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 . . .