Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Everything's Coming Up Milhouse

My boy Milhouse
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents

I realized recently I never finished my recap of our family vacation to Orlando.  Besides Disney World, we also visited Universal Studios.  While my wife and kids loved the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (I did too), I was even more excited to visit Springfield USA.  Four years ago when we were there, all that was at the park was The Simpsons Ride and the Kwik E Mart, which is a gift shop filled with t-shirts, treats, and other Simpsons knick-knacks.
Kang & Kodos' Twirl & Hurl
Upon our return in October 2014, a new ride had been added.  Kang and Kodos' Twirl and Hurl is similar to the Dumbo ride at Magic Kingdom.  It offers riders a bird's eye view of things via a space craft.  The ride is pretty simple and my kids weren't overly impressed, as they're at that age where they want a bit more thrill with their rides.  I however enjoyed the time relaxing.

Inside Fast Food Blvd.
But it's really not the rides in Springfield that caught my attention.  Oh before I go any further, The Simpsons Ride itself is a lot of fun and the kids returned to it a couple of times during our visit.  If motion sickness is a problem for you, this might not be your thing.  I'm biased and loyal, so I find it fun each time we ride it.  Back to my point, it was all the restaurants located inside Fast Food Blvd. that I enjoyed the most.  The atmosphere can't be beat.

Krusty Burger with cheese & curly fries
There's a large seating area and a long line to boot.  Instead of staking out a table on your own, staff members take your name and find a place for you while you wait in line. Time goes by quickly as clips from classic Simpsons episodes play on TV monitors positioned throughout.  There are plenty of choices, including Krusty Burger (that's what I had), along with Lisa's Teahouse of Horror which features mostly vegetable and fruit options, but they do have turkey wraps too.  Luigi's Pizza is self explanatory as are the Frying Dutchman (fish) and Cletus' Chicken Shack.  Prices are what you'd expect for an amusement park meal, but the food is plentiful and delicious.

Drinking a Flaming Moe
At the end of the food area is Flaming Moe's, which features the signature drink.  I had to have one, even though they cost eight bucks.  But that includes the souvenir cup.  The drink has no alcohol, but it did produce a lot of steam thanks to a chunk of dry ice in the protective area at the bottom of the "shot glass."  There's Buzz Cola, which is a no calorie soda with cherry flavoring, and Duff Beer. 

Welcome to Moe's!
Speaking of Duff, of course Springfield isn't complete without Moe's Tavern.  Duff, Duff Lite, and Duff Dry are all on tap.  On a hot day roaming the park, the beer really did hit the spot.  There's a giant replica of Barney at the end of the bar, along with the love tester machine.  The set up is spot on to what you'd see on the show each week.
Big ol' donut
Other places to eat just outside of Moe's are The Bumblebee Man's Taco Stand and Lard Lad Donuts.  Four of us started the morning with a giant donut.  It was a great value at five bucks as we all feasted on it. Other photo ops include Chief Wiggum with a wrecked squad car, the Jebediah Springfield statue, and the entrance to Duff Gardens.  Costumed characters like the Simpsons family, Krusty the Clown, and Sideshow Bob make frequent appearances too.  

Duff Gardens
I can't say enough about Springfield USA.  The place was authentic and I really felt like I had stepped into my favorite television show.  For fans who are upset that The Simpsons Ride bumped The Back to the Future Ride, don't worry.  Doc Brown and the Delorean are nearby for pictures.  Click here for more photos from Springfield.

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