One of the great things about being in Orlando is that holidays come early and stay late. Mardi Gras is no exception; although Fat Tuesday hasn't officially arrived yet, Universal Orlando Resort officially kicked off its annual celebration on Saturday, February 9.
The celebration, which continues on select weekend nights through April 20th, has a fully packed concert schedule, which you can see below:
- FEB 16: STEVE MILLER BAND
- FEB 17: BOYS LIKE GIRLS
- FEB 23: TREY SONGZ
- MAR 2: DEMI LOVATO
- MAR 9: MONTGOMERY GENTRY
- MAR 15: SEAN KINGSTON
- MAR 16: MATCHBOX TWENTY
- MAR 22: AUSTIN MAHONE
- MAR 23: PHILLIP PHILLIPS
- MAR 30: PAT BENATAR & NEIL GIRALDO
- APR 6 : KOOL & THE GANG
- APR 13: PITBULL
- APR 20: THE ALL-AMERICAN REJECTS
However, the concerts are just one small part of the festivities. There are other bands and street performers, authentic New Orleans-style food, and, of course, a gala parade with a dozen elaborate floats, four of which are new for 2012 (my favorite is the Chinese dragon).
The parade takes place after dark, which adds a special dimension of light and color to the floats. They're accompanied by stilt walkers, street performers, and even real horses.
Click the sideshow to see the floats, which go on parade every night of the Mardi Gras celebration at Universal Studios Florida. Make sure you grab a good viewing spot, as the beads fly fast and furious, and you can amass quite a collection if you're a good catcher. If you have kids in your party, take them to the Little Jesters viewing area, which is set up just for youngsters.
The parade and concerts are included with your Universal Studios Florida admission. The concert viewing is first come, first served in the standing-room area in front of the stage by the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster.