This year’s Mardi Gras parade theme is “Mythical Realms of Mardi Gras.” Universal Orlando previously stated that this year’s parade would allow guests to catch beads by the handful. Based on our experience with opening night, this rings true. The new 2023 version of the parade happened on the opening night of Mardi Gras, Feb. 4.
While catching beads thrown from the floats, guests can embrace the well-designed floats, both new and returning. Six new floats make up the theme of “Mystical Realms of Mardi Gras.” As Universal Orlando calls them, the fantastical creatures will be dragons, phoenixes, unicorns, serpents, and fairies. In addition to the six new floats, the six traditional New Orleans-inspired floats, like King Gator, make up the parade.
With it being opening night, the crowds for the parade started lining up earlier than usual. The Hollywood Boulevard area felt more congested than an ordinary Mardi Gras parade evening. The parade opened with the usual police on motorcycles sequence. Though, on the opening night, only two motorcycles participated in this. Several more performed last year at this point in the parade.
The performers in traditional Universal Orlando Mardi Gras outfits appeared next.
The first three floats function as returning ones with classic Mardi Gras theming. Performers with similar costuming dancing and interacted with the crowd in between floats.
After this, new performer costumes became evident. This allowed guests to view the first new parade float for this year. I understand from chatting with media types that each float coordinates to a realm. However, at this point, I have not seen a list of those realms. So, I will call this the dragon float.
Next, more new costumed performers dance to the Mardi Gras music in between floats. They look to play the part of mythical woodland creatures.
The woodland realm float looks like an enchanted forest. Well, except for the float riders tossing beads towards bloggers trying to take photos without getting hit in the head by them.
Another set of performers danced for the crowd to set up the next float.
The phoenix float brought some fiery lights to the Mardi Gras parade.
The next set of performers introduces the sea serpent float.
After that some performers in white outfits created a different image from the sea serpents.
The unicorn float approaches guests with bright white animals at the front of the float. This beautiful float creates some nice imagery for the guests viewing this event.
After the unicorn float, a collection of performers from the previous five floats prepared the crowd for the last of the new floats. This new float combines all the mythical realms into a type of finale.
Based on our location during the parade, we saw more of these performers due to an unexpected delay during the parade. Though this delay detracted from the parade, the performers kept going despite this issue. We felt that tired performers would be arriving backstage since this was a long opening night for them with possibly an extra 10-15 minutes of delay.
After that, the final mythical creatures float passed by guests. This float offers nods to all the five outer mythical creatures floats.
Then, the parade transitions back to a less mythical version for the last three floats concluding with the King Gator float.
As usual, the Mardi Gras parade brought excitement for guests. Mardi Gras continues until April 16th with parades on most nights. These specially made Kerns Studios floats shined as stars in the mythical realm. So, let the good times roll!
Will you be attending Mardi Gras at Universal Orlando this year? Let us know in the comments below.
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