The Art of Attractions - March 2018

I’ll Drink to That


Coke or Pepsi? That used to be the biggest decision attractions had to make about the drinks they served. Sure, there may have been occasional forays into root beer floats or Icees, but the beverage side of the food and beverage department never got too much attention. Then Butterbeer began flowing.

And flowing and flowing. The drink is so popular—not to mention, delicious—it’s virtually de rigueur for every one of the gazillion Wizarding World of Harry Potter visitors to purchase a frothy mug at Universal theme parks around the world.

“It wasn’t easy to make,” says Ric Florell, executive vice president for revenue operations at Universal Orlando and one of the architects of the delicious brew. He and his team tinkered with ingredients, which contain notes of shortbread and butterscotch. Florell says once they came up with a winning formula, they presented it to “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling for her approval. Like just about everybody who has tasted Butterbeer, it cast an instant spell on her. With Rowling’s consent, the addictive treat is available as frozen and hot drinks as well as in its original form. Butterbeer can even be found in soft-serve ice cream (which is heavenly), fudge, and as a potted cream dessert at Universal’s Wizarding Worlds.

Themed beverages are now featured throughout the attractions industry. For example, visitors to Springfield, Universal’s ode to “The Simpsons,” can imbibe a non-alcoholic Flaming Moe; the citrusy drink issues fizzy wisps of smoke to replicate flames. Folks looking for something stronger at Moe’s Tavern could order a Duff Beer, an actual craft brew based on Homer Simpson’s beverage of choice and made especially for the parks.

Some of the Cedar Fair parks also have their own craft beers. Visitors at Cedar Point, for instance, can try a number of signature drinks on draft, including Shandy Shores, Valravn Red/Black IPA, and the cleverly named RougaBrew, named after the park’s floorless roller coaster, “Rougarou.”

WALT DISNEY PARKS AND RESORTSLiterally out-of-this-world “indigenous” beers, such as Mo’ara High Country Ale, are on the menu at Pongu Pongu, the new beverage kiosk at Pandora—The World of Avatar in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. A Mo’ara Margarita is available, as well. Pongu Pongu also features a non-alcoholic specialty drink, Night Blossom. The tasty concoction includes limeade, apple, and pear flavors and is topped with passion fruit boba pearls. As an option, the Night Blossom can be made “bioluminescent” with the addition of a flickering seed. The LED light hangs from the rim of the glass, adding decoration.

Pongu Pongu drinks. (Credit: WALT DISNEY PARKS AND RESORTS)

Among other unique drinks at the Disney parks are LeFou’s Brew in New Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, and Red’s Apple Freeze in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure. The similar frozen beverages have hints of apple, toasted marshmallow, mango, and passion fruit.

As part of a multisensory storytelling experience, it’s great to have tasty, distinctive drinks in the mix. Of course Coke and Pepsi are still widely available on midways (and let’s hear it for Holiday World for including complimentary fountain drinks as part of admission).

Go with the flow and consider introducing one-of-a-kind beverages at your attractions. I’ll see you at the parks where we can raise a toast to drinks.