Universal Studios Florida becomes the “Big Easy” this Mardi Gras season, throwing America’s biggest street party this side of New Orleans and featuring a lineup of hit musical acts with a collective 260 million albums sold. Topping the list of fabulous hit-makers are country star Gretchen Wilson, rockers Third Eye Blind and Heart; rap impresario L.L. Cool J and old-school crooners Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, Smokey Robinson and Kool & The Gang.
Mardi Gras 2008 at Universal Orlando begins February 2 and runs for twelve Saturday nights through April 19. Each Saturday night features some of America’s most popular musical talent with a diverse mix of awards and achievements. One performer has the second-highest rated show in VH1 history. One performer has received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. And one performer’s music is the inspiration for a current, multi-Tony Award-winning Broadway musical.
Party-goers of all ages will enjoy the biggest Mardi Gras celebration outside of New Orleans featuring an elaborate parade, hundreds of costumed characters, tons of souvenir beads, Cajun cuisine, and live performances by top-name talent. In addition, New Orleans-style bands will showcase their hottest music in the “French Quarter.”
“Mardi Gras at Universal Studios is about providing our guests with a street party that captures the spirit of the “Big Easy,” said Jim Timon, senior vice president of entertainment, Universal Orlando Resort. “This year’s concert series features incredible musicians who appeal to a wide audience. Their music paired with our authentic parade and, of course, tons of beads will create an unbeatable party atmosphere in the streets of Universal Studios.”
The centerpiece of Mardi Gras is the parade featuring 13 vibrant floats winding around the “French Quarter Courtyard,” a replica of New Orleans’ French quarter – the heart of Mardi Gras. These authentic floats are designed by “Mr. Mardi Gras,” Blaine Kern, whose company, Blaine Kern Artists, Inc., has built Mardi Gras floats since 1932. New this year, the parade will bring exotic places to life with floats and performers designed to emulate Babylon, Atlantis, Camelot and more.
The celebration would not be complete without the taste of traditional Cajun and Creole cuisine such as jambalaya, gumbo and beignets, which are sure to tempt the palate of Mardi Gras revelers. Along with mouth-watering food, guests can sip on flavorful drinks made famous in New Orleans.
After the parade, guests will be entertained by some of today’s hottest internationally-known musicians during the Mardi Gras Concert Series.
Universal Studios Mardi Gras 2008 Concert
February 2 – Bret Michaels of Poison
February 9 – Go-Go’s
February 16 – Sara Evans
Febrary 23 – Third Eye Blind
March 1 – Gretchen Wilson
March 8 – Smokey Robinson
March 15 – Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
March 22 – Kool & The Gang
March 29 – Heart
April 5 – TBA
April 12 – LL Cool J
April 19 – TBA
The Mardi Gras ticket, valid after 5 p.m. at Universal Studios, is applicable any one Saturday night from February 2 through April 19 and can be purchased for $46.95 plus tax. Florida and Georgia residents can save $10 off a Mardi Gras valid after 5 p.m. ticket with a specially-marked Coca-Cola product or cup from participating Wendy’s locations.
Florida residents can also save $30 off a 2-Park Annual Power Pass (regularly-priced $129.95 plus tax). The Power Pass offers admission to both Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure for one year with minimal blackout dates and includes admission to all 12 nights of Mardi Gras.
Universal CityWalk will host the official after-party of the Mardi Gras celebration, with guests receiving free admission into select clubs until 2 a.m. by presenting their Mardi Gras tickets. For an additional $15, guests can purchase a VIP upgrade ticket to the official Mardi Gras after-party which includes complimentary appetizers, drink specials and souvenir beads.
Information courtesy of Universal Orlando