It’s almost time for Universal Mardi Gras at Universal Orlando Resort! That means beads, music, food, and a ton of food over the course of a couple of months. The event takes place throughout the entire resort, but most of the action is kept inside Universal Studios Florida. Beginning February 5 and running through April 24, you’ll be able to catch Universal’s Mardi Gras Parade on most days, specialty food and beverage items daily, and concerts on the Universal Music Plaza Stage from some big names on select days – and all of this is included with your admission to Universal Studios Florida.
Let’s start with the concerts because they are the biggest draw of the event for many people. This year there will be 15 different acts performing on weekend nights in February and March with start times set at 8:30 pm. Sugar Ray kicks off the event, but along the way, you’ll have the chance to hear Seal, Diana Ross, Marshmello, Gavin DeGraw, and many more! Here is the full lineup:
|February 5||Sugar Ray|
|February 12||Diana Ross|
|February 19||Barenaked Ladies|
|February 26||Jon Pardi|
|March 5||LL COOL J featuring DJ Z-Trip|
|March 12||Lee Brice|
|March 13||Becky G|
|March 20||Gavin DeGraw|
|March 25||The Revivalists|
|March 26||Jimmie Allen|
|March 27||Jason Derulo|
Besides the concerts, the other highlight of Universal Mardi Gras is the parade! It runs throughout Universal Studios Florida, starting in Hollywood and making its way through Production Central and New York before returning back to Hollywood. Plenty of beads will be thrown along the parade route, and this year guests will once again be able to ride on the floats and throw beads, but details haven’t been released on how to sign up yet.
The theme of this year’s parade is Planet Mardi Gras. There will be six detailed floats with cosmic-inspired elements like comets, rockets, martians, and more. These six floats will join the classic Universal Mardi Gras floats like the massive King Gator float, the riverboat, and the rest. There’s no bad place to watch the parade, but if your main priority is catching beads you should avoid the start of the parade. Bead throwers will usually start off slow so they don’t run out and get a little crazier as the parade goes on. If you want to catch the concert after the parade, try finding a spot in front of the stage, otherwise, you can’t go wrong with spots around New York, Transformers, or even the end of the main stretch of Hollywood.
Of course, food has to be a staple of Universal Mardi Gras, and there will be plenty of options this year. Dishes you can expect this year include a Crawfish Boil, Beignets, Coconut Curry Shrimp Laksa, Vegan Samosa with spicy green chutney, and Salchipapas. Outside of the parks, you’ll find special Mardi Gras options at Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen, Pat O’Brien’s, and Voodoo Doughnut along with special menus at all of the Universal Orlando Resort hotels.
Finally, you’ll probably want to do some shopping while you’re at Universal Mardi Gras, which means you’ll want to head straight to the Tribute Store. This year the theme will be Float Factory Warehouse. Guests will make their way through four themed rooms designed to depict the creative process of bringing a parade float to life from pencil sketches and scale models to parade decor and an actual, full-size Mardi Gras float.
Universal Mardi Gras is truly one of the best times of the year to visit Universal Orlando Resort. The weather is good, the atmosphere is electric, and the entertainment is top-notch. If you need help planning a vacation to Universal Orlando Resort, we recommend Dreams Unlimited Travel. Let the good times roll!