Universal Orlando Resort Mardi Gras 2013 Overview: Music, Food, And Fun

Universal Orlando Resort Mardi Gras Overview: Music, Food, And Fun


Mardi Gras Brings 14 Nights of Electrifying Live Concerts – Including Demi Lovato, Phillip Phillipsand Pitbull – a Dazzling Parade, Cajun Cuisine and Tons of Beads


Universal Orlando Resort Mardi Gras
Universal Orlando Resort is home to the biggest, best Mardi Gras party in the country – and it comes straight from New Orleans to you through April 23. Nationally renowned musical acts combine with an authentic Mardi Gras parade, dozens of colorfully costumed performers, authentic Cajun cooking and hand-picked New Orleans bands to capturethe look, feel and fun of New Orleans – all inside Universal Studios Florida.

Universal Orlando Resort’s Mardi Gras 2013 is coming up soon, and I couldn’t be more excited!!!

Last year I was lucky enough to spend almost two weeks in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, and Universal Orlando Resort Mardi Gras does not disappoint!

On select nights Feb. 9 through April 20, guests will let the good times roll as they experience an authentic, family-friendly version of the Mardi Gras bash at Universal Studios Florida. The event couples unparalleled theme park entertainment with a dazzling parade, authentic New Orleans musicians, mouth-watering Cajun cuisine, tons of glittering Mardi Gras beads and live concerts by high-profile artists.

Before enjoying the live concerts, guests can dance along with dozens of energetic street performers and collect beads by the handful as the Mardi Gras parade winds through Universal Studios.

Universal Orlando Resort Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras Parade on Hollywood Blvd at Universal Studios Florida

This year’s parade celebrates “Colorful Cultures Around the World,” featuring all-new float additions inspired by the Mexican Day of the Dead, Chinese New Year and Elegance of India. The parade’s elaborate, hand-crafted floats are built by Blaine Kern Artists – the same company that designs floats for the Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans.

But let’s get to the real reason you’re here…the Universal Orlando Resort Mardi Gras Concert Lineup!!!

Universal Orlando Resort Mardi Gras
I am most excited about Pitbull….who will be performing on my Birthday!!!

This year’s talent lineup features an incredible variety of music, ranging from Americana rock to soulful R&B to upbeat pop to Latin rhythms. Guests can return night after night to hear their favorite performers, including internationally-renowned rapper Pitbull – whose number-one single, “Give Me Everything,” was named “Top Radio Song” in the 2012 Billboard Music Awards; 2012 People’s Choice Award-winner Demi Lovato for “Favorite Pop Artist;” season 11 winner of “American Idol,” Phillip Phillips whose hit song, “Home,” was certified double-platinum; chart-topping country duo Montgomery Gentry, with top hits like “If You Ever Stop Loving Me” and “Back When I Knew It All;” teen heartthrob Austin Mahone; and alternative rock band Matchbox Twenty, whose latest studio album, “North,” debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100.

Universal Orlando Resort Mardi Gras
Demi Lovato

Below you will find the current line-up of artists that will be performing during these 14 nights of Mardi Gras fun at the Universal Orlando Resort. While the Headliners are always a really good time, you should definitely head over the French Quarter area to check out these local New Orleans bands perform Blues, Jazz and Zydeco music!

Universal Orlando Resort Mardi Gras
Phillip Phillips


Mardi Gras Event Dates


(performing in the Music Plaza)

New Orleans Bands

(performing in the French Quarter)

Saturday, February 9 Lifehouse John Lisi & Delta Funk!
Saturday, February 16 Steve Miller Band The Dirty Bourbon River Show
Sunday, February 17 Boys Like Girls The Dirty Bourbon River Show
Saturday, February 23 Trey Songz Colin Lake
Saturday, March 2 Demi Lovato Beth McKee
Saturday, March 9 Montgomery Gentry Gravy
Friday, March 15 Sean Kingston Lil Brian and the Zydeco Travelers
Saturday, March 16 Matchbox Twenty Lil Brian and the Zydeco Travelers
Friday, March 22 Austin Mahone The Soul Project NOLA
Saturday, March 23 Phillip Phillips The Soul Project NOLA
Saturday, March 30 Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo Big Al & the Heavyweights
Saturday, April 6 TBD Mississippi Rail Company
Saturday, April 13 Pitbull The Rockin’ Jake Band
Saturday, April 20 TBD Daddy Mack Blues Band













Mardi Gras Universal Orlando Resort

The French Quarter Courtyard at Universal Orlando Resort Mardi Gras is one of my favorite places to spend time during the celebration! This area is one huge party, where you can enjoy the soulful sounds of amazing music, authentic Cajun cuisine, including jambalaya, gumbo, beignets and more, and partake in some adult beverages just for the Mardi Gras Celebration. We spent a lot of time in this area last year, and I can’t wait to go back again!!!

The excitement of Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras is included with admission to Universal Studios, and we will definitely be posting more about Mardi Gras and attending a lot of these celebrations!

For more information about Universal Orlando Resort Mardi Gras, visit www.universalorlando.com/mardigras.

Mardi Gras Universal Orlando Resort -



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An Evening at Busch Gardens

Image Copyright Busch Gardens

Living and working near the parks in Central Florida affords those of us locals an opportunity to experience the theme parks in a little bit different way than those of you who come here for vacation. We have the luxury and privilege, if you will, to visit the parks for just a few hours at a time since we have access within about 15 minutes from either work or home. Last night was one such evening for me. I work just a short distance from Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and was able to make a quick jaunt over to the park from 7pm until park closing at 9. So how do you spend just a couple hours? What do you do, what do you do?

A practically perfect evening for me consists of a nice balance of seeing some of my favorite animals, riding at least one or two rides, grabbing a bite to eat or drink, and seeing what the special events are that the park has to offer. Right now there is an event running until August 12th called Summer Nights. This was my first time seeing this nighttime spectacular that features a special concert/show called Kinetix. After the show, guests are treated to an awesome fireworks show.

So, this evening started off by making a bee line for my favorite ride, Cheetah Hunt. If you have not yet experienced this roller coaster, what are you waiting for?!?!?!? It is amazing!!! You have three super fast launches at close to 60mph. I love this ride, especially in the evening and it is one of the longer coasters around at almost a mile long lasting about four minutes. This typically has a 45 minute to an hour long wait, so coming in at 7pm, I knew I had to head here first.

After Cheetah Hunt I decided to catch a show. The one I wanted to see I guess is out of rotation for the summer, so I opted to go see Pirates 4D for the first time. On the way there I was able to snap a few pics of some animals including a pretty cool one of the lion up pretty close. The movie was cute, definitely geared toward a younger audience and I guess I chose my seat poorly because the last row I was in didn’t have any of the 4D effects.

About this time I was starting to get hungry and thought it might be a good idea to get a spot for Kinetix in Gwazi Park, which is situated behind Gwazi, the wooden rollercoaster. I wasn’t starving so I opted just for a churro and a frozen coke for dinner. I know this wasn’t the best meal, but it hit the spot and was only about $5 with my passholder discount. Arriving around 8:30, I was able to find a seat on the end of one of the rows of metal benches with backs that are setup in the park. If you are coming with more than one person, I would definitely recommend getting there closer to 8pm if you all want to sit together. Keep in mind I was there on a Monday night and I’m sure it is even more popular on the weekends.

Kinetix is an incredible show featuring current pop music (LMFAO, Pitbull, Nicki Minaj, Adele, Maroon 5, etc.) performed live on stage by singers, a band, dancers, acrobats and includes some crazy stunts from balancing to aerials to trick bikes. I love the energy that this show brings from all of the performers, and it is very appropriately named with all the kinetic energy you feel from the stage. I am going to include videos below since I don’t think pictures will begin to do it justice. Please go see this and the Summer Nights fireworks show that follows. I think this is probably the closest I’ve ever been to fireworks of this magnitude.

All in all it was a great way to spend a few hours in the park. I got my thrills on Cheetah Hunt. I was able to sit and relax in air conditioned comfort, a huge plus in July in Florida, at the Pirate 4D film and was entertained. Dinner could have been much more substantial, but I really wasn’t hungry for more than the churro and frozen coke, which I got to enjoy while seated on a bench with a nice breeze while listening to pop music before the Kinetix show. That was another thing I noticed that I think is new for the summer, or maybe just in the evening, but from the time I arrived at 7pm until I left a little before 10pm the music being played throughout the park was mostly familiar pop music. I thought this really added to the fun summer vibe I felt from the Summer Nights celebration.

How do you like to spend a quick few hours at Busch Gardens? Have you been to Summer Nights? What was your favorite part?


Check out our YouTube page here to see other great videos from around Central Florida parks and activities.













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