Hola! Well isn’t this weather nice? I was actually in Athens this weekend, working for Cruise International, and the weather here in the UK was actually hotter when I landed. Crazy. Anyhoo, I’ve been storing up all the news from Universal Orlando Resort for a while now, so whether you’re interested in breathtaking new rides (in which case, may I direct you to my Fast & Furious – Supercharged post here), beautiful new accommodation options or big fat gorgeous doughnuts, you’ve come to the right place. Grab a cuppa and settle down to read my exciting roundup of everything new at Universal Orlando Resort, Florida.
I was lucky enough to be in Orlando recently for the Saturday Night Takeaway live show with the lovely chaps from Virgin Holidays. While we were there, we met with Thomas Kelly, Manager of Talent Development at Universal Orlando who, along with Research and Development Chef Haim Asher gave us a tour of the fabulous new Voodoo Doughnut store at Universal’s CityWalk.
If you’ve not heard of Voodoo Doughnut (if not, you really should follow them on Instagram), the brand originated in Portland, Oregon, where the owners, Tres Shannon and Kenneth ‘Cat Dadd’ Pogson opened their first store in 2003. To say the store is hugely popular is an understatement, and when it first opened there were hour-long queues to get in (even when we visited, there was a sizeable line). Like my favourite Toothsome Chocolate Emporium, the quirky brand is a perfect fit for Universal (it is, as Kelly says, ‘delightfully weird’) with premium doughnuts in crazy flavour combinations (apparently Brad Pitt loves is a big fan of the bacon maple) served in the brightest, pinkest, maddest store you’ve ever experienced.
Inside you’ll find tons of art, including stained glass windows depicting the owners, fascinating murals created using masking tape, tons of great merch and, of course, 53 different kinds of doughnut made in house daily from scratch. Each doughnut has a story, like the Memphis Mafia, a delicious peanut butter fritter themed after Elvis. Oh and don’t leave without getting a picture on the throne of doughnuts outside the store!
Universal’s Aventura Hotel
In other news from Universal Orlando, I told you a while back about the brand new, sleek and modern Aventura Hotel, coming this summer (you can already book to stay there). Universal have recently released some fab mood boards from the hotel’s interior, and I’m hugely excited about the design. The elegant, open lobby features a sleek, polished concrete floor, where you can walk straight through to a Starbucks, a food hall and the slick, white lobby bar all in one warm, welcoming area.
In the gorgeous new bedrooms you’ll find warm, wooden floors, with chic white and black colour schemes accentuated with pumpkin, aubergine and sky blue. The bathrooms will have a spa-like feel, with lots of clean lines, white and glass.
And right at the top, there’s the fabulous new open air rooftop Bar 17 Bistro , featuring elegant, natural materials like wood and stone, and pops of bright greens in the seating. With fabulous views across Orlando and, of course, Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Theme Park, it’s bound to be Instagram heaven, too.
Universal’s Endless Summer Resort
And finally, Universal have recently released the names of their two new affordable hotel options: Surfside Inn and Suites (opening summer 2019), and Dockside Inn and Suites (open in 2020). This resort is Universal’s first foray into the value hotel category (the hotels will offer rates as low as $73 per night). The resort will have a chilled out, beachy vibe, and be perfect for families, with more than half of the rooms across both hotels being two bedroom suites featuring separate bedrooms, a kitchenette and dining area, plus a bathroom with a separate shower and vanity area (so handy when there are lots of people all trying to get ready at the same time. The suites will start at just $111 a night. Close Up: the official blog of Universal Orlando have released some artist’s impressions:
Looks good, right? As usual, if you’re considering a Universal holiday, or have any questions at all, hit me up in the comments or via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram 🙂