Q&A: How to ride a float at Universal’s Mardi Gras celebration

Parade steps off Feb. 1

Universal Orlando Mardi Gras performers at Wednesday's media event. (WKMG-TV)

ORLANDO, Fla – It is the biggest Mardi Gras party in Central Florida, and it’s about to get started at Universal Orlando Resort.

Universal officials said they are ready to set sail down the Bayou, and welcome guests to the ultimate celebration.

The grills will be cooking spicy Cajun cuisine, and a handful of popular artists are set to perform on the Music Plaza stage.

Related article: Universal Orlando’s new Mardi Gras tribute store is creepy awesome | Your Foodie Guide for Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras

Another highlight of the annual event is the nightly parade, and what many guests don’t know is that they have the opportunity to ride on a float.

Now in its 25 year, Universal Orlando Resort plans to blow the confetti cannon cap off the rails.

Mardi Gras performers pose at Wednesday's media event at Universal Orlando Resort (WKMG-TV)

“We’re celebrating our partnership with Kern studios, creating these one-of-a-kind Mardi Gras floats, not only for Universal Orlando, but for New Orleans and Mardi Gras parades around the world” said Lora Sauls, Senior manager of creative development for art and design entertainment.

The theme of this year’s parade is “Treasures of the Deep."

Check out photos of some of the new floats below.

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Universal Orlando Mardi Gras floats

Universal said the parade will feature floats inspired by a treasure map, the sunken city of Atlantis, creatures of the deep and a treasure-filled shipwreck island.

“We look at the party as like, you get here, you know the parks are amazing and you discovered this Mardi Gras party has happened and you’ve discovered this treasure of the party. So that is why our theme this year is treasures of the deep” said Blake Braswell, show director at Universal Orlando Resort.

Blake Braswell, Show Director for Universal Orlando speaks during Wednesday's media event (WKMG-TV)

The parade will debut six new floats inspired by the “Treasures of the Deep."

Each float will tell a story which includes sea creatures, treasure maps and some swashbuckling pirates fighting over “booty” or treasure.

Returning float favorites include the jester, a riverboat and king gator.

“We have our King Gator float, who got a really beautiful makeover,” said Braswell. “He is truly a finale pick this year, it looks fantastic.”

No Mardi Gras parade would be complete without the thousands of beads that will be tossed on the parade route -- so keep your hands free!

How can guests ride on a float

Sign up for a chance to be a Mardi Gras float rider (Universal Orlando Resort)

For Universal Orlando annual passholders, it’s simple -- enter your pass number and sign up. *Exclusion dates do apply for Seasonal passholders.

For guests planning to party a single or couple nights, Universal is rolling out virtual line passes.

The passes are available on a first come, first served basis a couple hours before the parade steps off.

The virtual line passes can accessed through the official Universal Orlando Resort app.

Official Universal Orlando Resort App showing how to sign up to be part of the Mardi Gras Parade (Universal Orlando)

*Insider tip: If you plan on being part of the parade, you may miss parts of the concert at the Music Plaza stage. Universal said the experience lasts between 2-3 hours.

In years past, a standby line was available and sign-ups were taken if there was availability, but this system looks to be more efficient.

Trust us, its an opportunity you don’t want to miss!

Parade times

Universal Orlando Resort Mardi Gras Celebration (Universal Orlando blog)
  • Parade starts at 5:15 p.m. on the following dates: Feb. 11
  • Parade starts at 5:45 p.m. on the following dates: Feb. 20- Mar. 2
  • Parade starts at 6:00 p.m. on the following dates: Feb. 2- Feb. 7
  • Parade starts at 6:15 p.m. on the following dates: Feb 9 - 10, 12-14, 17 - 19, 21, 23- 28 and Mar. 1, 3-6
  • Parade starts at 7:30 p.m. on the following dates: Mar. 9 -12, 16-19, 23-27, 30 - Apr. 2
  • Parade starts at 7:45 p.m. on the following dates: Feb. 1, 8, 15, 16, 22, 29 and Mar. 7, 8, 13-15, 20-22, 28-29

For tickets and information click here.

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