We are back with another great update from around the Universal Orlando Resort. This week we take a closer look at the floats and characters in the annual Mardi Gras parade, and we’ll update you on some of the construction projects going on around the resort.

Mardi Gras Characters

Last year Universal introduced new floats and characters from some of the biggest Mardi Gras celebrations around the world, this year’s new characters are based on Jules Verne’s book “Around the World in 80 Days.”  So the characters have been given a delightful steam punk look that fit the modes of transpiration used in the books. Enjoy the . . . um . . . costumes.

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Mardi Gras Courtyard

During Mardi Gras, Universal sets up a festive Courtyard where live music direct from New Orleans plays for guests, and amazing cajun food is served to guests.

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Parade Up-Close

This week we were treated to an up close look at the new parade floats that Universal commissioned for this year’s Mardi Gras parade.  The creative team lead by Show Director, Patrick Ballard chose to take guests “Around the World in 80 Days” with three brand new floats that will be added to the procession.

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Show Director Patrick Ballard speaks to the press.

Leading the parade will be the Lissa, a ship flanked with waved, friendly dolphins, and even the Nautilus from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

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 The next float is filled with various forms of transportation including trains, bicycles, and automobiles.

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The last float addition then takes to the sky with zeppelins, hot air balloons, and bi-planes.

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In addition to the three new floats, Patrick and his team were even given the chance to touch up the old jester float.  It looks amazing.

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This parade is a moving street party, where guests young and old are treated to music, dancing, beads and more as this party moves its way through the streets of Universal Orlando.  Over the years Universal Orlando has turned this seasonal event into a must experience every year, with how much it changes year to year.

Chef Jayson

One component of Mardi Gras that is sometimes overlooked is the food.  Chef Steven Jayson, the man most famous for making Butterbeer, shared with us that every year the food is a little bit different. From sourcing different sausages from New Orleans, to changing the flavors profiles slightly, he tries to keep things fresh and new.

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Robin Thicke Cancelled

Sadly the real world intervened and the big concert of the year featuring Robin Thicke was canceled due to him ‘loosing his voice’ however, Hollywood Gossip magazines are claiming, that he and his wife of 8 years are splitting up.  It is sad when the real world interferes, however, Robin Thicke did say that he would reschedule the concert.

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Diagon Alley

Diagon Alley and London continue to progress forward as the finishing touches are begin added for the Summer opening of this new land.

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Employee Parking Structure

The employee parking structure is nearing completion as Universal gets ready to hire approximately 3,500 people in Florida this year as they open Cabana Bay, Diagon Alley, and new venues at CityWalk

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CityWalk

Over in CityWalk the projects are progressing quickly.  Starbucks and Coldstone are entering the final stages, and will be opening soon.

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That wraps up this week’s update.  We will be back next week with more coverage of the Universal Resort, and hopefully a closer look at the soon to open Cabana Bay Beach Resort.  But now listen to the latest episode of the Unofficial Universal Podcast with your hosts Lee, Tracey, Darren and Hunter