ORLANDO – Beads, beignets and bands aren’t just characteristic of New Orlean’s biggest party anymore.
The party is now closer to home with Universal Studios hosting their own version of the famous celebration, saying it’s “the biggest bash this side of the Bayou.” The over-the-top festival features the Orlando theme park’s own version of the French Quarter.
Each weekend, The French Quarter Courtyard is complete with musicians and bands brought straight from the Big Easy to get guests in the Mardi Gras mood.
The French Quarter also features stands set up throughout the area offering New Orleans style entertainment.
Psychic readings, henna tattoos and people on stilts donning costumes with the signature Mardi Gras colors of purple, gold and green are ready to take photos with any passer-by.
If the entertainment doesn’t tempt, the authentic Cajun food will.
From jumbalaya to gumbo and red beans and rice there’s plenty of food so even the most heartbroken won’t be singing the blues anymore.
Between dinner and dessert, patrons can enjoy a unique water show commemorating 100 years of Universal movies. As Morgan Freeman, narrates, falling water acts as a
screen while clips from Universal Studios Entertainment movies—old and new splash across, coordinating with lights, lasers and fireworks.
After catching the show, it’s time for one of the French Quarters most famous treats— beignets. The fried dough comes with a dousing of powder sugar and a smile that will soon follow.
After dessert, it’s time to head over to to Main Street to let the good times roll.
Hundreds line the parade route to get ready to scream for beads and get a view of one of Mardi Gras’s biggest attractions—the floats.
This year’s theme, “Colorful Cultures around the World,” features new floats with vibrant colors and characters. Elegance of India, Chinese New Year and Mexican Day of the Dead were among the festive floats of this year. The floats were designed by Blaine Kern, who also designs floats for the Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans. His most famous float was The Giant Alligator, also a feature at this year’s Universal celebration.
After the parade is the night’s finale, a concert by headlining acts. This year’s lineup ranges from Lifehouse to Trey Songz, Philip Philips, Kool and the Gang and Pitbull.
Mardi Gras is happening now through April 20.