Mardi Gras parade float, decorated with giant masks, beads, and jesters, at Universal Studios Florida theme park

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If you want to celebrate Mardi Gras in Orlando, then Universal Studios Florida is the place to be!

The theme park has been celebrating Mardi Gras each year for over 25 years. And this year, the event is bigger and better than ever! The New Orleans-style fun lasts from February 3 until April 7, 2024.

In this Universal Studios Orlando Mardi Gras guide for 2024, we’re going to go over the fun things to do and food to eat. And then we’ll share some resources that will help you save money on your next Universal vacation!

Mardi Gras Parade

Universal Orlando Mardi Gras Parade Miss New Orleans riverboat float, with confetti floating in the airKrewe of Dionysus float in the Mardi Gras parade at Universal Studios Florida theme park in OrlandoMardi Gras parade float, decorated with giant masks, beads, and jesters, at Universal Studios Florida theme parkFrench Quarter Themed Mardi Gras Float in Universal Studios Florida theme park paradeTrumpet player and piano keys on French Quarter float in Universal Studios Florida Mardi Gras paradeThe Mardi Gras parade at Universal Studios Florida is a wonderful way to enjoy an authentic Mardi Gras parade outside of New Orleans. The floats are even created by Kern Studios, the company that’s been making floats for the New Orleans version of the parade since 1932.

How to Be in the Parade

Speaking of beads, guests also have the opportunity to be the ones tossing the beads! A limited number of guests get to ride a float and throw beads during the parade. If you want to be one of those guests, you’ll need to sign up using the Virtual Line on the official Universal Orlando app. And you’ll also need to be inside the Universal Orlando Resort theme park when you sign up for that day’s parade (otherwise, you’ll get an “Out of Range” error message on the app). Please note that the float riding experience will take 2-3 hours (though the parade itself is only about 45 minutes in total time, and about 15 minutes long from any one viewing spot).

The other way you can reserve a spot on a float is with the Mardi Gras Float Ride and Dine Experience. It involves a 3 course meal at one of four restaurants as well as riding a float and throwing out beads. Here’s your choice of restaurants:

Parade Schedule

This parade is my family’s favorite out of any parade we’ve ever seen at Universal Studios. We highly recommend it! You can catch the parade at the following times:

  • February 3: 7:45 PM
  • February 4: 6:15 PM
  • February 5: 5:15 PM
  • February 6: 6:15 PM
  • February 7: 5:15 PM
  • February 8: 6:15 PM
  • February 9: 6:15 PM
  • February 10: 7:45 PM
  • February 11: 6:15 PM
  • February 12: 5:15 PM
  • February 13: 6:15 PM
  • February 14: 6:15 PM
  • February 15: 6:15 PM
  • February 16: 6:15 PM
  • February 17: 7:45 PM
  • February 18: 7:30 PM
  • February 19: 7:30 PM
  • February 20: 7:30 PM
  • February 21: 6:15 PM
  • February 22: 6:15 PM
  • February 23: 6:15 PM
  • February 24: 7:45 PM
  • February 25: 6:15 PM
  • February 26: 6:15 PM
  • February 27: 5:15 PM
  • February 28: 6:15 PM
  • February 29: 6:15 PM
  • March 1: 6:15 PM
  • March 2: 7:45 PM
  • March 3: 6:15 PM
  • March 4: 6:15 PM
  • March 5: 5:15 PM
  • March 6: 6:15 PM
  • March 7: 6:15 PM
  • March 8: 6:15 PM
  • March 9: 6:15 PM
  • March 10: 7:45 PM
  • March 11: 7:30 PM
  • March 12: 7:30 PM
  • March 13: 7:30 PM
  • March 14: 7:30 PM
  • March 15: 7:30 PM
  • March 16: 7:30 PM
  • March 17: 7:45 PM
  • March 18: 7:30 PM
  • March 19: 7:30 PM
  • March 20: 7:30 PM
  • March 21: 6:15 PM
  • March 22: 6:15 PM
  • March 23: 6:15 PM
  • March 24: 7:45 PM
  • March 25: 6:15 PM
  • March 26: 6:15 PM
  • March 27: 5:15 PM
  • March 28: 6:15 PM
  • March 29: 6:15 PM
  • March 30: 7:30 PM
  • March 31: 7:30 PM
  • April 1: 7:30 PM
  • April 2: 7:30 PM
  • April 3: 7:30 PM
  • April 4: 7:30 PM
  • April 5: 7:30 PM
  • April 6: 7:30 PM
  • April 7: 7:30 PM

Universal Mardi Gras Parade Video

See for yourself how much fun the 2023 parade was with this video!

Universal Orlando Mardi Gras Food & Drink

One of the exciting parts about the Universal Mardi Gras celebration is that you get to enjoy delicious food and flavors from New Orleans – and from all around the world!

To see the full food and drink menus, see our 2024 Guide to Universal Studios Mardi Gras Food. Right now, we’ll let you know the types of food offered at Mardi Gras: International Flavors of Carnaval.

Also, please note that all of these locations are in Universal Studios Florida park.

  • Belgium
  • Bloody Mary Bar
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • China
  • Coca-Cola Market Square
  • Colombia
  • France
  • French Quarter Bar
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Mexico
  • New Orleans Desserts
  • New Orleans
  • Philippines
  • Puerto Rico
  • Spain
  • Thailand

Universal Orlando’s Food & Beverage Card

As you can see, you have a lot of Mardi Gras dining options!

An excellent way to save money on food and drink during the Mardi Gras celebration is with a Food & Beverage Card. It’s like a gift card, but specifically for food and beverages.

For $65, you can buy a card that is worth $75 in food and beverages. You can buy these cards inside the park at food kiosks and select dining locations.

For $120, Passholders can also purchase a card that is worth $150. These cards are available at the Mardi Gras kiosk locations as well as the USF Front Gate, USF Reservation Cart near TODAY Cafe, Mel’s Diner, Louie’s Italian Restaurant, and Richter’s Burger Co.

Additionally, Premier and Preferred Passholders can still receive their discounts on food and non-alcoholic beverages when they pay with the Food & Beverage Card. (Premeir Passholders get 15% off and Preferred get 10% off.)

And great news for anyone who has a partially used Food & Beverage card from the past! You can use the card’s remaining balance at the food and beverage kiosks for this year’s event.

Mardi Gras Food & Drinks at Universal Hotels

Traditional King Cake at New Dutch Trading Co. in Loews Sapphire Falls Resort
Traditional King Cake at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort

You can keep the party going even after you leave the park! The Universal Orlando hotels have some Mardi Gras specialties on their menus.

Dockside Inn (Universal’s Endless Summer Resort)

  • New Orleans Cajun Roasted Chicken with Dirty Rice at Dockside Pier 8 Market
  • Voodoo Doll at Sunset Lounge
  • Voodoo Doll at The Oasis Beach Bar
  • Voodoo Doll at The Wave Maker’s Pool Bar

Surfside Inn (Universal’s Endless Summer Resort)

Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort

  • The Handsome Cajun at Galaxy Bowl Restaurant
  • Laissez Les Bons Temps Roulér Hurricane at Galaxy Bowl Restaurant

Universal’s Aventura Hotel

  • Bayou Shrimp & Grits at Bar 17 Bistro
  • Hurricane at Bar 17 Bistro
  • Sazerac at Bar 17 Bistro
  • Hurricane at barVentura
  • Sazerac at barVentura

Loews Sapphire Falls Resort

  • Mardi Gras Empanada at Amatista Cookhouse
  • Cucumber Hurricane Twist at Strong Water Tavern
  • Traditional King Cake at New Dutch Trading Co.

Loews Royal Pacific Resort

  • Crawfish & Andouille Sausage Egg Roll at Islands Dining Room
  • Orchid at Orchid Court Lounge & Sushi Bar
  • Chocolate Bomb at Tuk Tuk Market

Hard Rock Hotel

  • Blackened Mahi Po’ Boy at Velvet Bar
  • French 75 at Velvet Bar
  • Bourbon Crème Brûlée at The Kitchen
  • French 75 at The Kitchen
  • Hurricane at beachclub

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

  • Boulevardier at The Thirsty Fish
  • Mojito Lampone (Italian for raspberry) at Splendido Bar & Grill

Universal Mardi Gras Concerts 2024

One of the great parts of the Mardi Gras celebration at Universal Studios is that it actually features live concerts… included in the cost of park admission! They take place at 8:30 PM on select nights.

These live concerts are held on the Music Plaza Stage, which is located near Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit. It’s standing room only and first come, first served, so be prepared to wait if you have an act that you really want to see up close. Otherwise, you can use the large video screens to get a better view if you end up in the back (or even in the Battery Park part of the New York section).

There is also an ADA-accessible viewing area, which is located near the Race Through New York restrooms.

Here is the Universal Orlando Mardi Gras concert lineup for 2024:

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

Universal Orlando Mardi Gras Tribute Store

The Tribute Store, now located on Hollywood Boulevard, changes its theme seasonally. In addition to checking out the current Mardi Gras theming, it’s a great place to visit if you’d like to buy some treats or merchandise.

This year’s theme for the 2024 Mardi Gras Tribute Store puts a bit of a darker, spookier spin on the usual celebratory fun.

Universal Studios Florida Tribute Store during Mardi Gras Event

Universal Orlando Vacation Planning

So after learning about all of the fun things to do at the Universal Studios Mardi Gras celebration, I’m sure you’d love to visit Orlando to attend this special event.

But I’m also sure you’d like to save money on your Orlando vacation!

The Mardi Gras event is included with the price of admission, but you will need tickets to Universal Studios Florida. Click here to get discounted tickets through Undercover Tourist (we’ve been a fan of them for years). You can save up to $150 on your ticket.

Need a place to stay on your trip? Click here to get discounted rates for onsite Universal Orlando Resort hotels.

And if you want to learn more about Universal Orlando in general, we recommend this book.