On Saturday February 9th, 2013, the Universal Orlando Resort kicked off its 18th Mardi Gras Celebration. Each year, Universal Creative works with the Kearns Design team in New Orleans to develop a theme for the Mardi Gras parade.  This year’s parade celebrates colorful cultures around the world with four brand new floats celebrating Chinese New Years, Holi the Festival of Colors in India, Day of the Dead in Mexico and Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

Show Director, Lora Wallace.

Lora Wallace, Show Director for this colorful parade, spoke with MiceChat about the new show – she has previously brought us the Incredible Superstar Parade as well as those spooky Halloween Horror Nights Scare Zones. The 80+ performers had a grueling rehearsal process to learn their choreography and keep the party moving all the way through the streets of Universal Orlando.

The Floats

One of the unexpected new floats celebrates Holi, the Festival of Colors in India.

Hindu deity, Ganesha, rides in a prominent spot. His status as “Remover of Obstacles” and “Lord of Beginnings,” makes him an appropriate first subject for this column.

Next up is the Chinese New Year Float, celebrating the lunar New Year and its impressive dragon that breathes steam, and and has a water reflection lighting feature at it’s base.

Rolling up next is a classic Mardis Gras Float.

The Day of the Dead float is also new and brings an air of mystery to the proceedings, with fog and pyrotechnics.


While this moving party will have young and old alike on their feet, you will likely also find yourself screaming for more. A little jumping and screaming might also help you earn some beads, which are thrown from the floats in epic Mardi Gras fashion.


The Music

Every Mardi Gras parade ends with an incredible headlining band.  Mardi Gras 2013 kicked off with the hit band, Lifehouse.  Crowds packed the plaza and were treated to a high energy performance.

The multiplatinum album band Lifehouse is only the beginning for Mardi Gras in 2013 with major acts coming in the upcoming weeks (Some well known acts in the list below):

  • Feb 16: Steven Miller band
  • Feb 17: Boys Likes 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

Real Cajun food at a Theme Park?

Mardi Gras is more than just parties and beads. The Culinary team at Universal Orlando, led by the inventor of Butterbeer, Steven Jason, takes pride in the fact that the domestically sourced ingredients for the incredibly authentic New Orleans fare are made fresh daily without preservatives or additives. Steven took some time to chat with the MiceChat staff about Mardi Gras and Harry Potter.

During our interview with Steven Jasons, the topic of the “future” came up – of course we pressed him for information on the rumored Krusty Burger and Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour at Diagon Alley.  With the mention of the Krusty Burger, his eye lit up, his mouth opened, he looked around, laughed really loud, and told us, there is a lot he wanted to tell MiceChat but couldn’t. He has been locked away in a secret kitchen working on THREE different projects (we interpret that as Transformers, Harry Potter 2.0 and Springfield USA).

Look for the full interview with Steven Jason in our next Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast, where he shares the story about the creation of Butterbeer and J.K. Rowling’s response when she first tried it!

If you are going to be in Orlando through April, take time to go to Mardi Gras for bands, beads, dancers, and incredible food.

We look forward you hearing your thoughts and seeing your pictures in the forums from your trip to Universal this Mardi Gras.


Even with Mardi Gras now in full swing, work around the resort continues at a fevered pace. The Transformers building is receiving more details and information to decode.


Gringotts Bank continues to come together as massive show elements are being constructed within the building.  Your guess is as good as mine right now as we see massive amounts of show and rock work being built inside the building.  


The Cabana Bay Beach Resort also takes shape as the weeks go by.  Universal Orlando’s 4th resort is going to be big.



Even with the massive construction projects happening resort wide, you can’t miss the party in the streets this year at Mardi Gras.  Put your dancing shoes on, grab some beads, and party in streets . . .

  • Trumpet

    Great Update Eric

    It is great that the Mardi Gras parade still looks fresh year after year. From the pictures, it looks better than ever.

    Transformers and Harry Potter is looking great, and what what I have seen in the images, the Gringotts Bank is going to an fantastic attraction. The building is large enough, so I can not wait to experience it. Also, I can not believe there will be a real Krusty Burger. With the success of the Butterbeer, it makes sense. However, this begs e question, will WDW be hot on their tales creating a unique food and drink in their parks. At the moment, with the Gaston’s Tavern selling a drink that is from Cars Land in California (which should stay in California, and not be cloned in Florida) is the best that can come up with… They really need to start working on a including more attractions and having unique food and drink, like the Butterbeer, which will make people want to come to the parks. I know I will have to make a visit to chomp on a Krusty Burger (lets hope they don’t make it too realistic, as it will include road kill meat) (lol).

    Thanks Again Eric, and thanks for giving us a fantastic update every Tuesday.


    • Eric Davis

      Thank you so much Trumpet! I appreciate your insight every week too!

  • Lee Mallaby

    Great update. I can’t believe how quickly the cabana bay resort is coming on. I wish Tracey and I could’ve been there with you guys for Mardi gras, but we had a great time discussing it for the podcast.
    Thanks again

    • Eric Davis

      I cannot wait for everyone to hear the Audio interviews on the Unofficial Universal Podcast.

  • I really hope they are working on a Ribwich sandwich for the Krusty Burger.

    That parade looks really high quality and fun. And some nice eye candy there too 😉

    • Eric Davis

      It is what I look forward to every year! Eye Candy! lol But I think it would be awesome if they also had a Ribwich! lol

  • jcruise86

    Great update, Eric! Thanks!

    Gringott’s vs. the dwarf coaster.

    I wonder if Gringott’s will be part of Universal Hollywood’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and when they’ll break ground out here in Caifornia.

    • jcruise86


    • Eric Davis

      I don’t know about that. I think that the WWOHP will have it’s own unique features.

  • Ravjay12

    Great update Eric! Have there been any announcements on the Wizarding World yet? This new addition to Universal is going to be amazing! I love the idea of Hogwart’s express linking the 2 parks! With all these great attractions in Florida, I can’t wait to go!

    • Eric Davis

      Still no “official” announcement for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! I know I am chomping at the bit to get some actual concept art!

  • lionheartkc

    I’m going to guess the 3 projects Steven Jasons is working on are Krusty Burger, Moe’s, and Harry Potter 2.0. I don’t really see a food tie-in with Transformers. My expectation is we will not only see a Krusty Burger, but possibly a Flaming Moe and maybe some thing from Duff.

    • Eric Davis

      Well I am thinking that the Wizarding World Part 2 is going to have A LOT of different food items.

      And I am hoping that Springfield has as Dusty said the Ribwhich and Moes has it’s Flaming Moe and Duff Beer.

      But I do think that we will see some of the Transformers foods come to this coast, maybe with a unique Universal Orlando flare.

  • a-mad

    Nice update, Eric.

    We just returned from a multi-day trip to Orlando, and enjoyed our time as USF. WWoHP was truly impressive, and one of the highlights of our trip (and we couldn’t get enough of frozen butterbeer!) The show building for Gringotts is massive(!), and I can’t wait to hear more details from that attraction.

    As much as we enjoyed USF, our overall experience at WDW was infinitely better… and it all came down to customer service. With all the doom and gloom that seems to be posted about the state of WDW, I truly expected to walk into a disappointment… but what we experienced was anything but. Perhaps we caught the parks on good days (and for early February, I couldn’t believe how crowded it was), and we are infrequent visitors, so perhaps our perspective is a different one since we do not observe the details on a continual basis like we do the DLR – but we came away having fully enjoyed our WDW experience. I was with a large group of extended family that are not obsessive theme park fans like I am – and their overall reaction was even more extreme than mine. There were enough disappointing experiences with customer service at USF, that the impressiveness of their attractions and expansions were somewhat overshadowed.

    I’m sure USF will get better in this area, but at least from this particular audience, right now WDW is still winning in the overall experience dept. (and New Fantasyland is truly impressive – esp. Enchanted Tales with Belle, which had a few adults wiping tears from their eyes at the end)

    • Eric Davis

      I am so sorry that was your experience. I know that by and large my experience with Team Members and Cast Members at universal and Disney are overwhelmingly positive and awesome!

      I have been in those front line positions in the parks (years ago) and I know how easy it can be to have bad that sadly has an impact on Family vacations.

      I hope that you won’t let it forever taint your view of Universal Orlando especially with all this amazing stuff on the way!

  • fnord

    Don’t forget tofu squishies at Kwik-E-Mart!
    But seriously, who else but the Simpsons has so many
    patented style food items. I can’t wait for a flaming moe.
    Other than butterbeer and pumpkin juice, the folks at Hogwarts eat
    Regular brit foods, it seems. We already have chocolate frogs and bernie
    Bott’s beans.

    • Eric Davis

      lol Tofu Squishies… I will admit, I don’t think I would line up for that! lol

      But I can’t wait to see what the Springfield brings us!

      I also can’t wait until I can take the Hogwarts Express train from park to park!