the Grinch’s face on it.
And if you really want to amp the shopping up 10 levels on the festive scale, then you have to check out these new experiences:
For the first time ever, the Holiday Tribute Store is opening its door in Universal Studios with four rooms decked from wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling, and shelf-to-shelf with holiday goodness. Enjoy traditional goodies in the Bavarian Holiday Festival room; whimsical finds you can only find in the Grinch-inspired room; magical gifts and decor in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter inspired room; and holiday snacks and treats from Earl the Squirrel’s Tree Farm.
As you’re on the hunt for the perfect gift in the parks, why not make it a scavenger hunt as well? Purchase a brochure for the Holiday Tree Hunt and discover 16 themed trees throughout Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and Universal CityWalk. Collect all 16 stamps and you’ll get an exclusive holiday ornament prize.
Indulge in Holiday Feasts and Treats
My favorite part about the holidays, as my waistband can attest to, is the food. With elaborate feasts, endless amounts of sugary treats, and the excuse to have as much hot cocoa as I want, I live for the holiday food and drinks.
New this year is the Holiday Treat Trail. Grab a trail brochure, gather your treat stamps, and enjoy favorites like the holiday ornament doughnuts at Voodoo Doughnut. Once you finish, you get a special completion treat on us!
Stop by the Holiday Tribute Store to try holiday treats and snacks you can only get from Earl the Squirrel’s Tree Farm.
Universal CityWalk is the place to get whimsical holiday goodies like eggnog cocktails, Peppermint Beignet Sundae from Pat O’ Brien’s, the savory Caribbean dish of Brown Stew Chicken from Bob Marley – A Tribute to Freedom, and more.
As I mentioned above, if you’re looking for a full holiday feast, look no further than Universal Orlando’s hotels.
Instead of having to worry about wearing extra layers of clothing, all you have to worry about is an extra layer of sunscreen. Florida “winter” is the perfect time of the year to get outside and enjoy cooler temperatures while soaking in that gorgeous sunshine. Nothing beats being able to lay out by the hotel pool in the dead of winter. Plus, less clothes packed also means more room for shopping goodies! If you’re really craving a brisk winter wind with a bite, I suppose you can ride Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit first thing in the morning…
Need Packing Help? Check here for recommendations on what to pack for the parks and hotels yearn round, as well as a handy checklist to keep you organized.
The holiday season is all about creating lasting memories with your family and friends. I mean, it’s the one time of the year where families still send an actual card with photos wishing everyone “seasons greetings”. Universal has the perfect backdrops for all your holiday photo needs. Ditch the traditional fireplace and snap a pic in front of a fire breathing dragon instead. Make it whimsical with the colorful twists and turns of Seuss Landing, complete with festive decorations. And you can’t beat a matching family PJs pic in front of the Universal Globe.
Oh, Christmas Tree! Holiday card photos are typically in front of the tree, but how often do you see a photo with an 80 ft. tree? The tree in Universal Studios is the perfect spot for a family pic. Add a fun twist by getting a photo of your reflection in one of the giant ornaments.
Ditch the Holiday Stress
This year, more than ever, we all need to escape the reality of the day to day and find what joy we can this holiday season. Which means we also deserve to ditch the stress we typically feel around this time with the shopping, the decorating, the cleaning up for visitors, the cooking, the calories, school winter break, working, and all 50 of the different family activities you have to navigate… Let Universal Orlando take that stress off your shoulders and be your home away from home for the holidays.
You’ll be pampered at our hotels with comfy beds you don’t have to make every day. No need to drive when you’re here with Water Taxis and shuttles that get your around. There is an endless number of fun toys, trinkets, and apparel you could ever want for your Christmas list all in one place. There are dozens of restaurants with all varieties of cuisine for you to enjoy a meal at and not have to wash dishes after. Also, calories don’t count on vacation so… Universal has the decorations, the tree, the eggnog, and the songs. All you have to do is let loose and have fun, safely.
Are you ready to celebrate the holidays at Universal Orlando Resort?
Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort are happening now through Jan. 3, 2021, with hot Butterbeer and beautiful weather staying even longer! Now pack your bags, the kids, presents, whatever you need for your holiday vacay, and get ready for some festive fun. Don’t forget to spread the holiday cheer on Twitter and Instagram with #UniversalHolidays when you get here.
We all have favorite theme park snacks, right? It can be tough when you’re craving a butterbeer, but can’t stop by the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to pick one up. So, we have the next best thing! Make one at home! You can make these four amazing Universal Orlando Resort recipes at home to help get you by until your next Universal Orlando Resort vacation. Enjoy!
Butterbeer Recipe from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
One of the most iconic snacks from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter or even all of Universal Orlando Resort is butterbeer. Butterbeer is served chilled, frozen, or warm (seasonally) inside of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. You can find this sweet butterscotch flavored treat in the Three Broomsticks, Leaky Cauldron, Hog’s Head, and carts throughout the Wizarding World.
1 cup light or dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
6 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
3/4 cup heavy cream divided
1/2 teaspoon rum extract
4 bottles (12 oz. bottles) cream soda
In a small saucepan over medium, combine the brown sugar and water. Bring to a gentle boil and cook, stirring often, until the mixture reads 240 F on a candy thermometer.
Stir in the butter, salt, vinegar and 1/4 heavy cream. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Once the mixture has cooled, stir in the rum extract.
In a medium bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar mixture and the remaining 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Use an electric mixer to beat until just thickened, but not completely whipped, about 2 to 3 minutes.
To serve, divide the brown sugar mixture between 4 tall glasses (about 1/4 cup for each glass). Add 1/4 cup of cream soda to each glass, then stir to combine. Fill each glass nearly to the top with additional cream soda, then spoon the whipped topping over each.
To make your butterbeer most like the original version served in the parks, you will want to freeze this recipe since it served hot.
We even have a Harry Potter recipe card that you can print out to save your butterbeer recipe to make again and again!
Fried PB&J with Bananas Sandwich Recipe from Halloween Horror Nights
Although Universal Orlando Resort will not be hosting Halloween Horror Nights in 2020, you can still enjoy a delicious treat from the nation’s premier Halloween event!
The first step to enoying these fried pb&j with bananas sandwich is to make the secret ingredient that makes this sandwich unbelievable… FUNNEL CAKE BATTER!
Funnel Cake Batter Recipe
1 ½ cups of whole milk
2 large eggs
2 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
In a large bowl, mix the milk and eggs together.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Next, stir the bowl of dry ingredients into the large bowl of wet ingredients and mix until smooth.
Set aside for later.
Fried PB&J with Bananas Sandwich Recipe
2 slices of thick cut, white bread
1 ½ tablespoons of creamy peanut butter
1 ½ tablespoons of grape jelly
½ banana sliced
1 teaspoon chocolate syrup
½ cup funnel cake batter
1 tablespoon of powdered sugar
Canola oil (I would get at least 48 oz.)
Preheat a large, heavy bottomed pot or large fry pan with canola oil until it reaches 350 degrees (use a candy thermometer to check temp).
You can also use a dutch oven or stock pot to fry as well. Whatever floats your boat… or in this case, sandwich.
For the canola oil, you’ll want around 2 inches or so. You want to be able to fully submerge the sandwich in the oil.
If you don’t have a candy thermometer (which I did not), you can tell the oil is ready when it’s shimmering with a whiff of smoke.
Spread creamy peanut butter evenly on one slice of bread.
Spread grape jelly evenly on another slice of bread.
Pause to lick any peanut butter or jelly you may have gotten on your fingers.
Slice the banana and place onto the piece of bread with the peanut butter.
Close sandwich and submerge into the bowl of funnel cake batter until completely covered.
Place the sandwich into the preheated oil but be careful! I recommend using tongs or a large slotted spoon.
Fry until golden brown on both sides.
Remove from oil and place onto paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
Drizzle as much chocolate syrup as you’d like and garnish with powdered sugar. I love A LOT of chocolate as you can probably tell in the picture!
First, let’s get fancy and get a bunch of little bowls and divide all the ingredients up into them. Then, let’s get mixing!
Put the jalapeños in a large bowl (if you don’t like spiciness, skip this step.)
Carefully cut the avocado in half and discard the pit by inserting the blade into the seed using a quick and gentle cutting movement, then twist and remove. Gently scoop the avocado with a spoon and place in a bowl.
Add the red onion, tomatoes, cilantro, salt, and olives to the bowl.
Add a drizzle of olive oil.
Mash and mix all the ingredients together using the back of a large spoon or fork, then mix in the lime juice.
Shape it into a perfect little guac mountain and garnish with extra cilantro or tomatoes.
Get your favorite chips and get your guac on!
Blast the mariachi music, throw those chips in a bowl, and get that salt shaker ready. It’s time to fiesta!
Big Apple Grilled Cheese Recipe from TODAY Cafe
You can bring a taste of Universal’s comfort food to your home with the Big Apple Grilled Cheese recipe from TODAY Cafe. This fun twist on grilled cheese combines the savory flavors of melted cheesiness and tomatoes with the crisp sweetness of apples all in one sandwich. It’s a great lunch option for your kids or for the big kid that’s in all of us.
2 slices of white bread
2 slices of cheddar cheese
2 slices of Swiss cheese
1 slice of pepper jack cheese
1 tablespoon roasted plum tomato
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
4 thin slices of Red Delicious apple
Butter two slices of white bread with softened butter
Remove the core of the apple and cut into 4 wedges
Thinly slice one wedge of apple and set aside for later
Place bread butter side down into non-stick fry pan on medium heat
Begin to build the sandwich by laying the pepper jack and Swiss cheese on one slice
Allow the cheese to begin to melt from the heat below
Once the cheese begins to soften, place apples and tomatoes on top of the slice with cheddar
Using a spatula, flip the side with the pepper jack onto the other side and press for one minute
Ensure that both sides are golden brown, remove from pan and place onto cutting board
Cut in half and enjoy the cheesiness!
Serve with your favorite side of fruit, potato salad, or whatever your heart desires
Bonus: it’s an easy recipe to tackle for those of us who aren’t necessarily cooking savvy.
Mini Pumpkin Donuts with Green Icing Recipe
This is the perfect pumpkin donut recipe to bring a little Halloween Horror Nights to your home. Not only are they deliciously pumpkin flavored, they’re also mini and very cute!
Makes 24 Mini Pumpkin Donuts
1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
1⁄2 teaspoon nutmeg
¼ cup of pumpkin pie spice
1⁄4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup milk
4 cups flour (plus a little more if dough is sticky)
Vegetable oil (for frying)
Green icing or white icing + green food coloring (from local grocery store for topping)
In a large bowl mix the sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and nutmeg together.
Add eggs, milk, and melted butter. Beat well.
Add 3 cups of the flour, beating until blended. Add one more cup of flour and beat well. The dough should be soft and sticky but firm enough to handle. If you feel it’s necessary, add up to 1/2 cup more flour.
Cover with plastic wrap and chill for (at least) one hour.
Breakfast has always had a reputation as the most important meal of the day, and maybe even more so when you’re on vacation. It gets you energized for all of the fun activities you’re going to do, while also giving you the opportunity to indulge in delicious food.
Start your day the right way with a hot cup of coffee and fresh pastries from TODAY Cafe. Or choose a heartier option like a breakfast sandwich or an acai bowl. Also offering lunch options, TODAY Cafe is the perfect spot for brunch if you want to work up your appetite by hitting a few rides first.
One of my favorite places to have breakfast is in the Three Broomsticks in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade. I love being able to enjoy a plate of pancakes and Pumpkin Juice with a view of Hogwarts first thing in the morning. It feels surreal.
Before you go conquer the Krakatau Aqua Coaster, fuel up with breakfast at Kohola Reef Restaurant & Social Club. During the summertime (from May through early Sept.), you can chow down on breakfast pizza, sandwiches, and wraps. Outside of this summertime offering, you can still enjoy a refreshing continental breakfast with fresh pastries and fruits.
Dockside Inn and Suites is all about relaxation, so why not ease into your morning that way? Wake up with a refreshing glass of orange juice and one of the delicious breakfast items like chicken and waffles or the Pier 8 Egg Muffin. My personal favorite is the Avocado Toast, which happens to be vegan!
Beach Break Cafe offers hearty breakfast items that get you ready for a sunshine-filled day in the parks or out by the pool. Choose from breakfast pizzas, burritos, egg muffins, and even a crispy chicken sandwich.
Two words: hash station. This unique staple of Urban Pantry lets you choose from a bowl or wrap with your choice of protein, eggs, cheese, and fresh ingredients. You also have your traditional breakfast station with your morning favorites, including a bacon and egg sandwich that is quite scrumptious.
Bayliner Diner is the perfect mix of quick-selection and sit-down options. If you want to relax and ease into the day, you can grab a plate of eggs and your choice of sides. Prefer to swing by on your way to the parks? Grab a breakfast sandwich to go.
Breakfast buffets are kinda my jam, especially when I’m vacay. Amatista Cookhouse has one of the best buffets I’ve ever tried. There is a ton of fresh fruit and pastries, biscuits and gravy, smoked salmon, oatmeal and grits, specialty eggs and more. OR you can order off the menu with Carribean inspired dishes like the Eg g White and Smoked Turkey Arepa. You can make a reservation ahead of time here.
Wake up and get a taste of island life with options like Hawaiin Pancakes, Tahitian French Toast a L’Orange, Smoked Salmon, and more. You can also get your traditional breakfast items like omelets, pancakes, and eggs. You can make a reservation ahead of time here.
The Kitchen has some of the best french toast and waffles I’ve ever had, with “The Elvis” being one of their famous french toasts (pictured above). If you’re visiting on a Sunday, you can also do their Sunday Brunch with live music. Make a reservation ahead of time here.
Enjoy a delightful morning out on the piazza at Trattoria del Porto. Choose from an excellent breakfast buffet with options for the whole family, or you can order a la carte like the Breakfast Quesadilla. You can make a reservation ahead of time here.
You can enjoy breakfast all day from Toothsome Chocolate Emporium where you can choose from either sweet or savory dishes. You can have delectable waffles like the Banana Fosters or Berries and Cream. And for those looking for heartier options, try the Country Fresh French Toast or the Quiche Lorraine.
This is my top, must-do dining experience at Universal Orlando Resort. During select days Nov. – Dec. you can grab breakfast with The Grinch and Whos from Seuss Landing. It’s like you’ve stepped into a Dr. Seuss book with whimsical drinks and treats and the famous plate of Green Eggs & Ham. *Reservations are required
Trust me, I get it. I spend most of my year thinking about, planning for, and counting down to Halloween Horror Nights. It’s by far my favorite seasonal event at Universal Orlando Resort. If you’re out of the horror loop, Halloween Horror Nights is the world’s premier Halloween event featuring terrifying haunted houses, sinister scare zones, and exhilarating live entertainment. Basically, it’s every horror fanatic’s dream event.
Since the next Halloween Horror Nights is over a year away, a decent chunk of my time will be spent trying to fill the horrific void left in my heart during the now-extra-long off-season. But luckily, I’ve mastered the art of finding spooky joy around Universal Orlando Resort to get your Halloween Horror Nights fix! Below, I’ve compiled all of my favorite ways to scratch that terrifying itch for you so we can stop crying and start screaming.
WARNING: these tactics are not for the faint of heart.
Universal Studios Florida
Get as close to the full HHN experience as possible by braving Frankenstein’s Lab and Jack the Clown’s Carnival in this year’s Tribute Store, a glorious homage to the HHNs of yesteryear.
Between the themed rooms, spooky sound effects, and exclusive merchandise and food and drink offerings, HHN superfans will feel perfectly at home here.
Pro Tip: Keep an eye peeled for Easter eggs and throwbacks to years past!
Explore the cursed film set and archeological dig site that comprise the queue of Revenge of the Mummy.
If the eerie shadows and haunting music aren’t enough to make you sweat, you can always forfeit your soul to Imhotep!
Pro Tip: If you’re brave enough, try sticking your hand into one of the glowing slots in the walls.
Head over to Louie’sthis fall for everyone’s favorite HHN cuisine — pizza fries.
It’s not quite the same as s’mores fries…but it’s still delicious!
Dive into the horrific void that is the internet.
If you’re craving lore, rumors, or speculation, there are enough online HHN forums to keep a ghost busy for all eternity.
Pro Tip: Follow the official HHN Twitter and, if you’re brave enough, send a tweet to the demon who runs the account.
The good news: by the time you work up the courage to take on all of the tactics listed above, it may already be time for next year’s Halloween Horror Nights AND you just had a horrifyingly good time at Universal Orlando Resort. You’re welcome.
If you have any other tips to help your fellow horror junkies get their Halloween Horror Nights fix, be sure to leave them in the comments below, or share them on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram with #HHN!
At the entrance of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, the first things we come face-to-face with are the two boar statues. Right below the guardian boars, you will see the name of the attraction lit up in small lights that cascade from top to bottom.
Sitting at the top of the greenhouses we find Mandrakes — a tufty little plant that can be quite dangerous. If de-earthed, a fully matured Mandrake’s cry can be fatal to those who hear it. So, let’s leave them planted, shall we?
Another relic you will find is the hourglass-like cylinders displaying the standings of the house points. Triumphs during students’ time at Hogwarts will earn the house points, while any rule-breaking by students will lose house points. As a non-biased Hufflepuff, I think Hufflepuff should be in the lead, but who do you think should be on top?
Potions Classroom Door
As you leave the dungeons, don’t miss the door on your left titled “Potions Classroom”. If you listen closely, you can hear what’s going on inside, as well as some familiar voices.
One-Eyed Witch Statue
Continuing along, you’ll pass a statue of a humpbacked, one-eyed witch. Harry first encountered the Marauder’s Map near a one-eyed witch statue just like this one. Mischief Managed!
Professor Severus Snape’s Office Door
As entrancing as the one-eyed witch statue may be, keep your eyes peeled for a door labeled for the infamous Potions master. If you angle yourself just right, you can see it toward the left. This is — in my opinion — one of the coolest things to see.
Mirror of Erised
We’ll also encounter the Mirror of Erised. The attention to detail is stunning, complete with the “Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi” inscription in beautiful gold lining. Take a moment to stand and gaze into the mirror to discover your deepest desire!
Griffin Entry to Office
If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you know all about the entrance to Dumbledore’s office. The Griffin statue requires a password to gain entry, and knowing Dumbledore’s favorite sweet treat has proven helpful in the past. Of course, after this can only come…
Nestled safety in Dumbledore’s office is the Pensieve -a very unique enchanted item where one can deposit their thoughts or memories. The Pensieve was a very important element of Harry’s journey and is destined to become an exciting sight in yours!
Sword of Gryffindor
The sword of Godric Gryffindor, one of the Hogwarts founders, was made a thousand years ago and is known to appear to true Gryffindors who are in need of it. You can find the ornate sword displayed hugging the wall opposite of Dumbledore in his office. Look up so you don’t miss it!
DEFENSE AGAINST THE DARK ARTS CLASSROOM:
Finally, we’re here. This is my favorite room because there are lots of interesting things in it. Here you will find a relevant artifact from every Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, serving almost as a trophy area from teachers who have come and gone.
GRYFFINDOR COMMON ROOM:
Fat Lady Portrait
Never a dull moment near the entrance to the Gryffindor common room — the Fat Lady never stops talking. She even mentioned she would go to the Quidditch match if someone could just lift her up and take her but don’t look at me. Any volunteers?
Quidditch Board Game
The board is set for people to play a board game of Quidditch, but you won’t find any of the pieces except for the stands. There is only one visible Quidditch board game in the castle and it’s spiritedly themed with the four Hogwarts house colors.
Looking much like the radios of yesteryear, is a wizard’s wirelesss. We can almost imagine the Gryffindor students gathered around listening to Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees on the Wizarding Wireless Network. If you get really really close you’ll hear… nothing, sorry.
The last thing you’ll see before you hop on for the ride of a lifetime on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Say hello and goodbye to the familiar face of this incredible hat and get ready for quite the adventure with Harry, Ron, and Hermione!
So, how many of these details in Hogwarts Castle at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort had you noticed? Did you learn something new about these details in the Wizarding World? Let me know in the comments below and share your favorites on social media with #WizardingWorldOrlando