One of the best things about visiting Universal Orlando Resort in March is that Mardi Gras may be officially over in the rest of the country, but it continues on select nights throughout the entire month at Universal Studios Florida.

You might do a double take and wonder if you hopped aboard the wrong plane or took a wrong turn on your road trip and ended up in New Orleans when you encounter the Mardi Gras celebration. It’s so authentic that the parade floats gliding through the theme park are made by Blaine Kern, a company that’s designed floats for the New Orleans parade since 1947.

While Mardi Gras in the French Quarter isn’t widely viewed as a family friendly event, Universal Studios Florida makes sure it’s appropriate for even the youngest kids. There’s even a special Little Jesters parade viewing area where kids can get a great view of the floats and catch a neck-full of colorful beads.

While the floats are the parade’s stars, there’s plenty of side entertainment, like stilt walkers, motorcycles, dancers and street performers. There’s so much going on that you have to look fast if you don’t want to miss any of the action. Out of the dozen floats, four are all-new for 2013. They all throw beads and doubloons, so be prepared to catch your bounty.

Mardi Gras Parade Float

Save your appetite when you come to Universal Studios Florida for Mardi Gras and feast on authentic Cajun cuisine. The food kiosks in the French Quarter Courtyard serve up dishes like creole jumbo, jambalaya, red beans and rice, andouille sausage, and beignets. Listen to the sounds of New Orleans musicians as you enjoy your meal.

Mardi Gras at Universal Studios Florida also features headliner concerts each night of the event. The March artists are Montgomery Gentry on March 9, Sean Kingston on March 15, Matchbox Twenty on March 16, Austin Mahone on March 22, Phillip Phillips on March 23, and Pat Benetar and Neil Giraldo on March 30.

All of the concerts are included with your regular admission ticket. Just look for the stage near the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit Roller Coaster and stake out your standing room spot. Plan to arrive early if you want to be close to the stage. Otherwise, you can watch the performance on jumbo screens while you rock out to the music.

Want to keep the party going? Your theme park ticket gets you into seven clubs in the CityWalk entertainment district just outside Universal Studios Florida on Mardi Gras event nights. If you’ve got the stamina, you can party until 2 a.m. This part of the celebration is only for family members 21 or older, but there’s a kid-friendly miniature golf course for the younger set.

If you can’t make it to Orlando until April, don’t fret. Universal Studios Florida continues the fun on April 6, 13, and 20 before it retires for another year.

If you’d like to celebrate Mardi Gras at Universal Studios Florida, check out the deals on www.orlandovacation.com or call 1-800-641-4008 to speak directly with a helpful agent.