Each spring something magical happens in Orlando – Mardi Gras comes to town. Orlando manages to conjure up an alternative family friendly Mardi Gras celebration, complete with dancing, beads and an authentic New Orleans carnival atmosphere. From bayou bites to fantastic street performances, find out how to celebrate Mardi Gras in Orlando with our guide below.
Mardi Gras is an event that is the life and soul of New Orleans – so where can you celebrate it in Orlando?
Universal Studios is the unofficial home of Mardi Gras in Orlando. Running on select nights from February 6th to April 16th, Universal hosts one of the best Mardi Gras parties this side of New Orleans. With concerts, carnival floats, great Cajun food and thousands of carnival beads, Universal Studios is certainly the best place to get into this soulful celebration. To top it off this whole event is included within standard admission – so what are you waiting for? Go ahead and grab your Universal Studios entrance tickets here with the help of our theme park specialists.
Concert Line Up
Universal Studios didn’t get the title of best place to celebrate Mardi Gras for nothing – on Saturdays (and other select nights), throughout February, March, and April the theme park comes alive with the sound of free concerts from some well known acts. The schedule below outlines the head liners heading to Mardi Gras.
Saturday February 6th: Hunter Hayes
Saturday February 13th: Diana Ross
Sunday February 14th: Barenaked Ladies
Saturday February 27th: Fall Out Boy
Saturday March 5th: Kool & The Gang
Saturday March 12th: The Fray
Sunday March 13th: Adam Lambert
Saturday March 19th: Shawn Mendes
Sunday March 20th: 3 Doors Down
Saturday March 26th: REO Speedwagon
Saturday April 2nd: T-Pain
Saturday April 9th: Jessie J
Saturday April 16th: Yandel
“Mardi Gras” literally means “Fat Tuesday” in French and Universal won’t leave you disappointed. The French Quarter Courtyard is an area devoted to providing guests with Cajun inspired delights within the hustle and bustle of carnival floats, street music and more. Entrance to the French Quarter Courtyard is included within admission, though individual dishes (anything from Jambalaya to Gumbo) will set you back around $9 per entrée. You’ll find most of the food booths open around 4pm and close just before the concerts start.
The parade is one of the main highlights of the Mardi Gras event at Universal Studios, with families returning annually to see the decorative carnival floats and street performers go by. 2016 is set to bring an even bigger show, with four new floats celebrating different cultural festivals from around the world. These include Oktoberfest, Rio de Janeiro Carnival, the 4th of July and the Venetian Carnival.
Where should you view the parade?
To get the most out of the event we suggest visiting the park twice if you want to see both the parade and the concert. This is to ensure you get a good viewing position without fighting the crowds. Below is an outline of the parade’s route around the Universal Studios park, the pink points outline suggested viewing positions.
Position 1 is best for those who want to leave the park in a timely manner. A large bulk of people will leave after the parade has finished – we suggest viewing the parade from this area to ensure you’re not caught up in the exit rush.
Position 2 is suggested if you wanted to have a chance at viewing the parade twice – the parade will take a clockwise route around the park, starting and finishing near the E.T. ride. If you or your children are really into collecting beads than this is the ideal position to wait in.
The Mardi Gras celebration at Universal Studios is the place to be in Orlando this Spring. If you have any further questions about this event, please don’t hesitate to call our personal concierge service.