Travel Tuesday: Discover treasures of the deep at Universal Orlando Mardi Gras 2020

Universal Orlando Mardi Gras, photo provided by Universal Orlando Resort
Universal Orlando Mardi Gras, photo provided by Universal Orlando Resort /

The season’s biggest party is at Universal Orlando Mardi Gras 2020. While the parade floats dazzle, this year’s theme has everyone discovering the treasures of the deep.

It’s time to get dancing, put on some beads, and enjoy the carnival spirit. Universal Orlando Mardi Gras 2020 is going even bigger for its 25th anniversary. Beyond the impressive musical concert lineup, the daily festivities are having fans come back time and again throughout the entire season. Who’s ready to party?

While theme park fans are always ready for Universal Orlando, the annual Mardi Gras celebration is definitely a huge reason to visit. Located inside Universal Studios Orlando, the event includes nightly Mardi Gras parades, special themed food, and concerts on select evenings. Although it isn’t necessarily New Orleans, Universal’s celebration brings its interpretation of  the carnival celebration.

The Universal Mardi Gras 2020 theme is “Treasures of the Deep.” While some fan-favorite floats return, a whole new group of parade floats have come to the celebration. Drawing from the theme, these new floats follow a story of underwater cities, fantastical creatures, and even some pirates’ booty.

Created in collaboration with the iconic Kern Studios, these floats light up the nighttime parade. The vibrant colors are as stunning as the water-world that they represent. From the mythical Kraken that is lurking under the water to the glittering pirate treasure, these parade floats capture the imagination.

For fans who love the parade finale Gator float, that fan favorite even got a makeover this year. Gator is bigger and brighter than ever.

Of course, one of the best parts of the nightly parade is catching all the beads that the float riders throw to the crowd. All throughout the parade route, guests can line the side walks waiting to collect their own booty. In many cases, people leave with heaping amounts of the colorful Mardi Gras beads.

For some lucky Universal Orlando Annual Passholders, they can apply to be one of the float riders. New this year, the Universal Orlando app offers a virtual stand-by line. Make sure to check the app upon arrival in the park to check on availability. If you have never been a float rider, it is an experience that you will never forget.

While the parade doesn’t begin until the sun sets, the party has events all day long. As the Mardi Gras markets open, the music and the party starts to jump. In front of the new Tribute Store and in front of Monsters Cafe, Mardi Gras performers get the good times rolling.

New this year is the Mardi Gras Tribute Store. Located in the traditional Halloween Horror Nights tribute store, by The Mummy ride, this store has guests traveling into the depths of the New Orleans Bayou.

It might seem as if guests step into a jazz lounge until they turn the corner to reveal a New Orleans cemetery. The mausoleum wall creates a perfect Mardi Gras Instagram moment.

From the cemetery, guests enter the bayou. As the strange noises fills the air, guests are greeted by the Baron. Whether or not he is happy to see you is questionable. Still, he is willing to sit for a picture or two.

While the Mardi Gras Tribute store does have a Halloween Horror Nights slant, the store does offer that other side to Mardi Gras and New Orleans. Not every aspect of the annual celebration is vibrant. There is a little bit of a dark and twisted side to it.

Universal Orlando Mardi Gras 2020 is a fun experience for everyone. The event runs now through April 2, 2020. Check with the theme park on each day for specific events and availability. Whether you come for the concerts, parades, or just want to join the party, the annual Universal Orlando theme park festival is a reason to plan another visit to Universal Orlando.

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Are you planning on visiting Universal Orlando Mardi Gras 2020? What are you most excited to see?