When Universal Orlando opened the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in 2010, nobody was surprised that it led to a huge increase in attendance at Islands of Adventure. What was a surprise, though, was the 30 percent increase in food and merchandise sales that came along with it. Much of that was driven by a single product: Butterbeer, the frothy beverage that - with one sip - transports drinkers into Harry Potter's universe. Disney had spent the previous few years phasing out much of its park-specific merchandise, aiming to save costs by selling generic "Disney Parks" merchandise. Suddenly, here was its arch-rival proving that the opposite approach could be much more effective. For once, the Mouse was scrambing to play catch-up - and it wasn't alone. Everyone is trying to replicate Universal's success with Butterbeer at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Here are 6 rival drinks being served up at popular theme parks!
6. South Pole Chill (SeaWorld Orlando)
With the debut of Antarctica: Empire of the Penguinon May 24, 2013, SeaWorld Orlando introduced an exclusive Coca-Cola Freestyle flavor that is only offered in the new area. The "vanilla-infused" South Pole Chill drink is one of dozens of other Coke flavors on offer from two beverage stations in the attraction. SeaWorld also offers the "Cup That Cares" - a reusable souvenir cup that is designed to used with the Coca-Cola Freestyle machines, and offers interactive features. The Cup That Cares boasts an embedded RFID chip which is used to calculate the amount of Carbon Dioxide each guest saves when they opt to reuse the cup.
5. Energon (Universal Studios Hollywood, Florida and Singapore)
Sister parks Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Singapore both launched Energon alongside Transformers: The Ride. The custom-designed beverage is based on the fuel that powers the Transformers, and is a mix of orange soda and vanilla foam. It comes complete with a blinking LED ice cube. Even director Michael Bay tried one a glass of Energon on a visit to the Hollywood park, as seen in the image above.
4. Red's Apple Freeze (Disney California Adventure)
Perhaps more so than any other theme park land around, Cars Land at Disney California Adventure rivals the Wizarding World in terms of its depth of theming and immersiveness. No surprise, then, that Disney serves up a range of special Cars-themed drinks, including Doc's Wild Grape Tonic and Mater's Tulsa Tea. Red's Apple Freeze, though, stands out as bearing the great similarity to Butterbeer in terms of appearance. The drink is made with 100% frozen apple juice with a hint of toasted marshmallow and passion fruit-mango foam.
3. Duff Beer (Universal Studios Florida)
Just as Disney and SeaWorld have been looking to replicate the runaway success of Butterbeer, Universal is also keen to find a way to make lightning strike twice. The real success of Butterbeer, though, came not from simply selling it outside a standalone attraction. Instead, it was an integral part of an entire experience that was designed to convince guests that they had really stepped into Harry Potter’s world. To reproduce that effect, Universal would have to find another fictional universe to recreate in one of its theme parks – one that would be instantly recognizable and familiar in the same way that the Wizarding World was. It found the answer: building a recreation of Springfield, The Simpsons's home town, around the existing The Simpsons Ride. As well as tucking into Krusty Burgers and Lard Lad Donuts, guests can also try one of three varieties of Duff Beer. In the show, every variety of Duff Beer (including Duff Lite and Duff Dry) is actually the same drink in different packaging. Not so at Universal Studios Florida, where Duff Beer is an American-style amber lager, Duff Lite is a traditional pilsner and Duff Dry is a toasted dark ale.
2. Le Fou's Brew (Disney's Magic Kingdom)
Opened in 2012, Gaston's Tavern in the Magic Kingdom's New Fantasyland is a quick-service outlet themed around Beauty and the Beast. Naturally, in this post-Wizarding World theme park market, it offers its own signature drink: Le Fou's Brew. Named after Gaston's sidekick, the drink is a no-sugar-added frozen apple juice with a hint of toasted marshmallow, topped with passion fruit-mango foam. Sound familiar? Yep - it's exactly the same drink as Red's Apple Freeze at Disney California Adventure.
1. Flaming Moe (Universal Studios Florida)
The drink that is perhaps most likely to rival Butterbeer was created by Universal itself, and it sold alongside Duff Beer in the Springfield area of Universal Studios Florida. Inspired by an episode of The Simpsons, the Flaming Moe is a sight to behold. The citrus-flavored soda bubbles and smokes while you drink it. The Flaming Moe effect is created by serving up the drink in a special cup equipped with a compartment at the bottom holding dry ice. When the drink is served, the dry ice bubbles up, creating the “smoke” effect.