Kudos: Casey at Universal Orlando Resort Twitter

As you read this, please keep in mind the following statement:

BRANDS ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS!

Internet

But if they were, Universal Orlando Resort would at least be a cool acquaintance.

I had noticed on my Twitter account that Universal Orlando Resort was actually responding to Tweets from other users. Their responses would range from helpful (“send us a direct message and we will try to help.”), to silly (responding with an animated GIF of some meme), to proactive (seeing someone complain about something and stepping in to assist).

On February 26, I decided to tweet them a question…

I was surprised to receive a human response so quickly. I contacted them via direct message. It went something like this…

Thanks for responding, human. . . .

(…Then a lengthy paragraph about past visits, allergies, and a goal to avoid boring burgers…)

ME

To which I got back…

Hello, other human! My name is Casey, and I’d be super happy to make some recommendations for you! I’m glad you’ve loved your past visits and are excited to come back! Couple more questions, just so I can make sure I don’t recommend anything you can’t experience . . .

(…Then some questions for me to answer…)

Casey @UniversalORL

Thus began an enjoyable exchange between myself and a “brand” which would continue, off and on, for the next month leading up to my visit.

The first thing Casey assisted with was to give me an e-mail address to contact about food allergies. I sent an e-mail and quickly received a response from Tyler B., a nutritionist with Universal Orlando Resort. Now that’s service!

Next, Casey followed up with a detailed response with various suggestions on food items:

Now let’s get down to the fun recommendations. For Universal Studios Florida: I would personally recommend dinning at The Leaky Cauldron and Finnegan’s Bar & Grill, as well as Bumblebee Man’s Taco Truck! My personal favorite menu items at each are Cottage Pie with a Pear Cider (Leaky Cauldron), Beef Tenderloin Medallions and Irish Fish & Chips, as well as a Finnegan’s Potato & Onion Webb as a starter or a snack if you aren’t super hungry (Finnegan’s Bar & Grill), and Korean Beef Taco (Bumbleebee Man’s Taco Truck)! . . .

(…Then a similar list about Universal’s Islands of Adventure…).

Casey @UniversalORL

I was impressed that I was getting personal recommendations — much like speaking with the concierge at a fancy hotel when asking “what’s a good restaurant around here?”

Casey was able to provide me with a list of unique beers made just for Universal Orlando Resort, including one available only at Loews Royal Pacific Resort. She even suggested taking the water taxi from the parks to the resorts, and also mentioned a resort restaurant with a patio that had a good view of one of the parks.

When I needed clarification on something (I am fairly unfamiliar with the Universal parks), she’d send me direct links to the place in question, such as San Francisco’s Chez Alcatraz or Jurassic Park’s Watering Hole.

Perhaps this was more like clubhouse level service than hotel concierge.

During my actual visit, as I worked through much of my Casey-provide list, I’d occasionally write in with other questions. Casey was always quick to make some phone calls to see what she could find (sadly, no spiked coffee drinks at Universal Studios parks, but she did suggest Universal’s Toothsome Chocolate Emporium at CityWalk). And if Casey wasn’t available, someone else stepped in to assist.

It was truly guest service above and beyond anything I was expecting. The Universal Orlando Resort Twitter team does great work.

They also do funny work, like responding with animated GIF memes of, not surprisingly, Universal Studios related properties such as Jimmy Fallon:

And a Minion dropping the mic:

I just wonder how many lawyers and managers were there monitoring everything these folks sent. I mean, they used emojis, too!

Thank you Casey and your coworkers for being excellent human representatives for a large corporation. You made my visit more enjoyable (and, uh, more expensive) than it otherwise would have been.

I’m glad to have @UniversalORL as a brand acquaintance. If you are ever in Des Moines, Iowa, tweet me and I’ll return the favors.

Until next time…

Park exclusive beers at Universal Studios Florida

I don’t know why, but it’s always annoyed me to see so much “generic” merchandise for sale at Disney and other theme parks. What compels people to buy a generic Mickey Mouse shirt at Disney prices when they can get the same shirt for much less at their local Walmart?

Over the years, some things have gotten better. At least now you can buy a generic Mickey Mouse shirt (that doesn’t mention Disneyland anywhere on it) that at least has “Disneyland” on the sizing tag.

I’ll also give a pass to generic things found at World Showcase and spots in Universal Studios’ parks — you might not ever make a trip to the United Kingdom or New York, so perhaps picking up something “from there” in the parks is fine since you probably can’t get them at home.

But folks still pay jacked up prices for Starbucks coffee or Coca-Colas that we can find, literally, around the block back home.

With that in mind, I present you with a list of the park exclusive beers made just for Universal Studios Orlando … Feel free to try as many of these as you want, since you can’t get them back home at your local brew pub.

The beers of The Hog’s Head at Islands of Adventure’s The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Hogsmeade

Kudos to Casey at the Universal Orlando twitter account for this list.

Universal Studios Florida

  • DUFF Beer and DUFF Lite – Springfield – Duff Gardens
  • Dragon Scale and Wizard’s Brew– The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley – Fountain of Fair Fortune, Leaky Cauldron, and The Hopping Pot
  • Mardi Gras Brew (only available during their Mardi Gras celebration) – French Quarter

Islands of Adventure

  • Dragon Scale and Wizard’s Brew – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Hogsmeade – Three Broomsticks and The Hog’s Head
  • Hog’s Head Brew – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Hogsmeade – The Hog’s Head

Volcano Bay

  • Volcano Blossom – Dancing Dragons Boat Bar and Kunuku Boat Bar

Loews Royal Pacific Resort

  • Jake’s American Red Lager– Jake’s American Bar

Casey adds that Jake’s American Red Lager is one of her personal favorites. She also notes that many locations also have signature drinks, and recommends the Triple in Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade. It is three different beers layered on top of each other (Strongbow, Hog’s Head Brew and Guiness). I can’t wait to check this out my next visit. Thanks, Casey!

Until next time…