Let’s start with 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 join in the festivities. Just keep in mind that the live concerts are held on Saturday and select Sunday nights.
While the party might be in New Orleans you still can get pretty wild and crazy at the Universal Studios Mardi Gras Celebration. If you are looking to celebrate Mardi Gras with the kids but still get your drink on well Universal Orlando is the place to be. It is a much more family friendly event. Once you enter Universal you know it’s Mardi Gras. From the colorful street performers and stilt walkers to the traditional purple, green and gold decorations. The French Quarter Courtyard is the main area of the celebration and it’s located in the New York area of Universal Studios (near the new Jimmy Fallon attraction). You will find tons of New Orleans style cuisine and drinks including shrimp gumbo, po-boys, gumbo and beignets.
One of the centerpieces of Universal’s Mardi Gras celebration is the parade which starts around 7:30pm or 8:30pm depending on weather and the date. The floats are great, but the throws of beads are limited to standard size beads. If you want the really nice big, long beads, you’ll need to purchase at the gift shop. Mardi Gras memorabilia such as jester hats, large yard glasses, feather boas, masks and t-shirts are also available for purchase.
The main event for many is the concert at the end of the night in the new Music Plaza, immediately following the parade. Depending on who the performer is, this area of the park can get very crowded. You should choose your parade viewing location carefully as the best viewing areas for concerts fill up very quickly as soon as the parade ends. If you don’t get a spot up front, there are large viewing screens for those in the back of the crowd.
MARDI GRAS 2017 CONCERT LINEUP
- Feb. 4: Trace Adkins, Country, “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” and “You’re Gonna Miss This”
- Feb. 11: Ne-Yo, R&B, “Miss Independent” and “Let Me Love You”
- Feb. 18: Collective Soul, Rock, “December” and “Better Now”
- Feb. 19: X Ambassadors, Rock, “Unsteady” and “Renegades”
- Feb. 25: Fifth Harmony, Contemporary R&B, “Work From Home” and “Worth It”
- March 4: Yandel, Reggaeton, “ Nunca Me Olvides”
- March 5: Olivia Newton-John, Pop, “Physical” and “I Honestly Love You”
- March 11: UB40, Reggae and Pop, “Red Red Wine” and “Falling in Love With You”
- March 12: Toby Keith, Country, “Red Solo Cup” and “I Love This Bar”
- March 18: Jason Derulo, Pop, “Wiggle” and “Want to Want Me”
- March 19: Earth, Wind & Fire, Funk, “Boogie Wonderland” and “Let’s Groove”
- March 25: The All-American Rejects, Rock, “Dirty Little Secret” and “My Paper Heart”
FRENCH QUARTER COURTYARD
The heart of Mardi Gras is Universal Studios French Quarter Courtyard, where guests can can enjoy authentic New Orleans bands and chow down on some Cajun food every night before the headliner concert. Bands travel straight from The Big Easy to Universal Orlando to perform Blues, Jazz, and Zydeco music. The French Quarter also features an array of delicious New Orleans fare available for purchase, including jambalaya, gumbo, beignets and more (most entrees between $8 and $12). We had the Grilled Chicken Muffaletta Sandwich $9.99, Twisted Taters $5.49 and the beignets.
New Orleans Bands performing in the French Quarter
- February 4 – 14: Young Pinstripe Brass Band
- February 15 – 21: New Breed Brass Band
- February 22 – March 5: Free Agents Brass Band
- March 6 – 15: Naughty Professor Brass Band
- March 16 – 25: Dirty Bourbon River Show
This year’s party will run for 49 consecutive nights. Each night will get its own bead-filled parade through the theme park. Bands from New Orleans will perform each night of the 2017 event, and authentic Cajun food will be for sale in the park’s French Quarter Courtyard each evening. Make sure to go! You will have an awesome time.
* This post is sponsored by Universal Orlando.