Universal Orlando celebrates 25 years of Mardi Gras parades

Parade theme inspired by ‘Treasure of the Deep’

ORLANDO, Fla. – Universal Orlando is going big for its 25th-year of Mardi Gras celebration and parades.

The 2-month events kick off Saturday with 12 floats, including six new floats.

Mardi Gras show director Blake Braswell is the mastermind behind the “Treasure of the Deep” concept for this year’s parade theme.

From beginning to end, each new float will represent different Mardi Gras colors from purple to gold and green. Braswell’s idea includes pirates that battle it out with a sword fight.

“This one of a kind idea, we’ve never done this before at Mardi Gras before but telling a story from the beginning of these six floats all the way through to the end,” Lora Sauls, senior manager of creative development and show direction for the event, said.

The story with the floats begins with a treasure map leading viewers along the journey leading up to a pirate battle for the treasure.

The shipwreck float was inspired by carnivals from around the world.

Scenes from the 2020 Mardi Gras parade at Universal Orlando. (WKMG 2020)

“Along the story, we thought, well, you’ve gone hunting all this treasure, maybe there’s an island that’s beautiful with all this gold, colorful costumes or outfits that people are wearing on the island and they lure you in,” Braswell said. He added even though the theme involves treasures and sea creatures, the parade is still very much a Mardi Gras and Carnaval themed.

To add to its 25th year celebration, for the first time since Universal Orlando started their version of Mardi Gras, a tribute store will accompany the celebration.

The theme of the store is inspired by the Lafayette Cemetery in New Orlean’s Garden District.

Mardi Gras at Universal Orlando runs from Feb. 1 to April 2.

The celebration includes performances by Bel Biv Devoe, Diana Ross, DJ Marshmello, All American Rejects, Earth, Wind and Fire and TLC.

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