This week, two of the new major summer offerings at the Universal Orlando Resort began technical rehearsals (what Disney calls “soft openings”) and gave park guests the first glimpse of what Universal Creative has been working on.  We are thrilled to bring you a look at Transformers and the new custom dining options at Springfield USA.

SPRINGFIELD USA

This past weekend, with no fanfare, Universal Orlando opened the doors to their new quick service dining location which is sure to surprise and delight guests!  We are thrilled to share with you what you can expect in this new expansion, and we will be walking you through façade by façade, and delicious menu by menu, as we explore this inventive and immersive dining location.  

SPRINGFIELD FOOD COURT

On the outside, you’ll find the fronts of several well-known Springfield establishments. Inside, there are additional restaurant facades that will allow everyone to find something they will enjoy, with an incredibly diverse menu of offerings unseen at Universal Orlando before now.

ANDROID’S DUNGEON BATHROOMS

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While this is just a façade that hides the bathrooms, it is a great improvement on the concrete that used to be there.  The shop window has not been completed yet, but the bathrooms are sparkling, and now sport a tile color scheme that matches the Comic Book Shop.

CLEUTUS’ CHICKEN SHACK

Over the years, Cletus the slack jawed yokel has gotten more airtime on The Simpsons. So it is with love that Universal has dedicated an entire façade to this character. The façade is fun and the food is delicious.

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Chicken Shack Menu
The menus has items on it designed to delight, and also make you scratch your head, with entrees like Chicken and Waffle sandwich, Double Batter Chicken Platter, Chicken Arms, Chicken Thumbs, and the Thrilled to be Grilled Chicken Sandwich.   I was able to sample the Chicken and Waffle sandwich, and while it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, I found it delicious. I couldn’t help dipping my tater tots in the Maple Mayonnaise.

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FLAMING MOE’S

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Everyone is going to want a “Flaming Moe.” And while the secret ingredient in the real life version is orange soda (not cough syrup!) and it isn’t actually flaming, it’s still a fun novelty drink with a smoke effect powered by dry ice!

 

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FRYING DUTCHMAN

This famous Seafood venue used to be “All you can eat” until Homer challenged that concept. Now it is just “you can eat,” with great offerings on the menu like Basket o’ Bait, Battered and Pattered Fish, Basket o’ Shrimp, Basket o’ Calamari, Clam Chowd-arr.

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KRUSTY BURGER

For months now, we have been looking at the Krusty Burger façade, wanting to see inside, and now we can!  We strolled into the Krusty Burger and were met with the intentional plastic bland look of an actual Krusty Burger from the series. But, in order to keep Krusty Burger from being too bland, Universal has installed 2 large murals. Fans of the Simpson’s will be able to recognize the items in the mural instantly, as they are filled with details from the show that will have your eyes visually occupied.

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Krusty Burger Menu
Universal put together a menu for Krusty Burger that is guaranteed to delight Simpson’s lovers. Items include: Krusty Buger, Clogger Burger, Mother Nature Burger, The Ribwhich (though this one is actually made with meat), Sideshow Bob Foot Long, and the Heat Lamp Dog.

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You want a Ribwich right now, don’t you?

 

LISA’S TEAHOUSE OF HORRORS

For those wanting something light, fresh, healthy, and quick, Lisa’s Teahouse of Horrors offers such things as Caesar salad, Mediterranean salad, caprese salada, veggie sandwich, hummus, wraps, fruit plates and more.

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Universal has truly created a dining venue where there is something for everyone.  After my dining experience there,  I found myself wanting to back for more.

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LUIGI’S

Those wanting pizza can get their own Meat, Cheese or Vegetarian pie.

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MOE’S TAVERN

There are few locations as iconic as Moe’s Tavern in the Simpson’s universe. Now Universal has brought that location to life, with incredible detail and surprising offerings.  When you enter Moe’s Tavern, you instantly feel transported to the dive bar. You’ll find the lovable drunk, Barney, to your right, with the Love Tester machine behind him. There is Springfield memorabilia all over the walls and behind the counter.  In the center of the bar, you can drink around the Pool table, or sit up at the bar and enjoy some of the drinks from the Springfield universe that Universal has brought to life!

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Clever table.

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The Drinks at Moe’s Tavern
Behind the bar, you will not find Moe Szyslack, but a team of cheerful Universal team members who are eager to share these new drinks with you.

Duff Beer

Universal hired the Florida Beer Company to brew Duff Beer just for Universal Orlando. The result for beer aficionados, and adults looking for a mid-day beer, is a nice accessible beer that can be enjoyed by all those over 21 years of age.

You’d expect a Duff beer to taste like a Pabst Blue Ribbon, and it sort of does. You can get it regular or Light. The beer is served in either a plastic collectible cup or in a glass bottle, which you can’t take with you (for safety reasons), though a collectible aluminum bottle is in the works.

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Buzz Cola
Universal also created a new Buzz Cola that is basically a Cherry Flavored Cola drink that is good, light and refreshing.

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The Flaming Moe
The one drink that everyone wanted to see Universal bring to life is the Flaming Moe.  While most assumed that Universal would not offer the drink due to the fact that in the famous Simpson’s episode where the Flaming Moe is introduced, it is set on fire, it would make the drink a prohibitive theme park friendly beverage.  Universal found a way, and it is incredible and delicious.  Universal has created a non-alcoholic orange citrus-y drink that is sold only in a souvenir cup, that has a special dry ice compartment at the bottom, that when first poured billows smoke and creates the “flaming” illusion.  The drink is delicious and has me wondering what I like more… Butter beer or the Flaming Moe?  Only more of both will help me decide!

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DUFF GARDENS CONSTRUCTION

Outside, the restaurant venue construction continues on the Duff Gardens area, and where the new spinner ride is being installed (Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl).  Construction crews are moving fast to have this all done by the time 4th of July crowds mob the resort.

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They are going to have to work fast!

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Transformers: THE RIDE 3D

This past week, in the dark of the night, Universal installed a life sized Optimus Prime Statue that now guards the entrance to N.E.S.T., where guests will soon be able to experience Transformers the Ride: 3-D starting June 20th.

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Technical Rehearsals

Universal has been opening Transformers the Ride: 3-D for technical rehearsals in the evening hours for the past 6 days. There have been some break downs, and some evacuations, of the ride during these technical rehearsals, which is to be expected. Guests catching wind of this pattern have begun to line the streets at all hours of the day, hoping that the gates will be flung open and invite them into N.E.S.T. to experience this new mega attraction.

As the date of the official grand opening on June 20th approaches, operation of the ride will become more frequent. We can expect the ride to be more or less open continuously very soon. For those familiar with the previous versions of Transformers at Universal Hollywood and Singapore, the ride and queue are essentially the same. Only the facade of the building differs.

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Folks just standing around, hoping to be able to ride.

 

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Transformers Meet & Greet Construction

Universal is preparing a permanent Meet & Greet location for your favorite Autobots and Decepticons.  We have heard that we can expect to see the interactive characters from Hollywood eventually make their way over here. However, we are unsure if it will be in time for the Grand Opening.

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DIAGON ALLEY

Just a brief update on Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Diagon Alley, construction. Front scaffolding is up and the Gringotts bank show building is now almost full enclosed in the back of the building.   Universal wants to begin ride system tests as soon as they can, with so much riding on summer 2014 opening, coupled with the incredible first time ever technology that will be used inside this attraction.

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UNOFFICIAL UNIVERSAL ORLANDO PODCAST

Checkout the latest episode of the Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast as they talk about Transformers, Springfield and more!

That wraps things up from Universal Orlando Resort this week.  Who’s excited to go try out all of the food in Springfield?  The Flaming Moe, Chicken Thumbs, Krusty Burger, Duff Beer, what will you try first?