• Posted on 02/23/2015

Universal Mardi Gras Marching Jazz Band 544x350

Carnival time is still upon us in Orlando and Universal's Mardi Gras celebration lets guests savor the flavor of the famous New Orleans holiday. From tasting your way through a menu of creole delights to shouting "Throw me somethin' mister" at the top of your lungs, you're sure to get caught up in what Universal calls, "Florida's biggest party."

Happening on select nights, now through April 18, 2015, this event is included with regular park admission into Universal Studios Florida. And if you've never been to Mardi Gras in New Orleans or are a huge fan, you'll be dazzled by the music, entertainment and, of course all of the delicious food.

Check out our top ten tips for making the most fun out of your Mardi Gras party. And see our review of our favorite foods!

Universal Mardi Gras Jester Float 544x350 

#1. If you want to watch the parade and also the band performing, find a spot on the parade route by the center 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.

Universal Mardi Gras Kelly Clarkson 544x350

Bonus Party Tip: If you really only care about the band, get to the stage area early and hang out. If you arrive early enough you can easily be super close, even front row. We caught the Kelly Clarkson performance and there wasn't a bad seat in the house.

Click here for the most updated list of music concerts.

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#2. Get ready to catch those throws, even from the back row. The parade is filled with colorful floats that can be seen from many vantage points along the parade route. And with 1.8 million beads flying through the air, you're sure to get your fill by the end.

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#3. Universal has added two new "Show Stops" to the parade. You'll have your chance to party with the parade performers like never before.

Universal Mardi Gras China Town Float 544x350 

Bonus Party Tip: If you have kids in the group, the Little Jester's Parade Viewing Area is located in front of the Brown Derby Hat Shop. It opens up one hour prior to the parade start time.

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#4. Enjoy the street party. The French Quarter Courtyard (opens at 4 p.m.) is the heart of the celebration with plenty of food booths and live music. Hang out on the benches, take in the music and eat.

Universal Mardi Gras Jambalaya and Creole Gumbo 544x350 2

#5. Taste your way through the festival. New Orleans is famous for its tasty treats and Universal has recreated many of the authentic tastes. Pictured here are the Jambalaya and the Creole Gumbo. Click the links to get the recipes.

Universal Mardi Gras Red Beans and Rice with Shrimp 544x350

#6. One of our favorite dishes is the Red Beans and Rice with the gulf shrimp. You won't be disappointed with Universal's take on this typical dish of Louisiana Creole cuisine.

Universal Mardi Gras Andouille Sausage 544x350

#7. For a New Orleans twist on a hot dog, we also suggest you grab an Andouille Sausage on a fresh French roll. The grilled onions add an extra kick to this delicious delight.

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#8. Don't forget to wash down all of that flavorful food with a glass of VooDoo Juice. This refreshing adult beverage is made with flavored rum and fruit juice.

Universal Mardi Gras Courtyard Band 544x350

#9. Enjoy the music of New Orleans with performances by authentic rhythm and blues and zydeco bands on the Courtyard stage.

Universal Mardi Gras Jazz Band 544x350

Bonus Party Tip: Keep your eye out for the traditional New Orleans marching jazz band. The sights and sounds of this celebratory processional is sure to get you into the Mardi Gras spirit that will last all the way home.

Universal Mardi Gras Street Entertainment 544x350

#10. Party with the street performers. There's plenty of photo ops with some of the most outrageous entertainers outside of the Vieux Carré. The stilt walkers near The Mummy attraction were a fun crew not to miss.

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