Last weekend, I finally got to see Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras Parade and celebration. I haven’t really experienced this party in a few years, and I have to admit I was very impressed. The last time I watched this parade, I remember thinking that the entire experience felt run-down. You could tell that the floats were getting older. The costumes didn’t feel as sparkly, and the atmosphere just felt stale.
Well, Universal must have been reading my mind because this year is awesome! The parade has received a major upgrade with a new theme and updated look. There’s a new tent addition to the French Quarter Courtyard area, and Mardi Gras fans can now shop ’til they drop at the event’s first Tribute Store!
“Treasures of the Deep” 25th Anniversary Mardi Gras Parade
Sporting a new theme and six sparkly new floats, Universal’s Mardi Gras parade is bigger and better than ever! Between each float, there’s a unit of stilt walkers, dancers, or other entertainers partying the night away, and there’s plenty of beads being tossed from the floats as well. Depending on the weather, technical issues, and other factors, you could be watching this parade for an average of 15-20 minutes from your chosen spot.
Preview the parade below!
French Quarter Courtyard
It’s no secret that the Big Easy can cook up some amazing food! In the Courtyard you can get a taste several cajun dishes, like po’boy sandwiches, étouffée, and, of course, New Orleans’ famous beignets.
In the Carnival Around The Universe tent (new for 2020!) guests can sample foods from celebrations around the globe. When I visited, the tent featured food from Trinidad y Tobago such as grilled pineapple and chickpea double.
Is Mardi Gras turning into Halloween Horror Nights? Amazingly, I’ve seen this question come up on social media on multiple occasions. The answer is, no, Mardi Gras is certainly not the blood-soaked, monster-filled, happy place that is Halloween Horror Nights. HOWEVER, the Tribute Store (a feature we’ve previously only seen at HHN) does feel like a haunted house. It’s got a super creepy vibe, and detailed theming!
You’ll first enter into a small “parlor”…
After which you’ll find a map of the store’s layout. There are three main areas: the aforementioned Parlor, Cemetery, and Bayou.
The Cemetery area has a few large displays as well as small, detailed props.
Inside the Bayou section, you’ll find a massive “cabin” set up, complete with new friend…
While the entire store can get crowded, the Bayou section is particularly difficult to navigate with the cashier area and the cabin taking up so much space. Take a deep breath and realize it might be a few minutes before you can really move around, and I’d avoid looking our friend directly in the eyes.. 😉