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Adventures at Universal: Mardi Gras 2017

These are the last days to experience Mardi Gras 2017 at Universal Studios Florida (until March 25). It’s the only time of the year to enjoy Universal’s night time parade- Mardi Gras Parade, authentic cuisine at French Quarter Courtyard along with live music and live concerts. The last live concert for the event will be by All-American-Rejects (Move Along, Dirty Little Secret) on March 25.

Universal’s Mardi Gras event is a very unique experience. It’s just good fun, good music, dancing and a just a wonderful, happy atmosphere all-around (along with some treats and drinks!). I went to the event and was surprised to go on some unplanned adventures as well as got the opportunity to be a float rider! It was unbelievable!

Mardi Gras Parade

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As an annual pass-holder you can sign-up to be a float rider and I was thrilled and excited to have been selected this year! It was so much fun! You start out by going back stage, putting on your costume and being assigned to your float. At the parade itself, you don’t just get to be on the float – you have a serious duty- throw beads and spread happiness!! From the float – you can see the HUGE crowds, and it can be really playful as you can focus on some people in the crowd who look at you and direct the beans to the them. It’s really one of a kind experience, and as people are cheering for you, it makes you feel like a VIP. What an amazing idea!

The parade itself looks stunning. Colorful parade floats, with some themed around mythical creatures and others around Mardi Gras traditions. The music is great and everyone is having fun. Universal Mardi Gras parade, unlike other Mardi Gras parades, is appropriate for families which I thought was a very nice touch.

French Quarter Courtyard

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The French Quarter Courtyard is a special area at the event where you can find authentic Cajun cuisine, treats and drinks. I tried the Banana Foster Crepes which were delicious. If you’re not a fan of Cajun cuisine, like me, you still have other options like Chicken Hamburger and more, but the Cajun food like the spicy jambalaya, shrimp gumbo, red beans and rice with andouille sausage were some of the more popular choices. The good people over the beverage booth were gracious enough to make a colorful delicious non-alcoholic Mardi-Gras mixed slushy for me 🙂

Live music and performers

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This is a big part of what makes this event great. The authentic New Orleans bands, their music, the dancers who dance around and performers that have fun with the crowd. It created such a lively enjoyable atmosphere. People were smiling and playful. It was really great to be a part and around all that.

It was such a good time at Mardi Gras and to my surprise I got to go on two unplanned additional adventures that day:

Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon

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This won’t be a full review of of the attraction as it still undergoing changes and tests to be ready its grand opening next month, on April 6, 2017. I was very curious about this ride. First of all, I think it’s a perfect fit the New York zone of Universal Studios Florida. The attraction building looks like the NBC offices and the premise is that you are invited to The Tonight Show as a special guest. The VIP treatment is nice. Although this is a Fallon ride- the attraction is a celebration of The Tonight Show in its various incarnations and hosts: the entry hall displays a collection from the different periods which is interesting to see. The second hall has interactive games and comfortable sofas with USB charging (that’s a brilliant idea as its the only place I know of to charge your phone). The third space which is a part of the second hall is a stage with live performances. When I was there, there was a wonderful performance by The Ragtime Gals with special renditions of popular songs. The ride itself is a 3D movie type ride, with an impressive use of dimensional effects.

TNA Impact Wrestling 

Oh boy! I didn’t expect that one. I knew Universal has some special shows that are filmed on site, just didn’t know how that works or how you get to be on one. Well, it turns out – that day they were handing out special tickets to a professional wresting show! When I was very young I loved watching WWF (later changed to WWE) matches and so it was really intriguing to do that once again! The show has all the over-the-top action and greater than life characters as I remember (some fighters were creepy as hell haha). The production value is really incredible these days. I had so much fun watching that!

What an adventure!

Mardi Gras at Universal is an exceptional time to visit the park. Not only will you get to enjoy all of the attractions at Universal Studios Florida, for the same price you get to enjoy some good music, fun performances with lots of photo opportunities, Universal’s only night time parade and more. For me it was a very special day with some unforgettable adventures.

For those who would like to attend the All-American-Rejects, this Saturday, on March 25 I’ll leave you with one of their hit songs – Gives You Hell:

 

Theme park enthusiast, world traveler, film and animation buff

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