Universal Mardi Gras kicked off this past week at Universal Orlando. This annual festival is the biggest celebration of food, fun, and flavor on this side of the Mississippi! The festival is back in full swing in 2022, with several returning crowd-favorite experiences like the Mardi Gras parade and live concerts featuring the nation’s top musical performers. Universal Mardi Gras runs from February 5th through April 24th at Universal Studios Orlando. Here’s what you can look forward to at this year’s festival!
Mardi Gras parade
Get ready for a bead-grabbin’ good time! The authentic Mardi Gras parade is one of the festival’s biggest highlights. This year’s parade theme is “Planet Mardi Gras” and will feature six new, cosmic-inspired floats with comets, rockets, and even some aliens. With out-of-this-world costumes, stilt walkers, dancers, and other performers dot the parade route. Six fan-favorite floats will also return this year, including the Mardi Gras Jester, King Gator, and the Miss New Orleans Steamboat. The parade kicks off near the Horror Makeup Show and loops around the park’s New York and waterfront areas. The parade runs once per night and ranges between 5:15 and 7:45 pm, depending on the day.
Want to experience the parade like never before? Be part of the “krewe” and reserve your spot as a float rider! Have a blast waving and throwing beads as you ride atop one of the parade floats. Spots are limited and fill up fast, so get with Just Add Magic Travel® to help you book your reservation. It’s also important to note that float riders must be 48 inches tall, and anyone under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
An array of star-studded musical acts perform live at the Music Plaza Stage (near the Rip, Ride, Rockit coaster) most weekends during Universal Mardi Gras. Concerts are held on select weekend nights and run through the end of March. Shows start at 8:30 pm and are included with theme park admission. This year’s concert lineup features top pop, country, electronic, and hip hop acts spanning over the last 30 years. Bands include Sugar Ray, Barenaked Ladies, Diana Ross, LL Cool J (featuring DJ Z-Trip), Lee Brice, Khalid, Gavin DeGraw, Seal, Marshmello, Jason Derulo, Styx, and more!
Kiosks featuring over 50 traditional Cajun dishes and Carnival-inspired menu items from around the world are scattered throughout Universal Studios. Be sure to visit the Planet Mardi Gras kiosk in the New York area, featuring Cajun specialties like Shrimp Po’Boys, King Cake, Muffalettas, Jambalaya, Beignets, and Crawfish. Top it off with a “wild” Bloody Mary from the Bloody Mary Bar, complete with bacon and Louisiana hot sauce. The Floribbean: Cape Canaveral kiosk features Florida-inspired dishes like Conch Fritters with Pineapple Remoulade and the Sweet Corn Johnny Cake—a pulled jerk jackfruit sandwich with blood orange creama and avocado. The Fusion kiosk, near the Men in Black ride, offers cosmic treats like an Ice Cream Bubble Waffle and Creole Crab Beignets.
International food offerings include veggie and vegan selections like Potato, Pea, and Carrot Samosas with Green Chutney at the India kiosk and Shrimp Laksa at the Southeast Asia kiosk. Drinks include Emerald Mojitos and a Cosmic Mangonada (a frozen, purple-mango slush with Tajín seasoning and Chamoy sauce). Flavors from Central America and Brazil include Salchipapas, Chicken Coxinha, and more.
The best way to sample all the food offerings at Universal Mardi Gras is with a Food and Beverage Card. Purchase a card and lanyard for $60 and get $75 worth of food and beverages at select locations throughout the resort. For even more savings, purchase a card for $120 and get $150 worth of food and drinks. The card can be used at most Mardi Gras kiosks and other select dining locations throughout Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay.
Tribute store Float Factory (in the park’s New York section) is the one-stop shop for all your Universal Mardi Gras souvenirs, including masks, apparel, beads, and more. The store takes you inside a float-building warehouse in New Orleans, complete with float models and sketches.
Participating in the Krewe Crawl is a fun activity the entire family will enjoy. Purchase a Krewe Crawl map for $10 and go on a treasure hunt for 12 masks at select locations throughout the park. Get a stamp for each mask you find. Once you collect all 12 stamps, turn in your map for a limited-edition Krewe mask.
You’ll discover live entertainment throughout the day when you visit Universal Mardi Gras. Grab a selfie with a stilt walker, listen to a live jazz band, or marvel at the detailed costumes of revelers during street performances.
Experiences outside the theme park
Select locations at Universal CityWalk get into the Mardi Gras spirit as well. You’ll find Mardi Gras-inspired items at places like Voodoo Doughnut, Toothsome Chocolate Emporium (you don’t want to miss the King Cake Milkshake) and Pat O’Briens. Universal Hotels also feature Mardi Gras-themed food and drink selections.
Visit Universal Orlando for Mardi Gras 2022
Experience Mardi Gras when you visit Universal Orlando this spring! The festival runs through April 24th and is included with theme park admission to Universal Studios. The festival runs through the park’s normal operating hours (however, most food kiosks open between 11 and 11:30 am). There’s still time to book your spring break or Easter break trip! Get a free quote for your Universal vacation with Just Add Magic Travel to get started.
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