Its been a quarter-century since Universal Studios Florida began importing a bit of the Big Easy to Orlando. This year Universal’s 25th Mardi Gras offers even more exciting entertainment.
On top of a hungry host of tempting treats and an all-new Mardi Gras Tribute Store, new parade floats join a thrilling list of headline concerts. Acts like REO Speedwagon, Kool and the Gang, Marshmellow, Dustin Lynch and Diana Ross add their names to the Saturday live concert lineup.
Mardi Gras is back and better than ever! This year’s two-month-long party celebrates 25 years of beads, beignets, concerts, parades and more! New parade floats join tempting treats, an all-new tribute store and several Saturdays of live concerts.
Celebrate Universal’s 25th Mardi Gras with Treasures of the Deep
Currant Studios creators of the official Mardi Gras parade floats in New Orleans also crafted similar spectacles for Universal Studios Florida. Additionally, King Gator, the parade’s majestic mascot, received a facelift, just in time for the silver anniversary. Gratuitous amounts of glitter, give this Mardi Gras float a spectacular shine.
However, facelifts are not the only thing new in this year’s Mardi Gras parade. Six all-new floats take center stage. For the first time, these new brightly colored creations weave a themed storyline into the procession. Be on the lookout for new additions like the Treasure Map, Creatures of the Deep, Sunken City of Atlantis, Shipwreck Island, Battle for the Booty (PIRATES!), and X marks the Spot floats.
Book-ending the high seas adventure, fan favorites lead and, also, complete the 2020 parade. Returning floats like the Riverboat and Jester kick off the party. Of course, the six new “Treasures of the Deep” creations creep in after those. Additional bead-tossing traditional scenes like the New Orleans Jazz, King and Queen the aforementioned, upgraded King Gator float round out the procession.
Additionally, stilt walkers, characters and creatures accompany these festive floats ensuring an exciting and entertaining experience (and plenty of beads!).
Nightly processionals of this Mardi Gras magic kick off at different times, depending on the date:
- 5:15 pm on the following dates: Feb 11
- 5:45 pm on the following dates: Feb 20 & Mar 2
- 6:00 pm on the following dates: Feb 2 – Feb 7
- 6:15 pm on the following dates: Feb 9 – 10, 12-14, 17 – 19, 21, 23 – 28, Mar 1, 3-6
- 7:30 pm on the following dates: Mar 9 – Mar 12, Mar 16 – Mar 19, Mar 23 – Mar 27, Mar 30 – Apr 2
- 7:45 pm on the following dates: Feb 1, 8, 15, 16, 22, 29, Mar 7, 8, 13-15, 20-22, 28-29
Known as the “Little Jester’s Parade Viewing Area, a special viewing area for minions (children) exists. Guests can find this area in front of the Brown Derby Hat shop. However, plan on arriving an hour before parade time.
A pair of parade viewing perks include Mardi Gras munchies at the Orlando resort. Purchase entry to the Bayou Boil to enjoy a traditional crawfish boil (other authentic New Orleans Cajun cuisine also available) and special parade viewing area. Or, on select nights, try the Mardi Gras Feast & Floats Dessert Party and enjoy treats like king cake and beignets.
Feel like it’s better to give than receive? If you are an annual passholder, sign up to toss beads from parade floats. Passholders also enjoy an exclusive viewing area. Check out all the annual passholder perks, including dining discounts, an exclusive button and theme park event magnet.
Big Name Performers provide Mardi Gras concert entertainment
Acts like Earth, Wind and Fire, The All-American Rejects, Diana Ross and Gavin DeGraw provide the perfect nightcap to Mardi Gras partying. These end-of-day, Saturday shows (with a few shows on Fridays and Sundays – see below) are included in park admission to the event. Concerts take place at the Universal Music Plaza Stage next to Rip Ride Rock-it. Arrive well before the 8:30 start time to ensure a good viewing location.
Over the two-month span of Universal’s 25th Mardi Gras party, enjoy the following concert line-up:
- The Roots on February 1st
- Karol G on February 8th
- Bell Biv DeVoe on February 15th
- +Live+ on SUNDAY February 16th
- Kool and the Gang on February 22nd
- TLC on February 29th
- REO Speedwagon on March 7th
- Dustin Lunch on SUNDAY March 8th
- Luis Fonsi on FRIDAY March 13th
- The All-American Rejects on March 14th
- Diana Ross on SUNDAY March 15th
- Chris Young on FRIDAY March 20th
- Earth, Wind & Fire on March 21st
- Mashmello on SUNDAY March 22nd
- Why Don’t We on March 28th
- Gavin DeGraw on SUNDAY March 29th
Mardi Gras at Universal features additional live entertainment
Adding to the Big Easy ambiance, authentic Louisiana bands bring jazz, blues and zydeco to the Mardi Gras 25th anniversary celebrations. Take a look at this toe-tapping French Quarter line up (courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort):
Feb 1 – Feb 13 Dirty Bourbon River Show
Feb 14 – Mar 6 Free Agents Brass Band
Mar 6 – Mar 21 New Breed Brass Band
Mar 22 – Apr 2 Naughty Professor Brass Band
Enjoy the complete experience at Universal’s 25th Mardi Gras
Of course, beads, parades and performances enjoy center stage at Universal’s Mardi Gras party. However, there’s so much more to enjoy. Diverse and delicious dining delights greet guests each evening of the party. For the first time at Mardi Gras, an all-new Tribute Store stocks special event merchandise (along with a Halloween Horror Nights vibe).
Which performance or event has you most excited about Universal’s 25th Mardi Gras event?
Source and images: Universal Studios Florida , Mellissa Allebach, Michael Gavin