Feet don’t fail me now!

Mardi Gras starts this month and it’s a must-do event in the Central Florida area. Universal Orlando refers to it as Florida’s biggest party, and I would have to agree. It’s an event full of great music, nightly parades, amazing street performers, flavorful food and of course, beads.

From February 1st – April 2nd guests at Universal can take part in the festivities which are included with theme park admission. The streets of Universal Studios come alive with music and performers, making it a great time for all.

Universal’s New York area is transformed into New Orleans with the addition of the French Quarter Courtyard where true Cajun cuisine is offered, and authentic music is performed daily. The food here is usually delicious. Last year, I tried gator for the first time and really enjoyed it. The Po Boys are always a safe bet and you can even get local favorites like gumbo, red beans and rice, jambalaya and beignets. And we can’t forget about the bar that has some great New Orleans themed drinks. It is Mardi Gras after all!

The nightly parade is something you definitely don’t want to miss. The floats are some of the best around. Crowd favorites like the River Boat and King Gator make an appearance every year but Universal also chooses a new theme each year to introduce new floats, so you experience a brand-new parade year after year. And in true Bourbon Street fashion, beads are thrown into the audience throughout the parade. My advice to you is to not stand directly across from a spotlight as you may end up getting pelted in the face on accident.

If catching beads is your favorite part, stand by the Horror Makeup Show theater. Here, you’ll be able to watch the parade in its entirety twice, which means you’ll get a ridiculous number of beads that no one needs but everyone secretly wants.

My all-time favorite thing about this event is that you, a normal day guest, can be in the parade on one of the floats! It’s probably one of, if not the best, theme park experiences around. We try and do it multiple times every year. You get to stand on top of the floats as they make their way around the parade route throwing out beads to the crowd. You can sign up beforehand for your chance to join the parade as an Annual Pass Holder or you can hang around in the stand-by line day-of in the park. Neither of these options guarantee that you will get to ride but it’s worth a shot.

Mardi Gras also brings live concerts to the music plaza stage every weekend during the event. Some of the past performers include Pitbull, Macklemore, Bush, Dan + Shay, the All American Rejects and even Fall Out Boy. The addition of these bigtime performers is amazing considering the concerts are also included in your park admission.

Some of the concerts are so popular that people will get to the park and hang out by the entrance to the stage for hours and hours to guarantee a close spot.

I highly recommend attending this event if you have the chance and are looking for some serious Mardi Gras fun.