Events Mardi Gras

EVERY NIGHT February 9 – April 4, 2018

While the party in New Orleans can get wild and crazy, the Universal Studios Mardi Gras celebration is a much more family friendly event. While there is still a lot of drinking going on at Universal, it’s controlled very well and you shouldn’t feel unsafe in any way.

You will know it’s Mardi Gras at Universal the second you enter the park. From the festive decorations in purple, green and gold and the traditional zydeco music, to the colorful street performers and stilt walkers, you will be immersed in the Mardi Gras theme. The French Quarter Courtyard is the main hub of the celebration and it’s located in the New York area of Universal Studios (near the Mummy and Twister attractions). Here’s where you will find food, spirits, and musicians straight out of New Orleans (Nawlins). Be sure to sample some of the local New Orleans style cuisine including, jambalaya, shrimp gumbo, red beans & rice, and andouille sausage po-boys (po-boys are subs or hoagies or sandwiches to the rest of the country). You can’t really compare the quality of food to what you would get in New Orleans, but they do a good job and offer a nice variety.

One of the centerpieces of Universal’s Mardi Gras celebration is the parade. The Krewe of Dionysus Parade rolls out around 7:30pm or 8:30pm depending on weather and the date. The traditional Mardi Gras floats, which come directly from New Orleans, are the Riverboat, the King Gator, the Jester, the King & Queen float, the Boeuf Gras (the BIG beef), the title float (which lets you know the name of the krewe and the theme of the parade) and the Universal float. The floats are great, but the throws are limited to standard size beads and doubloons. If you want the really nice big, long beads, you’ll need to purchase them at one of the several gift shops located throughout the park. Mardi Gras memorabilia such as jester hats, large yard glasses, feather boas, masks and t-shirts are also available for purchase.

The main event and highlight for many is the concert at the end of the night in the new Music Plaza, immediately following the parade. Universal brings in a great lineup of bands for these concerts (some of the past performers include Huey Lewis & The News, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Kid Rock, Willie Nelson and Heart). Depending on the performer, this area of the park can get very crowded, very quickly and you should expect to be far from the stage if you wait until after the parade to choose your spot. You should choose your parade viewing location carefully as the best viewing areas for the concert fill very quickly, as soon as the parade ends. There are large viewing screens for those in the back of the crowd.

If you find yourself wanting to continue the party, at the end of the night, head over to Universal’s CityWalk and continue the Mardi Gras festivities at Pat O’Brien’s. It’s a replica of the original Pat O’Brien’s located in New Orleans where you can enjoy a Hurricane on the patio or sing along in the Piano Bar. At this location, it’s Mardi Gras 365 days a year!

The best part about this whole Mardi Gras celebration is that it’s free!! As long as you have admission to Universal Studios, you can participate in the festivities. Please keep in mind that the live concerts are held on Saturday and select Sunday nights. Go! You will have an awesome time.

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler! That’s “Let the good times roll!”

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