Theme parks

Mardi Gras at Universal Orlando; Bands, Brew & BBQ at SeaWorld


Orlando Sentinel

Universal Studios brings back the bayou with the return of its extended Mardi Gras celebration, which begins Saturday. All of the key elements are back for another go-round.

The parade, which steps off at 7:45 p.m., will have a theme of “Colorful Cultures Around the World.” Look for Mexican Day of the Dead and Chinese New Year floats while jumping for beads.

The first musical act is Lifehouse, playing at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. Genuine New Orleans music will come from John Lisi & Delta Funk at 4:15 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Menu items include spicy jambalaya, grilled andouille sausage, shrimp gumbo and warm beignets.

Festivities are included in regular park admission. A one-day, one-park pass is $89 ($83 for ages 3-9). Information:, 407-224-4233.

Across town, SeaWorld is dishing up its biggest helping ever of Bands, Brew & BBQ festival with 16 musical acts spread over eight weekends. It begins with Chris Young and Jerrod Niemann at Bayside Stadium this Saturday, followed by Merle Haggard on Sunday. Other musicians on tap include Third Eye Blind, Darius Rucker, Josh Turner and Sheryl Crow. The festival also includes barbecue action — look for some local favorites — and a slew of craft beers.

Sales of barbecue and beer start at 11:30 a.m. Concerts start at 4 p.m. Park hours are 9 a.m.-7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Festivities included in regular SeaWorld admission. One-day admission is $89 general, $81 ages 3-9. Information: 407-351-3600,

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