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Universal Orlando Mardi Gras Guide

Universal Orlando Mardi Gras Guide

Did you know New Orleans isn’t the only city that throws an epic Mardi Gras? For a family-friendly version, head to Universal Orlando Mardi Gras!

Every year for 50 nights, Universal Orlando brings the French Quarter to Florida with Cajun food, authentic blue bands, parade floats, and much more.

On select nights, the Universal Music Plaza Stage has big-name bands performing, like DJ Khaled and The All-American Rejects this year. The best part is it’s included in your park ticket!

Before you plan a trip to Universal Orlando, make sure to check the dates for Mardi Gras. We’ve compiled a list of Universal Orlando Mardi Gras FAQs and everything else you should know to ensure an epic trip.

Universal Orlando Mardi Gras Guide

When is Universal Orlando Mardi Gras 2024?

Universal Orlando celebrates Mardi Gras for 50 days every year, and the dates vary. We’ll update the article every year. 

Universal Orlando Mardi Gras February 3 – April 7, 2024

How Much Does A  Mardi Ticket Cost?

All Mardi Gras festivities and concerts are included with paid admission to Universal Studios or a Universal Orlando Annual Pass.

That’s right, no additional ticket is needed to join in on the fun.

Alligator float at Universal Orlando Mardi Gras Parade

When is the Universal Studios Mardi Gras Parade?

Every night, the parade takes over the streets of Universal Orlando. The parade schedule varies during the week, click here is the 2024 Universal Orlando Mardi Gras parade schedule.

King & Queen Mardi Gras UnIversal Orlando Parade

Authentic Mardi Gras Floats

Universal Orlando Mardi Gras floats are just as authentic as the Mardi Gras floats in New Orleans.

Every year Kern Studios makes epic floats for Univeral Orlando, which is the company that creates the real deal Mardi Gras floats for New Orleans since 1947. We rode on a float this year that was breathing fire.

Girl throwing beads at the Universal Orlando Mardi Gras Parade

Do they throw beads?

Yes, there is no shortage of beads thrown from the floats.

Over 4 million beads are thrown from the Mardi Gras floats at Universal Orlando. Just scream, dance, and put your arms in the air! We personally threw out hundreds of beads from a float this year.

Streets of Universal Orlando

Where is the Best Place To Watch The Parade?

The parade starts just past the entrance gates and wraps its way around the park ending by Mel’s Diner. We watched the parade at the beginning of the parade route and then caught up with it again at Mel’s diner.

If you are traveling with small children there is a private parade experience in the Little Jester’s Parade viewing area, located just in front of the Brown Derby Hat Shop. Head here an hour before the parade starts to ensure a front-row seat. 

If you have children under 7 years old, we always suggest bringing a stroller or stroller wagon. Kids get tired walking all day, and you can cover more ground if you can easily stroll them. PLUS, strollers can hold a lot of stuff. Make sure to bring stroller hooks like this; they are lifesavers and can hold so much.

Unlike Disney-approved strollers, wagons are allowed at Universal Orlando. We always suggest stuffing an AirTag somewhere in the stroller in case you forget where you park it. I have this AirTag holder.

Bands Performing At Universal Orlando Mardi Gras

On select nights, some of the biggest names in music take the Universal Music Plaza Stage and put on a free concert. Here is the 2024 lineup:

February 3Walker Hayes
February 10The All-American Rejects
February 17Nessa Barrett
February 18KC and the Sunshine Band
February 24Barenaked Ladies
March 2DJ Khaled
March 9Ava Max
March 10Queen Latifah
March 16Luis Fonsi
March 17Zedd

French Quarter Courtyard at Universal Orlando

We’ve been to New Orleans and can confirm that Universal really has brought the French Quarter to Florida.

Our favorite Cajun & Creole eats were being served up with authentic blues bands playing in the background. Here are our must-try items, and don’t forget to save room for the famous warm beignets:

  • Jambalaya
  • Creole Gumbo
  • Andouille Sausage
  • Red Beans & Rice
  • Beignets

New Orleans is considered to be the birthplace of “true American” music. Every night during Universal Orlando Mardi Gras there is live music in the French Quarter Courtyard.

As they say in N’awlins, “Laissez les bons temps rouler!” – Let the good times roll! 

sunset at Universal Orlando

We loved our week at Universal and were super glad our travel dates fell during the Mardi Gras festival. We spent 4 nights at Univeral’s Hard Rock Hotel.

On our first night, we watched the parade right by Mel’s dinner, the second night, we took advantage of the shorter lines on the rides (all rides and attractions are open during Mardi Gras), the third night, we were lucky to get on a Mardi Gras float and threw hundreds of beads, and on our last night headed to French Quarter Courtyard for some good music and tasty eats.

*We are official members of the Universal Blog Squad, but as always, opinions are our own*