PHOTO: Dancers at Universal Orlando Resort's Mardi Gras. (Photo by Erik Yates)
Universal Orlando is kicking off 2017 in a huge way. First, the park is going to celebrate the Wizarding World of Harry Potter with some massive stars and a three-day event. Then they are going to open an all-new attraction starring Jimmy Fallon! But between the Wizards and talk show hosts, Universal is going to give you 50 nights of music, beads and Cajun food as they celebrate Mardi Gras in a huge new way!
For the first time in its history, Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras celebration is going to run for 50 consecutive nights. The event traditionally was held only on the weekends for an extended amount of time, however this year the park will run it every single night from Feb. 4-March 25. That’s more chances to catch beads, more chances to sample authentic Cajun food, and more chances to ride the amazing floats.
On select nights of the event, the park will throwing their signature concerts. This year the lineup is pretty stellar, as the park runs the musical gauntlet with everything from country to hip hop and more. The park will have 12 select nights where they will offer concerts, with the majority being on the weekends.
Here’s the full line up!
February 4: Trace Adkins
February 11: Ne-Yo
February 18: Collective Soul
February 19: X Ambassadors
February 25: Fifth Harmony
March 4: Kool & the Gang
March 5: Olivia Newton-John
March 11: UB40
March 12: Toby Keith
March 18: Jason Derulo
March 19: Earth, Wind & Fire
March 25: The All-American Rejects
As always, the party is included with your daily admission to Universal Orlando, including concerts. The concerts are on a first-come, first-serve basis at Universal Music Plaza, so in order to get a good spot you’ll have to get there early. The concert area is also standing room only, so get comfortable!
While the concerts are absolutely amazing (and we’ve seen quite a few of them), the most fun for us is the parade. The massive parade uses authentic floats from Mardi Gras Float makers Blaine Kern. The float maker does all the floats in New Orleans, and works with Universal specifically for this event. Of course you have the customary floats like The Jester, Riverboat, King and Queen and King Gator that appear every year. Those are the traditional floats that you always must have for every Mardi Gras party. BUT the party changes every year at Universal, and this year they are adding six unique new floats, all themed to mythical creatures. You’ll see Pegasus, Sprites, Dragons, Sprites, Maticores and Marudas. Don’t know what those are? You’ll see them larger than life at Universal Orlando.
Want to see last year’s fun? Check out our video featuring the full parade!
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Mardi Gras is synonymous with a lot of bad behavior. Don’t worry parents, Universal is a completely family friendly environment. While you will see some skimpy outfits, nothing is too revealing, and beads are tossed out by the handfuls. There’s a kids area that will allow your “little jesters” to get the best seat in the house, where they are positively drenched in beads. The event is amazing fun for the whole family, and a must see for those who love the Big Easy!