This year will kick off several openings at Universal Orlando Resort. Not only will it open the much-anticipated Cabana Bay Beach Resort and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley, but its CityWalk Entertainment Complex will soon include eight new venues that share the dining trend of open kitchens, inviting common areas and al fresco dining.
Meeting planners will get the chance to use each venue individually or combine the spaces together for an extensive event set-up. Already open, Red Oven Pizza Bakery is Universal Orlando’s first restaurant to serve up Neopolitan-style pizza made in a traditional 900-degree stone-lined oven. Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food will offer handcrafted Mexican street fare that represents the cuisine from cantinas, street carts and markets of Mexico. The Cowfish, a take on the North Carolina hotspot, will also intrigue visitors with its fusion of burgers and sushi in what it calls “burgushi”—a sushi roll created using burger ingredients and sandwiches created using sushi elements.
“Universal CityWalk is already full of unique venues and this expansion will add even more unique venues and increase the diversity of experiences,” says Eric Marshall, vice president, park sales at Universal Orlando. “If you look at Antojitos or The Cowfish, for example, there is nothing like them in Orlando. The ability to do events in these venues and then combine them into a multi-venue block party with already unique experiences like Bob Marley’s and Rising Star, will make CityWalk an incredible place for meeting planners.”
The Hot Dog Hall of Fame features an all-American meal, offering hot dogs cooked in a variety of ways with a variety of toppings depending on what the customer wants. A Chicago dog, for instance, is an all-beef hot dog on a poppy seed bun topped off with mustard, sweet pickle relish, onion, tomato, a dill pickle spear, sport peppers and a dash of celery salt. The other four venues that make up the CityWalk expansion include another Italian eatery featuring hand-crafted pasta, Cold Stone Creamery, Bread Box (a street corner deli) and Menchie’s (a frozen yogurt shop).
These eight venues in CityWalk will add to an already extensive meetings package at Universal Orlando. There are private rooms in several of the eight venues that are ideal for smaller groups, but meeting planners can also buyout the venues for exclusive events accommodating hundreds of people or they can even do block parties for groups in the thousands. Marshall says that he envisions meeting planners will use the multiple venues to create a diverse culinary and entertainment experience.
“We are also seeing more and more meeting planners that want to do a reception or dinner in CityWalk and follow it up with an exclusive dessert experience in an area in one of our two theme parks,” he says.