I spent last weekend celebrating Mardi Gras Universal Studios Orlando-style, and I had the time of my life! The annual event has the authenticity of a typical New Orleans Mardi Gras, but remains completely family-friendly so that all ages can enjoy it.
This year’s Mardi Gras Universal Studios Orlando celebration runs through April 18, and the event and concerts are included with paid admission, so come and have some fun!
Mardi Gras Universal Studios Orlando
Street performers, stilt walkers and dancers entertain all along the streets, and they’ll happily stop to pose for photos. The costumes are incredible!
Stroll through the French Quarter Courtyard for a taste of authentic Cajun cuisine like jambalaya, gumbo, Andouille sausage, beignets and King cake while enjoying New Orleans-style music played by live bands straight from Bourbon Street.
And don’t miss the spectacular Mardi Gras parade! This year’s parade includes 13 different floats, and I had the chance to get a good look at this gator float (the parade’s caboose) before it hit the streets.
The floats are created with the famous New Orleans-based Kern Studios, and Jason Horne, the event’s creative director, told us that planning begins a year in advance! This year’s float themes include traditional New Orleans Carnivale, the King and Queen float, Cultures (like China and India), and Breaking Ground, which is dedicated to travel and innovation.
There are a couple of short choreographed performances along the parade route, and there’s lots of interaction with the crowd. It makes it even more exciting!
And of course, there are beads – 1.8 million Mardi Gras beads in total, thrown by the handful from each of the Mardi Gras parade floats. This year I had the chance to throw beads too! My friends and I took a spot on the King and Queen float.
And we threw green, purple and gold beads to spectators. It was an absolute blast! Of course I kept a few of the beads for myself as a memory.
After the parade, we went straight to that evening’s music concert. This year there are 16 headliner concerts (click for concert schedule) with popular musicians like Jessie J, Kelly Clarkson, The Band Perry, Trey Songz, American Authors and Yandel.
We were lucky enough to meet MKTO in person and then watch them perform on stage. They were so nice and so talented!
Celebrating at Mardi Gras Universal Studios Orlando was such a highlight, and I hope you get the chance to make a visit to Universal Studios Florida during the festivities. You’ll have the best time!
For more information on Mardi Gras, visit the Mardi Gras Universal Studios Orlando website, and to purchase theme park admission tickets, visit UniversalOrlando.com
Accommodations, park tickets and some meals were provided by Universal Studios Florida as part of the #UORGirlsGetaway press event. The opinions and experiences are mine alone.
Comments & Reviews
christina aliperti says
This looks like such a fun time. I have never been to Mardi Gras and this looks as close as you could get to the real deal!
Saidah Washington (@ApronsStilletos) says
WOW!! What an amazing event. I’m heading there in the summer and can’t wait.
Tough Cookie Mommy says
This looks like such a fun mardi gras celebration. I would love to participate and see all the colorful costumes and displays.
Jeff Taylor says
Wow! A family friendly Mardi Gras. I’ve always been intrigued by New Orleans but there’s so much bad stuff along with the party. This sounds like a fun alternative.
Robin (Masshole Mommy) says
It was, Jeff. It’s completely family friendly, so I think it was actually better than the NOLA celebration!
Terra Heck says
Looks like a fun and amazing experience! How cool that you were able to be on a float!
Robin (Masshole Mommy) says
It was SO nice to finally meet you at this event. Universal really knows how to do it up right, don’t they? I Had a blast!
sharon martin says
That looks like such much fun and excitement, I bet it’s absolutely fantastic to experience this.
Amanda Love says
Great getaway! I’ll be there this summer and can’t wait. Would have loved to go to their Mardi Gras but maybe one day.
Star Traci says
Well, look at you Rock Star! It looks like terrific fun.
Universal definitely puts on an awesome Mardis Gras celebration! I haven’t gone since I lived in Orlando, but this post makes me want to go asap. Glad you had such a great time!
Carol Cassara says
What an experience this might be? These theme parks get more and more interesting.
never been to a Mardi Gras but it is definitely on my list to do, looks like you had a great time
aimee fauci says
This looks fun but of course all things at Universal Studios is fun! I can’t wait to make another trip out here.
Jennifer E. says
This looks like the BEST way to celebrate Mardi Gras with a family environment! I love Universal Studios and now I want to go even more!
That parade looks like so much fun! My family loves Universal Studios, but we’ve never been during the celebration of Mardi Gras. Love all the bright colors and over-the-top costumes. What a great way to celebrate.
We’ve never been to Universal Florida, but hope to visit someday. Mardi Gras there sounds like fun, and much safer than New Orleans!
What a fun event and it looks like you had such a great time! I’ve only been to the Mardi Gras in NO and this looks much better!
Lesley F says
This looks amazing! I can’t wait until we go!
Jeanette E. says
Love your photos! I would definitely consider going next time we visit. We went to Disney two years ago and vowed to wait 10 years before we took out kids back, this would definitely be worth having Grandma sit with them so we could visit Universal!
Joy Williams says
I love the family friendly atmosphere of Universal Studios. There is something for everyone to enjoy. The Mardi Gras event was an absolute blast and I hope everyone gets to experience it at some point.
Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly says
I spotted a butterfly costume on the top left of the first picture! 🙂
Katriza @ Everything Home Life says
Wow! I would love to go to something like this! I hope one day i can take my family to go see this! Thanks for sharing! Looks like so much fun!
Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle says
That looks like a wonderful time! Universal Studios is so good at really doing it up. Especially special occasions like this.
I was following some of you ladies on Instagram while you were there, it looked like sooo much fun! We have not been to Universal yet, we plan on this summer with the kids.
Terri Ramsey Beavers says
Everything is so colorful and looks like a total blast. I love your photos.
Rachelle J says
I’m leaving for Universal in 2 weeks and I had no idea this would still be going on during my visit. I’m super stoked now!!
Enjoy your trip! I love Universal!
Catherine S says
It looks like you had a fantastic time. All the pictures are really great. I am going to Universal this weekend with friends. I can’t wait to check out the concerts.
Cindy @MomMaven says
Sounds like a great trip. I bet being in the parade was fun! I’ve always wanted to visit Mardi Gras at Universal but I have never had the opportunity.
Angelic Sinova says
What a fun time! Besides the summer, I’ve only ever been to Universal during Christmas and that was fun. I love when parks get into the holiday spirit <3
This looks like so much fun. I love all of the colors, the yumm looking food, and all the smiles!
Alissa Apel says
Bright colors, costumes and floats – What’s not to love? How fun!
Jessica Harlow says
This looks like an amazing event! The Mardi Gras culture (and cajun/creole food) has always appealed to me even if I’m a Northern Yankee!
That dragon is amazing! So much detail and color. WOW! I love Universal but this looks like it would have been especially fun to go to!
I went to Mardi Gras when I was younger since we lived in New Orleans. This must have been an amazing experience though.
vanessa: brite&bubbly says
I wish I could have gone to Universal when we were in Orlando a few weeks ago. Looks like it was so much fun to go to. Maybe next year.
This looks like so much fun! Great photos too, Liz. My hubby and I went to DisneyWorld for the first time last year and now we need to visit Universal Studios too!
Melanie S. says
What a fun event! We were hoping to take the kids to Universal for the first time this year, but it looks like airfare is going to force us to stay grounded.
Chubskulit Rose says
Looks so much fun! I have never experienced celebrating mardi gras this grand, it must have been very exciting!
Michelle F. says
That looks like so much fun. The costumes and floats are amazing.
That looks like such a blast! I’ve never been to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and would love to see all of the parades. From what I’ve heard, this is a much more family-friendly alternative.
Besides all the fun you had I love the burst of bold colors everywhere and the food. Oh my goodness!! I also love that all the activities remain family friendly.
Terri Steffes says
Your photos are amazing! So bright and colorful! It looks like a good time was had by all. Universal Studios has changed a lot since I was last there!
That looks like so much fun — very authentic and really well done!
Looks like you had a pretty awesome time!! When I lived in Orlando pretty much everyone I knew had annual passes since they are discounted greatly for FL residents… And my friends and I would go to MartinGras every Saturday for the concerts! Always a fun time!
How fun we love Universal but We haven’t gone during Mardi Grad. Must do that sometime.
Terri Ramsey Beavers says
I would really love to see this at Universal Studios. I’ve never been to Mardi Gras but have always wanted to go. My sister used to live in New Orleans and she got to go.
[email protected] Vin'yet Etc. says
Your photos are so awesome, I felt like I was right there. Going here is for sure on my bucket list, thanks for sharing!
Brianne- Just Trying To Save Money says
This like so much fun! We will be there in July guess we need to add Universal Studios to our list of must do!!
michele d says
I know you girls had a great time. I was there last year doing that. Loved riding on the float throwing the beads.
Stacey- Travel Blogger says
I have always wanted to participate in Mardi Gras celebrations. I love Orlando!
lisa @bitesforbabies says
This seriously looks like so much fun!!! What a great time of the year to visit!
I didn’t know that Universal did Mardi Gras celebrations. They look like a lot of fun, especially that parade.
Jenny Temcio says
This looks like a blast! I love all the bright colors and pretty costumes!
I had no idea Universal in Florida did Mardi Gras. Oh I would love to see that. You sound like you all had a great time–and you got to ride on a float!!!!!
Oh my gosh! The food and the festivities look like so much fun! What a fun place to visit for Mardi Gras!
It would be a great place to take the whole family for Mardi Gras! You can’t say that about most places!
Lady Lilith says
Nice. Looks like so much fun. I love the colors and music.
This looks like such a blast! I didn’t know they did mardi gras at Universal Studios!
Tiffany Cutcliff says
What a blast! I wish I could go do that!
Julie Searle says
Your pictures are great, looks like so much fun!! Thank you for sharing.
What fun. I haven’t been to Universal in over 10 yrs. I would love to go sometime soon. What fun to meet MKTO. They seem so sweet.
maria @ closetohome says
The last time I was at Universal my kids were so young. I need to go back, this looks like so much fun.
Looks like you had a ton of fun. One of these years maybe I’ll make it there to partake in such festivities!
It looks wonderful. I hope I will have a chance to visit it one day.
Michelle Hwee says
It looks like so much fun!! I love Universal Studios, I really love how colorful and bright everything is as well. Thanks for sharing great pics!
Ashley B. says
I’m loving all of your pictures! It looks like a great time was had. I haven’t been to Universal since I was 12! Many many moons ago.
This looks like it was a lot of Fun. I would have loved to throw Beads in the Parade 🙂 Great Post
This looks awesome! I would love to experience Mardi Gras like this and let me kids enjoy it!
That looks like a lot of fun. Your pictures are so colorful. I would love to visit this some day.
Sandra - The Foodie Affair says
My parents have a timeshare near Universal and just asked if we wanted to join them. YES! If I get to check out that parade you enjoyed. Looks like so much fun!
I have always wanted to go to Universal Studios in Orlando. Your photos have definitely convinced me that I need to plan my honeymoon there.
Debbie Denny says
What an exciting time. Looks like lots of fun.
It really does look like a lot of fun. The costumes are so beautiful!
Jess Weaver says
It looks like that was quite a festive party! I always wanted to experience the Mardi Gras adventure!
Tough Cookie Mommy says
Yes, I agree that the festivities were so much fun. I’m sure you had a really great time at this event.
Dhemz Apdian - Dias says
what a fun event! Plus, you get to take a photo with these performers.
oh what a show!! that parade looks amazing. How fun that you got to ride on the float. that crocodile float looks just amazing… wow!! I want to go now ;o)
Marcie W. says
I have yet to be lucky enough to attend actual Mardi Gras in New Orleans but would much rather participate in this family friendly version at Universal Orlando! All of the floats look amazing and I would love to try King Cake.
That parade looks like so much fun. And who wouldn’t love a good concert?
The floats are amazing! I love the gator one!
Stefani Tolson says
Looks like you had an amazing time. I would love to see the Universal Studios in Orlando. I have been to the one in California twice but not Florida (yet).
There are some familiar elements, but each is unique. You have got to experience both.
This looks so fun! It’s so great that it runs through April so that many more people can join in the celebration!
Cascia Talbert says
It looks like you had a lot of fun. We are leaving for Florida on Friday, but we are going to the beach not Orlando.
M from K&M: The Stay-at-Home Life says
Wow, it looks like an amazing time.
That looks like so much fun! I had no idea that they did a Mardi Gras party at Universal Studios. My fingers are crossed for a trip to Orlando soon!
Jenny Temcio says
I agree! I need a trip to Orlando ASAP!
Debra @A Frugal Friend says
How fun of a press trip! Girls getaway for sure!! I have never been to the Orlando Univ Studios, but seeing how much I love Hollywood location, I’m bound to love Orlando too! 🙂
What an amazing trip! I would love to see the Mardi Gras celebration. I looks just like the real thing from New Orleans.
Sara P. (@SensiblySara) says
SO FUN! I love the alligator float! I really like that you can experience Mardi Gras in a family-friendly way at Universal.
Uplifting Families says
We went to Disney in 2010 and loved it. I love how much effort they put into the costumes and the nightly parades. I loved watching Tinkerbelk fly out of the castle and the Fireworks on the water at Epcot. I would love to visit again one day.
ellen beck says
I would love to see something like this it sounds fun. I love the pictures it iis so colorful amd love the smiles.
What a fun trip! I love Orlando!
So what is mardi gras anyways? Is it a holiday just to drink?
[email protected] says
I didn’t know about Mardi Gras at Universal Orlando. I would love to take my kids to enjoy a family friendly Mardi Gras.
Jennifer Williams says
I used to live a couple hours from there and had no idea they did a Mardi Gras at Universal. It looks like a great event that I would have enjoyed – guess I will have to go back to visit next year.
What a fun press event this must have been! Wish I could have been there!
James Hills says
That looks so cool – I love Mardi Gras but hadn’t really considered doing it at a theme park. It looks like a lot of fun though … maybe next year!
christina aliperti says
I binge watched Orange Is The New Black and I can’t wait for the next season. Netflix has so many great shows to choose from.
christina aliperti says
Sorry wrong post lol.
Elizabeth O. says
I’ve never been to Orlando!!! Hope I can finally push through with my trip there…
Tammilee Tips says
What an amazing place to celebrate Madri Gras!! I love Universal Studios and how they go all out for these holidays!
Such bright colors – looks like a lot of fun. I really hope to get there one year
Mhar Sefcik says
I haven’t been to Mardi Gras but I heard from my in-laws that it’s a very festive event. And seeing your photos makes me feel like I have been there. 🙂
We went to Universal as a family last summer for the first time and loved it. Going during the festivities looks like it would be a ton of fun!
I have never been to a mardi gras. Looks like so much fun and excitement! Those floats look so festive and creative!
Rebel Sweetheart says
How I wish I could visit Universal Studios and experience this event first-hand. I am in awe just by looking at your photos!
I love street performers…so entertaining and lively!
Jamie | North of Something says
This looks like an amazing event! My son has never been to a parade and I’m sure he would love it.
Oh This looks like so much fun! Love the pics!
Mama to 5 BLessings says
Looks like you had a great time! I love all the costumes!
Ashley @irishred02 says
It looks like you had a lot of fun! One day I will be there, one day!
That looks like so much fun. I definitely would like to go there during Mardi Gras!
Marina @ Mommy Snippets says
That looks like a blast! I’ve always wanted to go to Universal Studios!
Amanda Sakovitz says
This looks like so much fun! Super jealous that you got to meet MKTO. It looks like you guys had a blast at the Mardi Gras Universal Studios experience!
Wow, what a fun adventure! Would love to visit Universal someday.
Pinay Mommy Online says
What a wonderful and fabulous colorful costumes!! I haven’t attended any Mardi Gras anywhere. How I wish I could! I am sure celebrating the Mardi Gras in Universal Studios Orlando is even more fun and enjoyable!
That’s the way to do Mardis Gras right there! I like how interactive the parade participants were with the crowd, and you got to throw beads from the float. #fun!
Melissa Shirley says
Nice. I will be going to Florida in May. I will be visiting Disney World for the first time.
Shaney Vijendranath says
This looks like such an awesome event. Wish I attended too… Hopefully one day I will.
Chelley @ AisForAdelaide says
Me too! I would love to be in town for this celebration!
Felecia Efriann says
Looks like you had some good food and a lot of fun. Mardi Gras fell on my birthday this year, it would have been cool to see Kelly Clarkson and the Perry Band. Disney goes all out for different holidays, they know how to celebrate.
Felecia Efriann says
Well, it looks like you had some good food and a lot of fun. Mardi Gras fell on my birthday this year, it would have been cool to see Kelly Clarkson and the Perry Band. It seems like Universal went all out for Mardi Gras, I’ve never been to Universal Studios.
This would be so fun to go to. I would love to attend.
April G says
I didn’t know Universal had a Mardi Gras celebration. It looked like a great time, I’ll have to consider it for next year.
Wow I went to Universal the last time and they did have this! I went with a boyfriend and we were so exhausted we didnt get a chance to experience this! Next time!
Janeane Davis says
It is fun to see a taste of New Orleans in a place so far from the original.
Yona Williams says
Ooo lucky you – what a fun getaway! I absolutely love all of your colorful pictures, especially the different characters and floats. Looks like you had a lot of fun!
The photo with the confetti is my favorite! I’ve never celebrated Mardi Gras, so it’s nice to have you share a snippet of what it could be like. It feels very energetic, colorful, and loud lol. I’m glad you could share this with us. Thank you.
Chelley @ AisForAdelaide says
Mardi Gras is so fun… I cannot imagine how amazing it must have been to be in Orlando for it! What an awesome time!
Ann Bacciaglia says
It looks like you had a fantastic trip. would love to go and celebrate Mardi Gras at universal Studios.
I recognize a few of those faces! Wow, what an amazing time you guys had at Mardi Gras! We love it there
It looks like you had a blast. I love your picture with About A Mom. I have never attended a Mardi Gras celebration before
Fariha @canadianmomeh.com says
Oh my goodness these pictures look incredible! It looks like SO much fun. I was just there a few months back. We had an absolute blast!
Chubskulit Rose says
I love their colorful costumes and the floats are very colorful as well. I’d love to experience that someday.
Donna Ward says
Wow – I am sooooo jealous! What fun I could have had with you all at the Mardi Gras Universal Studios Orlando celebrations – I could almost feel the excitement of really being there, Liz! Woohoo
So jealous! Looks like a great time and the weather looks amazing too!
Maureen @ A Debt Free Stress Free Life says
I hope to go to Madis Gras in New Orleans some day.
Stefani Tolson says
I hope to go there one day too. I want to go with just the hubby though and without the kids.
I have been to Mardi Gras many times (I live in the NOLA area) but never in Orlando! It looks like so much fun!!
Looks like an awesome time to visit!!
Debbie L. says
Mardi Gras in New Orleans is one of our favorite events. We LOVE it! This looks like so much FUN!!
Digna D. says
Wow, looks like great fun. Excellent pix too. Would love to go there. Thank you for sharing.
Chrissy Mazzocchi says
This loooks like such a fun time! I’ve never done anything for Mardi Gras, I’m game for this!
That looks like it would be such a fun time!
Seriots ly, that food looks amazing! I am so jealous!
Paula Schuck says
That looks like so much fun! My family loves visiting Universal Studios and it would be so fun to go during Mardi Gras.
eliz frank says
What a fantastic trip. I was going to ask if you saw Robin, and there she was by your side.
Lisa Rios says
Looks like a great event filled with loads of fun. The pictures are really awesome and it clearly shows the beauty of this event. I have never been to Mardi gras before. Thanks a lot for sharing this.
Amanda O. says
I had no idea Universal did Mardi Gras. Looks like you all had a blast!
Me and my family love watching parades. Looks like you had fun there!
This looks like so much fun! How colorful! I can see you were totally enjoying it
Joy | The Joyful Foodie says
I’m all the way on the West Coast, so I’ve never seen or partaken in any Mardi Gras celebrations ever. This looks like a blast! I love when amusement parks do a little extra for holidays, and it looks like they really put together some great festivities.
Rebecca Swenor says
This looks like it would be so much fun indeed. I have never been to Mardi Gras before and think that this one would be so much fun. I love that it is family oriented so that kids can enjoy it as well . Thanks so much for sharing. These are totally awesome pictures too.
Laura Funk says
Wow this looks amazing!
Everyone is having so much fun in there. I’d love watching the parade with a float, esp. with the kids.
WOW! That looks like SO much fun! I don’t even know what I would do if I were there! Your pictures are awesome and have great color too!! 🙂
This looks like sooo much fun! We’re headed to Orlando next year and I can hardly wait. I’ve always wanted to to go Mardi Gras!
How fun. I’m so jealous can you take me with you next time. I’m only a 2 hour drive from Universal’s
One of my favorite places in Orlando and MKTO is a great live show! How fun!
What awesome pictures! I’d love to take my family here! They would love it!
Mommy Peach says
Such a colorful and festive event. I haven’t attended a Mardi Gras and it’s certainly one of those festivals I want to experience.
Modern Pilgrim says
So cool! I am adding this to my bucket list. Looks like so much fun and what a unique experience too!
This looks so fun!
Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen says
Ah Mardi Gras, One of those festivals I want to experience. I do hope I could attend one in Universal Studios.
noelle d says
I did not know they did that. Love the family friendly part 😉
Lord knows we need it!!!!
Glad you had such a great time!
awesome photos you have here… thanks for sharing!
Ashleigh Walls says
Oh my son would LOVE this! Looks like it was really fun, I never knew they did things like this.
Margarita Ibbott (@DownshiftingPRO) says
I cannot even imagine how awesome that would have been. I love Mardi Gras but in a great big theme park. Awesome!
Life as a Convert says
I’d probably go for the food alone. It looks dang delicious!
Jealous! Looks like you had a great time. Those floats are gorgeous! I wanna go!
April Decheine says
Wow, how fun, I have always wanted to go to Mardi Gras, but Mardi Gras in a theme park sounds more my pace, it looks like the real thing, you guys had so much fun.
This looks like it was a lot of fun! I’m so jealous, I love me some MKTO music, how awesome it was to be able to meet them!
Bailey K. says
Wow, very cool! Looks like tons of fun. Universal is fun already, but add a Mardi Gras celebration, and I can’t even imagine how fun it would be! 🙂