UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT KICKS OFF BIGGEST, BEST MARDI GRAS CELEBRATION OUTSIDE OF NEW ORLEANS Top-Name National Music Talent, Authentic Mardi Gras Parade and Cuisine Straight from The Big Easy Make for the Ultimate Street Party Beginning Feb. 12It is the biggest, best, party in the country ““ and Universal Orlando Resort brings it straight from New Orleans to you this February 12 through April 23.Nationally renowned musical acts combine with an authentic Mardi Gras parade, dozens of colorfully costumed performers, authentic Cajun cooking, and hand-picked New Orleans bands to capture the look, feel and fun of New Orleans ““ all inside Universal Studios Florida.Universal Orlando has been creating its special Mardi Gras celebration for more than 15 years ““ bringing the perfect combination of the Big Easy and spectacular theme park entertainment to its guests all for the price of regular admission.”If you can’t be in New Orleans or if you can’t get enough of Mardi Gras, then Universal Orlando is the place to be,” said Jim Timon, senior vice president of entertainment for Universal Orlando Resort. “We bring all of what makes Mardi Gras great together with national-level musical artists to create a family-friendly celebration that fills the entire theme park.”This year’s special Mardi Gras concert line-up features some of the biggest names in Rock, Country, Pop and R&B. Together, the headliners have had more than 100 songs on Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart and more than 20 Grammy nominations. Performers include Pitbull, also known as “Mr. 305,” who will perform songs from his hit album, “Rebelution,” Neon Trees, who will perform their hit “Animal,” One Republic and country-super-star Blake Shelton. Also performing will be Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Beach Boys and Ne-Yo. For a complete list of this year’s performers and dates, see the attached.Along with top-name talent comes the world-famous parade – straight from the streets of New Orleans. One-dozen elaborate, hand-crafted floats designed and built by Blaine Kern Artists ““ the same company that creates floats for New Orleans Mardi Gras ““ will make their way through the streets of Universal Studios along with dozens of colorfully costumed performers and hundreds of float riders ““ all of whom throw beads to eager guests. The parade, with its Fire, Air, Water, Earth theme, also features music and a nightly King and Queen of Mardi Gras.Nearby, in the Universal Studios “French Quarter Courtyard,” the celebration continues. This area will feature New Orleans-inspired food creations by Universal’s chefs ““ including jambalaya, Po Boy sandwiches and more. And nearly one-dozen hand-picked, authentic New Orleans bands will perform the best of The Big Easy’s Blues, Jazz and Zydeco.