The Good Times Keep Rolling at Universal's Mardi Gras

March 13, 2023, 10:25 PM · We are in Orlando this week for a Theme Park Insider Spring Break, and what better way to get the week started than by letting the good times roll?

We might be well into Lent at this point, but the theme park calendar says it's still Mardi Gras at Universal Studios Florida, where the resort's annual festival continues through April 16. Headline concerts take the stage on weekends, but even on a rainy Monday Universal offers plenty of Carnaval-flavor for park visitors.

And I mean that literally. We started our evening with a taste of New Orleans, which you can find in Universal's New York area. (Hey, they're both U.S. cities that start with "New," so close enough, right?) The jambalaya and shrimp gumbo [$6.99 each] both delighted.

Jambalaya and shrimp gumbo

If you made us choose, we preferred the meatier taste of the jambalaya, though we had no complaints with more peppery gumbo. While we ate, Universal's Mardi Gras band serenaded us.

Universal's Mardi Gras band

And after our entrees, we had to finish with some beignets [$6.99 for 4].


Hot, airy fried dough smothered in powdered sugar, these were a perfect bite to finish after the jambalaya and gumbo. We also took home a King Cake [$13.99], because, why not?

King Cake

This one's basically a giant, donut-shaped Cinnamon roll, frosted and covered in sugar sprinkles. Share it with your family of 12.

The highlight of the evening was Universal Orlando's Mardi Gras parade, with dozens of guests who bought the float-riding package [$84.99, includes a three-course meal at Finnegan's, Lombard's, Cowfish, or NBC Sports Grill] throwing beads to the watching crowd.

It's all fun, providing a family-friendly taste of a New Orleans Mardi Gras parade here in Central Florida. (And I would encourage all guests to remember that. For the person tonight who thought that bead-grabbing should be a contact sport, chill. There are plenty coming down for everyone.)

Visting Universal Studios Florida

For our latest reader rankings of the attractions at the park, as well as our advice for visiting, please visit our Universal Studios Florida page.

And for discounted tickets to all of the Universal Orlando theme parks, including Islands of Adventure and Volcano Bay, please see our partner's Universal Orlando tickets page, where you can find a two-days-free combo offer, which can save you up to $150-200 on select dates.

Replies (1)

March 14, 2023 at 9:52 AM

It looks like Orlando fishmongers are doing brisk business in crawfish these days - pretty surprised to actually see one here after one being presented as a more "alien" creature on a Galactic Starcruiser dish.

The real question is, who got the baby?

While having the Macy's Parade run through the park in December makes some thematic and logistical sense, running Mardi Gras weeks after Ash Wednesday (especially in a year when Lent is as late as it gets on the calendar) seems a bit odd. There are plenty of other ways to celebrate spring after Fat Tuesday that doesn't undermine the spirit of the current season.

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