This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at VOODOO DOUGHNUTS! In its transformation of CityWalk, Universal Orlando has delivered on some incredible dining experiences including Antojitos, Vivo, and Toothsome Chocolate Emporium, but it turns out the one thing guests wanted more than anything else was…donuts? Even though Universal has already established themselves as the theme park leader in donuts that are next level bonkers, there was still a company out there who creates even crazier concoctions.
Enter VOODOO DOUGHNUTS.
Featured on TV shows such as Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, Man vs. Food and The Amazing Race, Voodoo Doughnuts has developed a cult-like following. Their unique approach to doughnuts is one filled with humor, a natural fit for Universal Orlando considering all the gags in the parks (not to mention The Simpsons area.) The Voodoo Doughnuts location at Universal soft opened in April and had its official grand opening earlier this month. Guests continue to queue up for these doughnuts at almost shocking rate, including after midnight. A certified hit from day one, today we’re going to take a look at some of favorite parts of CityWalk’s Voodoo Doughnuts, and let’s kickoff the countdown with…
# 6 – The Doughnut Throne
WinterSugar is coming”
One of the cool things that came along when The Cowfish opened in CityWalk in late 2014 was a fun photo op added in front of the restaurant for guests to take pictures with. Voodoo Doughnuts took that idea up to an “11” with the debut of the Doughnut Throne. Pictures can barely do justice to just how huge and insane this chair actually is.
# 5 – Merchandise
One place that Universal is surprisingly ahead of Disney is in the area of restaurant merchandise. We all have our favorite restaurants at WDW; including ‘Ohana, Trails End, and the Sci-Fi Dine-in, but none of those places have a gift shop. In CityWalk, many of the venues have a shopping component, including Toothsome, NBC Grill, and Margaritaville. Voodoo Doughnut has a nice variety of merchandise available, and better yet they are branded Universal Studios Florida rather than just a generic “Voodoo Doughnuts.” For me, I like getting souvenirs at my favorite places because when I get back home they become a conversation piece to tell friends and family members about the experiences I’ve had in the parks over the years. When they see me wearing a Voodoo Doughnut shirt and ask what it is, I get to tell them, “Oh man, let me tell you about this place where I got a doughnut that was loaded this-high with Cap’n Crunch!”
# 4 – The Voodoo Traditions
All Voodoo Doughnut locations – including Portland and Eugene (OR), Denver (CO), Austin (TX), and Universal Studios Hollywood – incorporate stained glass windows into their design, and CityWalk’s venue continues the tradition. One series of windows features Tres Shannon and Kenneth “Cat Daddy” Pogson – the original founders of Voodoo – along with Robin Ludwig. Another set of designs spotlight some of the chain’s most popular offerings, including the Maple Bacon Bar, Portland Cream, Voodoo Doll, and Oh Captain, My Captain.
Another Voodoo Doughnuts legacy that continues in Orlando is a piece of artwork made completely out of duct tape. That’s right, Mona Superhero is an artist from the Portland, OR area whose work is comprised entirely of duct tape and masking tape. For the CityWalk location, Mona’s artwork features a Voodoo queen.
Every Voodoo Doughnut location also has a spirit channeler. This “channeler” is from the local area and is represented in the store by a velvet painting. CityWalk’s channeler is none other than CARROT TOP. The world’s foremost prop comic, Carrot Top was originally from Rockledge, FL and now has a residence in Winter Park, FL.
# 3 – Mobile Ordering
We knew Voodoo Doughnut would be popular at Universal, but no one realized the phenomenon they would immediately become, drawing significant lines throughout the day and even into the night. However, our friends at Orlando Informer broke the news that you could preorder your doughnuts and skip the line. That was music to our ears, as we are huge fans of using the mobile ordering option at Walt Disney World, so of course we had to try it at Universal.
You can call (407-267-6897) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) your order, but after trying all the options we found the best way was to TEXT your order in (using the same phone number.) The only caveat is that you need to place a minimum order of a dozen doughnuts. Hopefully this is the first step towards something like this taking place on a much larger scale at the Universal Orlando Resort. Being able to text an order ahead for, say, a shake at Toothsome Chocolate Emporium or The Cowfish, would make life a lot easier.
(The link below in the text exchange leads to the Voodoo Doughnut page on Universal Orlando’s website. There you can find the venue’s menu. Or you can go to the TouringPlans page for Voodoo Doughnut to see all the options available.)
# 2 – The Doughnuts!
Let’s face it, the huge popularity of Voodoo Doughnut only exists because of one reason: the doughnuts. Both Disney and Universal have dabbled in the world of gourmet doughnuts over the past few years, but to use theme park terminology, we guests have only been getting “flat ride” doughnuts while Voodoo delivers the “E-Ticket” doughnuts. A Voodoo Doughnut menu looks like it came straight out of the pages of a Marvel comic book, full of color and over the top creations. Inside the store there is also a moving carousel that is a rotating display of all the available doughnuts and it is guaranteed to have your mouth watering.
An underrated part of Voodoo Doughnut is the amount of vegan options available. When it comes to dining, if there is one area Universal falls short in (especially compared to Walt Disney World) it’s options for vegetarians and vegans. Below is a baker’s dozen of doughnuts that are all vegan friendly.
# 1 – The Voodoo Doll
Possibly the most fun doughnut ever created is the Voodoo Doughnut signature Voodoo Doll. You just can’t help but love this little bit of baked goodness as it represents a voodoo doll being stuck with a pretzel stake. Sometimes our theme park world has something that just everyone has to get. A butterbeer in the Wizarding World, a dole whip in the Magic Kingdom, a corn dog in Disneyland, and now we can add a Voodoo Doll in CityWalk.
Honorable Mention – THE COFFIN
How crazy is this? A coffin full of three dozen donuts and you get to keep the coffin? Yes please!
So there you have it: Six Reasons We Love VOODOO DOUGHNUTS! See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles, or, for your listening pleasure, check out the E-Ticket Report podcast. You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan).
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Special Thanks to our spirit animal Brandon Glover, the Siren of Secret Shopping @HedgehogsCorner, the bio-est of all reconstructs @bioreconstruct, hot shot Michael Carelli, the SAT SIX Fun Squad of Parkscope Joe and Nick, and blogger to the stars Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. Be sure to also check out Brandon on The Park Blogger podcast with goofballs co-hosts Aengus Mackenzie and LitemAndHyde , while fellow Potterheads may enjoy Meg’s work on the Central Florida Slug Club.
FINAL PLUG! Did you know The 2018 Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando has a special edition of the SATURDAY SIX in it? Finally, someone came up with an actual reason to read a book. ORDER this baby now!