Pick Six: Universal Orlando CityWalk Announcements

While I am still putting together a lot of my final ideas for a larger post on icFlorida about yesterday’s Universal Orlando CityWalk Announcements (You can find the Press Release here), I wanted to take a moment to look at my initial reactions to what we were shown.

Universal Orlando CityWalk

1. Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley

Universal Orlando CityWalk

I had a lot of A-ha moments during The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley presentation! Originally I looked at how close the construction of Diagon Alley was to Universal Studios Florida, and I always wondered why it had to be so close to the existing park. And yesterday, when they spoke about how Diagon Alley was wedged into London everything clicked for me! And while I am positively giddy about riding on the Hogwarts Express, given the detail that is going into the streets of Diagon Alley and the Leaky Cauldron (especially the ceiling) I want to camp out now! The current Wizarding World of Harry Potter is one of my most favorite places in any theme park, and I am beyond hopeful about Diagon Alley!

2. Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Universal Orlando CityWalk

Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort is going to be everything that you wish a Walt Disney World ‘Value’ Resort would be! The resort will have 900 Rooms and 900 Family Suites at opening with a fun 60’s retro feel. Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort will also boast several large pools for each section of the resort, dining options, high-energy bowling alleys, and more at a manageable walking distance to the parks. I love fun resorts, and with the proximity to the park this ‘Value’ resort really has value.

3. The Cowfish / The Hot Dog Hall of Fame

The Cowfish and The Hot Dog Hall of Fame that will be coming to Universal CityWalk are fun and quirky! The Cowfish is a mix of sushi and burgers in a fun environment (there will be tablets in the Sushi Bar for people to surf as they sit under Pop Art), and the result is ‘Burgushi’ which include sushi rolls created using burger components and sandwiches created using sushi elements. The Hot Dog Hall of Fame boasts signature Hot Dogs from around the country and a Mustard Bar with custom mustards created from a partnership from the National Mustard Museum. If you love Hot Dogs, how can you not be excited about this restaurant coming to Universal Orlando CityWalk? Amid Bars and themed restaurants, I am looking forward to the fun options and atmosphere that these two locations will bring to the mix of CityWalk!

4. Starbucks / Menchies / Cold Stone Creamery

Universal Orlando CityWalk

While I would have loved to see all original offerings at the Universal Orlando CityWalk announcement, I have to say that choosing to expand the Starbucks presence and adding Menchies and Cold Stone Creamery to CityWalk make more sense and go with the ‘best in class’ mind-set that is going into the renovation of Universal Orlando’s CityWalk. Starbucks moving downstairs and into a larger space that will be filled with seating (Yay!) and innovative touches is a win for everyone, because it is more accessible and adds another location to grab a quick breakfast at the parks which has always been an issue with my family. Menchies and Cold Stone Creamery are solid yogurt and ice cream places that are family favorites, which is important when you have a little (or big) kid who needs a treat after a long day in the theme parks!!!

5. Antojitos / The Red Oven / Bread Box / Pranzo

Universal Orlando CityWalk
Work is well under way at Antojitos at Universal Orlando CityWalk!

And now we come to the unique restaurants that are coming to Universal Orlando CityWalk! Antojitos is a going to be more of a culinary journey than passive restaurant experience. The themed facade of Anotjitos is where you start your trip to cantinas, street carts, and markets of Mexico for tapas-style dining with authentic Mexican food.The Red Oven is open now, and amid an modern Italian atmosphere you can find a huge variety of brick oven pizzas and salads. The Bread Box will feature hand made breads and sandwiches with fresh ingredients to capture the feel of the Deli of your childhood or movies! Pranzo will feature modern Italian foods and hand made pastas. The common thread between the variety of restaurants is that there will be a focus on using only fresh ingredients, that are hand-made, and sometimes even created as you watch. While I am a HUGE Mythos fan (aren’t we all though…Universal butter, bread that you can’t stop eating, and delicious dishes), I always find myself wanting more of a fresh feel to my meal. So beyond beautiful decor, I am excited to find these kinds of foods offered in a Theme Park Area.

Universal Orlando CityWalk

6. Shopping!

I will admit that the shop-a-holic in me really wished there was more on this front, I am excited to see what the new Universal Studios Store will offer! The design will also boast more interactivity and fresh design elements. It is a great place to catch those souvenirs that you said you would go back to pick up that you might have forgotten.

With all these locations opening as the first phase of a Universal Orlando CityWalk revitalization by June of 2014, it makes me really excited to see what phase 2 is going to bring besides me spending more time there!

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Universal Orlando CityWalk Announcements For 2014

Universal Orlando Resort Unveils Expansion

Plans for its

Universal Orlando CityWalk Entertainment Complex

Universal Orlando CityWalk

Historic Expansion Kicks off an Epic Year for Universal Orlando Resort

This is the Press Release about the Universal Orlando CityWalk Expansion, you can find more of an opinion piece on the expansion here!

Universal Orlando’s CityWalk will undergo a historic expansion during 2014 – all part of an epic year for Universal that will include the opening of the destination’s largest hotel, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley.

Universal Orlando announced Thursday that it will open eight new venues across CityWalk throughout 2014 as part of a bold growth strategy designed to complement the entertainment complex’s already popular collection of national brands.

The expansion comes after a nationwide search for culinary concepts that include a mix of established national brands, up-and-coming concepts and Universal’s own creations. The new venues will share an overall theme that includes inviting common areas, al fresco dining, open kitchens and more.

“We want Universal CityWalk to grow along with the rest of our destination,” said Ric Florell, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Resort Revenue Operations at Universal Orlando. “We are bringing our guests an amazing new collection of experiences that will be world-class and offer something for everyone.”

The new venues include Hot Dog Hall of Fame, featuring iconic hot dog creations from some of our nation’s most famous ball parks. Universal partnered with Steven Schussler, the global culinary concept creator behind popular restaurants like Rain Forest Cafe, Backfire Barbecue and more, to bring his Hot Dog Hall of Fame concept to CityWalk. They also include CowFish, an innovative and trend-setting concept out of Charlotte, North Carolina with a signature dish called “Burgushi;” and popular frozen treat spots Cold Stone Creamery and Menchie’s.

Original concepts include Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food, a unique tapas-style restaurant, Bread Box, a home-style sandwich shop; A new modern Italian kitchen concept, where guests can watch as the culinary team handcrafts their pasta from scratch; and Red Oven Pizza Bakery Universal’s first-ever Neopolitan-style pizza bakery, which is now open.

A full list of new venues and descriptions can be found below. Exact opening dates will be released at a later time.

Since its opening in 1999, Universal CityWalk has served as the “entertainment capital of Orlando,” quickly becoming the hottest place in town among locals and visitors to grab a bite to eat, catch a movie, dance the night away and more. The two-tiered, 30-acre complex features a collection of nightclubs, restaurants and shops themed after some of the most recognizable names in entertainment, including Bob Marley – A Tribute to Freedom, Emeril’s Restaurant Orlando, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville and Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. Universal CityWalk is also home to Rising Star – an energetic karaoke club where guests can perform with a live band and backup singers, the 36-hole mini-golf course, Hollywood Drive-In Golf, and the indescribable, nationally-renowned live show, Blue Man Group.

For more information about Universal CityWalk, visit: https://www.universalorlando.com.

New Universal CityWalk Venues

Opening Throughout 2014

NOW OPEN – Red Oven Pizza Bakery: Take a quick trip to Italy for authentic, artisan pizza–made fresh, while you wait–at Universal CityWalk’s first-ever Neopolitan-style pizza bakery. The combination of the highest quality ingredients and a traditional 900-degree stone-lined oven ensures every slice is pizza perfection.

Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food: Take a journey through the cantinas, street carts, and markets of Mexico for unique tapas-style dining at Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food. Only the freshest ingredients are used to create craveable, made from scratch Mexican street fare in an environment of unmatched authenticity.

Hot Dog Hall of Fame: Strike out your hunger at Hot Dog Hall of Fame with some of the most iconic hot dog creations from our nation’s most famous ballparks. Take a seat in the bleachers and enjoy a loaded Chicago dog with all the toppings, a perfectly charred Boston brat, a monster LA dog and more.

The Cowfish: Innovative sushi joins forces with creative burgers for an untraditional dining experience at this reincarnation of the popular North Carolina hotspot. The result: “Burgushi”. A cutting-edge fusion of burger and sushi, burgushi items include sushi rolls created using burger components and sandwiches created using sushi elements.

A new modern Italian kitchen concept (Pranzo): Immerse yourself in the essence of modern Italian cuisine at this new restaurant created by Universal Orlando. Watch as the culinary team handcrafts your pasta from scratch to create fresh takes on classic dishes in a clean, contemporary dining atmosphere.

Cold Stone Creamery: For more than 25 years, Cold Stone Creamery has served up the finest, freshest ice cream, cakes, smoothies and shakes using only the highest quality ingredients and their signature process of preparing your custom ice cream creation on a frozen granite stone.

Bread Box: With a Bread Box sandwich, you’ll be transported back to your childhood kitchen or your favorite street corner deli. Here you’ll find that the combination of quality meats and vegetables, fresh bread, and simple preparation can transform a sandwich into something more.

Menchie’s: One of the world’s most popular frozen yogurt shops is coming to Universal CityWalk. The dream was to create a place where people from all walks of life and ages could enjoy themselves—not only with great tasting, quality frozen yogurt and an expansive self-serve toppings bar, but with a unique experience in a fun and happy environment that makes you smile.

Universal Orlando Logo Universal Halloween Horror Nights

About Universal Orlando Resort

Vacation like you mean it at Universal Orlando Resort – where every heart pounding, jaw-dropping, goose-bumping second counts. With two incredible theme parks, Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, three magnificently themed on-site hotels and a nighttime entertainment complex, Universal Orlando is the only place where you can turn spending time with your family into spending time as a family. Together, you can soar above Hogwarts with Harry Potter, swing above the streets with Spider-Man, become a Minion in the hilarious and heartwarming Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride, and join Optimus Prime in the fight to save mankind on the new mega-attraction, TRANSFORMERS: The Ride – 3D.

Universal Orlando Resort is part of NBCUniversal, a Comcast company. Follow Universal Orlando Resort on Facebook, Twitter, Instagramand YouTube.

 

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