Like fall, spring in Orlando brings no shortage of special events on top of the full theme park experience. Each spring, Universal Studios Florida brings the annual New Orleans Mardi Gras tradition to the park on select days and nights starting in February.
This year, the event has been extended into May, for even more chances to eat, drink, watch the parade and catch some beads. And Mardi Gras is included with admission to Universal Studios Florida, so laissez-les les bon temps rouler! Here are seven reasons why Universal’s Mardi Gras is not to be missed.
1. The festive atmosphere.
Yes, everywhere you turn inside Universal Studios Florida during Mardi Gras, the party atmosphere abounds. There are no shortage of photo ops, and there is plenty of Mardi Gras merchandise to get you in a festive mood. Show a little Mardi Gras spirit, and you may get some beads.
2. The costumes!
While it is as close to authentic as you can get, Universal’s Mardi Gras is kid friendly. You’ll see tons of kids and families taking in the festivities. Over in Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone at the Kidzone Mardi Pardi Krewe, the kids can see some of their favorite characters perform (in costumes), dance and catch some beads! There is even a special parade viewing area for kids next to the Terminator 2: 3D attraction toward the front of the park that opens an hour before the parade.
Make sure to wear you’re dancing shoes, because over in the French Quarter Courtyard, authentic New Orleans bands perform during Mardi Gras. The courtyard opens at 4 p.m. You’ll find the full lineup of performers in Our Guide to Universal’s Special Events 2014.
6. The concerts.
Some of rock, pop, country and R&B’s biggest names perform nightly during Mardi Gras, bringing with them large crowds to the Universal Music Plaza. There is no seating, and it’s first come, first serve.
7. The parade.
For us, the biggest highlight in the parade. This year, Universal took its inspiration from Jules Verne’s “Around the World in 80 Days,” with colorful floats depicting exotic adventures and journeys aboard unusual transportation. Of course, there is still plenty of New Orleans flavor, including the King Gator and Jester floats. You’ll find plenty of performers and stilt walkers as we’ll (although they will be on foot when there’s a chance of rain).
If you’re headed to Orlando this spring, make sure to experience Mardi Gras at Universal!
Hoppy Mardi Gras!