Mardi Gras Tribute Store collage

PHOTOS, VIDEO: Full Tour of River Cruise-Themed 2024 Mardi Gras Tribute Store at Universal Studios Florida

Shannen Ace

The 2024 Mardi Gras Tribute Store at Universal Studios Florida opened on Thursday for Annual Passholder previews. We now bring you a full tour of the river cruise-themed store, which is located in the Hollywood section of Universal Studios Florida.

Mardi Gras Tribute Store Facade

The exterior of the 2024 Mardi Gras Tribute Store.

The facade of the Mardi Gras Tribute Store resembles a dock with crates, ropes, and lanterns. An archway reads “Tribute Store & River Cruises.” The entrance and exit have been swapped from previous stores, with Williams of Hollywood operating as the entrance.

Posters on the exterior wall of the tribute store.

There are posters featuring various Tribute Store references like the Black Cat Club and Gerg the Llama. Most of the posters are about the P.S. Songbird, a boat offering cruises on the Mississippi River. The P.S. Songbird is the setting of this year’s Mardi Gras Tribute Store.

The entrance to the tribute store.

Guests “board” the boat via a fake ramp into Williams of Hollywood.

A preview video shared by Universal Orlando Resort featured the following narration about the ship’s lore.

Welcome aboard the P.S. Songbird, legendary steamer of the Mighty Mississippi. The cruise may seem a party at first but be warned, not all is as it seems, for the ship you’re sailing on met its end nearly 100 years ago. To this day, its ghostly horn can still be heard in the night as it carries unsuspecting travelers deep into the heart of the bayou to a place where many spirits linger. Some make music, some cause mischief, some are adventurous, and some are playful. Tread lightly, friends, you never know what you might face.

Boarding the P.S. Songbird

The front room of the tribute store.

The first room of the Mardi Gras Tribute Store features art deco wallpaper and a banner reading, “Welcome Aboard The P.S. Songbird.” A chandelier hangs from the ceiling. Plants and retro lights sit atop the merchandise displays.

A sign hanging from the ceiling that reads "Welcome aboard the P.S. Songbird."

The wallpaper is blue with gold details. The doorway into the next room is also lined in gold.

A framed certificate detailing the P.S. Songbird's history.

A framed certificate on the wall details some of the P.S. Songbird’s history and references Captain Victor Pavo.

The P.S. Songbird

Built in Pittsburg, PA on June 1st, 1890, this beautiful vessel traveled up and down the Mighty Mississippi River as well as the Grand Ohio River for more than thirty years. Piloted by Capt. Victor Pavo this “Peacock of the Mississippi” is one of the most illustrious paddle steamers to grace these waters. With its luxurious dance hall, dining room, and spacious cabins, this vessel continues to have the finest accomodations that are the envy of those still on dry land.

“…I may say that an American has not seen the United States until he has seen Mardi-Gras in New Orleans.” – Mark T.
Luggage sitting in two alcoves along the wall.

To the left of the entrance, red curtains frame two alcoves full of vintage-style suitcases and bags. The suitcases have travel stamps, and brochures and playing cards litter the ground.

A poster welcoming guests to the boat sits next to a merchandise display.

A poster on a stand also welcomes guests to the boat, which travels from New Orleans to Hannibal.

A close-up of the poster.

The poster is white with green details including birds and candles. Captain Victor Pavo is referenced at the bottom, as is First Mate Gergorio.

A tall wooden shelf sits nearby, covered in statues and Mardi Gras masks.

A tall wooden shelf near the door is covered in statues, Mardi Gras masks, and other knick-knacks.

The Captain’s Ghost

More merchandise displays set up in the tribute store.

The wallpaper continues into the next room of the Mardi Gras Tribute Store, where there are more merchandise displays topped with wilting dried flowers. Two tall lamps are sculpted statues of women holding sconces.

A planter sitting atop a merchandise display.

Potted flowers are sitting on some of the central merchandise displays, which are brown wood.

A merchandise display painted all white.

The displays on the walls are white. There are short red velvet curtains along the top and wheel-like decorations in the corners.

The captain's desk in the tribute store.

The captain’s desk is in this room. Behind it is an ornate chair and a menu board.

A close-up of the captain's desk.

The carved wood desk is covered in vintage items like a glass decanter, rotary phone, and binoculars. There is a bell to the right and a clock to the left. A curtain hangs behind the menu board.

A look at the various ephemera on the captain's desk.

There are several bagge room tickets and P.S. Songbird brochures on the desk. “The Explorer’s Journal” is sitting on the chair.

A small sailor figure sits on the captain's chair.

Also on the chair is a captain’s hat and, standing on the hat, a small figure of a sailor.

A poster detailing the menu aboard the P.S. Songbird.

The menu lists hors d’oeuvres like oysters and cream of barley, starters like filet mignon, and entrees including lamb, roast duckling, boiled potatoes, and Waldorf pudding. The desserts are chocolate and vanilla eclairs, French ice cream, and the Skipper’s Flambee.

Another alcove where guests might encounter a ghost.

Across from the desk is another alcove framed by red curtains and blocked by a velvet rope. It’s here where guests will encounter the ghost of Captain Victor Pavo.

A projection of Captain Victor Pavo in his ghostly form appears.

His blue smoky specter appears, tips his hat to passersby, and then disappears. See the effect in our video embedded below.

The alcove also has a suitcase, flowers, a clock, and more props.

A bust sits next to a framed portrait.

On the walls throughout the room are framed portraits. A white bust of a bearded man is in one corner.

A look at the dilapidated hallways of the P.S. Songbird

As you move further into the Mardi Gras Tribute Store, the riverboat appears more dilapidated, with vines creeping over the walls.

Room #3

Vines creeping up the walls in the P.S. Songbird.

To the right in the next room is a wall that appears solid, with a vine across it and two light sconces mounted on it.

The scrim wall in the tribute store.

However, as the lights flicker, the wall turns translucent.

The scrim wall lit from behind.

On the other side of the ghostly wall are ferns and grass growing around a statue and glowing lantern.

A look at the statue behind the scrim wall

The statue wears Mardi Gras beads.

Planters and vines near merchandise displays

The vines also run along the Mardi Gras Tribute Store merchandise displays, which are more weathered than the ones in the previous rooms, and around pots.

A teddy bear peeking through a merchandise display curtain.

The curtains of the merchandise displays are also faded and torn. A teddy bear peeks through a hole in one curtain, maybe referencing the Halloween Horror Nights bear.

A closer look at the art deco mural

Shirts hang from wrought iron displays. There is an art deco mural on one wall, which features a woman in 1920s attire with tree branches hanging over her.

A cabinet covered in knick knacks and playing cards.

More playing cards are strewn across the floor and on this cabinet. Atop the cabinet are vintage-style knick-knacks, a clock, and a case with cobwebs across it.

The peeling wallpaper is the same beautiful design as the previous rooms, but it’s now dirty and peeling.

A closer look at the couch.

In one corner is a couch with a damask fabric. A fur throw is draped over one arm. A framed portrait on the wall above the couch is crooked. Beneath the couch is a torn-up menu.

Into the Bayou

The exit of the crashed riverboat.

As you enter the next room of the Mardi Gras Tribute Store, look back and you’ll see that you’re exiting the crashed riverboat, which has now become one with the bayou. Ferns are growing on the side of the boat. Ropes crisscross the ceiling of this room.

Spanish moss and torn fabric hanging from the ceiling.

Spanish moss and torn fabric hang from the ropes. The merchandise displays appear to be made from broken pieces of the boat.

A window unit above merchandise displays with lighting effects

Above one shelving unit is a set of windows with flashing lights.

Water droplets falling on the "ground"

Parts of the floor here appear flooded, with drops of rain causing ripples in the water. It looked so real, we found ourselves standing on the fake wooden planks for safety.

A projection of an alligator on the floor.

Sometimes, an alligator appears to swim beneath your feet.

A crashed fishing boat inside the tribute store.

There’s also a crashed fishing boat with torn sails and netting. An old crow’s nest is against one wall. Fireflies light up throughout the room.

A gator figure hidden amongst the decor.

A gator figure is hidden in this tall grass growing over what appears to be an old dock.

Another angle of the snack counter

The Mardi Gras Tribute Store snack counter is located in this room and looks like a small boat itself. The name on the side is the S.S. Sabol. Bayou plants and trees grow behind the snack counter.

A close-up of the snacks available in the tribute store

Treats are displayed in what would have been the window of the boat.

Wanted posters for alligators pasted on a crate

There are wanted posters for alligators. There’s a reward of $200 for the “Prince Gator,” dead or alive. He’s drawn in a cartoony style labeled as an “artistic interpretation.” A more realistic-looking gator is named “Roof Gator Linsberg.” This poster and some other decorations are recycled from last year’s Cursed Coconut Club.

Skeletons in the Dock House

A wide show of the registers room, with a skeleton looking on from overhead.

The next room of the Mardi Gras Tribute Store houses the cash registers within an old dock house. Skeletons sit on the rafters overlooking the room. Thunder and lightning crash. Projections and moving black lights reveal different voodoo symbols.

USF 2024 Mardi Gras Tribute Store 6432

There’s a giant wheel on the wall above the registers. There are ropes and crates throughout the room.

The giant wheel spinning with lighting effects

The wheel spins and bright flashes of light make different symbols appear on it.

The Baron skeleton sitting above the registers area

The Baron, an icon of Mardi Gras, sits on a crate in the rafters. He moves his head and laughs. A spotlight sometimes illuminates him. The Baron wears a black suit with a top hat.

Bright skulls painted on a wall.

Some of the projections are also reused from Cursed Coconut Club. On this wall are bright voodoo skulls.

Painted skull art reacting to blacklight paint

They change colors under the flashing blacklight.

A skeleton band sits overhead in a corner of the room

There is a skeletal band in one corner.

A skeleton that references our reporter Annie.

Here, we spotted a reference to our intrepid reporter Annie.

The Shipwreck

The doorway into the final room of the tribute store

To reach the final room and exit for the Mardi Gras Tribute Store, guests walk through a broken wall.

A wide shot of the decor used in the final room

The wall is revealed to be the side of another ship that has wrecked in the bayou.

A cannon used in the decor of the final room

A cannon sticks through one wall. There are crooked frames on the walls. Melted candles are on the crates and barrels.

A close-up of a trident used as decoration in the final room.

A trident, perhaps a reference to the now defunct Poseidon’s Fury, is near the entrance to this room.

A closer look at candles dripping wax down the walls of the tribute store

There are more candles between the planks of the wall, with wax dripping down to the floor. An old map of Florida with playing cards tucked behind it is framed.

A framed image of alligators. One has a drawn-on crown.

Framed artwork of alligators has a crown drawn on one.

A large stack of crates sits next to a red velvet couch. Behind them, a skeleton figure moves and laughs.

Crates and a red velvet couch block access to a desk. Behind the desk is another skeleton figure that moves and laughs. It has glowing red eyes.

A closer look behind the couch, where rain falls on the window.

Rain patters on the windows behind the skeleton. An effect in the ceiling here also makes it appear rain is leaking through the ship. See all the effects in our video below.

A bust and a diving helmet sit amongst the rubble.

Near the skeleton is a bust and the helmet of an old diving suit. There are large bottles and various spoils a pirate might have collected.

A rain effect behind the bust and helmet.

The rain effect is behind the bust and helmet.

A close-up of the items on the desk.

On the desk is a map and gold coins, as well as the Key of Hamunaptra from “The Mummy.” There’s a pistol, large goblet, and journal.

Earl the Squirrel hiding behind an alligator skull.

We spotted Earl the Squirrel hiding behind a gator’s skull.

Watch our full tour of the 2024 Mardi Gras Tribute Store:

Mardi Gras: International Flavors of Carnaval officially begins on February 3, 2024, and runs through April 7.

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Author

  • Shannen Ace

    Shannen has been a Disney Parks fan and lover of dogs since childhood, despite Pluto's attempt to eat Shannen's Minnie Mouse doll the first time they met. They've made up now. You can email Shannen at shannen@wdwnt.com.

1 thought on “PHOTOS, VIDEO: Full Tour of River Cruise-Themed 2024 Mardi Gras Tribute Store at Universal Studios Florida”

  1. I usually don’t comment, but I laughed at the menu poster.

    That menu is almost the exact same menu served to the first class passengers on Titanic on the night it struck the iceberg.

    Reply

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