Recently I travelled to Orlando (actually as part of a family holiday, shoutout to mom & dad who still love me enough to spend a considerable amount of time with me and my annoying bickering brother, aged 24. blessed)
Personally I find travel blogs enjoyable to read primarily so I can nose and drool at the good food & drink on offer. So obviously that's what I'm going to share, cos I couldn't have anyone visiting w/out trying out all the good spots hey, it'd be a travesty.
Being a bunch of big kids, quite a large portion of our holiday was centred around the parks. We stayed at the Universal Hard Rock hotel - so this will quite heavily be based around this area, naturally.
- Giant Simpsons Donuts
These aren't only just novel, they're bloody delicious. Although this might be slightly bias considering donuts, in my opinion, are the best thing ever invented. Never at all dramatic.
Where: Island of Adventures (gift shops) & Simpsons Land (Universal Studios)
- *Frozen* butterbeer I can only describe this as real life heaven. It tastes like golden salted caramel butterscotch melted goodness. Truly wonderful. Admittedly it's rather large and gets somewhat sickly (definitely share one), but unmissable if you're visiting.
Where: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (both parks)
Ok so I know that Pretzels are just pretzels but I discovered a deep & uncontrollable love for the doughy rolls of joy when I was out there. Tip is to get them fresh. Best one I had was at Universal Studios, and trust me, I tried a lot. Not all pretzels are created equally. I discovered this at the space park. Very sad times.
- Sticky Toffee Pudding Ice-cream This was the best little find in the Wizzarding World of Harry Potter. The flavours were crazy. I opted for salted caramel blondie & sticky toffee pudding (obviously) but there were flavours like Earl Grey, Strawberries & Cream, Toffee Apple, and Marmalade. Pure joy.
Where: Florean Fortescue's Ice-Cream (Universal Studios)
- Voodoo donuts
Obviously Donuts are my favourite thing, so this was an unmissable. Crazy flavours ft. A very novel and large donut sculpture outside lols
In the Wizarding World of Harry Potter you'll find the famous sweet shop, Honey Dukes. I could honestly walk around it for hours. It's absolutely packed full of weird and wonderful treats, all Harry Potter themed. I ate 2 giant chocolate frogs while I was there, which is pretty impressive considering it's about 150g of solid milk chocolate. Great work by me.
- Auntie Annie's Pretzels
Shock. More pretzels. Honestly delicious though. Although a bit of a basic chain, you can grab cinnamon dusted pretzel bites on the go which are a solid 10/10.
- Hard Rock Cafe
A fun experience all round, full of v cool memorabilia.
Mac'n'cheese is my all time favourite on the menu, it comes with two slices of crispy ciabatta and grilled chicken. By no means is it a healthy, low-calorie option, but is arguably the tastiest.
- Antojitos Authentic Mexican
This is another restaurant on City Walk, right at the back. It's huge. And also pretty popular, with good reason. The food was fresh and tasty. We all ordered something different, but the grilled chicken fajitas were a winner. Basic but delicious. We also ordered guac & chips, which came freshly prepared at our table, a fun addition.
- Satu'li Canteen (Pandora - Disney's Animal Kingdom)
A health lovers dream, completely customisable healthy "buddha bowls" w/ veggies, protein, complex carbs. V good quality. You can find it in the pandora section of Animal Kingdom. Yum.
These are scattered around, and although might seen pretty standard to regulars, are bloody exciting to Brits & holiday makers visiting. Pancakes are my favourite thing ever, so to have a whole restaurant dedicated to them!!! Amazing. I went for a standard stack but the concoctions were pretty impressive. Chocolate chip is also a strong flavour contender.
On City Walk, this is another gigantic restaurant which serves similarly gigantic portion sizes.
The giant sharing pretzel is a must, as are the flatbreads (flame grilled BBQ chicken flatbread, delish).
- BumbleBee Man's Taco Truck
This is one of the best places to eat around the Universal parks, IMO. Some of the restaurant qualities can be standard "American" type of food, but the taco truck was delish & serves up things like Korean Beef Taco's, Nacho's & Guac.
Fitness-ing on the go
Staying active while out in Orlando isn't hard at all. You'll most likely be increasing your step count by 3x, which in itself is pretty impressive & will keep you active. The hotel I stayed at (Hard Rock) came with a pretty nifty gym, and as someone who trains primarily to feel good, fitting training in was pretty simple and a no-brainer for me. I actually trained at one of their sister hotels (a 20 min walk away: Sapphire Falls) most of the time though, because it comes with a pretty big & fully equipped gym complete with cables/DB's/smith machine and a variety of cardio equipment. See here for my workout there. (I tend to find workouts like these ideal whilst when travelling - doesn't take up too much time, hits everything you need to and gets your heart rate up)
Must-sees & things to do
Although the parks are probably going to be one of the highlights of your trip (we legit spent like 2/3rds of our time there lmao), there are still heaps of other things to do and explore around the Orlando area. Here are a few other things we got up to, and worth investigating:
- Downtown Orlando
- Premium Outlets & Shopping Malls
- Daytona Beach (make sure its warm, lmao)
- Kennedy Space Centre
- Escape rooms
**Disclaimer: Universal tickets, VIP tour & express were kindly gifted to me by Universal **