This year Mardi Gras kicked off on Super Bowl Weekend, the biggest sports weekend of the year. It was also cold, but that didnt stop the crowds from flocking to Universal for the annual celebration of Beads, Bands and Good times. This is the 15th year of the event, and it promised to be a celebration bigger than any other, with the theme being “Heritage”.
One of the highlights is always the great food. This year it was just as always, in the French Quarter between Twister and the lagoon, but the smells emanated all over the park. The characters come out around 5ish, and showcase what’s going to be in the parade later that evening. For the most part we have a mish mash of a lot of characters from years past, most notably the pirates, the royal court and the Jesters. Of course you always have the birds. The Gorgeous, gorgeous birds. On the float front they seemed to use a lot of floats from last year with the storybook theme, and of course the normal floats such as the riverboat, the food float, The court and jester and of course King Gator. The new additions included a Jazz float and a Bourbon Street float. Great attention to detail.
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Beads were out the yang! We were in our normal secret spot and got pelted with so many beads that it made it hard to do the promised live broadcast of the parade, but we managed to squeeze out a low quality version.
Again we apologize for the picture quality, and the shakiness of the cam, we will try again soon and make a better attempt at it.
The band kicks off immediately after King Gator passes the stage at the front of the park. This week’s musical performance was by KC and the Sunshine Band. While the guy is 59, he puts on a hell of a show….or I should say his crew puts on a good show. All the dancers, the band, the singers…simply amazing. KC himself does great with the singing and storytelling, but when he dances and the grunts he makes, he kind of comes off as creepy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad the guy can still move like that…..something just felt a little icky about it though. But still had a great time watching the show. I do have to say that crowd control was great this year, with the side exit being open, and a clear roped off section for people to walk through to exit the park. It’s not like years before where you have to wade through a sea of people watching the show just to get out. What was more, Rockit (after being down most of the day due to high winds) was up and running, and they ran the line out while the concert was playing. It was quiet, you couldnt hear the screams over the music, and the only thing you could hear was the whoosh of the cars as they made the loop.
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On a side note a survey was being passed through the park asking how you found out about the event, with the focus being on advertising and planning for future trips. It was interesting to see that a few websites made the list including Theme Park Insider, Wdwinfo and Screamscape. Of course we weren’t surprised to see that Behind the thrills not on that list, so we wrote it in! Mardi Gras runs until April, and visit Universal Orlando’s website for more info on the event.