Lombard’s Seafood Grille review

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If you are looking for above average theme park seafood with above average pricing, look no further than Lombard’s Seafood Grille located in Universal Studios.   Growing up in Newport Rhode Island, I grew up around seafood so I can be a bit critical when it comes to a seafood restaurant.

Let’s start off with the atmosphere.  Did you know there’s a story behind Lombard’s?  A scientist lived on the top floor with his wife and during the great earthquake he escaped with his family in a submarine in the basement.  The inside of the restaurant looks inspired by The Nautilus from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The story was a best recant from two of the servers working that day.  How it became a restaurant is still a mystery.

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I had the Lobster Roll and was also able to try the Fish and Fries.  The Lobster Roll, although much bigger and fuller than a lobster roll you can get in the Magic Kingdom theme park, lacked in flavor.  The kettle chips served alongside weren’t bad.  The fish was much better, a very light flavorful batter around the fish itself.  Still, we enjoy the fish from the Wizarding World much more.  Next time here, I plan on trying the crab cake sandwich.

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Disney’s Forgotten Beastly Kingdom and Universal’s Lost Continent: Connected

For those unaware, Disney had planned an area for their Animal Kingdom park long before it’s announcement. Animal Kingdom is notorious for being themed towards animals from all over the world, Dinosaurs, but at one point planned towards creatures that only exist within fantasy. This forgotten land was known as Beastly Kingdom, a land split in half by good and evil.

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This fantasy land was burdened by budget cuts, and though it had never existed, it appeared in early advertising and what’s left of it is still seen in the park today. Multiple attractions were planned, including a hedge maze full of mythical creatures that would lead up to a stunning castle housing a unicorn, a Fantasia themed musical boat ride, and perhaps the most intriguing piece, a dragon themed inverted roller coaster. Seems familiar right? Here’s where Universal makes its connection.

Beastly Kingdom, was burdened with budget cuts from Animal Kingdom’s early construction. During construction, they had a choice, either they go with dinosaurs or fantasy animals. Walt Disney World’s executive, Michael Eisner, made the choice to build dinosaurs first, and hold off Beastly Kingdom as a phase two project. Animal Kingdom had it’s grand opening with Beastly Kingdom’s spot held by Camp Minnie-Mickey, a quickly constructed and easily demolishable land themed to meet-n’-greets. During this time, however, Islands of Adventure was still being constructed as Universal Orlando’s second park.

Holding off Beastly Kingdom came at a cost, and that meant laying off some imagineers. Looking for work, Imagineers supposedly gave some of these ideas to Universal, resulting in a medieval themed area in Islands of Adventure’s Lost Continent. The striking similarities between Islands of Adventure’s reality and Disney’s concepts seems no mistake. Dueling Dragons seems to have taken the “inverted dragon coaster” theme straight down to it’s queue, which was also planned to have a derelict castle. Flight of the Unicorn seems to have also taken the unicorn theme into perspective, but instead of being a walk-through attraction, it is a family-children’s roller coaster.

The medieval themed area in Lost Continent had its play for a solid 11 years before being rethemed towards Harry Potter. Though the generic medieval theme no longer exists, the attractions are still there, renamed and rethemed. Dueling Dragons is now branded as Dragon Challenge, and Flight of the Unicorn was rethemed to Flight of the Hippogriff. Dueling Dragons was originally planned for demolishment, but popular demand kept it playing.

Disney’s vision for all this wasn’t too different. Dragon’s Tower would’ve been taller than Dueling Dragons, as well as housing Disney’s largest audio animatronic (before Expedition Everest’s Yeti) and being Disney’s first inverted roller coaster, well planned a year before Rock n’ Roller Coaster. Quest of the Unicorn would be the walk-through attraction, encountering creatures such as a griffin, and finally an encounter with a unicorn. Fantasia Gardens would be the boat ride, which would be themed to the Dance of the Hours and Pastoral segments.

Though Beastly Kingdom seemed to only somehow existed in Islands of Adventure, it’s legacy was never forgotten throughout Animal Kingdom. Perhaps the most prominent relic is the dragon silhouette in the logo. There is also:

  • A “Unicorn” named parking lot.
  • A dragon head at one of the front info kiosks
  • Various mythological creatures are still seen carved into walls
  • A dragon-like rock formation and fire-spewing cavern at the former Discovery River Boats (The rock is still there!)
  • A dragon animatronic at Disneyland Paris’s castle, that was likely intended for Beastly Kingdom.

Beastly Kingdom’s reserved spot is now being taken up by Pandora: World of Avatar, being themed to James Cameron’s Avatar. Though Beastly Kingdom is now most likely gone for good, the legacy it left is still there.

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Rest in Peace, Bill Paxton.

A beloved Universal Attraction host and actor, Bill Paxton has sadly passed away.  Twister was a classic movie and the ride itself was also a classic.  Let’s take a look at his place in Universal Orlando’s history.  Universal Studios Florida trip report - June 2011.

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Celebration of Harry Potter

Here are a few photos from my visit to UO during the Potter weekend. 


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What attraction do you miss the most?

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Universal Flashback

Here is a park map from 1992, a mere two years after Universal Studios Florida had opened.  It’s hard to believe how much has changed.

What do you miss the most?  Here are some of the attractions now :

Production Tram Tour

Kongfrontration

Ghostbusters

Funtastic World of Hanna Barbera

Hitchcock 3-D Theater

Lucy: A tribute

Wild Wild Wild West Stunt Show

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Personally, it’s the Ghostbusters show I miss the most.  It had great effects and a great cast.  The talented Wayne Brady from the hit TV show “Who’s line is it anyway?” was once a Ghostbuster performer at Universal Studios Florida.wzzsndt

The remains of the Firehouse can still be seen today, only now the Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket coaster has broken through the facade.

Stay tuned, I will be writing some blogs with in depth details about these now extinct attractions.

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Adventures in Food: Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen

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Once per month (maybe more) I will be doing a segment called “Adventures in Food” where I try out a restaurant in Universal Studios Orlando or Islands of Adventure.  Why not start out with the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen!  It’s fairly new on the scene, opened on September 22 2016, the restaurant features a sweet shop and a full fledged sit down dining experience.  The decor features an all out eye extravaganza of the steampunk genre.

Atmosphere:

I loved the steampunk aesthetics, from the furnishings to the costumes of the servers.  All really well thought out and imagined.   The backstory is that of Professor Doctor Penelope Tibeaux-Tinkerer Toothsome, a mouthful to say, but perhaps that’s the point.  Her story is laid out on the menu.  Also featured is her clockwork steampunk robot Jacques. I can’t say enough about the immersive experience eating at this restaurant.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Food:

The food was good.  Well above par for theme park restaurants. I had the Fork & Knife Grilled Rib Eye Steak Sandwich.  Priced at $14.95, it’s certainly an affordable meal for a theme park dining experience.  The sandwich itself was adorned with: Sauteed onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, arugula, herb shallot aioli, horseradish cheese, toasted onion brioche.  It was quite tasty, but personally I’d prefer a bit more meat on the sandwich.

Desserts are where Toothsome shines.  Mind you, I’m not a big dessert person, but I do like chocolate.  I had the Bacon Brittle Shake, made of Bacon Ice Cream, bacon brittle, chocolate covered bacon and bacon caramel.  Now at first though you might think those flavors don’t go together, but rest assured they do!  A third of the way into the milkshake I was on chocolate sweet overload, unable to finish.  You do get to keep the collector cup it came in, which was a nice surprise.

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Overall:

An excellent addition to Universal Orlando.  The food was tasty, the atmosphere out of this world and the sweets to die for.  I highly recommend making this a “must eat” while on your vacation.

Special Thanks to Image Core Photography for the excellent photographs.  Image Core Photography is top notch when it comes to Theme Park Photography.  More photos below.

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What is now missing and what is to come for the Revenge of the Mummy ride.

As we all know, Universal likes to plant easter eggs around the park from past attractions and franchises.  One of my favorites was of King Kong in the Mummy ride.  Seen on the left at the end at the end of the treasure room scene was it’s typical location.  I heard a rumor that it was missing, so being the Universal Adventurer I took a special trip in to confirm.  It is TRUE, the Kong statue is now missing.  After speaking to several attraction workers, they all answered the same way:  “we have no idea where it went to”.

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Universal has also just dropped their trailer for the new Mummy movie, which begins their effort to start a shared universe franchise, much like the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  A universe made up of the classic Universal movie monsters.  This begs the question, will we see a refurbishment of the ride themed to the new movie?  I suppose only time and box office numbers will tell.  But the new movie looks promising.  If you haven’t seen it, check out the trailer below.

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