It's Mardi Gras time at Universal Studios Florida and this year the Grand Celebration lasts all the way through June 7, 2014. But before you head to the park to catch those beads and doubloons, made famous by the annual street party in New Orleans, check out our insider tips to help you make the most of your visit.
Included with regular park admission and on select nights guests can experience a family-friendly version of Mardi Gras featuring park-wide entertainment, authentic Cajun cuisine, music from the Big Easy, an impressive parade and live concerts by some of the biggest names in music.
Click here for the most updated list of music concerts.
Gather the family to catch all the exciting parade throws by the handful as dazzling floats and entertaining street performers wind their way through the park. The parade starts about 45 minutes before the scheduled concert times and lasts about 25 minutes. (Check schedule upon arrival for parade start time.)
Each week, a limited number of Universal Orlando Annual Passholders are chosen to ride on one of the Universal Studios Mardi Gras floats. Click here to sign up for your chance to ride and to read about rider qualifications and restrictions.
Here are the Krewe of Visit Orlando's helpful hints that will prepare you to catch the best throws, see the best shows and dine on the best N'awlins treats.
Tip: This is a great way to see a favorite band with no opening act you need to wait through. THAT'S HUGE! There's also something for everyone with so many different genres represented in the schedule.
Tip: If you want to watch parade and also the band performing, find a spot on the parade route by the stage. It's an easier transition to find a spot at the Universal Music Plaza stage to watch the band. People start reserving spots for the parade early, so leave plenty of time.
Tip: If you really only care about the band, get to the stage area early and hang out. If you're early enough you can easily be super close, even front row.
Tip: While the parade is a lot of fun, colorful floats, stilt walkers and beads, beads and more beads, if it's not your speed that's the time to check out some of the most popular rides.
Tip: French Quarter Courtyard (opens at 4 p.m.) is the place for authentic New Orleans food and music. They have everything from Jambalaya and beignets to Po' Boy sandwiches and gumbo. This is where bands straight from New Orleans play prior to the big band later in the evening. There are benches in the area to relax, take in the music and eat.
Tip: Time of parade changes depending on the day you go, so be sure to double check on the website or on the park guide once you arrive.
Tip: If you have kids in the group, the Little Jester's Parade Viewing Area is located next to the Terminator 2®: 3-D attraction. It opens up one hour prior to the parade start time.
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