It's great to have an opportunity to see the floats when it's light out because you can really see the detail, but of course the best time to view them is at night, during the parade. That's when they're all lit up and packed with enthusiastic bead throwers who shower the crowd with colorful beads. Each float also has its own troop of talented performers accompanying it.
Click the slideshow accompanying this article for a quick overview of the 2014 Universal Orlando Resort Mardi Gras parade featuring the brand new floats, as well as some old favorites. The "Around the World in 80 Days" theme makes for a nice global tour before it ends up in New Orleans for the grand finale.
Check the parade time in your park map when you arrive so you can be sure to stake out a good spot. There's a special reserved area for "little jesters" and plenty of viewing for everyone all along the route, which passed through the Hollywood and New York sections of the park.