Written by David Indy Graham
For most people the main focus of a trip to Universal or even Disney is the parks, but have you ever taken the time to see what they have to offer that doesn't require you spending a lot of money for the day? We'll take just a quick look at a few different options at Universal Orlando that you might not have realized they have to offer outside the park gates.
Let's start with Citywalk since anyone who has been to Universal knows that to get into the two dry parks you have to go through it. Did you know there are 21 places to eat there? You can get anything from a quick service meal from the Burger King Whopper Bar and Moe's, all the way to full table service meals at places like Vivo's Italiana Kitchen and Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen. Be advised when going to eat at any of the full service restaurants, don't wait till the parks are closing or you will find yourself waiting about an hour MINIMUM for a table even if it's only for one of those over-the-top milkshakes at Toothsome.
If you're not really hungry, then Citywalk offers 9 different entertainment options that might interest you. Besides the club offerings or even looking in the various shops, you can take in a movie at the recently updated Cinemark theaters, or how about a round of mini golf to end the night? And we can't talk about Citywalk entertainment without talking about the upbeat Blue Man Group show there. If you haven't seen this show then I highly recommend checking it out. It's the perfect date night or just a night out with the family.
So now that we've looked at Citywalk let's focus on the resorts there. We are going to skip over the Endless Summer Resorts for this but they are well themed as I've seen Surfide in person and mockups for Dockside when I worked there. Universal has done an amazing job theming each of the hotels, giving each one their own personality; but did you know that besides some amazing food at the restaurants that they offer special entertainment throughout the year? The Hard Rock Hotel (besides home to the world famous Palm Restaurant) offers live performances from legendary artists and bands for 10 months out of the year-Velvet Sessions- on the last Thursday of the month.
Looking for something a little different? How about checking out Harbor Nights at Loew's Portofino Bay Hotel. This is truly perfect for that special date night that only happens about 4 times a year. This dazzling event is held in the Harbor Piazza under twinkling lights offering select wines and unlimited gourmet food samples from the hotel's restaurants.
Looking for something for the family instead, then you can look into Character meals at the hotels or maybe a visit to the Loew's Royal Pacific Resort for the weekly Wantilan Luau with an all-you-can-eat tropical buffet. Those are just a few options but I can't go without talking about my favorite (and I will be doing a blog solely about it later) Bar 17 Bistro at Universal's Aventura Hotel. Located on the roof of this hotel, enjoy amazing views as well as the urban international flavors of the food offerings and custom cocktails.
So these are just a few options to enjoy and I barely covered what the resorts have to offer. Even as someone who worked at Universal for the past 5 years (until December 2019) I've yet to still do everything there is to offer. I suggest checking out www.universalorlando.com and under Things-To-Do and Events just look at what the hotels have to offer-especially around holidays as additional offerings can be added. Let us know in the comments: did we cover something that you can't wait to try or did I not list something you feel is a can't miss. Till next time thank you for being a part of Universal Disney Nutz!