A Lard Lad statue towers over the new Springfield section of Universal Studios in Orlando. (Dewayne Bevil, Orlando Sentinel / August 2, 2013)
More new elements of Universal Studios' Springfield area, including two food outlets, a bar, a gift shop and statues that double as photo opportunities, opened to the public on Friday. Folks wanting to immerse themselves in the hometown of "The Simpsons" sampled Lard Lad snacks, Bumblebee Man tacos and Duff Beer.
Not yet operating, and remaining behind construction walls, is the spinning ride called Kang & Kodos' Twirl & Hurl. A Universal official said that is expected to be ready "soon."
Opening earlier this summer were a food court with Springfield-inspired selections and Moe's Tavern, Homer Simpson's watering hole. The theme park previously sported the Simpsons Ride and a Kwik-E-Mart souvenir shop plus walk-around characters of the Simpsons family.
Notes from Friday's opening:
+ Bumblebee Man Tacos is the first bit of Springfield guests see when approaching from the Hollywood end of the park. Food served from a large truck (it's not mobile) include Korean beef tacos, fish tacos, chicken tacos and carne asada tacos. Prices range from $7.49 to $9.99. The truck has a big, three-dimensional Bumblebee Man head on the side and a huge taco mounted on the front.
+ Next is a Lard Lad doughnut shop, which is fronted by a very tall Lard Lad statue, said to be taller than the Transformer statue above the nearby attraction. Among its foodstuffs are The Big Pink (giant donut with sprinkles for $4.99) and Brain Freezin' D'oh-nut Sundaes (soft-service ince cream on a donut plus one topping for $6.49).
+ Duff Brewery is a long, narrow, open-air bar that looks over the park's lagoon, almost directly across from the construction site of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter -- Diagon Alley. It serves Duff Beer along with Duff Lite and Duff Amber. The Duff is brewed exclusively for Universal Orlando.
+ A gift shop incorporated into the brewery concentrates on Duff paraphernalia.
+ More outdoor seating behind the brewery runs along the lagoon.
+ An array of "Simpsons" figures are sure to be popular photo ops. Currently present are Chief Wiggum (look for water to come out of that overturned fire hydrant eventually), the Seven Little Duffs topiaries outside the brewery, Duffman at the gift shop and a statue of Jebedian Springfield, the founder of the town. A plaque on the back of that statue reads "A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man."