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Mardi Gras at Universal Orlando is more than just parades and bands

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When you think of the Mardi Gras celebration at Universal Studios Florida, the two things that probably pop into your mind are bands and a gala parade complete with authentic floats and a near-continual rain of beads. Sure, those things are a big draw, but you'll lots of other things to see and do. Click the slideshow accompanying this article for an overview.

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Two of the most prominent parts of the celebration are the food and the bands that appear in the French Quarter Courtyard. The bands aren't major headliners like those who appear on the main stage, but they're extremely talented and contribute to the festival New Orleans atmosphere. The musicians come straight from the Big Easy to add plenty of authentic aural charm.

The food is also a real winner, especially if you love Cajun cuisine. You'll find lots of food stands with authentic fare, as well as some with more traditional theme park offerings like twisted taters and turkey legs. However, if you like a little spice in your life, opt for the jambalaya, andouille sausage, shrimp po boys, gumbo, and other treats with a taste that comes straight from Louisiana. Jump to this article for a slideshow of some of those dishes, as well as desserts like king cake and beignets.

If you'd like to see the colorful characters who hang out in the area, jump to this article. For an overview of the food, go here. You'll see the colorful beads thrown during the parade by going here.

Need advice or guidance from a Central Florida theme parks expert? Check out my ebooks for Kindle and Nook.

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