Universal Mardi Gras is going on at Universal Studios Florida now through April 24th in 2022. The event features multiple food booths around the park, live concerts on select nights, and of course the parade every evening.
To celebrate the event, the Tribute Store has returned for 2022. This year this intricately themed retail location has been designed to look like a Float Factory. Each room shows another step in the process of creating new parade floats for the event, culminating in the finished project in the final room!
Check out the complete photo report below for a look at each of the themed rooms, including some fun Easter Eggs and all of the sweet treats you’ll find this this year’s Tribute Store. And see the video below for a walk though of the entire shop!
Located in the New York area of Universal Studios Florida, this pop-up store can be found just to the right of Race Through New York with Jimmy Fallon. The facade is themed as a warehouse being used as a float factory for Mardi Gras floats.
As soon as you enter you are greeted by concept art for the very Tribute Store you just entered, among other concepts. And the first room is named Concepts and Ideas.
The float factory also shares space with a prop warehouse, so there are plenty of opportunities to find Easter eggs from previous Tribute Stores and other attractions around the Universal Orlando Resort on the shelves in each room.
This room features plenty of concept sketches and finalized concept art for multiple projects, both completed in the past, and for this year’s event.
The main concept we follow from room to room features a “Space Gator” float design, as well as a Paddleboat design, both of which can be seen in their completed form in the final room of the Tribute Store. While they are only sketches in this room, we’ll see them start to come to life in the next room.
Since these rooms are designed as work areas of a warehouse, there are safety signs. But these aren’t just any safety signs, they feature the now famous Earl the Squirrel. You may remember him from the Holiday Tribute Store, but it looks like he’s starting to leak into other events now!
And the safety signs aren’t the only references to Earl the Squirrel you will find in the Mardi Gras Tribute Store. There is a squirrel plate in the first room, as well as adverts that were seen in the Earl section of last year’s Holiday Tribute Store.
Boxes with labels line the shelves in most of the rooms, and a couple of them may be references to Earl as well. The first is labeled as “Box-O-Nuts,” and we all know Earl is nuts about nuts, and the other is labeled as “Badger Spray.” From Earl’s employee handbook we learned last year that he is not fond of Badgers, as they are squirrel’s number one enemy, apparently.
Another fun box is labeled as “Crushed Dreams” in the first room.
The first room also features the first of two Mold-A-Rama machines for the Mardi Gras Tribute Store. This one will get you a molded gator.
Moving on to the second room, which is named Fabrication and Build, here we can see the Space Gator literally starting to take shape, as it is being carved out of a large block of Styrofoam.
This room features the other Mold-A-Rama machine, this one offering a riverboat.
You can spot some things from the last Halloween Horror Nights Tribute Store in this area, including a stained glass window from the facade and the large HHN Bear statue, perfect for posing for pictures.
Next up is a hallway full of photos and memories from over two and a half decades of the event at Universal Studios Florida.
The next room is titled Scenic and Paint, and is filled with paint cans and plenty of scenic props along the shelves.
One neat Easter egg, is the foam padding from the Beetlejuice haunted house from last year’s Halloween Horror Nights peaking out some boxes on the shelves in the middle of the room.
Other props can be seen on the shelves, including a UFO from HHN, a SpongeBob pineapple, Cat in the Hat cake, and what look to be bowling pins from one of the live-action Flintstones movies?
And finally, the last room is the Showroom. This is where we get to see the completed Space Gator and Rocket float, as well the Peacock float cashwrap, and Riverboat themed display shelves.
This is also where you’ll find the store’s sweet treats and other snacks. All treats are shown below, along with prices on their signs.
Be sure to look up before you leave, and you may spot Earl the Squirrel himself, dressed in his very own space helmet and wearing a ton of beads!
As you head out of the store, the last hallway features concept art from some of the actual floats in the parade, and the exit has its own recreation of the infamous “bead tree.” The real bead tree can be seen when heading towards the parking garages, and is nicknamed that because guests tend to throw beads on it every year during the event.
Since this year’s Mardi Gras is themed to outer space, not only is the final room of the Tribute Store all spaced-out, but much of this year’s merchandise is as well!
That’s all for now, but be sure to check out the video for a full tour of this year’s store. And see our recent tour of the new Universal Monsters Tribute Store that is also open at the park for a limited time!
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