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March 18, 2012
My favorite theme parks in the Orlando area are Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure at the Universal Orlando Resort. Brian and I have annual passes, and go often to ride all of the "big kid" rides! Each year, Universal brings the Mardi Gras party right here to Orlando, and this year we finally made it out there to check it out.
Unlike Mardi Gras in the Big Easy, Universal's Mardi Gras party is an event the whole family can enjoy! From the food to the music to the awesome parade, there is something for even the smallest members of your family. So last weekend we packed up our crew and headed out to Universal to catch the excitement of Mardi Gras!
Thanks to Universal's awesome PR team, we were checking out the Mardi Gras party VIP style. I just thought my VIP badge was pretty cool! ;-)
Once everyone in our group had arrived, we were led into the park by our tour guides and taken to a stage where the "Mardi Pardi Krewe" put on a show for the kids. Members of the Krewe included Curious George and the "yellow guy", Scooby and Shaggy, and some Woodpeckers. They sang and danced, and then threw beads out for the kids. Curious George is one of Rylie's favorites, so she especially enjoyed the show!
After the kids had fun dancing around and getting some beads, we headed over to Islands of Adventure to check out the all new Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride. This ride recently re-opened in high-definition 3D with new effects.
Bryce wasn't tall enough to ride, so he stayed back with Mama while Brian and I took Rylie on the ride. Our tour guide warned us that it might be a little scary for her, but she LOVED it! Unfortunately, the 3D glasses were way too big on her, but that didn't stop her from holding them on so she could see all of the awesome effects. I could definitely tell a difference in the new high-def 3D animation, and the effects were so crisp and clear. It was a great ride before, but you have got to check it out now!
After watching Spidey defeat all of the evil villains, we headed back to Universal Studios to ride Shrek 4-D. This was Bryce's first visit to Universal, so I was glad he was able to see one of his favorite characters while we were there. He was too!
By this time, we had definitely worked up an appetite, so we headed down to a private feast of Cajun food. We dined on Seafood Gumbo and Jumbalaya, which were both absolutely delicious! There was also a dessert table with Beignets and King Cake. I had only heard of Beignets in The Princess and the Frog, and had no clue what they were, so I was happy to try one out. YUM!
We did hit a little snag at our dinner because of Rylie's nut allergy. It was my fault, and I should have mentioned something before the event. I asked the catering manager if everything on the kids' food table (chicken nuggets, mini hot dogs, pasta and fruit) would be safe for Rylie, and after making a call, he told me that none of the cooked food was safe because of possible cross contamination. She was starving, and I was bummed. She started chowing down on the fruit, and to my surprise, the catering manager told me that they were making her a special dinner of pasta and chicken and would bring it out. Even though it took a while to get to us, I was grateful to have been given such wonderful consideration. Rylie certainly didn't mind, though, because she made some new friends while we waited.
After we filled our bellies on the delicious Mardi Gras food, we headed over to a roped off section to watch the parade. The floats were awesome! The detail was so amazing!
In between the floats were different entertainers. Rylie really liked the stilt walkers after making her new friends at dinner.
There were several beautiful floats in the Mardi Gras parade, and from every float came flying beads. We couldn't even catch them all there were so many! The kids had a great time watching all of the floats come by and grabbing up as many beads as they could.
And because my photos really don't do these floats justice, check out this photo of the King Gator float that was provided by Universal Orlando Resort.
So about the beads. Rylie and her new friend Kendal (from The Suburban Mom) were grabbing beads right and left during the parade. Check out their loot!
The girls had a great time during the parade, and had fun goofing off while we walked over to the concert stage. They were just so cute together, I had to post a couple of pictures!
The last part of the Mardi Gras party was seeing Big Time Rush in concert. I honestly had no idea who this group was, but there were several little girls screaming their heads off, so I figured they must be pretty awesome.
There is a different concert each night during Mardi Gras. To check out the full Mardi Gras concert lineup, visit Universal online. Brian and I are going back this Friday for an adult-only day of riding roller coasters, and I'm excited to see Hot Chelle Rae perform.
We had such a great time at Universal's Mardi Gras and we will definitely be going back to this event again and again. It really is fun for the whole family. You know it was fun for the kids when they leave like this...
I want to thank Universal Studios for such a great evening! We had a blast! If you live in the Orlando area, or are going to be visiting before April 14th, I highly recommend checking out this awesome event!
Disclosure: All opinions are my own. My family and I received complimentary admission to Universal Orlando for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.