Bead mania just doesn't seem to subside during Universal's Mardi Gras parade. Here are a few tips I picked up while tossing the plastic treasures from the Rainforest float recently:
•If you really want to score beads, stand in a less populated area or a narrow sidewalk. It's math: Less people, less competition. (Try near the parade's start at the Horror Make-Up Show or the side street that connects Mel's Drive-In and the San Francisco area.)
•But if you don't want beads, don't muscle your way to the front of the pack. And don't look irritated when beads land at your feet.
•The most populated and most vocal spot along the parade route was the Monster Café/Twister corner near Music Plaza. I could practically feel the roar of the beggars.
•If you're already wearing a lot of beads, I'm not inclined to toss you more, no matter how insanely you scream.
•Some men of a certain size felt compelled to raise their shirts in a plea for beads. I didn't want to reward that behavior, but others on our float felt that hilarious and deserving. I still say "Know when to say when."
•Bead tossers also are armed with commemorative coins to distribute gently. They allegedly are rare, but the crowd seemed uninterested.
We're down to two nights left in the celebration at Universal Studios. The concerts will feature Cyndi Lauper this Saturday, followed by KC & the Sunshine Band on April 14. Mardi Gras events are included in regular theme-park admission.