Universal Orlando’s biggest party of the year returns February 9th for 55 days of fun during this year’s Mardi Gras celebrations, which takes place daily through April 4th! The spirit of New Orleans’ infamous festival comes to life at Universal Orlando with delicious food, unbeatable entertainers, and lots and lots of beads, of course!
The French Quarter Courtyard
During Universal’s Mardi Gras celebration New Orleans takes over the park’s New York section, temporarily becoming The French Quarter Courtyard. Here, guests will really feel like they’ve made their way to the Big Easy as the streets are filled with the smells, sounds, and flavors of Mardi Gras. “N’awlins-style” food and beverages such as spicy jambalaya, shrimp gumbo, red beans and rice, and sinfully sweet beignets, will be available for purchase in the courtyard. This year several new menu items will also be available in The French Quarter Courtyard, including frog legs, crab etouffee, and craft beer flights of Louisiana brews. As you savor the Cajun flavors, you can sit back and enjoy live music performed by authentic Louisiana jazz, blues, and zydeco bands including:
- Dirty Bourbon River Show: February 9 – February 17
- Naughty Professor Brass Band: February 18 – February 27
- Free Agents Brass Band featuring Honey Bannister: February 28 – March 18
- New Breed Brass Band: March 19 – April 4
It’s not Mardi Gras without a larger than life parade featuring stilt walkers, street performers, unique floats, and colorful dancers making their way through the park. Designed by Kern Studios, the company responsible for the actual Mardi Gras floats for more than 60 years, these wild floats bring the New Orleans flavor to Universal Orlando complete with confetti and Mardi Gras beads flying high. This year’s parade is party-animal themed, and six brand new floats featuring animals from the arctic, jungle, ocean, and more will join the procession bringing the total to 12 intricately decorated floats!
The parade route begins just between Cafe La Bamba and Universal Orlando’s Horror Make Up Show in the park’s Hollywood area. The parade then travels through Production Central and New York, before ending back at the same starting point. The Little Jesters parade viewing area, located in front of the Brown Derby Hat Shop, offers an ideal view of the parade for little ones and is accessible an hour prior to parade time. Annual passholders typically have access to a reserved viewing area close to Mel’s Diner in Hollywood, so if you’ve got a pass be on the lookout for a roped off section or ask an employee to point you in the right direction.
On select nights the festivities get even more exciting with live performances on the Music Plaza Stage from some of the most recognizable names in country, pop, rock, and R&B music!
- February 9: BUSH
- February 16: Gavin DeGraw
- February 17: Dan + Shay
- February 23: Macklemore
- March 2: TBA
- March 9: Becky G
- March 10: Sean Paul
- March 16: Steve Miller Band
- March 17: Ziggy Marley
- March 23: NF
- March 24: Pitbull
- March 30: TBA
- March 31: TBA
Mardi Gras Add-Ons
In addition to all of the live music and delicious food to enjoy throughout the park, there are a few brand new Mardi Gras add-ons that you can choose to take your celebration up a notch.
Cost: $59.99 per adult, $39.99 per child
On select nights during Mardi Gras at Universal Orlando, you can head to Battery Park for an all-you-can-eat Louisiana-style boil with crawfish, shrimp, potatoes, and corn on the cob. The traditional dining experience also features non-seafood options like chicken and andouille sausage jambalaya. After getting your fill of food, you’ll also enjoy premium viewing of the Mardi Gras Parade from the Pantages Theatre Courtyard complete with sweet treats like King Cake, beignets, sparkling wine, and non-alcoholic beverages.
Available Nights: February 16, 17 & 23; March 2, 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24, 30 & 31
Mardi Gras Parade, Desserts & Cinematic Viewing Experience
Cost: $49.99 per adult, $29.99 per child
Also available on select nights is a special viewing package for the park’s evening entertainment, starting with the Mardi Gras Parade. First, get the best view of the parade from the Pantages Theatre Courtyard. Then you can sit back and relax in an exlcusive viewing area for Universal’s Cinematic Celebration while indulging in specialty desserts and sparkling wine (or cider). Bring a blanket and lounge in the grass picnic-style for this unbeatable experience!
Available Dates: March 13-15, 18-22 & 26-29; April 1-4
The best part of this amazing festival? It’s included with regular park admission! Head to Tickets2You.com for discount Universal Orlando tickets and laissez les bon temps rouler (let the good times roll)!