Inside the Magic of CityWalk at Universal Orlando Resort

in Accessories, Apparel, Collectibles, Entertainment, Food, Lifestyle, Merchandise, Music, Theme Park Merch, Theme Parks, Travel, Universal CityWalk, Universal Orlando

Universal Orlando’s CityWalk arrived six years after its West Coast counterpart (1999), requiring a new parking garage as the portions of the existing Universal Studios Florida lot’s space was needed for the new venue.

Including nighttime entertainment, restaurants, and a few shopping spots, CityWalk became the pass-through connector from the parking garage to Universal Orlando’s two theme parks: Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure. A waterside theater provided audiences the opportunity to enjoy tapings of television shows.

Entertainment, by way of a movie theater, miniature golf course, and nightclubs, dining and shopping provide additional experiences for guests visiting Universal Orlando Resort (which is home to three theme parks, several hotels, and CityWalk).

ENGAGING ENTERTAINMENT

Live shows, dancing, and mini golf give guests a trio of exciting opportunities for additional fun before, after or even in place of visiting the two nearby theme parks.

Blue Man Group is located near the entrance to Universal Studios Florida. Zany performances take place in the former home of Nickelodeon studios (now known as the Sharp AQUOS Theater). Show prices range from $60/adults and $30/children (Florida residents save $6 on adult tickets and $1 on children’s admission) to $199/adults – $149/children for VIP experience (which includes preferred seating, behind the scenes tour, popcorn and soda, and a meet and greet with the group). Various combo packages from dinner and show at CityWalk to Park-to-Park options are also available.

“Blue Man Group is comedy, theater, rock concert and dance party all rolled into one. This wildly popular phenomenon delivers an unforgettable multi-sensory experience. It’s an outrageous evening of entertainment you’ll never forget. Don’t miss the show that has captivated 35 million people worldwide. Blue Man Group: enemy of monotony, remedy for boredom, promoter of overjoy and elation.” -Universal Orlando Resort website.

Hard Rock Live has room for 3,000 fans to enjoy live comedy and top name bands from across every musical genre. Concerts and performances require a separate ticket. Hard Rock Live’s website keeps a full list of upcoming performances and ticket prices.

AMC Universal Cineplex 20 with IMAX shows first-run movies and special engagements (including shadow cast “Rocky Horror Picture Show” performances). An IMAX auditorium offers a venue for the larger format films.

Hollywood Drive-in Golf can be seen from the walkway between Universal Orlando Resort’s massive parking garages and CityWalk. 1950s horror and sci-fi films form the inspiration for the two fiendishly fun courses. Play either the horror or science fiction challenge or enjoy a “double feature” by playing all 36 holes.

A large looming haunted house forms the centerpiece “The Haunting of Ghostly Greens.” Creepy cool features include topiary tributes to horror classics and a horde of paranormal, purple ghosts running amuck around the course.

“Invaders from Planet Putt” put players in the middle of giant robot lead alien arrival. Puns and eerie other-worldly wonders culminate with a face to club encounter with a multi-eyed giant green slug-like monster.

Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville mixes live music (Jimmy Buffet songs, rock and island hits) in between regular eruptions of the restaurant’s “live” volcano.

Five Fantastic nightclubs keep the fun going long after the parks close. Most have a cover charge, but CityWalk also offers an annual pass which can save on frequent visits or club hopping.

  • Bob Marley – A Tribute to Freedom – a tribute to the “King of Reggae,” this recreation of the music icon’s Jamaican home features live music and authentic regional cuisine.
  • CityWalk’s Rising Star – Under the direction of the evening’s emcee, back up dancers and a live band provide the music (Tuesday through Saturday) for the ultimate karaoke adventure. On Sunday and Monday, recorded tracks provide the music.
  • the Groove – video screens, high energy dance music, and spectacular effects keep the multi-levels of this dance destination hopping all night.
  • Pat O’Brien’s – Enjoy a bit of New Orleans in Orlando while singing along with the dueling piano performances.
  • Red Coconut Club – two levels of dancing in a Cuban/tiki themed venue.

DELICIOUS DINING:

Grabbing grub at any of CityWalk’s 25 food spots can be as simple as walk-up counter service or as elegant as a relaxed full service sit down meal. Of course, there’s also a treasure trove of treats to tempt to the taste buds too!

Tempting treats

Quick snacks, sweet or savory, easily obtainable on the way in or out of the theme park. These delicious delights also make a great after-meal dessert or pre-movie munchie. Cinnabon, Cold Stone Creamery, Fat Tuesday, Menchie’s frozen yogurt, Starbuck’s, and Voodoo Doughnut all offer a quick bite to calm a rumbling tummy.

Quick Service Cuisine

For a fast meal with easy ordering, any of these five famish fixing counter service selections make dine and dash an easy accomplishment. These include Bread Box Handcrafted Sandwiches, Burger King Whopper Bar, Fusion Bistro Sushi & Sake Bar, Hot Dog Hall of Fame, Panda Express, and Moe’s Southwest Grill. Burger King, Panda Express and Moe’s share a common, food court style dining area.

Full-service feasting

A collection of twelve tempting casual dining options round out the festival of food found at CityWalk, Orlando. Relaxed restaurants like Hard Rock Café and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. offer traditional American cuisine, while Bob Marley – A Tribute to Freedom and Antojitos offer world flavors. Many of the restaurants accept reservations which can be made online or by calling 407-224-2690.

Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food – from fresh tableside crafted guacamole to authentic Mexican dishes, dining at Antojitos is a feast for the eyes and pleasure to the palate. Live Mariachi music can be enjoyed on select nights.

Bob Marley – A Tribute to Freedom – Oxtail stew, Sun is Shining Chicken, jerk wings, and yucca fries are just a few of the Jamaican delights offered.

Bubba Gump Shimp Co. Restaurant and Market – Southern-style specialties like baby back ribs and fresh fish give this “Forrest Gump” themed restaurant its charm.

Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar – Home of the Burushi (sushi/burger hybrid), Cowfish lets you design digital fish (which appear on the restaurant’s large aquarium screens) after you’ve designed your own burger or selected sushi. For those who want to try it all, a bento box is available.

Hard Rock Café – Enjoy burgers, sandwiches, and desserts in the world’s largest Hard Rock Café. Music memorabilia fills the walls. True rock fans can enjoy a VIP tour.

Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville – iconic “Cheeseburger in Paradise” is at home among other favorites like “Drunken” Skillet, and grilled fish tacos. Leave room for dessert delights like key lime pie or the Chocolate Hurricane. Along with the usual beverages, frozen drinks and 10 different varieties of margaritas can be enjoyed.

Lone Palm Airport – This outdoor waterside bar is located across from Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville. Munchies and margaritas are served in the shadow of Buffet’s “Hemisphere Dancer” seaplane.

NBC Sports Grill & Brew – While big screen televisions bring the latest sporting event, meals like Asian Grilled Shrimp Salad, Loaded Chili Nachos along with coconut cake or strawberry cheesecake desserts satisfy strong appetites.

Pat O’Brien’s -Big Easy enticements like crawfish Etouffee, N’awlins Po’Boy, and Louisiana Blackened Redfish add to the New Orleans ambiance. Beignets and beads round out the Bourbon Street experience.

Red Oven Pizza Bakery – a giant stone-lined oven is kept piping hot (900 degrees) affording hand tossed pizza perfection a mere minute and a half bake time. Beer and wine are on hand to complement these buffalo mozzarella cheese topped treasures.

Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen – Steampunk themed and chocolate powered, this fun food factory feeds the fiendish sweet tooth with over the top milkshakes and desserts. A full lunch and dinner menu includes steak, seafood, and sandwiches. Brunch favorites like quiche or crepes are available all day. Be sure to check out the adjacent gourmet chocolate and candy shop.

VIVO Italian Kitchen – freshly made bread, mozzarella, and pasta are only part of the open Expo kitchen’s claim to culinary fame. Decadent desserts make a fantastic finish to pizzas and pasta powered dishes.

SUPERB SHOPPING

In addition to the several merchandise carts that line the path to theme park entrance gates, CityWalk is home to a handful of retail and service shops.

Hart & Huntington Tattoo Company -The vision of founder Carey Hart ensure high-quality standers for amazing artwork. In addition to ink creations, clothing and accessories can be found within.

Fossil – From well-known watches to leather messenger bags and handbags, Fossil carries styles for men and women.

P!Q – From toys to books along with an eclectic assortment of tempting treasures, P!Q offers unique gifts and novelties for the kid in everyone.

Fresh Produce – Find jewelry, sundresses, crocs other Florida inspired items at this resort wear retailer.

Quiet Flight Surf Shop – Brand name outdoor attire and gear are found hiding behind the giant wave photo op (found in front of this surf shop).

Rock Shop – Near Hard Rock Café’s lobby, collectible rock inspired pins, tee shirts, and accessories can be found in this memorabilia store.

Universal Studios Store – Last minute souvenirs related to rides at Universal Studios Florida and Island of Adventure can be purchased here. Minions, wizarding wands and robes, Universal logo attire and accessories and much more are ready to take home and serve as an amazing vacation reminder.

Serving as the gateway to both Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure, CityWalk Orlando gives guests additional entertainment, dining and shopping opportunities. From coffee and doughnuts to fuel a fun-filled attraction adventure to dinner and a movie or show, the diverse destinations found within this collection of thrilling venues give Universal Orlando Resort added excitement and allow visitors a chance to play beyond the hours of theme park operation.

CityWalk is located at 6000 Universal Studios Plz, in Orlando Florida. There is no admission required to visit but some venues have a cover charge or require a separately purchased ticket to enjoy. Parking is available (free after 6pm except during Halloween Horror Nights) within the massive garages at Universal Orlando as well via valet service. CityWalk is open daily from 9:00 am until 2:00 am.

Source and images: Universal Orlando CityWalk webpage, Wikipedia

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