Springfield at Universal Studios

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An In-Depth Look at Springfield: Home of the Simpsons at Universal Studios Florida

Being the longest-running animated television series in history means that The Simpsons has generations of fans. So it’s only natural that families can head to Universal Studios Florida and enjoy Springfield: Home of the Simpsons! This is a slice of Simpsons fun sure to please everyone, from Maggie to Homer! Let’s take a closer look into Springfield!

Springfield
Jebediah Obediah Zachariah Jedediah Springfield, who killed a bear with his bare hands – or not

Springfield: Rides

Springfield: Kang & Kodos Twirl & Hurl

There are 2 attractions in Springfield. I think a general rule of building an amusement park is to have some form of the Dumbo ride, so let me introduce: Kang & Kodos Twirl & Hurl. This version of the classic aerial coaster sees humans “captured” by the titular aliens. They are then forced to “attack” other Earthlings by using the flight path of their flying saucer to pass by and activate targets bearing the faces of different citizens of Springfield. Riders control how low or high they want to fly.

Springfield Simpsons the Ride

As with most rides built these days, the Simpsons Ride is a motion simulator full of screens, but still a ton of fun. Join the Simpsons as they go on a theme-park adventure to Krustyland! Sideshow Bob then shows up, bent on revenge against Bart Simpson and the rest of the family.

Springfield
Sideshow Bob is Still Hunting Bart!

Take off on an through Krustyland and the rest of Springfield to escape Sideshow Bob. This is a must-do experience for fans of the show, featuring all the familiar sights and sounds, more than 24 of the regular characters, and that classic theme song.

Entertainment

Give Homer a hug! Character meet-and-greets take place, where you can meet the family, Krusty the Clown, and Sideshow Bob! You can also make your way to Midway Games and play traditional carnival-style games to win Simpsons-themed prizes.

Shopping

Springfield Milhouse outside the Kwik-E-Mart

The main gift shop is, naturally, the Kwik-E-Mart. You can find all kinds of crazy Simpsons souvenirs here, and take your photo on the bench with none other than Milhouse!

You can also head to the Duff Kiosk, where you can grab a huge number of Duff Beer souvenirs!

Food and Beverage

And speaking of Duff Beer…head to Duff Brewery, an outdoor bar serving Duff Beer, the famed Squishee of the Kwik-E-Mart, and more. The TVs, of course, show continuous loops of the Simpsons.

Springfield Moe's Tavern

Do you wish you could grab a Duff Beer at Moe’s? Well, dreams do come true. Grab a Duff Beer (if you’re at least 21, of course), or a Flaming Moe, a non-alcoholic orange soda, made with dry ice for the flaming effect.

Springfield Lard Lad Donuts

The biggest, pinkest donuts you’ve ever had? They have those! Just head to Lard Lad’s!

Or you can head to one of six restaurants that make up Fast Food Boulevard: Lisa’s Treehouse of Horror; Luigi’s Pizza; the Frying Dutchman; Cletus’s Chicken Shack; Krusty Burger; or Flaming Moe’s.

Ready to head to Springfield (and Harry Potter, and Jurassic Park, and all the other awesome stuff at Universal Studios)? Contact me today!

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Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

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Read Time:4 Minute, 24 Second

Check out Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Studios Orlando!

Universal Studios Orlando - Loews Portofino Bay Hotel
Universal Studios Globe

You may not realize this, but Universal Studios Orlando actually has 8 on-site hotels. There are 4 levels to choose from: Value, Prime Value, Preferred, and Premier. Loews Portofino Bay Hotel is one of three Premier Hotels. These hotels are available to book as part of vacation packages with Universal Studios. And, of course, staying on-site does come with some perks! First of all, there are several vacation package types that offer discounts for bundling tickets and resorts, so there’s perk number one.

Guests of Universal Studios Orlando resorts also have free transportation to the theme parks and City Walk. There are boats, buses, and walking trails, depending on where you stay. Guests are also afforded Early Entry to the Wizarding World or Harry Potter an Volcano Bay. Get into Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley before the crowds? YES, PLEASE!

For guests of Premier-level resorts, though, the perks get even better! All guests of Premier Resorts get FREE Express Pass Unlimited as part of their vacation package. That is a value of around (the median) $129 per person PER DAY. Premier Level also gets you priority seating at select restaurants. Can’t get a reservation? No problem, get on the top of the waitlist! In addition, your room key card will have charging privileges (much like your magic band at the other theme park) throughout the resort, and have your packages sent back to your room!

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel Room Types

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel - Standard Room with King

Loews Portofino Bay is located next to Universal Studios Florida and has 750 rooms.

STANDARD ROOMS

Standard rooms are between 450-490 square feet. Each room has either a King Size bed or two Queen Size beds. Room capacity is 3-5 people, depending on room size and rollaway bed rental. These rooms are available in Garden View, Bay View, and Deluxe options. Basically, this would be a basic hotel room. Beds, bathroom, tv…good for sleeping.

CLUB LEVEL ROOMS
Loews Portofino Bay Hotel - Portofino Bay Club Lounge

For an upscale, yet still affordable, twist on the standard room, go for Club Level! Club Level Rooms are Standard Rooms or Suites. All Club Level Rooms come with access to the Portofino Club Lounge, open from 7:00am-10:00pm. In addition to nightly turndown service and personal concierge, the Lounge provides complimentary bites and beverages throughout the day.

PORTOFINO CLUB LOUNGE
  • 7:00am-10:30pm: Continental Breakfast
  • 12:00pm-3:30pm: Afternoon Break
  • 5:00pm-7:00pm: Hot & Cold Hors D’Oeuvres, including Complimentary Beer & Wine
  • 8:00pm-9:30pm: Something Sweet
SUITES
Loews Portofino Bay Hotel - Despicable Me Kids Suite

Let’s talk about Suites! There are several different types of Suites available, ranging in size from 650 – 2725 square feet. First and foremost, let’s talk about the Despicable Me Kids Suites! These Suites offer a separate kids space, decorated with MINIONS! The space does not open up to the hallway, so kids have no chance for elopement. They can only escape into the main bedroom, where the adults will be peacefully relaxing in THEIR own space! Perfect for families!

1- OR 2-BEDROOM SUITEs
Loews Portofino Bay Hotel - Portofino Suite

The Portofino Suites offer a spacious sitting room as well as a bedroom. Depending on if you get a King or 2 Queen beds, with a rollaway bed, max capacity is 7.

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel
Villa Suite – Kitchen

The 1- or 2-Bedroom Villa Suites offer sitting area, kitchen, dining area, and sleeping areas. This is a great option for families who want to prepare their own meals, or some of their meals, and spread out a bit.

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel
Villa Suite – Sitting Room

The 1- and 2- bedroom Hospitality Suites offer a kitchen, sleeping areas, dining area, and a pull-down Murphy bed in the sitting area.

GOVERNATORE SUITES

Enjoy additional amenities like a whirlpool tub, wet bar with refrigerator and mini kitchen in the Governatore suite.

PRESIDENTE SUITE

The Presidente Suite is the pinnacle of European elegance with large rooms, an expansive outdoor terrace, a fireplace, wet bar, and much more.

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel Dining

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel - Waterfront

As with the other hotels, there is a Starbucks right there at the hotel! Portofino Bay also offers 24-hour Room Service. The Gelateria is open for breakfast, snacks, and beverages throughout the day. Hungry at the pool? Splendido Bar and Grill offers table dining OR poolside dining!

Thirsty Fish is a bar on the waterfront, serving snacks and beverages, and offering live music on select nights. For a family-friendly experience with indoor and outdoor dining, head to Trattoria del Porto, serving breakfast and dinner.

Sal's Market Deli

Get the feel of a neighborhood delicatessen when you head to Sal’s Market Deli. This quick service location serves lunch and dinner.

Fans of fine dining can visit Bice Ristorante for dinner (check the dress code before you go!) or Mama Della’s Ristorante!

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel Activities

There is no shortage of recreational activities at Portofino Bay, either! There are THREE pools, poolside activities, a game room, a spa, shopping, and MORE! You won’t be bored when you’re not in the parks, that’s for sure!

So if you’re ready to take your Universal Studios vacation, let’s talk about it! Contact me today!!

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Butterbeer in the Three Broomsticks?

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Read Time:2 Minute, 5 Second

Everything to Know About the Popular Harry Potter Drink. And Yes, We can Meet for Butterbeer in the Three Broomsticks!

If you’ve read or watched any part of the Harry Potter franchise, you’ve probably heard of Butterbeer. Butterbeer is the fictitious drink enjoyed by the Witches and Wizards throughout the Wizarding World. And if you visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you can grab a butterbeer in the Three Broomsticks, as well as other locations. Here are all the types of Butterbeer for sale and where you can find them!

What is Butterbeer?

Butterbeer in the Three Broomsticks

Butterbeer is described as “less-sickly butterscotch” in the Harry Potter books. It tastes a little bit like a version of cream soda. But it is not actually alcoholic. You can find butterbeer in 6 different forms: cold, hot, frozen, ice cream, potted cream, or fudge.

Where can you find Butterbeer?

Butterbeer in the Three Broomsticks

There are several locations that sell the various iterations of Butterbeer, both in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.

DIAGON ALLEY
THE LEAKY CAULDRON
  • Cold Butterbeer
  • Frozen Butterbeer
  • Hot Butterbeer
  • Butterbeer Ice Cream
  • Butterbeer Potted Cream
THE FOUNTAIN OF FAIR FORTUNE
  • Cold Butterbeer
  • Frozen Butterbeer
  • Butterbeer Ice Cream
FLOREAN FORTESCUE’S ICE-CREAM PARLOR
  • Butterbeer Ice Cream
SUGARPLUM’S SWEET SHOP
  • Butterbeer Fudge
THE HOPPING POT
  • Cold Butterbeer
  • Frozen Butterbeer
  • Hot Butterbeer
  • Butterbeer Ice Cream
Butterbeer in the Three Broomsticks
Diagon Alley

Hogsmeade
THE THREE BROOMSTICKS
  • Cold Butterbeer
  • Frozen Butterbeer
  • Hot Butterbeer
  • Butterbeer Ice Cream
  • Butterbeer Potted Cream
STREET CARTS
  • Cold Butterbeer
  • Frozen Butterbeer
  • Hot Butterbeer
THE HOG’s HEAD PUB
  • Cold Butterbeer
  • Frozen Butterbeer
  • Hot Butterbeer
HONEYDUKES
  • Butterbeer Fudge

How Much Does It Cost?

The prices vary, but as of today, they are as follows:

  • Cold Butterbeer – $7.99
  • Frozen Butterbeer – $7.99
  • Hot Butterbeer – $7.99
  • Butterbeer ice cream – $5.99
  • Butterbeer potted cream – $5.79
  • Butterbeer fudge – $4.95

So WHAT, Exactly, Is This?

Butterbeer in the Three Broomsticks

The ingredients of Butterbeer are top secret (unless you look up the recipe on the internet.) Cold Butterbeer tastes like cream soda mixed with shortbread and butterscotch flavors, and comes topped off with a thick layer of whipped cream. If this is your first Butterbeer, I’d recommend the cold version. I also recommend buying ONE and sharing it, It is an acquired taste and some people have never acquired it!

Your Butterbeer comes served in a regular cup or a souvenir tankard. The other iterations are basically just this in different temperatures! Combine the Cold Butterbeer and the Butterbeer Ice Cream for a do-it-yourself Ice Cream Float! How do you like YOUR Butterbeer?

And don’t forget to exchange your Muggle Money at Gringott’s!!

Contact me today to book your Universal Studios Vacation!

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Gringotts Money Exchange

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Read Time:2 Minute, 8 Second

How to Make Use of Your Muggle Money in Universal Studios Using the Gringotts Money Exchange

Gringotts Money Exchange
Exchange Your Muggle Money!!

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a truly immersive world that lets Wizards and Witches live out their dreams. There are so many unique experiences to explore, including the Gringotts Money Exchange! Money that you can actually use IN THE WIZARD WORLD! (DISCLAIMER: Yes, they will take your Muggle Money, but this is WAY more fun, right?)

Gringotts Money Exchange

Gringotts Money Exchange - store front

First things first, you need to head to Gringotts, which is located in Diagon Alley. Diagon Alley is located in the back of Universal Studios Florida. (Hogwarts and Hogsmeade are located in Islands of Adventure.)

Now, you might think that you head toward the giant, fire-breathing dragon to find the Exchange, but no. That’s the home of the ride “Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.” Instead, as you head towards Gringotts, you turn right down another alley. This is where you will find the Gringotts Money Exchange. Look out for it, because it’s easy to miss. WHen you see a window with scales and gold bars, you’ve arrived!

Diagon Alley

Greet the Goblins!

Gringotts Money Exchange - Goblins

You will encounter a Goblin (real? Animatronic? Who can really tell?!). Ask him a question, any question, and see what he has to say!!

PROTIP: Speak LOUD and CLEAR or the Goblin may not hear you!

You will then step up to a teller and exchange your Muggle Money in denominations of $10 and $20.

Gringotts Goblin
Goblins!

How to Use the Gringotts Bank Notes

Gringotts Bank Notes

So you exchanged your currency, now what? You can use these bank notes for purchases within Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, and at select locations around Universal Studios Resort. This is a great way to give the kids spending money so they can get their wands at Ollivanders, or their chocolate frogs, even their own Butterbeer!

If you don’t use it all, you can simply exchange it back to Muggle Money by visiting Guest Services at either Universal Studios Florida or Islands of Adventure. You could also just keep it as a unique souvenir! Great for scrapbooks or for kids to take for Show & Tell! Or you could also just keep it for your next visit to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

Need tips on visiting Harry Potter World in one day? Are you ready to book your EPIC ADVENTURE to Universal Studios Orlando? Contact me today for your free vacation quote!!!

What Hogwarts House would YOU be sorted into?

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Wizarding World of Harry Potter

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Read Time:3 Minute, 32 Second

How to See All of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in One Day

I get asked a lot about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and today, we’re going to answer one of the most popular questions there is: “Can I do Harry Potter World in one day?” The short and to the point answer is: YES. If you do not wish to do anything else at Universal Studios, and only wish to see Hogwarts, Hogsmeade, and ride the Hogwarts Express, it is, indeed, possible to do it all in one day.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Where to Start?

Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley

First, you will need the right ticket. In order to see ALL of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you will need a 1-Day, 2-Park Park-to-Park ticket. This will allow you to enter both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida in the same day, and give you access to the Hogwarts Express. Diagon Alley, including Gringotts Bank, Carkitt Market, Knockturn Alley, and more, is located inside of Universal Studios Florida. Hogwarts and Hogsmeade, though, are located inside Islands of Adventure.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade

Which Park do I start in?

My suggestion for making the most of ONE day: start in Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure, take the train to Diagon Alley mid-day, then take the train back to Hogsmeade and finish your night in Islands of Adventure. By starting in Hogsmeade early, you’ll have shorter wait times for Hagrid’s, doubly important now that it is no longer included in early admission. Take in Hogwarts! Walk inside the castle and see the magic come to life, just like in the books and your imagination (the books are always better, come on!). Now you’re in the castle, take on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey! Then, you can head to the Flight of the Hippogriff, and don’t forget to look out for Buckbeak.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Take in some lunch at Three Broomsticks. Three Broomsticks serves traditional English food and, of course, Butterbeer. It is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Once you’re as full as Ron Weasley, and you’re ready to set off on more journeys, you’ll be all set to take the Hogwarts Express to King’s Cross Station.

Head to Diagon Alley Midday on the Hogwarts Express!

Platform 9 3/4

Pass through Platform 9 3/4 to Diagon Alley! You do actually get to pass through a “solid” brick wall! Now you’re in Diagon Alley (not to be confused with diagonally), and you will see everything you need for school at Hogwarts!

Once you stop by Gringotts, ask the Goblins some questions. You can even exchange muggle currency here for Galleons! Then it’s time for Harry Potter and Escape from Gringotts! Once you’ve escaped, head to Ollivander’s and have a wand choose you (PRO TIP: make sure the interactive wands choose you, and you can interact with magical items all over Diagon Alley!), before heading to Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions. You’ll want to look your best for class, after all!

Gringott's Bank - Diagon Alley

Hungry again? How about heading to the Leaky Cauldron for some dinner? This quick service dining restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and serves traditional English fare, like bangers and mash and fish and chips.

Now it’s time to relax in Carkitt Market, where you can take in Celestina Warbeck, Molly Weasley’s favorite singer, of course, and the Banshees! Grab some treats in SugarPlum’s Sweet Shop, too!

But wait, there’s MORE! Stop by Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour, or explore the Dark Arts in Knockturn Alley. Shop at Borgin and Burke’s for those Dark Arts Artifacts you know you secretly love. Talk to the Knight Bus Conductor! There’s so much to see and do!

Finish the Night at Hogwarts

Now, run on back through that brick wall on Platform 9 3/4 and head back to Hogsmeade to wrap up your night! Stop by the Hog’s Head Pub for Butterbeer, pumpkin juice, and gillywater; Honeydukes for chocolate frogs, every-flavor beans, and exploding bonbons; then get ready to take in the nighttime lights at Hogwarts Castle. Do you know your House?

And that, friends, is how to do the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in just one day! Ready to book your trip? Contact me today!!

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