Universal Orlando City Walk

City Walk

We never pay to get into City Walk nightclubs and neither should you. The drinks cost enough on their own so follow my advice here on how to get into the clubs for nothing….

Whenever we are heading off for Orlando we Google – ‘free City Walk entry’ or ‘City Walk Coupon’ and we always find printable vouchers. Here is a link to the website where I found my latest City Walk Pass coupon and it worked a treat when we got into Universals City Walk. So remember to do this before you head off on holiday because there are some great venues here.

The main place in Orlando for night time tourists to party away is City Walk at Universal Orlando Resort. The 30 acre complex of City Walk has everything that you would want from any night out: a 20 screen cinema, a live music venue at Hard Rock Live, 4 nightclubs, the worlds largest Hard Rock Cafe and no less than a dozen places to eat.

At night time the whole place looks stunning and with the great weather of Orlando, you could just sit on the steps beside the lake with a bottle of Bud in awe of the beauty of City Walk and have a good time. Unlike binge-drinking Britain the nightclubs are usually only busy at weekends so weekdays are a great time to head for Hard Rock Live or the Blue Man Group show which is also located at City Walk. City Walk is free to visit but you will have to pay a cover charge to get into the nightclubs. If you have an Orlando Flexticket, this gives you 14 days free access to the City Walk nightclubs so there is another great advantage of the Flexticket.

Universal Orlando Dancing Security Guy
Rory the dancing security guy will put a big smile on your face if you are lucky enough to see him when you enter City Walk. This guy is a real security guard and he may check your bags or your ID when you are visiting City Walk but he just loves to dance and I mean LOVES to dance. Some people just look at him in bewilderment and others run to him to get a quick photo with him because he is a bit of a celeb’ in these parts. If you are on Facebook you can even chat to him and read comments from his many fans around the world.

Check out this short clip of Rory and notice how he struggles to stop dancing when he has to get back to work as a visitor approaches…funny. I stopped to talk to him on our last visit and his legs were actually still going to the beat while we chatted.

Visit Rory on Facebook

 

Blue Man Group at City Walk

Mental, mad, crazy and mind boggling are a few ways to describe this show. Another few ways would be – brilliant, original, amazing and ground breaking.

Mrs Brit and I visited the Blue Man Group for the first time in 2009 and went straight back in 2010. The first time we visited, we left the show with a “what just happened to us” sort of feeling because it is unlike any other show that we have ever seen. Do you remember the old Tango ads on the telly where time stands still and a little fat Tango bloke runs up and slaps someones face with a wet fish whilst messing the persons hair up? the victim was left with a bewildered look on his face when the little fat bloke disappeared…..well that’s how I felt when I came out of Blue Man Group for the first time. I didn’t really know what had just happened to me.

All of its craziness and originality make this show a true ‘one of a kind’ and I would recommend Blue Man Group to anyone. The music is brilliant and very loud, the 3 Blue Men are very talented musicians in their own right and this helps get the show off to a rocking start. I had pre-arranged an interview with one of the Blue Men for after the show but I wasn’t certain that he would talk if I spoke to him (the Blue Men do not utter a word throughout the show). He told me that they actually do create every sound themselves. The whip sounds and even the crunch sounds from the Cap’n Crunch scene are actually coming from the performers themselves. I would love to tell you about the toilet roll scene but I do not want to spoil it for you so when you see the show, the toilet roll scene will totally sum up this ingenious production.

As there are no words uttered by the Blue Men, this is a great show for the hard of hearing. Nanna Brit is partially deaf and because there isn’t a storyline to follow and the music was really loud, she loved the Blue Man Group show immensely.

After the show you can queue in the foyer to get a picture with the Blue Men and the other musicians so remember to take your camera.

Tickets are priced approx $64.00 – $74.00 for adults and children aged 0 – 9 cost between $54.00 – $64.00. Even though it is recommended for children of all ages, the show makers do not advise children under the age of 3 attending, probably so they don’t “kick off” and cause a scene. If you reserve seats near the front, you are advised to wear ponchos because you will get wet and it will be paint. You could end up looking like one of the Blue Men performers. The show costs just £10 more than some dinner shows and this show is far better than all Orlando dinner shows, there is no comparison.

To find out more about what to expect from the show, visit the Blue Man Group website. You can also book tickets online.

Before the show starts, keep your eye on the scrolling text box above the stage for a really good laugh. You may also want to let the show staff know if you have any birthdays or special occasions in your party so someone with you could become the butt of the pre-show comedy.

The nightclubs
There is a great selection of nightclubs in Universals City Walk and they are all very different so there should be something to suit everyone’s taste. We have boogied in The Groove and it was absolutely dead during the week. We visited on a Wednesday night once and there was only myself, Mrs Brit and a few old blokes there but on a Friday & Saturday night this place is buzzing. They tend to play a lot of R ‘n’ B so if you like Timbaland, Justin Timberlake and their pals, then this place will suit you down to the ground. Universal Preferred Pass holders get 2 Miller Lite bottles for the price of one (even though the terms states 2 draughts for 1)

Rising Star Karaoke Bar
is the best Karaoke venue in Orlando and maybe even the world. To be honest I am not a serial Karaoke frequenter so there may be a better Karaoke bar somewhere but I can’t imagine it. O’Shucks (below) is an amazing location for talented singers but Rising Star has everything that is missing like an amazing professional stage with professional backing singers.

The backing singers really are top notch and they usually step in to help any singer suffering from stage fright. All of the music is played by live musicians so any pop star wannabe would experience what it really feels like to perform on stage in front of up to 440 fans. The venue looks amazing and it is a little bit like a small theatre with seating upstairs in the balcony area. At busy times throughout the year such as Mardi Gras nights and Fridays and Saturdays will sometimes fill up at around 10.30 and you will only get into the bar when other people are leaving. There are around 100 songs to choose from and these songs are changed every few weeks. If you take a seat, your drinks will come to you via your server so you will be expected to tip for this service. Examples of prices are bottles of Bud $5.50, glass of wine $5.25, draught beers such as Bud or Miller $4. If you are a Universal Preferred Pass holder you will get 2 draught buds for the price of 1 even though it will not state this on your pass wallet.

We popped in for an hour or so recently and during our visit, 2 really great singers performed and around 4 or 5 singers that were just there to have a good time so you don’t have to be ‘the next big thing’ to get up and sing in the Rising Star. An absolutely brilliant venue and a brilliant night out. Entry costs $7 but read my tips above for getting free entry into all CityWalk venues.

The Red Coconut Club is a good venue on weekends and live bands play on a regular basis but as with the other clubs in CityWalk they are usually really quiet on weekdays unless a special event is on. A great Reggae club called Bob Marley – A Tribute To Freedom is a must for anyone who loves live music in a Reggae stylee. When a live act is playing at this City Walk club, everyone dances including the glass collectors and even if you are a bit shy on the dance floor its hard to keep still to Reggae music.

Hard Rock Live at City Walk

Not only does this place look great from the outside, it also puts on some top name acts. While we have been in Orlando there have been acts playing such as Meatloaf, The Pet Shop Boys (remember them), Akon and Keane so there will probably be a top class act on when you are in Orlando.

Put This Site in your favourites and keep an eye on it as your holiday draws nearer and you will see the schedule as it is announced so if one of your favourite singers happens to be on, you may be able to arrange babysitters if you are going with a large family or friends. When you open up the site, click Calendar to see the current list of confirmed acts. Ticket prices can also be found on the website.

 

Hard Rock Cafe at City Walk – The largest Hard Rock Cafe in the world!!!

I opted for Salmon which came with broccoli and mashed potatoes and it was quite nice, Mrs Brit went for their Burger and Fries but it wasn’t that great. I suppose you don’t go to the Cafe hoping to have your food created by one of Gordon Ramseys proteges, you visit the Hard Rock Cafe for the music history that is everywhere in this amazing looking restaurant. If you are a big music fan, you will want to visit the Cafe to be around some of the amazing memorabillia that adorne the walls.

Mr Brit Tip after a guided backstage tour with the Cafe official tour guide KT, she told me that the staff look out for diners that look like they live for music and tell tale signs would be the way their hair is or something as obvious as a Beatles T-shirt. If this is how you dress (or could on that specific day) you could be on your way to a free private VIP tour of the backstage area of the Cafe. You will get up close to some of John Lennons cherished private posessions such as his favourite chair where he wrote a lot of his songs. We had a close up look at John & Yokos marriage certificate that Yoko personally sent to the Cafe. Stars actually personally donate their favourite guitars and other items to the cafe because they want to share a little bit of history with the fans.

Years ago Eric Clapton arrived at the Hard Rock Cafe HQ in Orlando to hand over one of his cherished guitars and asked for it to be placed on the wall and this one event started the fashion of other stars handing in their items to go on display. The staff all have that ‘rock’ look about them so expect a lot of tattoos and big colourful hair. You can either have a meal in this rock memorabilia heaven or simply sit at the bar and have a drink while your eyes wander at the hundreds of genuine music artefacts that adorn the walls.

The first thing that hits you when you walk through the door is the revolving Pink Cadillac above the bar and the second thing (and the best) is on your right as you walk towards the bar. As an owner of a decorative glass business and a bit of an Elvis fan (it’s my dads fault) I was left gob-smacked when I clapped eyes on the amazing Rock n Roll Hall of Fame stained glass window.

A criminal decision was taken by the Cafe recently to cut these windows down a little to make way for a very impressive touch screen feature. The window has now lost at least 1 metre in height and now this window on the left finishes just below Elvis’s feet. My photo doesn’t do it justice because this window is absolutely brilliant and you will probably take a better picture than I did. Even if you are not planning to eat or drink in the Hard Rock Cafe, make sure you pop in anyway while you are walking from Universal Studios to the Islands Of Adventure theme park. This venue is right in the middle of the 2 theme parks and you will see for yourself how amazing this window really is.

This image is just one third of the window and if I remember correctly, the other singers immortalised are Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry.