When it comes to seasonal theme park events, Walt Disney World may be the first to spring to mind. Disney’s curated calendar of celebrations, including EPCOT’s International Food & Wine Festival and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, are beloved by theme park fans everywhere. However, only a short trip up the I4, Universal Orlando hosts one particular event that is not to be missed - their annual Mardi Gras celebration!
Leaning heavily into the party atmosphere, Universal Studios' Mardi Gras drops you right in the heart of a New Orleans-inspired celebration, surrounding you with vibrant displays, mouth-watering food, and all-around good vibes. Also, Universal's Mardi Gras celebrations take place during regular park hours, which means you can experience all of the incredible things that this family-friend event has to offer at no extra cost on top of your theme park admission.
So if you’re visiting Orlando this spring, here’s why you NEED to give Universal’s Mardi Gras a try.
Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras runs from February 4 through April 16, 2023. (But keep an eye out as these dates have been extended in the past.)
Witness the magical Mardi Gras parade
Starting with the pièce de résistance of Universal’s Mardi Gras celebrations, the parade. This spectacle of color and light features twelve sparkling floats, six of which are brand new for 2023. Watch in awe as these floats parade through the streets of Universal Studios Florida and be sure to wave hello to the costumed stilt walkers and performers who dance around them!
Guests watching from below can catch colorful beads as they’re thrown into the crowd, while those hoping to get in on the action can try to secure a spot in the parade. This unique (and very popular) experience lets you join in the celebrations by riding on a parade float and taking a turn throwing beads to guests as you help to spread the magic of Mardi Gras.
Explore the newly themed Tribute Store
The past few years have seen the tribute store establish itself as the beloved ever-changing centerpiece of Universal's seasonal celebrations - and Mardi Gras is no different. This season, the Universal tribute store will transform into a “Float Factory Warehouse." Here you can expect as much color and wonder inside as you will find out on the streets, making it the perfect place to nab your Mardi Gras merch or grab a delicious treat as you discover all of the secrets this intricately designed store has to offer.
Sample mouth-watering flavors
Good food is at the heart of the real New Orleans Mardi Gras celebrations, but thankfully Universal saves you the airfare and brings these spectacular flavors right to you. Jambalaya, Chicken Po’Boys, Shrimp boils, and Beignets are just some of the big flavors you can expect to find across the various kiosks around Universal Studios. Plus, for those 21 and over, there’s a host of tasty alcoholic beverages on offer for you to sample alongside your food.
Dance the night away at a concert
One of the most exciting elements of Mardi Gras is their concert line-up, which is another major perk included with your park admission. Visiting Mardi Gras on select nights gives you the chance to catch performances from musical acts such as Diana Ross, Suga Ray, Marshmellow, Becky G, Khalid, and Seal, to name just a few.
Be sure to visit Universal’s website to find out specific performance dates. We also recommend arriving early to avoid any disappointment!
Hunt for treasure on the Krewe Crawl
No theme park event is complete without a scavenger hunt! The Krewe Crawl puts a Mardi Gras spin on the popular in-park trail and for just $10, guests can hunt for different Mardi Gras displays around Universal Studios Florida. Once they're all found, you can then redeem your completed map for an exciting prize!
This is the perfect add-on for little ones in your group, although it's also an exciting treat for all ages. Have you ever visited Universal’s Mardi Gras celebrations? Will you be visiting in 2023?