Women performing onstage in elaborate costumes for the Kissimmee Carnival.

Carnival in Central Florida

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Oi, amigos brasileiros! Tudo bem?

This week I decided on my New Year's resolution (super late, I know): to get through all the Portuguese Duolingo modules. I would love to learn the language, but I've been too lazy about it in the past.

So as I ready myself for a trip to Brazil in the spring, armed with the words for "I am lost," "Call my mother," and "Send help," getting in touch with Brazilian culture is a must and I figured, why not have myself a Brazilian Carnival kind of day?

First stop: Lunch at Sabor Brazil Kissimmee

I can't party it up like it's 1985 without a full belly. This little, hole-in-the-wall buffet in Kissimmee left my mouth watering and taste buds doing the samba! I found everything from traditional, succulent picanha to chicken coxinha to colossal Brazilian hot dogs. Goodbye, 21 Day Fix diet.

Second stop: Mardi Gras at Universal Orlando

Now, before you go ahead and try to correct me by saying, "But Veronica, Mardi Gras and Carnival aren't the same thing!"

"Mardi Gras and Carnival are the same celebration: Though Mardi Gras technically refers only to Fat Tuesday, the Mardi Gras season actually begins on Epiphany, a Christian holiday celebrated on January 6 that is otherwise known as Three Kings Day or the Twelfth Day of Christmas. In Brazil and many other countries, this period between Epiphany and Fat Tuesday is known as Carnival. Whichever name you prefer to use, the revelries of Mardi Gras last until midnight tonight, when Ash Wednesday ushers in 40 days of Lent."

Booyah! Thanks for backing me up, History.com.

With 14 concerts lighting up the stage; 1.7 million beads flying through the air; a wild and wonderful parade led by amazing, outrageous performers and great food-Mardi Gras is a Universal Orlando tradition like no other.

Third stop: Dinner, Dancing and Drinks at Mango's Tropical Café

From the moment I walked in, Mango's Tropical Café's larger-than-life décor left me breathless. Comfy couches, caipirinhas, mojitos and giant palm trees took me to the shores of Lopes Mendes Beach. But once the lights dimmed and the music began, I was in the streets of Rio, mesmerized by the costumes, the feathers and the quick legs and feet of the samba dancers.

Don't miss out on the fun! Make Kissimmee a part of your next family vacation. Click here for more things to do in our sunny destination.

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