French fries robot

Fry Robot Named Horton Preparing Food at Universal Orlando Resort

Shannen Ace

Circus McGurkus Cafe Stoo-pendous recently reopened after a months-long refurbishment with a new menu and, as we have learned, a new fry robot employee named Horton.

Horton the Fry Robot

French fries robot

Team Members told us that the Seuss Landing restaurant in Universal Islands of Adventure is using a new robot to make French fries. The FryBot, made by Middleby’s Lab2Fab (L2F) division, collects fries in a basket and then moves them in and out of oil to fry them. Employees have dubbed their robot co-worker Horton, named after the elephant main character in Dr. Seuss’ “Horton Hears a Who.” The system can fry two foods and up to 30 pounds in each container.

The robot is fully automated, with employees only having to load fries into a large stainless steel ramp and select the operation mode via the included touchpad. The FryBot then picks up the basket of frozen fries and places them in the fryer, which automatically lowers the fries into the oil; once they’re finished cooking, the arm picks the basket back up, lightly shakes off excess oil, and then dumps the fries into a waiting metal tray.

The FryBot can also adjust to its human co-workers, like immediately reducing its speed when it detects a human in its operating range. If an employee were to bump into the robot arm, it can be manually reset.

Though we can’t see Horton in action backstage at Circus McGurkus, L2F does have a public video of a FryBot that you can view below.

FryBot improves the kitchen productivity and creates a safer environment for employees […] Eliminating repetitive close-contact with hot, splattered oil will greatly improve morale and employee retention and safety.

L2F Inc. in a video about the FryBot

The robot heralds things to come at Epic Universe, the third Universal Orlando Resort theme park. Universal Destinations & Experiences CEO Mark Woodbury said Epic Universe would be their “most technologically advanced park” yet. Epic Universe will use facial recognition, and photo validation technology at the entrance gates to create a “frictionless” experience for guests. This technology began testing at Universal Studios Florida and Universal Islands of Adventure last year and has now been fully implemented. Universal also filed for a patent for tracking guests in restaurants through facial recognition in late 2023.

Woodbury also said, “We have the benefit of new technology that we’re deploying in terms of managing ticketing, revenue, and revenue management across each of those platforms.”

Epic Universe is scheduled to open in the summer of 2025. Read our most recent Epic Universe construction update.

The exterior of Circus McGurkus Cafe Stoo-pendous.

How do you feel about Horton the fry robot at Circus McGurkus Cafe Stoo-pendous? Let us know in the comments.

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