Yes, I know Mardi Gras in New Orleans is long over, but here in Orlando it is still going strong. We recently visited the theme park to catch a few beads, make new friends and enjoy the festivities. As usual, Universal served it up VIP style for some local bloggers, and we had a blast.
As if K wasn’t already excited enough, when we arrived at check in, we were greeted with the first of many beads to come. (Oh the beads… just wait…)
We all know that Mari Gras in the bayou is not for the little ones, but at Universal Studios it’s all about the kids. We got our first glimpse at the kid-friendly celebration when we stopped for a little song and dance number from the Mardi Pardi Krewe. After a little number, and bead tossing, kids clammbered to be first in line to have their picture taken with Curious George, Woody Woodpecker, Scooby Doo and their pals.
Our krew opted to head over to IOA for a quick detour from our Mardi Gras celebration to visit the newly reopened (and revamped) The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride. I was shocked to learn that K was indeed tall enough to ride. Luckily for her, Mom and Dad had enough sense to know this was not a ride to be enjoyed by our girl. She’s still afraid of the tall slide at school after all.
Its been a long time since I rode the original Spidey ride, so its hard to compare. But I can tell you the new Spidey ride totally rocked. Now in high-def (isn’t everything better in HD), this 3D ride is amazingly crystal clear. Totally awesome for those 40″ and up who aren’t afraid of a little bad-guy action.
Next up, some grub. And what should we have for dinner but a little Cajun-syle cuisine. Throughout the Mardi Gras event, you can find all the New Orleans inspired dishes (including gumbo and jambalaya) in the French Quarter Courtyard. However, we were treated to a special, private affair by the water. (Personally, I think they should serve dinner here more often it was soooo nice. It could easily be restaurant seating.) Having tried King Cake for the first time this year thanks to our neighbors who are Baton Rouge transplants, K knew right away what that colorful desert on the table was. YUM! As if we weren’t stuffed enough, I may or may not have had two Beignets. 🙂
There was just enough time after dinner to catch a quick ride, and it was decided that the group would head over to The Simpsons ride. Here’s were good parenting went right out the window…
You see, after having watched K’s new BFF (also four years old) Rylie (from The Life of Rylie) take on Spider-Man with no hesitation. We decided The Simpson’s would be fun for K. After all it’s a cartoon, not at all scary, right? WRONG! About 10 seconds into the right, a petrified K skreeked “HOW DO WE STOP THIS THING?”
Oh part of me was petrified for my little girl, the other part couldn’t stop laughing because of all things for her to shout – it was adorable. Poor baby girl. I don’t know if I will ever be able to get her on a ride again. By the end of the ride she had calmed down, but plain as day she repeated over and over, “I never want to ride that ride again.”
No problem K.
In stark contrast to her terror, it was sheer joy when the Mardi Gras parade began. Just like on Bourbon Street, Universal’s parade is filled with brightly colored floats, and from atop these fancy floats people toss beads to waiting hands below. (No flashing required.) Of course, everyone was happy to throw beads to cute little K in the front row. By the end of the parade, K was happy to display her bounty. I got into the bead collecting spirit too, but Syd just wanted to gum on those beads so they were quickly added to K’s load.
To top off the Mardi Gras festivities, Universal hosts a a concert and on the evening we attended the musical performer was Big Time Rush. I am a little embarrassed to admit that I had no idea who this band was. The last boy band I followed was NSYNC. LOL. I kind wished we were there to see Boyz II Men, Cindi Lauper or Plain White T’s, but I wouldn’t dare say that out loud in front of the throws of screaming girls who’s shrieks caused K to cover her ears. Some of those girls had been waiting in front of the stage since the park opened at 6:30 am for a front row glimpse of the boys.
Mardi Gras at Universal will continue on select nights through April 14, and you can still catch Cindi Lauper and the Plain White T’s among others. There’s a lot of family-fun to enjoy at Universal’s Mardi Gras, I highly recommend it. Especially if you have a bead lover in your family too.
Disclosure – My family and I were invited to attend this media event, however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.