In early February, retail stores transition from the red tones of Christmas and Valentine's Day to the purple, green, and gold of Mardi Gras. This larger-than-life celebration is known for its signature parades, beads, and cuisine, and it's the perfect way to start a new year. The Mardi Gras season is also known as Carnaval, a New Orleans tradition celebrated from early January to the infamous Fat Tuesday, which always takes place 47 days before Easter Sunday. Universal Orlando Resorts is the undisputed king of Mardi Gras celebrations outside Louisiana.
In 2024, Universal's Mardi Gras: International Flavors of Carnaval will run from February 3rd to April 7th. The festival is included with all theme park tickets and annual passes. Every day, the streets of New York at Universal Studios come alive with a traditional Mardi Gras parade featuring floats direct from New Orleans. The parade lasts about 15 minutes and is a must-see spectacle! The parade floats are updated yearly depending on the festival's theme. However, King Gator and the two-story riverboat can always be expected to make an appearance. Park guests viewing the parade will leave covered in Mardi Gras' signature beaded necklaces, generously thrown from all the floats by Universal's team members. The best way to experience Universal's Mardi Gras parade is by booking a Mardi Gras Float Ride and Dine Experience. This extra experience includes a reserved spot onboard a parade float and a three-course meal at one of the four participating restaurants at Universal Orlando Resort.
If you're a foodie, you won't want to miss Universal's Mardi Gras: International Flavors of Carnaval! In addition to the parade and beads, the festival features a variety of traditional Cajun dishes and international cuisine from Carnaval celebrations worldwide. Food and drink tents are spread throughout Universal Studios, with most culinary offerings located in the French Quarter Courtyard of New York's backlot. Consider purchasing a Universal Orlando Mardi Gras Food and Beverage Card to get the most out of the Mardi Gras flavors. These pre-loaded cards can be purchased inside the park and are valid at any food and beverage location within Universal Studios.
In addition to the jaw-dropping parade floats and mouthwatering cuisine, Universal Studio's Mardi Gras features live concerts on select festival nights. Icons like Patti LaBelle, the Goo Goo Dolls, and Sean Paul have been known to grace the Music Plaza Stage during the Mardi Gras: International Flavors of Carnaval!
"Laissez les bons temps rouler," or let the good times roll, is the official greeting of Mardi Gras! Universal Orlando Resort's Mardi Gras celebration coincides with many popular spring break dates. Planning is vital during this time of year! If you plan to visit Universal Orlando Resort during Mardi Gras, contact a Fairy Godmother Travel agent today. Our expert agents will make sure the good times roll during your vacation!