Florida Guide > Universal Parks
Mardi Gras Universal Studios
If you are going on holiday to Orlando between February and April, a ‘not to be missed’ night out is the Mardi Gras nights at Universal Studios.
In 2009 the theme was ‘Let the Music Move You’, and featured concerts from various bands including KC and the Sunshine Band, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, The Village People, Ne-Yo, Kelly Clarkson, MC Hammer and Nelly. The concerts take place on Saturday nights.
The festival of Mardi Gras (or ‘Fat Tuesday’) dates back 5000 years and takes place every year in New Orleans. The Universal Studios Mardi Gras is a much more family friendly event and has a great party atmosphere.
Wherever you go you will find decorations in purple, green and gold (the traditional colours of Mardi Gras), and beads galore in all sizes, including huge ones with football size decorations, masks, jester hats, feather boas and t-shirts – it really is a sight to see people wearing these! Music can be heard everywhere and street entertainers and stilt walkers add to the atmosphere.
The French Quarter Courtyard in the New York area is the main hub of activity. You will know you have found the area by the wonderful smell of New Orleans style cooking. Why not sample jambalaya, shrimp gumbo (a shrimp and rice thick soup), beans and rice and andouille sausage po-boys (sandwiches). Here you can also listen to some great musicians and bands playing music straight from New Orleans.
Don’t forget to check the time and route of the parade (The Krewe of Dionysus), and take your place in plenty of time, especially if you have small children, as this is very popular and can get very crowded. It usually takes place at 8. 00 or 9. 00 pm. The parade is spectacular and colourful, featuring various themed floats, stilt-walkers and dancers, accompanied by fabulous up-beat music. The float performers have huge handfuls of colourful bead necklaces that are thrown out to the crowd much to the delight of our children, who came away with several necklaces each – this can become a bit treacherous however, with everyone grabbing and pushing!
Following on from the parade is for some the main highlight, the musical concert. Again, this does get very crowded, so get to your spot early. The night we went was The Village People (much to my teenage daughter’s disappointment as Ne-Yo, Kelly Clarkson and Nelly are more to her taste! ) However, the adults were delighted and relived our youth joining in the classic songs like YMCA, In the Navy and many more – even our 2 children were seen doing the actions to YMCA, although they would never admit it. The concert was great fun and made the evening.
Admission to the Mardi Gras celebrations if free with your admission ticket to Universal Studios, and is great fun for all the family.
Author: Dawn and Alan Murray
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