Orlando Part 1/4: Seusses, Superheroes, Spells, and Shopping.


One word could describe my recent Orlando trip to Universal Studios Florida and Walt Disney World.

Fantasticallyawesomesuperepic funtimes.

It was nothing short of a GREAT time filled with hot sunny weather, fun rides and attractions for all the senses, and it goes without saying, fun treats.  Of course, getting to do all of this with your best gal pal doesn’t hurt either.

Apart from all the great rides, attractions, and shows, another great thing that these parks offer are fantastically fun treats and snacks to tantalize the taste buds and widen the waistlines, that you’d be a total fool to not dive into them.  I was fortunate enough to not only try a number of these treats, but to also give my eyes a feast at the multitude of sweet creations they make (and will note to try for my next trip there).

So let’s get on with it!  To avoid creating (overly) long posts, I’ll be breaking up the foray of treats I feasted my taste buds and eyes on into several posts over the next few weeks.

Today: Universal Studios.

Hogwarts!!!

We kicked off our vacation by spending two days at Universal – one day for the Islands of Adventure and another for the Universal Studios park.

Me and my gal pal being die hard Pottheads ran straight for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and rode the Forbidden Journey twice in a row.  It was the ride we had be waiting for and it definitely didn’t disappoint, it was definitely much scarier than I had expected, but it was great!

Treat #1: BUTTERBEER!

After our long run from the front of the park to the ride and two rounds on the ride itself, we felt it was good time to break and get a cool drink of Butterbeer, a drink we had been anticipating for.  They sold two kinds: the original soda version for $3.75 (pictured above), and the slushy version for $1 more.  We bought one of each to share.

The Butterbeer vendor.

The taste?  Well the beverage part basically tasted like a cross between root beer and cream soda.  After they filled the cup with the soda, they dispensed a foam topping on top which tastes in itself taste sweet and buttery.  Drink them together and you get what one would expect butterbeer to taste like.  I really liked it and ordered it again on the second day at Universal.  I preferred the regular soda version, but my gal pal preferred the slushy version because she felt it didn’t taste as sweet.

Treat #2: Giant Choco Cupcake

By noon, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter had gotten pretty crowded, so we decided to check out the rest of the Islands of Adventure and rides, and return to the WWoHP in the evening when we anticipated it to be less crowded.

The whimsical style in Seuss Landing.
Marvel Superhero Island

We checked out the attractions and the rides in Toon Lagoon, Marvel Superhero Island, then Seuss Landing, where breaked for a giant double chocolate cupcake that looked too good to pass up.  It was hard to make a decision though, with the spread they had going on.

And check out these cool rice krispy Thing 1 and Thing 2 treats!!!

Treat #3: Nightly milk and cookies

My gal pal and I stayed at the Hampton Inn and we gave it two big thumbs wayy up!  They had some nice amenities and touches that we really liked.  Apart from their awesome hot free breakfast buffet, they also had a giant plate of super chewy cookies and pitchers of cold milk available at the front desk free for guests to take on their way up to their hotel room after coming in from a day out.  It was such a simple concept, but it was a nightly treat me and my gal pal really looked forward to each night when returning to the hotel.  I always opted for chocolate chip.  Good job, Hampton!

Treat #4: Cauldron Cakes!

Ready to bust into the box!

On our second day at Universal Studios, my gal pal and I decided to end our Universal Studios stay at the WWoHP (surprised?)  We had dinner at Three Broomsticks for a meal of cornish pasties with salad, but beforehand I made a stop at Honeydukes for a dessert!  I decided to go for the cauldron cake since it was a treat talked about in the Potter books.

It was a chocolate cake cauldron “filled” with a chocolate mousse and chocolate handle.  The base of the cauldron also had a coat of chocolate and some extra dabs of chocolate to get the cauldrons to “stand up” on their own.  It was delish, and right up my chocolate alley!

Treat #5: Pumpkin Juice

I don’t like pumpkin things; don’t like pumpkin pie, or anything pumpkin related.  However because it was also mentioned in the Potter books, I of course needed to buy myself a bottle of pumpkin juice.  I had purchased it and brought it back to the hotel because I was too full, so I drank it the following day since we had a fridge in our hotel.

The taste: it wasn’t’ pumpkin-y at all, and the best way I could describe it was that it’s like a cold apple cider, with hints of the cinnamon and spices used.  The top ingredient was apple puree, followed by pumpkin puree and apricot puree.  It tasted better than I would ever expect it to taste, but at $7  a bottle, and it tasting too reminiscent of apple juices and ciders that we can buy for much cheaper elsewhere, I’m not sure that I would buy it again.  However I’m glad to say that I was able to at least have it once, and brought home the bottle as a keepsake too 🙂

Treat #6: Honkeydukes

The masterminds behind the WWoHP did a great job at making the book come to life, and I loved the whimsy that Honeydukes had with their wide assortment of treats, ranging from peppermint frogs, candy floss, to every flavor beans.

I took home a bit of Honeydukes with me, specifically a chocolate frog and some Honkeydukes dark chocolate bars.  I’m such a sucker for marketing ploys, but look how fun they are!!

My chocolate frog contained a Godric Griffindor card!

Treat #7: Pinkberry

My gal pal and I love frozen yogurt, so when we hit the Premium Outlets on the third day for some shopping and leisure, we stopped inside Pinkberry for a frozen treat.  The one thing I love about Pinkberry is that for one price you can pick as many different toppings as you want, unlike the frozen yogurt places here that limit you to two toppings and charge you for any additional topping you want.  Pinkberry’s mantra is that they can give you lots of one topping, or a smaller amount of a variety of toppings, but it makes no difference to them, which is fine by me!

After sampling a few different flavors, I decided to go with the peanut butter frozen yogurt.  I’ve never had peanut butter frozen yogurt, and this one tasted quite literally, like cold creamy peanut butter.  Taking full advantage of the ability to add a multitude of toppings, I decided to turn my froyo cup into two “styles” of froyo.

On one side of the cup, I had them add strawberry jam and graham crackers, essentially creating the froyo version of a PB&J sandwich.  So awesome!

Then, on the other side, I had them put in brownie pieces and little chocolate pearls, to take care of my chocolate fix and that PB and chocolate combo that I love.  Also awesome!

Treat #8: Tiramisu

It was about 9 pm when my gal pal and I decided to throw in the towel (or more appropriately, our checkbooks) and call it a day at the outlets.  Becuase it was so late, we figured it would be just easier to grab a late dinner at a restaurant within the outlet complex, rather than search for one elsewhere.  We headed to an italian restaurant called Vinito for a great dinner of seared scallops on a bed of spinach.

We ended our sweet day by ordering tiramisu for dessert, and man, it was great.  See for yourself.

Well there you have it.  Souvenirs were bought, rides were screamed on, and thrills were had.  The trip was off to a great start, and so were our appetites, especially considering it had only been three days into the trip.

Next stop, Disney World, and trust me, it only gets better.

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