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Beads, Bands, and Food/Drink At Universal Studios Orlando Mardi Gras

Universal Studios Orlando kicked off their incredibly popular 16 night annual Mardi Gras event on Saturday, February 7th with a revamped parade and a concert from 70’s/80’s star, Olivia Newton-John. IMG_2167This event has been a favorite of the Cheap Seats for many years and we always look for tweaks that
are done year over year.

The floats and performers in this year’s event continue to represent multiple cultures (Mexico (Dia de los Muertos), Hindu, Chinese, etc.) with vibrant outfits and detailed floats. If you arrive early enough (target 4pm), various performers from the parade are available for pictures in the NY street area (outside of Macy’s). IMG_2170All of the performers that we encountered were extremely friendly and their outfits are very kid safe. 

The food line up this year has not changed much from prior years in that traditional New Orleans Mardi Gras dishes are available (Jambalaya, Gumbo, Andouille sausage, red beans and rice), along with theme park staples (pizza, chicken nuggets, cheese steaks). Standard beer choices are also available, along with Mardi Gras themed mixed drinks.

The parade runs for about 15 minutes and contains 13 detailed floats, dozens of stilt walkers, and mountains of beads. Universal has set up designated areas for passholder and American Express card holder viewing. That said, we found one of the best places to watch the parade is in the Hollywood section, by Ralphs. Of note, Universal has added a break in the parade that occurred around the 10 minute mark, which when set off by sirens, had the street performers dancing for extended periods of time and interacting with guests while handing them beads. This segment was a really nice addition to the parade festivities.

As in years past, Universal capped off the Mardi Gras festivities with a concert in their music pavilion. Olivia Newton-John headlined week one, and Universal has a wide variety of artists on tap for the remainder of event weekends:

2/14 – Jessie J; 2/15 – Barenaked Ladies; 2/21  – Kelly Clarkson; 2/28 – Heart; 3/7 – Trace Adkins; 3/13 – MKTO; 3/14 – Styx; 3/15 – American Authors; 3/20 – Becky G; 3/21 – Yandel; 3/22 – The B-52s; 3/28 – Phillip Phillips; 4/4 – The All-American Rejects; 4/11 – The Band Perry; 4/18 – Trey Songz

For more information: https://www.universalorlando.com/events/mardi-gras/Overview.aspx

ConcertEventMusicUniversal Studios

viewfromthecheapseats • February 10, 2015

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