The springtime celebration known as Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) is more than just the crowded street parties with colorful beads and loud music most people are familiar with. Mardi Gras is a lavish celebration with rich history.
- Mardi Gras always falls 47 days before Easter. It's a celebration of life and good living before the austerity of Lent begins.
- The Mardi Gras tradition of masks provided the wearers to mingle with one another, escaping the elitism and class distinctions imposed by society by obscuring identities.
- The official Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold were chosen in 1872 by Rex, King of Carnival in New Orleans. Each color has meaning: purple stands for justice, green for faith and gold for power.
- If you cannot make it to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, make plans to attend the biggest party with the best weather: Mardi Gras at Universal Studios Orlando.
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When is it?
Mardi Gras runs Saturday, Feb. 3 through Saturday, April 7, 2018. With 66 nights, this year's party will be the longest Mardi Gras celebration in the park's history, lasting 16 days longer than 2017's event.
What are the hours of celebration?
The party goes on every night; the parade usually begins around 7:45 and lasts about 30 minutes.
What is the admission price?
Admission is included with your theme park admission, annual Disney pass, or seasonal pass.
Where is it?
At Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.
How do I get there?
Take exit 259 on Florida's Turnpike, go west on Interstate 4 to Exit 74B, exit north onto Universal Boulevard and follow the signs to the park. From Interstate 95, the most direct route is Highway 528 (the Martin B. Anderson Beachline Expressway), west to Interstate 4. Drive east on I-4 to Sand Lake Drive, exit at Sand Lake Drive West, go to Universal Boulevard, make a right on Universal and head north into the park.
Why should I go? What will I see and do there?
The color, music, dancing and pageantry of Mardi Gras represents America: a blending of French, African, and Spanish cultures with both Christian and tribal religious traditions. Mardi Gras is outrageously fun, but it's also living history. Unlike the New Orleans version, Universal Studios' Mardi Gras is family-friendly and children are welcome to join in the festivities.
Of course there will be beads, plus dancers, musicians, bands, street performers, live concerts featuring Louisiana jazz, blues and zydeco bands, and unique floats designed just for Universal Studios Mardi Gras.
What can my kids do there?
A special viewing area next to the Little Jesters Hat Shop is available just for kids watching the parade. Parents can enter this viewing area with their kids one hour prior to the start of the parade.
Note: When the Mardi Gras parade begins each night, all Universal Studios rides and attractions close.
Is it accessible for the disabled?
All Disney theme parks are handicapped-accessible, and Mardi Gras is no exception. Special parade and concert viewing areas are available.
What's good to eat and drink?
In addition to the regular eateries, the French Quarter, located in the New York/Battery Park section of Universal Studios, offers Cajun and Creole cuisine, including beignets, gumbo, jambalaya, red beans and rice, and andouille sausage. You'll eat like royalty.
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