Mardi Gras at Universal Studios

Florida Guide > Universal Parks

If you are fortunate enough to be in Orlando any Saturday in early spring (usually February – April) be sure to visit Universal Studios and join in the Mardi Gras party. You do not need to pay extra for your Mardi Gras ticket, as it is included in the price of your entrance ticket to Universal.

The streets look fantastic and are filled with beads; you will enjoy the very famous Mardi Gras parade and can listen to some world-class bands.

Friends of ours went earlier this year (2006) and for them one of the highlights was a parade featuring 13 original floats direct from New Orleans. The float riders toss millions of strands of beads and doubloons to the crowds cheering below. They said it was incredulous how thousands of flags, decorations and tons of confetti transform Universal Studios into a Mega-Mardi Gras Party. They could not contemplate the work involved to stage this party.

In addition to the normal celebrations there was a New Orleans Mardi Gras with special shows in the French Quarter with street performers and musicians straight from New Orleans. The French Quarter is located in the New York section of the park.

Apparently different musicians performed each Saturday with jazz, zydeco and blues music. Many of these musicians had lost homes, gigs, and even their musical instruments (with which they earned their livings) in Hurricane Katrina.. Universal Orlando had partnered with Tipitina's Foundation in New Orleans to employ these struggling bands. Tipitina's, (a chain of restaurants) has hosted Louisiana great musicians for more than 27 years and has formed a foundation to assist local artists. The programme is designed to give musicians the chance to get back on their feet as the city recovers from the hurricane and Universal Studios will make a donation towards the Foundation.

Also don’t forget in between watching the celebrations there are plenty of rides to go on!

Our friends were a couple without children and they spent the evening enjoying the music at the Mardi Gras before heading over to City Walk, which was open until 2.00am. Here their Mardi Gras ticket allowed them free entry to the clubs, live entertainment and of course more beads!

They ended there evening at Pat O’Briens that is an exact replica of the famed New Orleans watering hole where not only was it Mardi Gras that night but it is Mardi Gras 365 days a year! They sat in the Patio Bar, with its famous flaming fountains, where they drank Hurricanes before heading of to the Piano Lounge for a sing along.

They returned home very tired but very happy and said it was an experience they were glad they had not missed.

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