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If you think Mardi Gras is just for adults, then Universal Studios in Florida wants to change your mind. This fun fantastical adventure is great for the whole family! Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras celebration has parades, concerts and fabulous food from across the globe, and of course some incredible cajun food straight from New Orleans.
This year there is a lot to love about Universal’s Mardi Gras – a fabulous concert lineup, amazing global foods celebrating the season of Carnaval at Universal Mardi Gras, and of course CityWalk where the Mardi Gras celebration continues. So let the good times roll, or as they say in New Orleans, Laissez les bon temps rouler!
Universal’s Mardi Gras Celebration 2023
For over 15 years Universal Studios has been bringing the Mardi Gras celebration to life in Orlando. For 2023, Universal Studios is pulling out the stops with their International Flavors of Carnaval! From the flavorful international food selections inspired by Carnaval celebrations across the world to the darker side of New Orleans immersive experiences found at the Cursed Coconut Club and the Mardi Gras Tribute Store, the entire family will love Mardi Gras 2023 at Universal Studios.
Having spent a large amount of time in New Orleans and witnessing firsthand numerous Mardi Gras celebrations, Universal Studios Mardi Gras completely captures the spirit of Carnaval!
Universal Mardi Gras 2023 Global Flavors of Carnaval Food & Beverage Offerings
A Global Taste Of Carnaval
For their Mardi Gras 2023 Flavors of Carnaval, Universal Orlando is taking us on a global tasting experience. Some of the Mardi Gras food features you’ll experience include Belguim’s Liège Waffle Berries and Cream, a delightfully sweet waffle topped with strawberries, whipped topping with a crumble topping; Brazil’s Picanha skewers, Linguiça skewers and Chicken Coxinha. Easily our favorite taste of Carnaval was the shrimp ceviche tostada. It was flavorful and well-presented.
Authentic Cajun: A Taste of the Big Easy for Mardi Gras 2023 at Universal Studios Florida
First of all, no Mardi Gras experience is complete without Cajun food. From beignets to jambalaya, the Cajun cuisine native to New Orleans draws in millions of visitors each year. Universal Orlando brings the authentic Cajun flavors of the Big Easy to its Mardi Gras celebration. This year Universal Studios is featuring mouthwatering cajun food staples, including jambalaya, gumbo, king cake, beignets and, of course, some signature beverages including a Goombay smash, Category 5 punch (a take on the famous New Orleans hurricane cocktail) and Abita Purple Haze beer.
These food & beverage options are only a peek into the 70+ different food dishes inspired by Carnaval celebrations in 17 countries. You’ll find all of the offerings at the food booths throughout Universal Orlando.
For those who love Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal’s Volcano Bay, the theme park has you covered! You’ll be able to experience the tastes of Universal’s Mardi Gras and Carnaval at both of these venues.
SheBuysTravel Tip: For some sweet savings, be sure to purchase your Mardi Gras food & beverage card at the food kiosks in Universal Studios Florida.
Mardi Gras Celebration at The Cursed Coconut Club Universal CityWalk
Universal CityWalk’s Red Coconut Club has been transformed into the Cursed Coconut Club and takes guests into the darker side of New Orleans’ French Quarter.
The Cursed Coconut Club immerses guests in New Orleans culture. You’ll spot features designed to transport you into the midst of New Orleans’s graveyards with above-ground graves on the outside of the club. Walking in the entrance you’ll feel as if you are entering a different world, with items reminiscent of the voodoo influence found in the French Quarter of New Orleans.
The lighting is dim, exactly what one would expect wandering into some of the bars of the French Quarter. There are lots of lounging areas in the two-story space, and three bars for you and your friends to celebrate the mythical spirit-filled Mardi Gras 2023.
Mardi Gras Tribute Store 2023
The Universal Orlando Tribute Store has changed locations for 2023. Now located in the former Williams of Hollywood location, the new 2023 Mardi Gras Tribute store invites all guests to an international jazz extravaganza.
If you’ve ever wandered the streets and alleyways of New Orleans, you know that things are not always as they seem. The Mardi Gras Tribute store has created the same vibe in their tribute store – traditional back alleyways eventually lead into a speakeasy where the 2023 Mardi Gras celebration continues.
Guests can shop until they drop with a brand new selection of Mardi Gras merchandise, or indulge in some mouthwatering treats. For die-hard Universal fans, a stop at the ever-evolving Universal Orlando Tribute Store is a must-do visit.
Universal Mardi Gras 2023
The Mardi Gras celebrations will commence in Universal Studios Florida this year on February 4 and run through April 16, 2023, providing guests of all ages with many opportunities to enjoy the festivities held throughout the theme park.
Throw Me Some Beads, Mister: Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras 2023 Mythical Realms of Mardi Gras Parade
From beads to masks to food and concerts, it’s all here at Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras 2023! Each spring, Universal Studios Florida celebrates the spirit of the Big Easy with the largest Mardi Gras celebration outside of New Orleans. The celebration showcases nationally renowned musical acts, parades with elaborately decorated floats, costumed performers, local New Orleans bands, authentic Cajun cooking and more. This is one Mardi Gras party celebration that you do not want to miss!
During the day as you explore Universal Orlando and CityWalk you’ll spot stilt walkers and street performers setting the vibe for the evening’s colossal mardi gras parade celebration.
In 2023, experience the mythical realms of Mardi Gras with over-the-top floats, music, and performers at the Mardi Gras parade.
The parade features six new floats with astonishing fantastical creatures – dragons, phoenixes, unicorns and more from the mythical realms of Mardi Gras. In addition, beloved signature floats that we’ve come to know and love will also be in Universal’s Mardi Gras parade. The intricately designed floats will mesmerize you as riders toss beads by the handfuls into the audience.
Stilt walkers and street performers wearing elaborate costumes portraying the fantastical mythical Mardi Gras creatures entertain the crowds.
The elaborate costumes worn by the stilt walkers and performers are exquisite, and exactly what you would expect in any Carnaval celebration.
Universal Orlando Resort Mardi Gras Float Ride and Dine
For the ultimate Mardi Gras experience at Universal Studios Florida, purchase a Mardi Gras float ride and dine experience. With this unique Mardi Gras experience, guests will enjoy a 3-course meal from one of four restaurants at Universal Orlando Resort. The restaurants included in the float ride and dine experience are Finnegan’s Bar & Grill, Lombard’s Seafood Grill, The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar and NBC Sports Grill & Bar.
Reserve your Mardi Gras float ride and dine experience on the Universal Orlando Resort website. For the Mardi Gras float ride and dine experience, float riders must be at least 48” in height and must be able to board the floats and stand for the duration of the parade. If riders are under 18, they must be accompanied by their legal guardians ages 18 and over. Your Mardi Gras Ride & Dine experience does not include park entrance so an admission ticket is required for the same day.
This option is a fantastic, memory-making experience, and one that will be remembered for years to come. You’ll climb on your assigned parade float, throw batches of Mardi gras beads to the audience. How fun to be participant in Universal’s Mardi Gras celebration!
For full details and reservations, see Universal’s website.
For 2023 the Mardi Gras parade will be held on select nights. The parade is scheduled nightly, beginning at 6:15 pm on February 5-9, February 12-16 and February 26-March 2.
On Mardi Gras concert nights, the parade starts at 7:30 pm nightly on these dates: February 17, February 20-24, March 3 and March 6 – April 16.
SheBuysTravel Tip: Find your spot on the Mardi Gras 2023 parade route early.
Universal’s Mardi Gras Live Musical Concerts for Mardi Gras 2023
Music is an enormous part of any Mardi Gras celebration, but in New Orleans music at Mardi Gras is a massive draw. Universal Orlando’s 2023 Mardi Gras concert lineup has been released and there are some amazing artists on the list.
Music Plaza Stage in Universal Studios Florida is where all of Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras concerts will take place. The concerts are included with park admission.
- February 4 – Patti LaBelle.
- February 10 – JVKE.
- February 11 – Goo Goo Dolls.
- February 18 – Maren Morris.
- February 19 – WILLOW.
- February 25 – 3 Doors Down.
- March 4 – Sean Paul.
- March 5 – Lauren Daigle.
Tips for Mardi Gras Concert Tips at Universal Orlando
First of all, know in advance there is no seating at the concerts. In addition, there aren’t any VIP locations. This is a first come, first serve situation. Due to the popularity of the concert nights, make sure to arrive early and stake out your location at Music Plaza Stage if you aren’t planning to watch the parade. If you want to be near the front row, you need to plan on arriving at least 2-3 hours before the show. Yes, seriously.
The concert begins shortly after the parade so make sure to head straight to Music Plaza Stage to find a place to stand as soon as the parade is over. There are large viewing screens set up for those located in the back of the crowd, so regardless of where you are located, you will still have a good view.
While this is a very kid-friendly event, there are still guests consuming alcohol. Typically it is well-controlled and shouldn’t cause any issues.
Mardi Gras Continues at CityWalk
Eventually the park closes and the party ends. Or does it? If you’re not quite ready to call it a night, head on over to CityWalk and party the night away afterward at Pat O’Briens.
The reproduction of the infamous New Orleans establishment celebrates Mardi Gras year-round. Conclude your evening in traditional New Orleans style with a hurricane cocktail at the piano bar.
Things to Know Before You Go To Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras 2023
Universal Mardi Gras is FREE
Most importantly, Universal’s Mardi Gras celebration is FREE. Unlike some of their other celebrations throughout the year, there is no fee (other than the regular ticket price) to attend Mardi Gras, and the celebration is part of your theme park ticket.
Universal Florida Mardi Gras Parade Viewing Areas:
- Children can go to the Little Jester’s Parade Viewing Area at the front of the Brown Derby Hat Shop from an hour before the parade starts for their own fantastic experience.
- Annual Passholders have a reserved viewing area near Mel’s Drive-in.
- Guests with disabilities have viewing access near Macy’s.
- Make sure to bring a bag for all of your Universal Studios Florida Mardi Gras 2023 loot. You are sure to catch some beads and doubloons. The larger beads, masks, t-shirts, hats and yard glasses are available for purchase throughout the park at various gift shop locations.
Additional Savings for Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras
- A Food & Beverage Card & Lanyard is available for the 2023 Mardi Gras at Universal Orlando. For a limited time, you’ll pay $65 and get $75 to tickle your taste buds with over 50 Mardi Gras Tasting Menu items.
- Annual and Seasonal Passholders also get the opportunity to purchase an exclusive Card for $120 which gives you $150 to spend on Mardi Gras eats and treats.
- There are no limits and no expiration date. And, if you’ve got leftovers from a previous Universal Orlando Mardi Gras lanyards, you can use those up too!
- Premier Passholders receive 15% off and Preferred Passholders receive 10% off at all Mardi Gras Food and Beverage kiosks on Mardi Gras event nights.
While the Mardi Gras experience in Universal is quite different from the one you will find in New Orleans, it is a great introduction to Carnaval. You won’t find a better family-friendly Mardi Gras celebration anywhere else.