Universal Studios Mardi Gras Grand Celebration starts on Feb 8, 2014.
Today we tackle one of my favorite theme park topics: the annual Universal Studios Mardi Gras Grand Celebration. Universal Studios Mardi Gras holds a special place in my heart because, back in the late 1990s when I worked in Universal Studios Florida’s entertainment department, I was a talent supervisor for the parade, and got to walk with it nightly. (I’ll never get “Iko Iko” or “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now” out of my skull.) So I’m thrilled to share Touring Plans’ complete guide to Universal’s bead laden bacchanalia, bringing you all the info you need to laissez les bons temps rouler!
[UPDATED 3/12/14: Scroll down for late-breaking news on the Mardi Gras extension and rescheduled Robin Thicke concert!]
Mardi Gras originated in the religious observation of “Fat Tuesday” (the literal translation of the name), which is the day before “Ash Wednesday” on the Catholic calendar, and the start of Lent’s 40 days of dietary restrictions. People would bid “farewell to flesh” with a “carnivale” where they would indulge in the meat and drink they were about to forswear. Mardi Gras is the New Orleans, Louisiana, variation on this tradition — which is echoed in other cities from Venice, Italy to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Over the centuries, the religious significance has been stripped away, and most Mardi Gras revelers attend for strictly secular reasons — namely, epic quantities of booze, beads, and bare breasts. About 20 years ago, Universal took a look at the festivities and said, “This will make a fine family friendly event,” and amazingly it is — minus the bare breasts, of course. But that doesn’t mean it’s inauthentic; much as Universal partnered with Macy’s for its holiday parade, Universal engages Blaine Kern Studios, the same company that’s been building floats for the real deal since 1947, to create the park’s parade platforms. And musicians and recipes imported from the Big Easy add to the French Quarter feel. Of course, the real Bourbon Street doesn’t have concerts from big-name recording artists after each parade, much less a high-speed roller coaster cruising by in the background.
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Resort View – Main Page
One of the first decisions you’ll have when booking a Disney World hotel room is which view to select. If you’re staying at the Yacht Club, for example, do any Garden View rooms have a view of the Stormalong Bay lazy river? If you’re on the monorail loop, does a Magic Kingdom View really improve your chances of seeing the Wishes fireworks? Is Savannah View at the Animal Kingdom Lodge worth the money?
To help you decide, we’ve spent the past year taking pictures of what you’ll see from the window of every Disney World hotel room – more than 30,000 individual photos. Today we’re giving you a preview of the first resort: Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort.
The first page shows you a map of the entire resort. On the left side is a set of filter options you can use to find exactly the room you want:
- Room Type Includes Disney’s description of the view, and the bed type in the room (if we know it). All-Star Sports has Standard and Preferred views, most with double beds. Moderates will show queen beds, and so on.
- Walking Distance to Lobby Useful for cutting down on walking time
- Walking Distance to Transportation Allows you to find rooms near bus stops, monorails and boats
- Floors If you prefer ground or upper-floor rooms, you can specify that here
- Sound Level Helps find the quiet rooms at the resort
- Accessibility Identifies ADA-accessible rooms by feature, including roll-in showers and more
- Our Picks Shows only the rooms which the Unofficial Guide has determined to be the best at the resort.
- Prices You can also filter by price by entering the date you’re checking in.
Set any of these options and click “Show Matching Rooms.” The map will highlight in red all of the buildings which have rooms matching your options.
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