Podcast Episode 225: Universal Studios/Disney Split Stay Trip Report

We talk a lot about Walt Disney World, but this week we want to talk about the other major theme park in Orlando, Universal Studios!   Shannon recently did a split stay at both theme parks and she’s going to tell us all the things she did, where she stayed, and the similarities between the two very different parks.

Happy listening!

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Giveaway Day 4: 6/29/16

Day 4 is here and it is very easy today to get your entry! All you need to do is comment here, comment on Facebook here or tweet us your answer here. We want to know what is YOUR favorite Disney movie?

For more info click HERE


What will you win? Check out these great prizes!


Giveaway Day Three 6/28/16

Today is day three of our giveaway!  All you have to do today to earn yourself another entry is comment here on our Facebook posts or our Tweets with your favorite Disney resort!

The prizes you’re entering to win are pictured below.

You can find the contest rules here.


Day 2 Giveaway Entry 6/27/16

Day two of our giveaway is here!  There are many was to enter our contest today!  You can comment on a blog post.  Share today’s post on Facebook and let us know you have when you shared the post https://www.facebook.com/DoleWhipped/.  Or retweet today’s post https://twitter.com/dolewhipped for an entry into our contest!  No matter what social media platform you prefer, you have a few choices in which to choose from!

Here are the prizes you are entering to win!  Here are the rules for our contest. http://wp.me/p4qScM-3Fa


Thank you for joining us for 100 episodes of Dole Whipped!

Universal Studios Leaky Cauldron Review

Nope, not Disney today! We’re going to talk about our dining experience at Universal Studios for a change. What we liked, what we didn’t like and… a lesson Disney could learn from Universal.

This pub style restaurant is located in the Diagon Alley section of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day.


When you get in line at the Leaky Cauldron you have several opportunities to view the menu and decide what you’d like to order. We entered a very busy line but it moved at a decent pace and soon we were able to give our order at a cash register where we paid. Now, this is where the cool part comes in, and it’s something I feel like Disney could learn from. Once you place your order you are met by a team of greeters. One of them takes you (and your order number) to an empty table, all ready for the members of your party. This is where you’ll sit and wait for the food to be brought right to you to enjoy! If anyone has ever eaten at Cosmic Rays during a busy time, you can see why I’d suggest that Disney take a page from Universal’s book on this. The seating process was very easy and it took away the stress of having to find a seat with a tray full of food. Be Our Guest is headed in the right direction with the food being brought to you, but the one extra step of actually being seated was fantastic.

Shannon and I had already tried the Butterbeer, so we skipped it this time. Unfortunately drinks are one downside to the Leaky Cauldron with very few choices. We both ended up with water, as there is no soda (Coke or Pepsi products, anyway) to be found. But we did very much enjoy our entrees of Fish & Chips and the Specialty Chicken Sandwich!


All in all the Leaky Cauldron was a great place to grab a quick lunch while we enjoyed our day at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Have you eaten there? What did you think?

A Review of Wands and Wand Activities At Universal Studios Orlando

As you’ll recall, Jamie and I did a bit of incognito recon over at Universal Studios Orlando recently, mainly in order to check out the Harry Potter experience.  Being a bit of a Potter nerd myself, I decided we absolutely MUST have a wand.  So, wand shopping we went!


The nearest shop we encountered was Wands by Gregorovitch, located right in front of Diagon Alley.


They had several different wands to choose from, all replicas of the wands used by various characters in the movies. We chose Hermione’s wand, mainly because we liked the scrolling ivy decoration but all of them were amazingly detailed and beautiful.


Once you’ve chosen a style, you get to choose if you want a standard wand or an interactive one.  The standard wands are $40, however, if you spend $8 more you can get an interactive one.  We thought that sounded like a bargain so we chose the interactive one.

That was a bit of a mistake.

Let me explain how the interactive wands work.  There are several stations set up throughout Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade (you get a map with your wand so you can locate the stations) where you can use your interactive wand to make an action happen.  You need to stand on a medallion embedded in the pavement, point your wand at a certain spot and move it in a specific way (the movement is on the ground medallion).


Sounds easy and super awesome, right?  Wrong.  Some of the interactions are very difficult to get right.  In fact, they’re so difficult a Universal team member is standing by to assist and sometimes even THEY can’t make the action happen.  This is problematic because you’ve spent so much for the wand you want to make the thing work, right?  Guess what, so does everyone else.  That means that you’re standing in line for a long time behind someone who can’t make the action happen so they finally give up.  Then the next person stands there for 10 minutes trying to make something happen and they can’t either.  Then the next person stands there for 15 minutes and so on and so forth and it’s just a giant waste of time.  It was such a huge disappointment.

I love the idea of these interactive wands and they just look SO COOL, but until Universal can figure out how to make them work properly, it’s a colossal waste of your money and time.

That makes me sadder than biting into an ear wax flavored Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Bean.

Restaurant Review – Leaky Cauldron at Universal Studios Orlando



I was fortunate enough to dine at this fabulous quick-service restaurant on a recent FAM (familiarization) trip to Universal Studios and I will proudly recommend it to ANY Harry Potter fan I meet who will be visiting Diagon Alley!  The food is truly very good — not your typical theme park fare at all.  I enjoyed a wonderful lunch consisting of Cottage Pie, Sticky Toffee Pudding, and Fishy Green Ale to drink.  Yes, I said fishy when referring to a drink!  Don’t worry, dear reader, I haven’t lost my ever-loving mind…’twas just a cheeky name for bubble tea.  The “bubbles” were blueberry flavored and the drink itself was a super sweet cinnamon-mint concoction.  It was quite tasty but proved WAY too sweet for my liking.  I was only able to drink a tiny bit of it.  The Cottage Pie was incredible.  Large chunks of veggies and tender beef in a delicious gravy were topped with buttery, flaky pastry.  YUM!  The Sticky Toffee Pudding was also wonderful but, again, too sweet for my palate.  I wasn’t able to finish it, even with a child-size portion of the Cottage Pie.  My Cottage Pie (child portion) and Sticky Toffee Pudding both rang in at $6.99, while my Fishy Green Ale was $4.99.  I would absolutely skip the Fishy Green Ale on a return trip, and stick with my absolute favorite, Pumpkin Juice ($3.99).


IMG_9253I’ll definitely visit Leaky Cauldron again with my own family.  I have 2 sons who would be absolutely delighted with all of the wonderful details in this restaurant.  I feel they did an excellent job of staying true to the Wizarding World and skimped on no detail!






Side note:  If you’re a beer lover, be sure to hop around the corner to The Fountain of Fair Fortune and try a Wizard’s Brew or Dragon Scale.  Being a stout fan, I ordered the Wizard’s Brew and cannot wait to return and have another!

Podcast Episode 27: Christy’s Universal FAM

This week we take a little detour as Christy tells us all about her training trip to Universal Studios Orlando!  We learn all about the resorts, the dining, and the amazing attractions Universal has to offer and how it compares to Disney.  Find out which coaster Christy thinks is the best one she’s ever ridden.

Happy listening!

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