Laissez les bons temps rouler!
Mardi Gras 2024 Dates: February 3 through April 7, 2024
Check back after the start of the celebration for updates on what has returned and what is new.
It’s time to “Let the Good Times Roll” because Mardi Gras is BACK at Universal Orlando. This event is one of our favorite events on the Universal Resort calendar! Every year in February with amazing food booths, street entertainment and a parade worth cheering for, Universal rings in the Mardi Gras season. And this year, is no different.
February 4th was the start of the 2023 Mardi Gras celebration. The theme this year is “Mardi Gras: International Flavors of Carnaval“. While we strongly suggest/recommend you check it all out for yourself, we understand that sometimes that’s just not possible. So, we will try our best to highlight the amazing experience that IS Universal’s Mardi Gras celebration!
Is it even Mardi Gras without food? It’s not called “FAT Tuesday” because of the hair styles! The 2023 celebration food does not disappoint! SO many yummy options!
With the International twist on the Carnaval celebration, the foods are different than you might expect. There are the favorites from the French Quarter such as drinks with Rum, jambalaya, Bloody Mary’s and etouffee. But there are also selections from Belgium, Canada, Brazil, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, and Japan. While many of these we were aware had a Carnaval celebration, Japan surprised us!
So, for education purposes, we looked up Japan’s celebration and here is what we learned! The Asakusa Samba Carnival is held annually, on a Saturday towards the end of August, in Tokyo. This event typically attracts 500,000+ revelers and celebrates the passionate rhythms of the samba!
Now that we are educated, we feel we can better celebrate the Japanese “carnival” and what better way than to stuff our face?! The food booth at Universal has Ube Ice Cream Sesame Bubble Waffle Cone and a Nikuman Bun Sampler in addition to yummy beverages like the Japanese Highball, just to name a few. This booth is insanely popular! The line was longer than most and they did run out of the Bun Sampler at one point on Saturday. So, if this is on your MUST try list..maybe go there first!
Islands of Adventure
If you’re in Islands of Adventure and are not able to jump over to the Mardi Gras celebration at Universal Studios, you can still sample some of the yumminess. This year they have Mardi Gras Hits food booth which offers jambalaya, shrimp gumbo and category 5 punch (hurricane). They also have New Orleans Desserts which offers biegnets and King Cake!
In City Walk, there are 3 Mardi Gras food booths. Taste of the Mediterranean, New Orleans #1 and New Orleans #2.
Taste of the Mediterranean: Crepe Suzette, Grilled Octopus with Potatoes and a variety of red, white and sparkling wines
New Orleans #1: Shrimp and Smoked Cheddar Cheese Rice Grits, Yakimain, Category 5 Punch
New Orleans #2: Cauliflower Dirty Rice, Crawfish Etouffee, Category 5 Punch
Throughout the day at Universal Studios, there are stilt walkers and others entertainers interacting with guests. They make for some great photo ops as well as just seriously fun to see. The Mardi Gras band comes out at various times as well. The best place to see these entertainers is scattered along the roadway near the Jimmy Fallon ride.
During the Mardi Gras celebration, on select nights, there are concerts that are included in your park ticket. Here is 2024’s line up:
Parade & Beads
Probably the BIGGEST portion of the Mardi Gras celebration is the parade. The Mardi Gras parade is a family friendly and fun event. Crowds line up for the best spot to get the beads and to see the floats. The same designer who creates the floats in New Orleans, creates the Universal floats. The music is fun & the beads are plentiful. You can even yell “throw me something mister” if you want to!
The parade is at various times, so be sure and check the Universal app!
For (almost) every event, Universal has a Tribute Store! The Tribute Store is always themed around the special event. The Mardi Gras Tribute Store is on Hollywood Blvd this year and is filled with specialty beads and t shirts in addition to other specialty Mardi Gras items. There is also a dessert case where you can get specialty food items to satisfy the sweet tooth.
The Mardi Gras event is a family friendly event and is included in your theme park ticket!
For more on other Universal Events check out Universal Orlando: Special Events.
To learn more about the food offerings at the 2023 Mardi Gras event check out https://blog.discoveruniversal.com/events/mardi-gras-2023-top-foods-to-try-at-universal-orlando-resort/.
The 2023 Mardi Gras event is from February 4th until April 16th.