Welcome to Springfield – in the heart of Universal Studios

Welcome to Springfield – in the heart of Universal Studios

Welcome to Springfield

In the heart of Universal Studios

Harry Potter is not the only world into which you can be immersed on a visit to Universal Orlando® Resort, you know? You also have the opportunity to take a stroll into the heart of Springfield, the little slice of satirical small-town America that’s home to The Simpsons – as well as an ever-growing ensemble of memorably hilarious characters.

For more than 27 years have the inhabitants of the iconic town been entertaining the world with their adventures and misdemeanours, with few fictional towns having the level of impact on popular culture that Springfield has enjoyed.

Which is why the Universal recreation of the town is such a joy to behold, and a section of the resort that you simply must not miss.

Located in the Universal Studios® Park, Springfield has been built up adjacent to the lake. For those who visited the park in the early years, this is where the old set of Amity Island (from Jaws), used to be; Springfield coming to full fruition back in 2013.

And while there may be a touch of nostalgic pathos for the passing of the Amity setting, the way in which Springfield has been meticulously created is simply joyous – an area that just makes you smile from the moment you stroll into Fast Food Boulevard.

The Simpsons Ride

As is the case with all the different themed zones, at its heart there’s a ride to experience. In this case it’s The Simpsons Ride; which first replaced the old Back to the Future ride in 2008. And has subsequently had a more immersive upgrade; bringing the entire Springfield backdrop and cast of characters into the experience.

In keeping with the caustic humour of the show, the ride is set around the premise that you (along with Homer and family) are about to take a ride at Krustyland (on the less-than-quality designs of Krusty the Clown); albeit with a looming shadow of dastardly sabotage.

Similar to other rides in the park, it’s a mix of simulation and motion as you are thrust headlong into an colourful, turbulent, and all-immersive version of the animated world in which they live.

It’s a family ride and one of the favourites for this author’s two kids (13 and 11 at the time). It’s hugely entertaining, funny and offers plenty of thrills, excitement, and a dose of the unexpected.

However, it is kind of full on – so if you do suffer from motion sickness, the mix of motion and immersive animation can make the more sensitive stomach a little queasy.

But a highly-recommended experience none the less.

The Town Itself

OK, so it’s not a full town, of course – but what the Springfield zone does do, quite brilliantly, is bring some of the town’s iconic landmarks to life; while managing to recreate the slightly anarchic humour of the show.

Fast Food Boulevard is a nod to the gently satiric take on America’s disposal culture, and the obsession of Homer et al with junk food snacking. However, the quality is perfectly fine and a lot of fun (particularly for Simpson’s enthusiasts); allowing you to indulge on some genuine Duff beer, Bumblebee man tacos, or Homer’s favourite, Lard Lad Donuts.

Personal Highlights

The Simpson’s Ride is brilliant; and one of my own personal highlights of the entire Universal experience. But as a fan of the show for many years, just to wander through the area is a huge thrill.

And it appeals not only to fans of the show. My wife has never been a particular fan, but the cleanliness, calm, the beautifully detailed set, and the overriding sense of fun around the Springfield area, meant that she too loved it.

For me, however, there is simply something wonderful about the chance to see and visit:

Moe’s Tavern – an amazing replica of the iconic bar and a chance to enjoy a Flaming Moe (or Homer, depending on where your loyalty lies)

Krusty Burger – another recreation of the show’s take on the classic burger joint

Kwik-E-Mart – a fully functioning shop, designed in the guise of Apu’s convenience store

The Android’s Dungeon & Baseball Card Shop – Otherwise known as the shop owned and operated by Comic Book Guy

Duff Brewery – When you can’t get enough of that wonderful Duff

Harry Potter is not the only world into which you can be immersed on a visit to Universal Orlando® Resort, you know? You also have the opportunity to take a stroll into the heart of Springfield, the little slice of satirical small-town America that’s home to The Simpsons – as well as an ever-growing ensemble of memorably hilarious characters.

For more than 27 years have the inhabitants of the iconic town been entertaining the world with their adventures and misdemeanours, with few fictional towns having the level of impact on popular culture that Springfield has enjoyed.

Which is why the Universal recreation of the town is such a joy to behold, and a section of the resort that you simply must not miss.

Located in the Universal Studios® Park, Springfield has been built up adjacent to the lake. For those who visited the park in the early years, this is where the old set of Amity Island (from Jaws), used to be; Springfield coming to full fruition back in 2013.

And while there may be a touch of nostalgic pathos for the passing of the Amity setting, the way in which Springfield has been meticulously created is simply joyous – an area that just makes you smile from the moment you stroll into Fast Food Boulevard.

The Simpsons Ride

As is the case with all the different themed zones, at its heart there’s a ride to experience. In this case it’s The Simpsons Ride; which first replaced the old Back to the Future ride in 2008. And has subsequently had a more immersive upgrade; bringing the entire Springfield backdrop and cast of characters into the experience.

In keeping with the caustic humour of the show, the ride is set around the premise that you (along with Homer and family) are about to take a ride at Krustyland (on the less-than-quality designs of Krusty the Clown); albeit with a looming shadow of dastardly sabotage.

Similar to other rides in the park, it’s a mix of simulation and motion as you are thrust headlong into an colourful, turbulent, and all-immersive version of the animated world in which they live.

It’s a family ride and one of the favourites for this author’s two kids (13 and 11 at the time). It’s hugely entertaining, funny and offers plenty of thrills, excitement, and a dose of the unexpected.

However, it is kind of full on – so if you do suffer from motion sickness, the mix of motion and immersive animation can make the more sensitive stomach a little queasy.

But a highly-recommended experience none the less.

The Town Itself

OK, so it’s not a full town, of course – but what the Springfield zone does do, quite brilliantly, is bring some of the town’s iconic landmarks to life; while managing to recreate the slightly anarchic humour of the show.

Fast Food Boulevard is a nod to the gently satiric take on America’s disposal culture, and the obsession of Homer et al with junk food snacking. However, the quality is perfectly fine and a lot of fun (particularly for Simpson’s enthusiasts); allowing you to indulge on some genuine Duff beer, Bumblebee man tacos, or Homer’s favourite, Lard Lad Donuts.

Personal Highlights

The Simpson’s Ride is brilliant; and one of my own personal highlights of the entire Universal experience. But as a fan of the show for many years, just to wander through the area is a huge thrill.

And it appeals not only to fans of the show. My wife has never been a particular fan, but the cleanliness, calm, the beautifully detailed set, and the overriding sense of fun around the Springfield area, meant that she too loved it.

For me, however, there is simply something wonderful about the chance to see and visit:

Moe’s Tavern – an amazing replica of the iconic bar and a chance to enjoy a Flaming Moe (or Homer, depending on where your loyalty lies)

Krusty Burger – another recreation of the show’s take on the classic burger joint

Kwik-E-Mart – a fully functioning shop, designed in the guise of Apu’s convenience store

The Android’s Dungeon & Baseball Card Shop – Otherwise known as the shop owned and operated by Comic Book Guy

Duff Brewery – When you can’t get enough of that wonderful Duff

Latest Universal Orlando Holiday Deals

Latest Universal Orlando Holiday Deals

The Latest Holiday Deals for Universal Orlando Resort®

Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort | ★★★

Return flights with British Airways | 7 nights in a Standard Room | 7 days’ car hire | Early Park Admission3 to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ and Universal’s Volcano Bay™ (opening early summer 2017) one hour before the theme parks open
(valid theme park admission required)

THIS OFFER INCLUDES UNIVERSAL THEME PARK TICKETS

Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando™ | ★★★+                              

Return flights with British Airways | 7 nights in a Standard Queen Room | 7 days’ car hire | Early Park Admission3 to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ and Universal’s Volcano Bay™ (opening early summer 2017) one hour before the theme parks open.

THIS OFFER INCLUDES UNIVERSAL THEME PARK TICKETS
(valid theme park admission required)

universal orlando resort

 Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando™

| ★★★★ |

Return flights with British Airways | 7 nights in a Standard Queen Room | 7 days’ car hire | Early Park Admission3 to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ and Universal’s Volcano Bay™ (opening early summer 2017) one hour before the theme parks open | Universal Express Unlimited (jump the queues!) at Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure

THIS OFFER INCLUDES UNIVERSAL THEME PARK TICKETS 

hard rock hotel at universal resort orlando

Hard Rock Hotel® at Universal Orlando

| ★★★★★ |

Return flights with British Airways | 7 nights in a GArden View Queen Room | 7 days’ car hire | Early Park Admission3 to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ and Universal’s Volcano Bay™ (opening early summer 2017) one hour before the theme parks open | Universal Express Unlimited (jump the queues!) at Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure

THIS OFFER INCLUDES UNIVERSAL THEME PARK TICKETS 

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando

| ★★★★★+ |

Return flights with British Airways | 7 nights in a GArden View Queen Room | 7 days’ car hire | Early Park Admission3 to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ and Universal’s Volcano Bay™ (opening early summer 2017) one hour before the theme parks open | Universal Express Unlimited (jump the queues!) at Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure

THIS OFFER INCLUDES UNIVERSAL THEME PARK TICKETS 

Let us help find your perfect Universal Orlando holiday

Call 029 2169 0070 or get in touch through our online enquiry form

**Valid for bookings travelling 01 – 21 June. Bookings travelling
01 – 31 May includes a Universal OrlandoTM 2-Park Explorer
Ticket. Other travel dates are available on request

*Terms and conditions apply – please contact your travel agent for more information. HARRY POTTER characters, names and related indicia are © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR. (s17) Portofino Bay Hotel TM & © 2017 UCF Hotel Venture. All rights reserved. Universal elements and all related indicia TM & © 2017 Universal Studios. All rights reserved.

Rides Then Relax | Luxury Twin Centre Florida Holiday

Rides Then Relax | Luxury Twin Centre Florida Holiday

Rides and Relaxation | Luxury Twin Centre Florida Holidays

Enjoy the best of Disney, Universal and the Gulf Coast in one luxury family holiday

The Holiday

The following is a sample itinerary and put together to give you some ideas of the type of luxury multi-centre holidays we’ve had the pleasure in arranging for former clients.

A way to sample the very best of Disney, Universal and the stunning resort at the exclusive Long Boat Key. Naturally, there are many, many other destinations and ways to enjoy Florida and all its attractions.

The resorts all blend a sense of fun with elegant luxury, and are based on some of the favourite spots our clients have enjoyed over the past 12 months. Which also happen to feature high on our own personal favourites list.

Flights: Direct Flights are available from the UK courtesy of Virgin / Delta and British Airways / American Airlines. 

Total Duration: 14 nights

1. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Upon arrival at Orlando International Airport, don’t stress about car hire and driving to your hotel. Allow Disney’s Magical Express to meet you outside the arrivals hall and take you to your resort hotel: the magnificent Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. One of the Deluxe range of hotels, this is a firm family favourite, offering sumptuous rooms, wonderful leisure facilities, swimming pools and fantastic dining.

What’s more, you’re in the heart of the Walt Disney World resort, and straight into your holiday.

Includes:

  • 5 Nights in a Family room with Pool View
  • Free Airport Transfer from Orlando Airport to hotel
  • Disney Dining Plan, which includes:1 quick-service meal, 1 table-service meal & 1 snack per guest, every day.
  • Disney’s Ultimate Ticket for each guest, allowing: unlimited access to all 6 main theme parks, access to golf course, 1 round of miniature golf per person per day, use of Fastpass+ to pre-book times on your favourite rides (up to 60 prior to leaving UK as a resort guest), FREE Memory Maker (allowing access to all official photos taken in the parks from action shots on the rides, to character photos etc – gate price currently $169)
  • Additional hours in the theme park

2. Car Hire

You probably won’t need a car while at Disney, and you may not want one at Universal either. So, the choice would be yours. Either collect a car on your last or penultimate day at Disney, keeping it for the duration of your holiday (pickup at Disney, return to airport). OR, get a pre-arranged transfer from Disney to your Universal Resort, picking up a car on your last day at the resort and retaining for the duration of your holiday.

 

3. Hard Rock Hotel® at Universal Orlando®

Your next resort let’s you take in the amazing parks at Universal Orlando Resort. While indulging yourself at a simply wonderful hotel. A personal favourite, you can find out what we really think about the place by taking a look here. But for now, here’s the breakdown of what’s included:

  • 2 Nights in Pool View Family Room
  • 2 Park Bonus Ticket for each guest, allowing: unlimited access to Universal Studios® and Universal’s Islands of Adventure®, including The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™
  • Complimentary Universal Express™ passes for each guest, allowing you express access to the rides in the parks, avoiding the long queues (Harry Potter & The Forbidden Journey™, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts™, & Pteranodon Flyers® not included in Express pass use)
  • Early entry to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ – meaning you get to the rides an hour before the general public.
  • Access to Universal’s City Walk® entertainment area
  • Complimentary gift delivery service on purchases made in the resort and theme parks directly to your room
  • 5 Minute walk to the entry gate of Universal Studios®
 

4. The Resort at Long Boat Key

Take a two-hour drive south-west of Orlando and find yourself in the lap of sultry, sunny luxury. The Resort at Long Boat Key is one of the finest family destinations along the Gulf Coast. Beautiful rooms no more than a few footsteps from the soft white sand of your private stretch of beach, and the deep blue water of the Gulf of Mexico. Offering:

  • 7 Nights in Family Room
  • The only 4 Diamond Award Beachside Resort in Sarasota
  • Fine and casual dining choices
  • Watersports
  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Spa
  • Swimming pools
  • Short drive to the simply beautiful St Armand’s Circle area.
  • Easy access to downtown Sarasota, Sarasota Marina and the selection of arts, culture, and dining available.
 

Summary

The resorts and associated items above is a sample of the delights you can enjoy on a luxury multi-centre holiday in Florida. Each of the hotels offering amazing accommodation, luxurious surroundings, entertainment, dining and all the other trappings you could ask for a memorable family holiday. A week in the heart of the attraction action at Disney and Universal, each hotel offering the perfect respite from busy days in the parks. And then a week of total wind down on the coast.

It should be noted that this is a higher-end holiday for those in search of a hassle-free break, on a higher budget, at some of Florida’s best family resorts. Prices will vary throughout the year and with direct flights, full-sized car plus all attraction tickets and transfers included, a family of 4 (based on 2 adults and children ages 7 & 10) can expect to pay anywhere between £8,500 to £11,000*.

Naturally there are plenty of amazing Orlando-Beach combination holidays available to meet style, desires and budgets. Why not get in touch if you’d like to enquire.

 

*Prices used as a guide only. For an accurate price based on people travelling, ages, availability and time of travel, please enquire through our contact page.

Interested?

If you’d like to enquire about a holiday similar to this, or about any other Florida holiday, then please get in touch via our enquiries page, clicking the button below.

10 Reasons to Visit Disney World Orlando In 2017

10 Reasons to Visit Disney World Orlando In 2017

10 Reasons to visit Walt Disney World Resort on your 2017 Holiday

Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando remains one of the world’s premier destinations for a magical family holiday; offering experiences and fun times that will live long in the memory. And from new attractions, old favourites, amazing hotels and places to eat and drink, plus some fantastic holiday offers available for the new year, here are 10 reasons why you should be considering Walt Disney World for your 2017 holiday.

New to Disney’s Animal Kingdom is Pandora – The World of Avatar

Announced back in 2011, this year sees to the grand opening of the latest themed zone at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Based on the ground-breaking James Cameron blockbuster Avatar, this promises to be a new immersive world into wich guests can explore the bioluminescent world of the Na’Vi. With the Flight of Passage ride offering a chance to fly through the strange planet in a Soarin’ style projection ride. Pandora is scheduled to open in the Spring of 2017.

Speaking of Soarin’…

The Soarin’ ride has been one of the centrepiece attractions at Epcot for years, and one of the most popular rides across the whole of Walt Disney World. And if you’ve ever experienced the ride, you’ll know why. A spectacular projection ride – suitable for the whole family – taking you on an exhilherating journey across the USA. Well, now the iconic ride has gone global. 2016 saw the ride get a major overhaul, with the new and improved ride taking in some of the great landmarks of the world on a stunning immersive journey that will no doubt be a major attraction for visitors in 2017. 

Annual Events throughout the year

As well as the year round attractions and rides on offer across the 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, golf, hotels, shopping and dining areas, Walt Disney World Resort is also host to some amazing annual events throughout the calendar. These include: a range of Disney after-hours events, the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary-Halloween Party, Christmas attractions, Star Wars half-marathon, summer concerts, and other surprises across the year. And in the early part of 2017, there’s a brand new Epcot event in the International Festival of the Arts.

New Dining & Entertainment at Disney Springs

Disney Springs – born out of the old Disney Marketplace area – was fully launched in 2016 and quickly established itself as a prime spot for eating, drinking, shopping and being generally merry. A great place to dine and have some fun after the parks have closed with a huge range of shops, restaurants and cafes. And the expansion continues into 2017 with more restaurants set to open. Highlights include: The Polite Pig, Wine Bar George (both scheduled for early 2017), alongside popular existing favourites such as Bongo’s Cuban Cafe, the Boathouse and House of Blues Restaurant & Bar. Add in cinemas, music venues, family entertainment and a wide range of shops and Disney Springs will be a fully-fledged addition to the Disney holiday experience in the coming years. Also coming to Disney Springs in 2017 will be the re-vamped Planet Hollywood Observatory. Replacing the old restaurant with a new, ultra-modern dining experience packed with attractions and memorabilia from the movies plus a state of the art observatory to enjoy stars of a more celestial variety.

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The Muppets Present…Great Moments in American History

The Muppets continued popularity will be brought to the fore at Magic Kingdom in 2017, which is great for fans of Jim Henson’s furry creations (and who isn’t?) as the’ve always been underserved slightly at Disney in the past. Their take on great American moments is going to be new for 2017 with multiple performances held throughout the day at the Liberty Square are of Magic Kingdom (which, in our humble opinion, also happens to be a charming part of the park for a chill out and some food). 

20 Hotel Resorts to meet all tastes and budgets

Walt Disney World has 20 different hotels and other forms of accommodation (from camping to luxury villa) to make for a dream holiday exactly as you would want it. Resorts are banded into 3 categories: Value, Moderate and Deluxe (along the lines of 3, 4 and 5 star), and come in a range of different styles and themes. From family favourites that are chock full of classic Disney characters, to the replendent Animal Kingdom Lodge or the elegant charm of Old Key West, the resorts have something to match whatever your personal tastes, desires and budget. And, as guests staying at each resort you are privy to some exceptional added bonuses, such as: free transfers to and from the airport, free parking across the parks, extra hours in the parks

New Rides at Typhoon Lagoon

Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park opens up a new raft ride for all the family – the longest of its kind at the Disney water parks – to add to to the rapids, flumes, speed slides and giant wave pool that already makes the park such a popular spot for a day of water based fun. 

Fastpass+

Fastpass+  remains one of the great tools to make your park visits mroe pleasurable. And, by staying on site at a Disney Resort Hotel or Villa, you can book times on your favourite rides up to 90 days before you arrive, ensuring that you can enjoy all the attractions you want without over-long times in the queues. NOTE: There is a knack to getting the best out of Fastpass+ – we’re always happy to share when you book through us.  

Free Days & Nights Offer

For UK holiday-makers there’s an incentive to book now for their Disney stay in 2017. Booking on selected dates in the year offers the opportunity to enjoy up to 4 Free Nights on a 2 week holiday. There’s a chance to save on your holiday with between 1 & 3 Free nights at value and moderate hotels at Walt Disney World Resort, while you can enjoy between 2 & 6 nights Free (dependent on length of stay) when booking a Deluxe hotel or villa. You can find out more details and enquire here.

PLUS up to 25% on Park Tickets

Early booking (between now and March 2017) of Walt Disney World Resort park tickets can also help with the budgeting, allowing savings of up to 25% on Disney’s Ultimate Tickets (as well as the chance to buy a 14 Day Ultimate Ticket for the Price fof 7 Days).

Interested in a Disney Holiday in 2017?

Why not get in touch and let us see if we can help make your 2017 Disney dream a reality.

A Small State of the Union Address

A Small State of the Union Address

A Small State of the Union Addresss

As a former student of American Studies, I’ve always had an interest in the politics, history and culture of the USA. So, it’s fair to say that the US Presidential election has been watched with a fair degree of keenness over the past few months. Not to mention the fact that I now run a website actively promoting the joys and attractions of Florida and indeed the other 49 states of the Union.

The election of Donald Trump has caused something of a stir and it’s fair to say that it’s been greeted with as wide a range of emotions as you are likely to find.

Now, the purpose of this site is not to discuss politics. We will all have our own opinions and views on the significance of recent events and there are plenty of platforms upon which each and every one of us can go to air such opinions.

This is a travel site; a website which places great emphasis on the idea of people finding ways to enjoy themselves. To discover new things, to spend quality time with loved ones, to indulge in fun wherever fun is to be had, To visit places of beauty, of historical significance, or simply places that enable you to forget about the everyday stresses of busy lives.

All that being said, as someone who has visited Florida many times, and as someone who has travelled throughout the USA (32 states and counting), who has studied its history, its evolving culture, its landscape, its literature, music, art and its films; I feel compelled to make this brief statement.

One of the recurring lines from Mr Trump’s election campaign was:

“Make America great again.”

Well, remove yourself from the politics, from divisive chatter, from media discourse, and you will find that there is plenty about the USA to suggest that it is, and has for many generations, been great.

Like the UK and the grand old nations of Europe, like the vast populaces and ancient cultures of Asia, the diverse nations of Africa or the multi-cultural societies of Australasia, the USA is a land rich in beauty, in art, intelligence and imagination.

It’s a country of vast, open spaces and ranging snow-capped mountains.  Of sprawling cities teeming with every variant of humanity. Of lush countryside, white-sanded beaches.

It’s the land of the movies, the culture that spawned Hemmingway and Steinbeck, Gershwin and Dylan. Scorsese and Spielberg.

And yes, it’s the land of Disney, and razzmatazz and garish, loud opulence. The land of the Orlando theme parks, a family oriented destination for fun. Of holiday resorts that allow us to escape, to unwind and enjoy quality time with our loved ones.

And there is a value and a greatness to that.

As a writer, as a parent, a travel lover and as a general person, and not least as someone who represents this website to the public and across social media platforms I say that Florida Travel Service will continue to promote the positives of the state and those which we all think is fun, worthwhile and removed from political overtures (and yes, you can always find a political underbelly if you choose).

However, the site is also founded on the absolute belief in equality across race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and socio-economic background. We reject any advocating of bigotry or discrimination on any level and take a view that the world is a better place when principles are founded upon inclusion and tolerance.

Everyone has a different life experience, everyone has their own way of living and of spending their spare time. We promote all of these variances, from all backgrounds. And hope that we can help encourage a little fun and a healthy level of the rest, relaxation and quality time that everyone deserves.

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