Universal Orlando Celebrates 15th Annual Mardi Gras Event; Special Offers for Florida Residents

On February 6, Universal Orlando Resort will kick off its 15th year of Mardi Gras – the biggest and most authentic Mardi Gras celebration outside of New Orleans.  Guests will experience the spirit of Bourbon St. in the heart of Universal Studios, with festivities including live concerts by artists like Flo Rida, Sheryl Crow and Chicago, authentic Cajun cuisine, a spectacular parade and tons of beads.

With a combined total of more than half a billion records sold worldwide, this year’s Mardi Gras lineup features an eclectic mix of 13 of the biggest names in music.  From hip-hop to pop, country to rock, and R&B to disco, there will be something for everyone.  Along with Flo Rida, Sheryl Crow and Chicago, Mardi Gras guests will enjoy live performances by headliners like “The Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin, country sensation Dierks Bentley, hip-hop artist Akon, multi-platinum selling rock band 3 Doors Down and the No. 1 selling American band of all time, Beach Boys.

In addition to seeing top-name talent perform on the main stage, guests can also visit Universal’s very own “French Quarter” – a replica of the New Orleans’ famed district – and groove to the authentic bayou sounds of bands directly from New Orleans.

To commemorate this special year, guests will enjoy a heritage-themed Mardi Gras parade featuring new colorful renditions of floats from past year’s events.  Universal worked with New Orleans-based Blaine Kern Artists, Inc. to incorporate new elements into some of the most memorable floats in the event’s history. The twelve vibrant floats will cruise the streets of Universal Studios during the festivities, filled with riders tossing beads by the handful to excited park guests.

Guests will also enjoy the aroma and taste of authentic Cajun cuisine – such as jambalaya, gumbo, beignets and king cake – along with hundreds of costumed characters and stilt walkers dancing and mingling in the streets.  Party-goers will also enjoy Universal Studios’ most popular attractions, including the all-new Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit – a radically-innovative roller coaster that combines hit music, first-ever maneuvers and highly-sophisticated audio and video for a one-of-a-kind ride experience.

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Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hi-Res Concept Art Photo Gallery

(L-R) Jamie Lee Curtis, Andy Fickman (Director), Sigourney Weaver Ph: Mark Fellman ©Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Yesterday, we brought you details of the Universal Orlando’s plans to debut the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter in spring 2010. Today we are pleased to bring you the following gallery of concept art for the new theme park area based on the JK Rowling series. All images © 2009 Universal Orlando Resort. All Rights Reserved.

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Universal Orlando Reveals Details on The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Opening Spring 2010

ORLANDO, Fla. (September 15, 2009) – Universal Orlando Resort, together with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, today revealed first-ever details about the incredible scope of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  Universal also announced that the highly anticipated land will open in spring 2010.

Inspired by J.K. Rowling’s compelling stories and characters – and faithful to the visual landscapes of the films – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure will provide visitors with a one-of-a-kind experience complete with multiple attractions, shops and a signature eating establishment.   This completely immersive environment will transcend generations and bring the wonder and magic of the amazingly detailed Harry Potter books and films to life.

The expectations of Harry Potter fans are high and Universal Orlando Resort is collaborating closely with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros. Consumer Products and the Warner Bros. Harry Potter brand team to ensure that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be an experience of a lifetime.  The Harry Potter films’ production designer, Stuart Craig and art director, Alan Gilmore, in cooperation with a corps of artisans from Universal Creative are working daily to construct the most authentic Harry Potter experience possible.  Guests will be able to sip Butterbeer in Three Broomsticks, buy Extendable Ears at Zonko’s and experience a state-of-the-art attraction that brings the stories of Harry Potter to life in a way never before imagined.

“All of the action and adventures of Harry Potter’s world will come to life here at Universal Orlando Resort,” said Tom Williams, chairman and CEO, Universal Parks and Resorts.  “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be unlike any other experience on earth and we can’t wait to see the looks on our guests’ faces as they enter this rich environment.”

“Harry Potter continues to spark the imaginations of fans of all ages and we really have seen the anticipation continue to build for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” added Brad Globe, President, Warner Bros. Consumer Products.  “We are excited to share with fans a first glimpse into the truly enchanted world we are bringing to life with all of our partners at Universal Orlando Resort.”

From the front archway of Hogsmeade to the immensity of Hogwarts castle, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will feature the locations listed below:

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