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Our Jubilant Guide to Universal Orlando Mardi Gras: International Flavors of Carnaval

by Mommy Frog on September 27, 2022 32 Orlando

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Summary

Every spring, Florida's biggest party comes alive during Universal Mardi Gras: International Flavors of Carnaval. Universal Orlando Resort plays host to the hoppin' New Orleans celebration, complete with Cajun and international flavors, toadally amazing concerts and entertainment — including a float-filled, electrifying parade — that would make the Big Easy proud. In 2023, the party will start on Feb. 4 and run until April 16!

Universal Mardi Gras - Spaceship Float

Between gorgeous weather, all-star music, killer food and festive floats ... what more could you ask for? French Quarter Courtyard is chock-full of dancers, jazz bands and delicious food ... beignets, anyone? All of the extra fun is included with regular Universal Orlando park admission!

This fun, action-packed event takes place daily during our personal favorite season in Orlando, so you really can't miss it. Take a peek at our ribbeting guide for Mardi Gras, including treasurable tips to make the most of your visit. Let the good times roll, frog friends!

Universal Mardi Gras Parade 2023

Last year's original parade theme was "Planet Mardi Gras" and featured six brand-new floats that combined Mardi Gras revelry with comets, rockets, martians and more. These out-of-this-world additions joined Universal's traditional lineup of New Orleans-inspired floats and dozens of performers in festive costumes as they wound through the streets of Universal Studios and threw out beads by the handful.

It's important to strategically plot your parade spot. Below is a list of what times the parade hoppened last year (subject to change — so be sure to double-check on the day of your visit).

Parade started at 5:15 p.m. on the following dates:

  • Feb. 25

Parade started at 6:15 p.m. on the following dates:

  • Feb. 6-7, 9-11, 13-17, 22-24, 28
  • March 1-3, 7-9, 29

Parade started at 7:15 p.m. on the following dates:

  • Feb. 8, 18, 27
  • March 4, 10-11

Parade started at 7:30 p.m. on the following dates:

  • Feb. 21
  • March 14-17, 21-24, 28, 30-31
  • April 3-7, 9-24

Parade started at 7:45 p.m. on the following dates:

  • Feb. 5, 12, 19-20, 26
  • March 5-6, 12-13, 18-20, 25-27

No Parade on the following dates:

  • April 1-2, 8

Later showings are when you really have to plan ahead!

Universal Mardi Gras - Mardi Gras Parade from Family Viewing Area

If you want to attend the concert at 8:30 p.m., we recommend getting a spot right along the edge of the street in front of Music Plaza Stage for a quick turnaround to snag a concert spot. Last year, Tad and I snagged a spot across the street from the former Universal Studios' Classic Monsters Cafe about an hour and 15 minutes before the parade started and were right at the front of our section when the ropes went up. As soon as the parade ended, we were able to make our way to the concert viewing area quickly and snake our way to the front for a frogtastic view! There was also a family viewing area near the Brown Derby Hat Shop in Hollywood for tadpoles under 10 and an accompanying grow-up, which was where Leap and Lily camped out. These are great locations, but don't bank on them unless you arrive early ... they typically fill up quickly!

To land a solid parade spot anywhere, try lining up about 30 minutes ahead of time. On weekends, crowds are heavier, so arrive 45 minutes early ... and if you have a larger group or want front-row seating, find your spot at least 60 minutes ahead of the parade start. Front-row seating (or standing) gives you and your tadpoles a better shot at catching beads. This is half the fun for us, so we'd highly recommend looking for a spot! The earlier, the better!

Did you know you can also reserve a spot on a float?!? Starting at around 12 p.m. until one hour prior to parade start, Virtual Line Passes are available on a first-come, first-served basis via the Universal Orlando app. Once available, tap "Reserve Virtual Line Experience Pass" and select the number of frogs in your party. Choose the available time you'd like to return to ride your float and you're all set! The entire Float Riding experience lasts two to three hours, so you might miss the beginning of the concert, but if seeing the show isn't a priority for you, we can't recommend this experience enough. All riders must be at least 48 inches tall with a parent/adult guardian over 18 to sign a waiver. Face coverings are required and floats are assigned upon availability. Get your throwing arm ready!

Universal Mardi Gras Concerts 2023

Universal Mardi Gras - Sugar Ray

Universal Mardi Gras always has a super impressive lineup of performers from all different music genres for its concert series. During weekends throughout the celebration, Music Plaza Stage hosts some of radio's finest bands and artists.

Performances usually begin at 8:30 p.m. on each concert night. Concerts take place on select Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout Universal Mardi Gras. This was the concert lineup in 2022:

  • Feb. 5: Sugar Ray
  • Feb. 12: Diana Ross
  • Feb. 19: Barenaked Ladies
  • Feb. 20: Styx
  • Feb. 26: Jon Pardi
  • March 5: LL COOL J feat. DJ Z-Trip
  • March 6: Marshmello
  • March 12: Lee Brice
  • March 13: Becky G
  • March 18: Khalid
  • March 19: Seal
  • March 20: Gavin DeGraw
  • March 25: The Revivalists
  • March 26: Jimmie Allen
  • March 27: Jason Derulo

Concert crowds will vary depending on the popularity of the artist and day of the week. For instance, Lily was excited for Becky G and Tad couldn't wait for Khalid, but "the old frogs" like me and Leap were hoppin' for Diana Ross and Styx. Fridays and Saturdays generally bring in larger crowds than Sundays. If you don't mind missing the parade, we recommend landing your concert viewing spot about an hour ahead of time for a spot on the grass. Each concert is about an hour and a half long. Sugar Ray's performance on the first night of Mardi Gras heated up the freezing cold night with classics, including "Every Morning" and "Fly." Everyone in the crowd was singing along!

Universal Mardi Gras Food and Drinks at Universal Studios Florida

Universal Mardi Gras - King Cake

New Orleans is known for its hoppin' delicacies, and the Cajun offerings at Universal Mardi Gras are no different. Last year, bold flavors ignited our taste buds with an array of delicious culinary delicacies inspired by various locations around the globe. Food booths opened at 11:30 a.m. and operated until 30 minutes before the park closes.

Use the official Universal Orlando app to locate the exact food booth locations on a map and study the menus.

The Mardi Gras Tasting Lanyard wasn't available in 2022. However, there were specialty "Mardi Gras Food and Beverage" gift cards available for purchase at various locations throughout the park during the event. Give the gift of "good times" to a friend or use it for yourself and minimize the time you'd spend fishing for your wallet! The cards don't expire, so you can keep hopping back for more, even after Mardi Gras is over, if you have a remaining balance.

Universal Mardi Gras - Jambalaya

Take a look at the menus from 2022's event:

  • New Orleans: Planet Mardi Gras 1 (Gramercy Park)
    • Food Menu:
      • King Cake - Traditional King Cake with cinnamon swirl icing and colored sanding sugar
      • Beignets - Sweet fried pastry with powdered sugar
      • Mardi Gras Marshmallow Pie - Freshly made marshmallow, graham cracker cookies, chocolate and Mardi Gras sprinkles
      • Cajun Twisted Frank with Chorizo Queso - Flash fried ribbon potato (thinly sliced, skewered and stuffed with a Nathan's Famous foot-long hot dog)
      • Cajun Twisted Frank
      • Cajun Twisted Tater
      • Blackened Chicken Po' Boy - Blackened chicken thigh, Cajun mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickle, served on a French Quarter baguette
      • Shrimp Gumbo with Rice - New Orleans style gumbo with gulf shrimp, bacon, andouille sausage, okra, bell peppers, served over white rice
      • Muffuletta - Mortadella, salami, ham, mozzarella and provolone cheese, olive relish on a toasted sesame seed bun
      • Chicken & Andouille Sausage Jambalaya - Mixed rice with andouille sausage, chicken, shrimp, peppers, tomatoes, finished with a spiced crawfish
    • Drink Menu:
      • Category 5 Punch - Myers's Dark Rum, Cruzan Aged Dark Rum, passion fruit purée, orange and lime juice, grenadine, agave nectar
      • A New Twist on Taters - Old Forester Bourbon, Gran Gala Orange Liqueur, brown sugar sweet potato syrup, Mexican Chocolate Bitters, lemon juice
      • Piña Verde - Bacardi Superior Rum, Chartreuse Green Liqueur, Coco López Cream of Coconut, pineapple and lime juice, fresh mint
      • Abita Purple Haze - Raspberry Lager
      • North Coast Brewing Co. Prankster - Belgian-Style Golden Ale

Universal Mardi Gras - Beignets

  • New Orleans: Planet Mardi Gras 2
    • Food Menu:
      • Crawfish & Shrimp Boil - Mixed bag of crawfish, shrimp, andouille sausage, red bliss potatoes, corn on the cob
      • Crawfish Boil - Mixed bag of crawfish, andouille sausage, red bliss potatoes, corn on the cob
      • Shrimp Boil - Mixed bag of shrimp, andouille sausage, red bliss potatoes, corn on the cob
      • Beignets - Sweet fried pastry with powdered sugar
      • Mardi Gras Marshmallow Pie - Fresh made marshmallow, graham cracker cookies, chocolate, Mardi Gras sprinkles
    • Drink Menu:
      • Category 5 Punch - Myers's Dark Rum, Cruzan Aged Dark Rum, passion fruit purée, orange and lime juice, grenadine, agave nectar
      • Piña Verde - Bacardi Superior Rum, Chartreuse Green Liqueur, Coco López Cream of Coconut, pineapple and lime juice, fresh mint
      • Abita Purple Haze - Raspberry Lager
      • North Coast Brewing Co. Pranqster - Belgian-Style Golden Ale
      • Bottled Soda - Coke, Coke Zero Sugar, Diet Coke, Sprite
      • Premium Bottled Water

Universal Mardi Gras - Coxinha

  • Brazil (Café La Bamba patio)
    • Food Menu:
      • Pulled Chicken Coxinha - Crispy pulled chicken tear drop fritters
      • Romeo & Juliet Coxinha - Guava and cheese filled pastry bits
      • Beef Coxinha - Tender beef filled crispy rissole
    • Drink Menu:
      • Strawberry Caipirinha Punch - Leblon Cachaça, agave nectar, strawberry puré, lime juice
      • Pineapple Caipirinha Punch - Leblon Cachaça, agave nectar, pineapple and lime juice
      • Bottled Soda - Coke, Coke Zero Sugar, Diet Coke, Sprite
      • Premium Bottled Water

Universal Mardi Gras - Salchipapas

  • Central America: Comet Cruisin' (KidZone Pizza Company)
    • Food Menu:
      • Choripan with french fries - Grilled chorizo, garlic mayo, chimichurri, tomato and onion curtido, split-top roll
      • Salchipapas - Chorizo, chipotle ketchup, dijonnaise, tomato and onion curtido, crinkle cut fries
    • Drink Menu:
      • Guava Comet Margarita - El Jimador Blanco Tequila, guava, white grapefruit, and lime juice, agave nectar
      • Ommegang Neon Rainbows - Hazy IPA
      • Finca Reseals Ribera Del Duero - Dry red wine
      • Finca Nueva Rioja Crianza - Dry red wine
      • Carro Yecla - Dry red wine
      • Bottled Soda - Coke, Coke Zero Sugar, Diet Coke, Sprite
      • Premium Bottled Water
  • Floribbean: Cape Canaveral (Lombard's Seafood and Grille)
    • Food Menu:
      • Sweet Corn Johnny Cake - Pulled jerk jackfruit, blood orange creams, avocado, yellow mole sauce
      • Shrimp and Avocado Ceviche - Poached shrimp, marinated radish, blood orange sorbet
      • Conch Fritters - Flash fried conch served with grilled pineapple and a pineapple remoulade
      • Buttermilk Strawberry Shortcakes - Marinated strawberries, basil mascarpone cream, orange blossom honey on a buttermilk biscuit
      • Buttermilk Lemon Blueberry Shortcakes - Blueberry compote, basil mascarpone cream, orange blossom honey on a buttermilk biscuit
    • Drink Menu:
      • Cape Guayaba - New Amsterdam Vodka, guava and lime juice, agave nectar, fresh mint
      • Goombay Smash - Cruzan Aged Dark Rum, Ron Q Coco Rum, Grand mariner, Coco López Cream of Coconut, pineapple, orange and lime juice
      • Tampa Bay Old Elephant Foot - IPA
      • Swamp Head Wild Night - Honey cream ale
      • Mohua Sauvignon Blanc - Dry white white
      • Bottled Soda - Coke, Coke Zero Sugar, Diet Coke, Sprite
      • Premium Bottled Water
  • Fusion: Machine Planet (Bridge to Springfield, U.S.A.)
    • Food Menu:
      • Creole Crab Beignets - Cajun brown sugar dusted beignets, stuffed with creamy crab dip and scallions
      • Ube Ice Cream Bubble Waffle - Purple sweet potato ice cream in a matcha green tea bubble waffle, topped with marshmallows, toasted coconut, strawberry Pocky sticks and popping candies
      • Mardi Gras Bubble Waffle - Ube and matcha swirl soft-serve ice cream in a Belgian bubble waffle, topped with Mardi Gras sprinkles and sweet corn Pocky sticks
    • Drink Menu:
      • Carrot Cake Concoction - Frozen carrot cake slush topped with purple tube ice cream
      • Junk Barge Fuel - Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey, Kahlúa, Monin caramel, Mexican Chocolate Bitters, agave nectar, ice coffee
      • Duclaw Sweet Baby Java - Espresso bean-infused chocolate peanut butter porter
      • Fonseca Ruby Port - Sweet red fortified wine
      • Fonseca Tawny Port - Sweet dark fortified wine
      • Croft Pink Port - Sweet rosé fortified wine
      • Bottled Soda - Coke, Coke Zero Sugar, Diet Coke, Sprite
      • Premium Bottled Water
  • India Floral Planet (Entrance to Woody Woodpecker's KidZone)
    • Food Menu:
      • Vegetable Vindaloo - Romanesco cauliflower florets and sweet potatoes, braised in a hot and sour broth, served with basmati rice
      • Chana Masala - Spiced chickpea curry, served with tomato and onion salad, basmati rice, naan bread
      • Potato, Pea and Carro Samosas - Potato, pea and carrot samosas, served with green chutney
      • Vegan Golden Chai Chocolate Blondes - Chai spiced vegan dessert bar with dark and white vegan chocolates
    • Drink Menu:
      • Emerald Mojito - Bacardi Superior Rum, agave nectar, lime juice, tropical green tea, fresh mint
      • Gaea Smash - New Amsterdam Gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, sparkling mineral water and fresh purple opal basil
      • Allagash White - Belgian-Style Witbier
      • New Belgium Dominga Mimosa Sour - Wood-aged, Orange-Flavored Sour Wheat Ale
      • Raventós I Blanc Cava - Dry sparkling white wine
      • Bottled Soda - Coke, Coke Zero Sugar, Diet Coke, Sprite
      • Premium Bottled Water
  • Italy (Louie's Italian Restaurant, gelato window)
    • Food Menu:
      • Tomato Basil Arancini - Fried risotto filled with tomato basil mascarpone and a spicy arrabbiata sauce
      • Meatball Garlic Bread Pressed Slider -  Italian meatballs topped with mozzarella cheese stuffed between two slices of Texas Garlic Toast
    • Drink Menu:
      • Orange Dream Spiked Float - New Amsterdam Vodka, Gran Gala Orange Liqueur vanilla gelato and Orange Fanta
      • Vanilla-Amaretto Rum Gelato Float - Cruzen Aged Dark Rum, Disaronno Amaretto, vanilla gelato and Coca-Cola
      • Triple-Raspberry Gelato Float - 360 Red Raspberry Vodka, raspberry purée, raspberry gelato and Sprite
      • Vietti Moscato - Sweet sparkling white wine
      • Querceto Chianti - Dry red wine
      • Truffle Hunter Barbaresco - Dry red wine
      • Bottled soda - Coke, Coke Zero Sugar, Diet Coke, Sprite
      • Premium Bottled Water
  • Southeast Asia: Volcano Planet ( Entrance to Woody Woodpecker's KidZone)
    • Food Menu:
      • Papas Bravas - Crispy roasted potatoes, salsa bravas, garlic aioli, parsley
      • Savory Sopaipilla - Roasted butternut squash, pumpkin seeds, pebre salsa, cilantro
      • Shrimp Laksa - Shrimp, tofu, chicken, hard-boiled eggs, Asian noodles in a spicy coconut curry broth
      • Rou Jia Mao - Braised pork, Thai chili peppers, mustard greens, cilantro in a soft griddled bun
    • Drink Menu:
      • Cosmic Mangonada - Frozen purple mango slush layered with Tajín seasoning and Chamoy sauce
      • Cosmic Cornucopia - New Amsterdam Gin, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, Owen's Cucumber, lime, and Mint Craft Mixer, honeydew melon balls
      • Voodoo Ranger Juicy Haze - Hazy IPA
      • Still Radler Zitrone - Lemon Radler
      • Sauvion Vouvray - Slightly sweet white wine
      • Bottled soda - Coke, Coke Zero Sugar, Diet Coke, Sprite
      • Premium Bottled Water
  • Production Central
    • Drink Menu:
      • Category 5 Punch - Myers's Dark Rum, Cruzen Aged Dark Rum, passion fruit purée, orange and lime juice, grenadine, agave nectar
      • Goombay Smash - Cruzen Aged Dark Rum, Ron Q Coco Rum, Grand mariner, Coco López Cream of Coconut, pineapple, orange and lime juice
  • Monsters Cafe
    • Drink Menu:
      • Category 5 Punch - Myers's Dark Rum, Cruzen Aged Dark Rum, passion fruit purée, orange and lime juice, grenadine, agave nectar
      • Piña Verde - Bacardi Superior Rum, Chartreuse Green Liquen, Coco López Cream of Coconut, pineapple and lime juice, fresh mint
  • Bloody Mary Bar
    • Drink Menu:
      • Bloody Mary - Traditional Bloody Mary, spiked with New Amsterdam Vodka (Your choice of Traditional MILD or WILD version with Louisiana hot sauce and Sriracha hot chili sauce — garnished with a variety of Cajun toppings)

Universal Mardi Gras - Muffuletta

The muffuletta was perfectly filling and hit the spot when I was craving something savory. Leap also enjoyed the delicious mix of spices in the jambalaya. Tad and Lily split the Romeo & Juliet Coxinha which was very sweet and rich. Speaking of sweet, the king cake is a sugary Mardi Gras staple that we all shared and still had some left over. (Split it with as many frogs as possible! It's huge!) Leap washed it down with the Cosmic Cornucopia, a strong, cucumbery cocktail and I washed it down with the Piña Verde, a light and fruity offering.

Universal Mardi Gras Food and Drinks at CityWalk and the Resorts

The Mardi Gras festivities extend beyond the park! CityWalk joined in on the fun with specially-themed food and drink offerings in a number of venues.

Pat O'Brien's served up Biscuits & Gravy (honey glazed biscuits, andouille sausage gravy, pork cracklings), The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen concocted the Mardi Gras Rhythm & Shake (Ube Ice Cream with Nutella, Mardi Gras sprinkles, saxophone sugar cookie and a whipped topping) and Voodoo Doughnut conjured up the Banana Cream Pie doughnut (a yeast shell filled with banana custard dipped in vanilla icing, sprinkled with cinnamon and a touch of Nilla wafer on top). If you're a fan of mild flavors such as vanilla and banana and love a cream filling, this doughnut is an absolute win!

Universal Mardi Gras - Doughnut

Whether you're staying at a resort as a guest or just stopping in for a delicious meal, you'll also find a variety of tantalizing menu items specially themed for the celebration at every resort on property!

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

  • Trattoria del Portyo
    • Creamy Polenta Shrimp - Jumbo shrimp, chorizo sausage, Cajun sauce, creamy polenta
    • Masquerade Cannoli - Mixed berry insalada
  • The Thirsty Fish
    • Magari (Italian for "wish") - Aviation Gin, limoncello, Limone Di Genoa Cider, fresh basil
  • Splendido Bar & Grill
    • Mojito Lampone (Italian for "raspberry") - Aviation Gin, limoncello, Limone Di Genoa Cider, fresh basil

Hard Rock Hotel

  • Velvet Bar
    • Abita Amber Ale Shrimp - Gulf shrimp lightly sautéed in creole garlic butter and Abita Amber Ale, served with sliced French bread
  • The Kitchen
    • N'awlins Po'Boy - A classic, piled high with crispy fried shrimp, lettuce, tomatoes, pickle, and creole mayo, served on New Orleans' very own Leidenheimer bread
  • beachclub
    • Muffuletta Sliders - Central Grocery’s spicy olive salad topped with mortadella, ham, salami and provolone cheese, all on classic Sicilian sesame slider rolls

Loews Royal Pacific Resort

  • Islands Dining Room
    • King Cake Pancakes - Lemon and powdered sugar glaze, spiced walnuts
  • Orchid Court Lounge & Sushi Bar
    • Orchid - Roku Gin, sweet potato shochu, mint, cucumber, absinthe
  • Tuk Tuk Market
    • Chocolate Bomb - choose from chocolate and caramel with spiced pecan with Mardi Gras purple, green and gold decor, s’mores or cookies & cream

Loews Sapphire Falls Resort

  • Amatista Cookhouse
    • Andouille Sausage & Pulled Chicken - with queso fresco empanada, Cajun aioli
  • Strong Water Tavern
    • Cucumber Hurricane Twist - Light rum, lime juice, Midori, sliced cucumber
  • New Dutch Trading Co
    • Traditional King Cake

Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort

  • Galaxy Bowl Restaurant
    • Shrimp Po'Boy - with queso fresco empanada, Cajun aioli
    • Laissez Les Boys Temps Rouler Hurricane - “Let The Good Times Roll” – Bacardi Light Rum, Cruzan 12 Year Single Barrel Rum, passionfruit purée, orange juice and grenadine served in a 32-ounce souvenir Galaxy Bowl cup

Universal's Aventura Hotel

  • Bar 17 Bistro
    • Chicken, Andouille & Shrimp Jambalaya
    • Mini King Cake
    • Hurricane - Bacardi Superior Rum, Myers’s Original Dark Rum, passionfruit, tropical juices
    • Sazerac - Rye, Whiskey, absinthe, simple syrup, Peychaud’s Bitters

Universal's Endless Summer Resort - Surfside Inn and Suites

  • Beach Break Cafe
    • New Orleans BBQ Shrimp & Dirty Rice
    • Dockside Beignets - Sweet fried pastry with a bourbon caramel sauce and topped with powdered sugar

Universal's Endless Summer Resort - Dockside Inn and Suites

  • Dockside Pier 8 Market
    • New Orleans BBQ Shrimp & Dirty Rice
    • Dockside Beignets - Sweet fried pastry with a bourbon caramel sauce and topped with powdered sugar
  • The Oasis Beach Bar & Sunset Lounge
    • The Endless Carnival - Castillo Silver Rum, Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, Chinola Passionfruit Liqueur, pineapple juice, orange juice, a pinch of dried blackberries, pineapple wedge and a green sugar rim

Universal Mardi Gras Atmosphere

Universal Mardi Gras - Aliens

There's entertainment all day long to keep tadpoles and grown-up frogs hoppy! From joking jesters on stilts to extraterrestrial beings bringing les bons temps to Earth, there's something fun for everyone. Tad and Lily loved meeting all of the friendly alien life forms who came in peace to Mardi Gras last year! Roaming bands also play all around the park during the day. During our visit, we spotted them in front of the New Orleans: Planet Mardi Gras 1 booth, again in front of the Hello Kitty Shop and once more in front of The Tonight Shop. With blaring trumpets and beating drums, it’s hard not to dance along to the rhythm!

Universal Mardi Gras - Krewe Crawl

The Mardi Gras scavenger hunt was also back and in full swing last year. For $10, we got a treasure map of all of the Krewe Crawl spots, where we received a stamp from a team member at each location. Once all stamps were collected, we received a prize from Silver Screen Collectibles — an exclusive Krewe Crawl mask.

Universal Mardi Gras - Masks

The incredibly themed Mardi Gras Tribute Store, located next to the Jimmy Fallon ride, also returned for 2022. Have you ever wondered what it takes to build a Mardi Gras float? In 2022, frogs entered the "Float Factory Warehouse," with four highly themed rooms that feature the creative process — including pencil sketches, scale models, parade decor and an actual, full-size Mardi Gras float!

Universal Mardi Gras - Tribute Store Showroom

Not only can you get fancy beads, masks and event merchandise there, but there's also plenty of photo-ops, such as a throne fit for Mardi Gras royalty (alongside the bear statue from last year's HHN tribute store — appropriately decorated, of course) and the completed Space Gator float in all its galactic glory. See if you can spot some other fun Easter eggs, including a few appearances from the beloved holiday icon, Earl the Squirrel!

Universal Mardi Gras is the closest thing you can get to N'awlins ... without having to worry about your tadpoles seeing or hearing anything they shouldn't. The festive floats, atmospheric decor and delicious cuisine really give your little ones a taste of the Big Easy, which is a fun exploration of a different celebration they might not be familiar with. Allow your kiddos to try new foods, interact with performers and catch all the beads they can! (Fun fact: The floats in the Universal Mardi Gras parade are designed by Kern Studios, which has created authentic floats in New Orleans for over 60 years!)

Universal Mardi Gras - Guests

Are you ready to put your dancing shoes on and visit Orlando's version of the Big Easy? You're sure to have a blast! Let us know if you have any questions about Universal Mardi Gras in the comments below. 

Related: Complete Guide to Universal Orlando Events

Hoppy planning!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
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Sep 10, 2022 at 10:31 a.m. Isabel Says...

I’m planning a trip for 2023, looking at Sunday-Wednesday, 1/29-2/1 or 2/5-2/8. We are more concerned about minimizing crowds and having a great first Universal experience (HP in particular) rather than prioritizing a special event. Mardi Gras sounds pretty great, though. If we come 2/5-2/8, will crowds be larger than typical February because of MG? Do the extra festivities take anything away from experiencing the park as it usually is? Or do they enhance the experience enough to make it the selling point for that week over the one before? Thanks!

Reply
Sep 13, 2022 at 8:54 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Isabel!

We love Mardi Gras and think it only adds to the experience! Typically, yes, crowds will be heavier on the weekends/concert nights, but mid-week should be less crowded since February is still considered as part of an off-peak season.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mar 16, 2022 at 10:03 p.m. Caroline Says...

Can you use the MG Food & Beverage card at Universal hotel restaurants and bars? Seems like a good deal to be able to use it anywhere and on anything not just the MG snacks! We’re staying on resort 18 days so could save us lots!

Reply
Mar 17, 2022 at 8:26 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Caroline!

It looks like the Mardi Gras cards are only redeemable at food and beverage locations in Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Universal’s Volcano Bay and Universal CityWalk. The fine print does not mention the resorts.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Mar 5, 2022 at 8:59 p.m. Karen Skibba Says...

Do both theme parks have Mardi Gras activities? We are trying to decide if we should focus on just one of the parks since we have been to both but want to see all the fun Mardi Gras activities, including the parade and food. Does one park have more Mardi Gras activities than the other? Or does it not matter?

Reply
Mar 7, 2022 at 7:55 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Karen!

Only Universal Studios Florida has Mardi Gras activities.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Feb 22, 2022 at 3:21 p.m. Dani Says...

Can you buy a food and drink card with a universal gift card? (So you can the food card savings)

Reply
Feb 22, 2022 at 10:42 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Dani!

You can buy a Food & Drink Card with a Universal gift card, but the Food & Drink card cannot be used to purchase gift cards.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Feb 14, 2022 at 2:22 p.m. April Says...

This info is incorrect. My family used this parade guide and we missed the parade by an hr. Your page says feb 13, 7:15. It was at 6:15. Pretty upsetting.

Reply
Feb 14, 2022 at 9:55 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi April!

We're so sorry that you missed the parade. Universal had changed the parade times since we last updated. We've updated our guide now, and this isn't the first time Universal has switched times around, unfortunately, so we've added a note that parade times are subject to change, and we will continue to check for accurate parade times. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Feb 13, 2022 at 9:24 p.m. Says...

Will there be any concerts and parades in April?

Reply
Feb 14, 2022 at 10:03 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi froggy friend!

There will be a Mardi Gras parade daily until April 24 (with the exceptions of April 1, 2 and 8 when there won't be a parade), but there are no concerts scheduled beyond March 27.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Feb 10, 2022 at 2:50 p.m. Tracy Notarianni Says...

Hello,

Thank you for all the great information. I was wondering if the light up Souvenir Cups are available everyday or just concert nights? Thanks

Reply
Feb 10, 2022 at 2:48 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Tracy!

You are so welcome - thanks for hopping by! The cup is available throughout the event at the food booths - enjoy!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Feb 8, 2022 at 8:06 p.m. Bunch Says...

Will be at Universal from 4-10/4-17-22 I don't see any plans for Mardi Gra and it ends 4-24-22.

Is there anything?

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Feb 8, 2022 at 4:33 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Bunch!

Mardi Gras ends April 24, so the festivities (such as the parade, food booths and live music) will still be going on while you're there! The only thing that isn't hoppening in April are the concerts - the last one is scheduled March 27.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

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Feb 5, 2022 at 8:39 p.m. Raya Says...

I was wondering..what is February 5th Mardi gras times? I saw when it starts..but not when it ends for the day?

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Feb 7, 2022 at 9:47 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Raya!

Sorry we couldn't answer in time, but if any others in the comments have the same question, Mardi Gras is an all-day event that takes place from Feb. 5 to April 24 (though the main festivities such as the parade and weekend concerts take place at night). The food kiosks are open from 11:30 a.m. to 30 minutes before park close.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

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Feb 4, 2022 at 5:02 p.m. Andrea Says...

Where can I purchase Mardi Gras food cards? If I do purchase them can I save them and use them in August?

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Feb 4, 2022 at 1 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Andrea!

You'll be able to purchase the food and beverage cards from any of the Mardi Gras food kiosks during regular park hours from Feb. 5 - April 24. Activated cards do not expire, so you could use them in August (or even next year's event) if you have a remaining balance. It would be accepted at select food and beverage locations in Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, CityWalk and Volcano Bay.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

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Feb 2, 2022 at 11:01 a.m. Karen Cotton Says...

Hi - is Jason Derulo the last concert ? Are there none in April

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Feb 2, 2022 at 8:27 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Karen!

Yes, Jason Derulo on March 27 is the last concert scheduled. In the past, concerts have only fallen on February and March nights (though Mardi Gras had typically ended by the first week of April). Last year was the longest running Mardi Gras event (ending May 2) and this year's April 24 end date is still considered fairly long, compared to past years. But it seems that Universal is sticking to February and March concerts.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

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Feb 4, 2022 at 6:22 p.m. Karen Cotton Says...

What a shame, Ok thank you so much for the info. :) much appreciated.

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Feb 4, 2022 at 12:34 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

You're toadally welcome, Karen! Thanks for hopping by :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

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Jan 14, 2022 at 4:24 a.m. Stadia Builder Says...

I don'the see a parade time for February 12, the night of Diana Ross. Is that accurate? And how much extra are concert tickets in addition to park admission?

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Jan 14, 2022 at 8:05 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Stadia!

Good catch! It's been updated on Universal's website and our post now. There will be a parade at 7:45 p.m. on Feb. 12. Concerts are included with the price of admission!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

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Jan 15, 2022 at 5:13 p.m. Stadia Builder Says...

Hi there Momma Frog,

Daddy Rabbit here. We are planning a visit with a family of five. We have lodging and rental car taken care of. These park tickets are bewildering, any suggestions on how to plan? We think maybe Disney two day pass to start the first weekend then Universal the rest of the week, but my son wants to see Legoland, my wife wants to see SeaWorld and encounter manatees, my daughter wants to go to the beach.

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Jan 18, 2022 at 9:32 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Daddy Rabbit!

Wow, it sounds like your family wants to do a bit of everything, which would be toadally fun! I have a couple of questions for you: How many days will your trip be? Do you have any priorities that everyone wants to do? Legoland, SeaWorld and a beach day could all be planned as one-day visits. And then depending on how much time you have left, you could split between Disney and Universal, giving more time to the higher priority parks. Let us know if you have any more questions!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

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Jan 10, 2022 at 7:56 p.m. Scott Davis Says...

If you don't want to do the lanyard, do they sell the samples individually?

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Jan 10, 2022 at 2 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Scott!

Yes, Mardi Gras food and drink items can be purchased a la carte!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

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Dec 7, 2021 at 8:22 a.m. Brenda Martin Says...

We are coming march 12 -17 22 cant wait

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Dec 7, 2021 at 7:55 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

So frogciting! We hope you have a hoppin' good time, Brenda!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

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Undercover Tourist is the leading supplier of online discount tickets to Orlando, Florida-area attractions, including Walt Disney World® Resort, Universal Orlando Resort™, SeaWorld® Orlando, LEGOLAND® Florida Resort and more.

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