ORLANDO, Fla. — Universal Orlando is letting the “good times roll” as it celebrates Mardi Gras with food, live music and a nightly parade.

What You Need To Know

The festivities at Universal Studios Florida include new things to see and taste.

The Mardi Gras parade this year features six newly designed floats with an elements theme — water, fire, wind, Earth, etc.

“The first float sets us up for all the ‘elementals’ — it’s all the elements put together with our compass in the front kind of guiding our way,” said Lora Sauls, assistant director of creative development and show direction for entertainment art and design. “And then we go through Earth and wind and then fire and water. We end with sun and moon and that same kind of compass on the back.”

During the annual trip to Kerns Studios in New Orleans, the Universal team found props to use on the floats.

Each of the floats have their own decor and special effects. For the Earth float, the decor and lighting team created a sky with a thunderstorm effect in the clouds.

“There’s ton of elements on our element floats,” Sauls said. “Lighting is such a key part of Mardi Gras.”

More glitter was used for the floats than in previous years, said Sauls, adding that the decor team applied most of it by hand.

The elemental floats are sandwiched between Universal’s six returning traditional floats, like the large King Gator float.

“We are in love with this parade, and we hope the guests love it, too,” Sauls said.

Universal changed up the menu for this year’s Mardi Gras. More than a dozen kiosks representing different countries are located throughout the park, with some offering traditional fare and others offering new items.

Visitors can still find items like beignets and po’ boys at the event. But the culinary team also added new items like the candied bacon and onion poutine at the Canada kiosk or the Currywurst at the Germany kiosk.

Chef Jens Dahlmann, vice president executive chef at Universal Orlando, said the culinary team’s main focus this year was to honor the flavors from around the world while maintaining authenticity.

“We wanted to make sure we’re authentic to the countries that celebrate Carnival,” Dahlmann said. “But then we really had fun with it. I think what’s great is we leveraged some of the passion and knowledge of our team members and chefs and whoever works here. Because we asked, ‘what would you do at home, how would you celebrate Carnival at home'?”

The parade and the food are just part of the Mardi Gras experience at Universal Studios. On select nights, live concerts are held at the Music Plaza stage. This year’s lineup includes KC and the Sunshine Band, Barenaked Ladies, DJ Khaled and Queen Latifah.

Universal’s Mardi Gras runs through April 7.