Universal Orlando – Antojitos Review, Mardi Gras, Beetlejuice and More

Written by Eric Davis. Posted in Features, Universal Orlando

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Published on February 11, 2014 at 2:00 am with 9 Comments

It’s time to journey back to Universal Orlando Resort for a full construction and news update! Antojitos Restaurant has finally opened and we bring you our official review. We then take our first look at Mardi Gras for 2014, and take a gander at the new Beatlejuice show. Plus lots of construction updates.

Antojitos

This past week Antojitos, the latest addition to the revamped CityWalk, opened and we’ve got good news for you. This is a restaurant you will want to add to your ‘must dine’ list when visiting Orlando.  The upscale and affordable Mexican dishes will delight your taste buds. Many will find themselves enjoying a margarita or two, which were delicious!

Exterior

While some people might have taken issue with daytime photos of the exterior, with all the set pieces in place, the area really does come alive at night, you can’t help but fall in love and walk towards this lively and colorful facade that grabs your attention as you are walking through CityWalk.  With the VW Bus out front serving drinks, and the comfortable outdoor seating area, guests can order a drink and hang out in front or head inside for a seat.

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An assortment of non-alcholoic beverages

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“The Handsome George,” and “The Horse You Rode In On cocktails”

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We highly recommend you sample The Handsome George

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Interior

The interior of Antojitos is eclectic and alive.  With upscale elements, reclaimed wood, and industrial design, the interior is chic meets hipster street art.  The interior restaurant is broken into two sections, the downstairs with a more casual atmosphere and menu, and the upstairs with an elevated menu and more intimate atmosphere.  The food from both kitchens is exquisite. I highly recommend trying both.

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A Mariachi band plays beautiful covers of Pop songs for guests while they dine.

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So far, the CityWalk revamp has delivered two solid hits, Red Oven Pizza Bakery and now Antojitos.  While some would argue that CityWalk’s dining options had become less exciting over the years, these new entries have made it clear that this new CityWalk is going to be a great place to dine when guests are making plans to visit Central Florida.

While the rest of the revamped CityWalk will open in phases over 2014, we have a lot to look forward to as the operations and culinary teams at Universal Orlando show us just what they are truly capable of.

Beetlejuice Mash-up

Just a few weeks ago we shared that Beetlejuice was closing down to bring us a new revamped version of the show.  This past Saturday the revamped version opened, and this might be a case where the undead should have remained buried.

We are generally big fans of the entertainment offerings at the Universal Orlando Resort. We love Halloween Horror Nights, Mardi Gras, Grinchmas, the Superstar Street Parade, the Universal Cinematic Spectacular, the Horror and Makeup Show, and we even the 8th Voyage of Sinbad.  But sadly, we were not in love with this new “Mash Up show.”  While the actors who were cast did a great job working with the script they were given, the dialogue, music, and pacing of the show felt hollow and were missing the original charm that the previous version of this show had.

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The additional female voices were welcome additions to the show, we just wish that there were some moments of pause for us to get to know the characters.  Hopefully this show will be tweaked over the coming weeks, because we want to like this show. . . but we just can’t at the moment.

Mardi Gras

Universal Orlando also kicked off Mardi Gras at the Studios park this week.  With the French Quarter Courtyard set up, major musical acts ready to play, and an amazing parade with some all new floats for 2014, guests at Universal Orlando are going to be enjoying these street parties all through May of this year.

Decorations

The decorations for Mardi Gras have stayed the same for the past few years.  With the French Quarter Courtyard taking over the Park in the New York area.

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We would love to see more New Orleans theming throughout the parade route of the park. However, the atmosphere of the entire park really lights up once the sun goes down and the music gets turned up.

New Parade Floats for 2014

This year’s Mardi Gras Parade probably has the best line up of floats Universal has ever had.  After last years amazing debut of 4 new floats, Universal has unveiled 4 more floats this year with great animated elements that really help take the parade up a notch.  Along with those floats guests were treated to some old classics like the river boat, the gator, the King and Queen float and a few more.

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Guests can catch the Mardi Gras parade on select nights through May of this year.  We recommend you check the Universal Orlando Resort website for exact dates and times, so that you can make sure to catch this moving street party when you are in town.  The best spots to watch the Parade are either in the Hollywood Area of the New York area for the best thematic lighting, and for the confetti cannons that shoot off periodically during the parade.

Now we invite you listen to the latest episode of the Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast with your hosts Lee, Tracey, Darren and Hunter as they recap the Harry Potter Celebration, news and more.

Stitcher | Direct Download | iTunes

This wraps up this update.  So what do you think about Antojitos?  Will you done there on your next trip to Central Florida?  Also what is your take on the new Beetlejuice Graveyard Revue/Mashup and will you be attending Mardi Gras this year?   We want to hear from you in the comments below!

 

About Eric Davis

By day, Eric is in Marketing and Social Media. But on the weekends, he's a theme park addict. Eric is a frequent contributor to MiceChat's Orlando Parkhopper columns and tends to focus his efforts on what's new and what's news at Universal Studios and SeaWorld.

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9 Comments

Comments for Universal Orlando – Antojitos Review, Mardi Gras, Beetlejuice and More are now closed.

  1. “you can’t help but fall in love and walk towards this lively and colorful facade that grabs your attention as you are walking through CityWalk”

    That’s quite a bold statement. From the comments I’ve seen so far, a lot of people CAN help falling in love with it. The facade looks like a rainbow threw up all over it. Absolutely awful!

  2. First of all, thanks Eric fro another great Universal update, secondly, I like the look of Antojito’s inside and out. I do feel it looks better at night, but I think it adds some much needed colour to Citywalk and I’m sure it will have a great atmosphere day or night.
    I’ve heard the new Beetlejuice show and I thought it was a great improvement on the graveyard review, but I think it possibly been better to have completely reimagined it.
    The Mardi Gras parade looks awesome and something I would definitely like to see for myself in the future.
    Great work Eric.

    • I understand that there are people who will like Antojito’s look, it’s just not possible to say that everyone will love it when they see it. To me (and many others), it’s an eyesore and has no cultural reason to be painted like that. The restaurant could have been eye-catching without looking the way it does.

      I guess that, for a company that is putting so much detail into their new offerings, it seems like a cheap cop-out.

  3. Despite all of their investments and construction, Universal still can’t touch Disney when it comes to shows and characters. Disney’s biggest draw is that it manages to fill many of us with childlike wonder – a feeling that so many of us seek as we get older and jaded. Universal plays into the jadedness with pure kitsch. Why would I ever EVER want to watch a show led by a character from a 25-year-old film? It’s smarmy and crass and ridiculous.

    Universal, for me, is pure rides and nothing else. I just don’t get the fuzzies like I do at a Disney park, Disney’s enduring flaws notwithstanding.

    • I disagree. Disney has a lot of really mediocre, even bad shows.

      And if The Ghost With The Most is dated for being 25 years old, what does that make 91 year old Mickey Mouse?

      • How has the Beatlejuice’s brand been used and expanded over 25 years? I think we can all agree Mickey’s legacy has been used and in the forefront of people’s minds for 91 years. I think that was the point.

        A lot of mediocre and bad shows? They may have some here or there, but a lot would suggest more than half. Surely, you can’t be serious -and I’m not calling you Shirley ;)

      • I guess what I meant is that it doesn’t matter how old the characters are as long as the shows are good. THAT’S the problem, not that it’s an old license.

        And I wouldn’t say “a lot” means more than half. It’s really subjective. Though, right now, I would say most shows at Disneyland are not good. Schmaltzy, cheesy, cutsie-pie. Aladdin is the only one that comes to mind as being good.

        Of course, this all depends on what your definition of a “show” is.

  4. Thank you Eric for your ongoing great coverage of Universal Orlando. I live it vicariously through your reports.

    I was surprised at the amount of detail inside Antojitos. I am still not sure on the exterior color but the insides look exciting and dynamic. This is definitely a place I will visit when I am in the area next. The Mariachi band is a great touch.

    The Mardi Gras Parade also looks amazing. Great color and detail in the floats and it looks like a party on wheels. I think they have caught the spirit of a genuine Mardi Gras based on what I’ve seen with pictures and video. I assume this promotion is a crowd-pleaser as well?

    I have never attended the Beattlejuice shows as they don’t really draw my attention. However, you can see a great deal of energy goes into it so I hope they fine tune the issues they have with this reborn version.

    Always interesting to see the level of passion that we theme park fans have for our preferred brands. Seems like many feel that their preferred brand is “all right” and everyone else is “all wrong”. When I visit I like to think of it as “all good” regardless of brand preferences.

  5. I like Antojitos at night, but don’t like the colors at all for daytime. Oh well, what really matters is the food and the selection of food and drink looks fantastic. As a Mexican American from San Diego, I look forward to universals interpretation of our world class cuisine. Great food, new Premium lands/attractions, I simply cannot wait for my next trip to Florida!