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February 3, 2000

The Ultimate Party Returns To Universal Studios Florida

Orlando, FL -- The world's ultimate party will begin on February 18, 2000 when Mardi Gras returns to Universal Studios Florida for a fifth straight year.

The longest-running Mardi Gras celebration outside New Orleans, Mardi Grass 2000 will continue for 44 nights through April 1, 2000 at Universal Studios Florida, located at Universal Studios Escape in Orlando.

Featuring spectacular parades, authentic food and drink and red-hot music, the celebration begins each night at 6 p.m. when Universal's street sets turn into the party-frenzied French Quarter. Mardi Gras is included in the price of admission, so guests can ride the movies during the day and continue to party New Orleans-style throughout the night.

The highlight of Universal's Mardi Gras 2000 is a parade featuring 15 original, elaborately decorated floats designed by Blaine "Mr. Mardi Gras" Kern, whose world-renowned New Orleans-based company has built Mardi Gras floats since 1932. Wildly-costumed float riders will respond to the famous Mardi Gras request, "Throw me something, Mister!" by tossing millions of strands of beads and doubloons throughout the six-week long event.

Thousands of flags, festoons and tons of confetti combine to transform the backlot into the Mardi Gras party. Talented street performers and stilt walkers entertain crowds, along with a roster of top musical acts performing in concert on the Hollywood Boulevard main stage. Rounding out the celebration are the savory smells of such authentic New Orleans delicacies as jambalaya and crawfish etouffe'.

"Mardi Gras at Universal Studios Florida is the wildest, most extravagant party in the world," said Felix Mussenden, president and chief operating officer for Universal Studios Escape. "We capture the excitement of the New Orleans party and raise the bar by entertaining guests in this very special way every night for more than a month at Universal Studios Florida."

Music is an important part of the hot mix which makes up Mardi Gras at Universal Studios Florida. A star-studded line-up of performers headline this year's Mardi Gras 2000 Concert Series. For the first time, top-name performers are featured on both Friday and Saturday nights, with such musical acts as Smash Mouth, Foreigner, Kansas, KC and the Sunshine Band, Cheap Trick, Gap Band, Michael McCray Band, Sonia Dad, Michael McDonald, Pat Benatar and Delbert McClinton on the main stage. The Mardi Gras 2000 house band, Reverend PP Pettibone and The Funky Blues Messiahs, takes center stage every Sunday through Thursday night.

The Mardi Gras party is included in the regular admission ticket to Universal Studios Florida. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster or Spencer Gifts stores. Guests can also purchase tickets through the Mardi Gras hotline at 407-224-5500 and at Universal Studios Escape theme park ticket booths.