Get ready for the biggest party at Universal Studios! The 2024 Universal Orlando Mardi Gras celebration features epic weekend concerts, a full parade, and delicious food. This annual festival at Universal takes place February 3 through April 7, 2024 and is perfect for date night.

In this post, we take a look at what to expect at Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras including the food, parade, and concerts — and most importantly, include tips on how to make it an epic date night.

Let's start with the 2024 concert schedule! Then keep reading for a look at the food and beverages for this year, plus the parade schedule.

Universal Orlando Mardi Gras Food and Drinks

Besides the parade and concerts, delicious flavors abound. Each year Universal Orlando improves the Mardi Gras food and beverage. It certainly has expanded from the days of being just a few booths in the New York area.

For 2024 there are OVER 20 booths for Mardi Gras food and beverages. If food and drinks are the most important part for you, then jump over to see our 8 MUST TRY Food and Drinks at Universal Orlando Mardi Gras.

2024 Mardi Gras Menu

NEW for 2024 – one savory item at nearly every booth can be paired with a select alcoholic beverage for a $1.00 savings off the total price for the two items versus if they were purchased separately. Keep an eye out for this deal at each booth.

Belgium – Godiva and Biscoff Liege – Image from Universal Orlando

Food and Beverage – Expert Tips

Each food booth opens around 11:00 or 11:30am daily. A friendly reminder, there is only one drink per person per ID.

Be sure to use your annual pass for a discount on the Mardi Gras dishes. There is also a helpful Mardi Gras Food and Beverage Card which offers savings regardless of whether you're an annual passholder.

A traditional beignet with powdered sugar is held up in front of a mardi gras decorated food booth
Beignets and other traditional Cajun food at Universal's Mardi Gras

NEW Food and Drink Pairings

Some of the new food and drinking pairings that have caught our eye look tasty and seem like good deals. Each pairing is a $1.00 savings compared to if the two items were ordered separately.

Here are the pairings that caught our eye:

  • Currywurst with Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier 18.99 (Germany booth)
  • Zabaglione with Berries with Aperol Spritz Sorbet 18.99 (Italty booth)
  • Chilaquiles Verdes with Gran Añejo Margarita 19.49 (Mexico booth)
  • Ensalada de Pulpo and Sangria Rosado 19.99 (Spain booth)
  • Green Papaya Salad with Shrimp and Butterfly Pea Blossom Tea 20.49 (Thailand booth)


Discounted Refills

With the 20 oz souvenir cup, we got our Bloody Mary at the $15 refill price – and will all the toppings.

The 2024 Bloody Mary has a chicken slider and pickled veggies.

holding a bloody mary cocktail with a variety of toppings including a mini chicken slider
Wild Bloody Mary with chicken slider – image by Dani Meyering

Note, the smaller drink sizes just come with a celery stick and lime wedge garnish.

Pro-tip: If you want to take advantage of the Mardi Gras souvenir refill cup, make your first purchase a beer with the cup. It will be a lower initial cost than getting a cocktail, and you can use the same cup to get the refill price on beer and mixed drinks.

Beignets are available at both the New Orleans booth and the French Quarter Market. These are good if you're looking to satisfy a craving, but the desserts inside the Mardi Gras Tribute Store are better and more memorable. More on that later.

What is the Mardi Gras Food and Beverage Card?

A Universal Orlando Mardi Gras Food & Beverage Card can be purchased at any Mardi Gras food booth. It does not have an expiration date and gives you some savings on your food and beverage purchases.

Here's how it works:

  • Pay $65 to get $75 in value on a Universal Orlando Resort Food & Beverage Card
  • Pay $120 to get $150 in value on a Universal Orlando Resort Food & Beverage Card (exclusive to Annual Passholders).
Universal Mardi Gras Traditional Crawfish Boil and 2022 Color-Changing Cup
Universal Mardi Gras Traditional Crawfish Boil and 2022 Color-Changing Cup

Check out the Universal Mardi Gras Guide Map!

2024 Mardi Gras Parade at Universal Studios

Stretch out your hands and get ready to catch a ton of beads. Make your date night enchanting and grab a spot along the parade route about 30 – 45 minutes before parade time.

Universal Mardi Gras 2022 Parade Band marches through the New York area playing brass instruments and drums
Universal Mardi Gras 2022 Parade Band

Important Tip: An unofficial party usually kicks off about three hours before parade time. For example, we visited on opening night. The parade kicked off at 7:45pm, but at 4:30pm parade performers came out into the streets. The performers spread out throughout the New York area and French Quarter market, creating a party atmosphere.

Have some fun together striking a pose for some great photo opportunities. If you're feeling bold ask the parade performers how you can earn some beads.

Universal Mardi Gras 2022 Performer Greetings are full of beautiful costumes
Universal Mardi Gras 2022 Performer Greeting

2024 Mardi Gras Parade Schedule

This year’s 2024 Mardi Gras parade theme will bring the elements to life in six new, beautifully designed parade floats inspired by Earth, wind, fire, water, the sun, and the moon. The new collection of element floats will join Universal’s traditional lineup of New Orleans-inspired floats to create this year’s parade – complete with high-energy music, dozens of performers donning elaborate costumes, and tons of beads.

Remaining 2024 parade schedule: 

Parade starts at 7:30 pm on the following dates:

  • Saturday, March 23 – April 2, 2024
  • Saturday, April 6, 2024

Parade starts at 6:15 pm on the following dates:

  • April 3 – 5, 2024
  • April 7, 2024

How to Ride a Mardi Gras Parade Float

Make epic date night memories from atop one of the spectacular floats. Toss beads to the crowd while you make your way through the entire parade route – it’s unforgettable.

Returning in 2024 is the Mardi Gras Float Ride and Dine Experience. This new offering is available on select dates and includes the exclusive opportunity to be a part of the festivities by reserving a spot to toss beads from a Mardi Gras float.

You'll enjoy a 3-course meal with selections from the full menu at one of four participating restaurants – The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar, NBC Sports Grill and Brew, Finnegan’s Bar and Grill or Lombard’s Seafood Grille.

The Mardi Gras Float Ride and Dine Experience includes one appetizer, one entrée, one dessert, and one non-alcoholic beverage for $84.99 plus tax, per person, as well as one Mardi Gras parade float rider reservation on the same day. Guests can purchase this experience and reserve their spot by calling 407-224-7554 or visiting

Annual and Seasonal Passholders receive a 15% discount off the ticketed price with a valid Annual or Seasonal Pass when purchasing in person at the Front Gate or a Guest Services location, or by calling 407-224-7554.

Virtual Queue

You can also enter a Virtual Line using the Official Universal Orlando App to attempt to secure a spot on a parade float without purchasing the Ride and Dine Experience.

Be sure to hydrate beforehand — throwing these beads during the entire parade route can wear you out!

Park guests Ride a Float in Universal's Mardi Gras Parade and toss beads
Ride a Float in Universal's Mardi Gras Parade 2022

Mardi Gras Tribute Store

During your Mardi Gras date night, take a stroll through the Mardi Gras Tribute Store. Located in the Hollywood area of the park, this themed store adds some Mardi Gras excitement to this side of the park and gives you a chance to pick up the Mardi Gras merchandise you've had your eye on. You should see this place during the holidays.

Universal Mardi Gras Tribute Store 2024 – Image by Dani Meyering

For 2024, the theme of the Tribute Store is perfect for folks who love the haunting spirit of the bayou and New Orleans itself. This year you'll board the P.S. Songbird – a haunted riverboat full of playful and musical spirits.

Universal Mardi Gras Tribute Store 2024 – Image by Dani Meyering

Don't miss the back section of this store and save room for dessert! There are a ton of delicious sweet treats in the back room including chocolate-dipped bacon, layered cake, and so much more.

Universal Mardi Gras Tribute Store 2023 Dessert Case
Universal Mardi Gras Tribute Store 2023 Dessert Case – Dani Meyering

2024 Mardi Gras Concert Lineup and Tips

Universal Orlando always attracts a dynamic lineup for their Mardi Gras concerts. The performances take place on Saturday nights and other select Friday and Sunday evenings. Each concert kicks off at 8:30pm.

I suggest getting a spot on the Music Plaza Stage lawn by 7:30pm. Arrive with a drink and food in hand from one of the nearby booths. You'll be able to catch the parade while you wait for the concert. Bring a picnic blanket or towel to sit comfortably on the plaza lawn.

Here is the Universal Mardi Gras 2024 Concert Lineup:

  • February 24 – Barenaked Ladies
  • March 2 – DJ Khaled
  • March 9 – Ava Max
  • March 10 -Queen Latifah
  • March 16 – Luis Fonsi
  • March 17 – Zedd

Now that the concerts are complete for 2024, it's time to focus on the food and drinks!

Universal Orlando Mardi Gras at CityWalk

Whether you want to keep the party going at Universal CityWalk or just prefer not to spend the money on tickets to get into the park, there are some festivities to enjoy outside the park gates.

The Red Coconut Club has once again been transformed for the Mardi Gras season into the Cursed Coconut Club. Available on select nights from 5:00 PM to 1:00 AM and until 12:00 AM on Sundays, guests visiting Cursed Coconut Club can marvel at the themed decor and enjoy bewitching beverages such as the Bayou Banshee or New Orleans’ Sazerac.

Related: Best Restaurants at Universal Orlando for Date Night

For something sweet head over to Toothsome Chocolate Emporium for a special Mardi Gras milkshake. The main event for Mardi Gras at Universal CityWalk is at Pat O’Brien’s. Recreating the original dueling pianos bar in the heart of New Orleans, Pat O’Brien’s brings a Mardi Gras flavor all year that is kicked up a notch this time of year. Special food and beverage items plus Mardi Gras decor make this an epic addition to your date night.

READ MORE: How to Enjoy Universal's Mardi Gras Without a Theme Park Ticket

The Ultimate Universal Mardi Gras Date Night Itinerary

This itinerary is based on visiting on a Saturday night with the concert at 8:30pm and the parade at 7:45pm.

  • Arrive to Universal Orlando to park around 2:30pm
  • After entering Universal Studios, grab some food and drink from the New York area booths
  • Hang around the New York area and French Quarter market for the pre-parade party which usually starts at 4:30pm
  • After enjoying the pre-parade party, stroll through the rest of the park for more Mardi Gras food and beverage
  • Enjoy a ride or two depending on wait times
  • Head back towards the New York area or the Hollywood Area for a stroll through the Tribute Store
  • Settle into a parade viewing spot by 7:30pm near the concert plaza
  • Rock out to the concert at 8:30pm
  • Party it up afterward at Pat O'Brien's and the rest of CityWalk

Another fun thing to do just before the parade is head to the Pantages Theater, where to Horror Makeup Show is, and catch the band perform. This awesome New Orleans-style band warms up the crowds all along the parade route but makes a stop about 15 minutes before parade time and performs 2-3 songs in front of the theater.

Universal Mardi Gras Band 2023 performing in front of theater
Universal Mardi Gras Band 2023 – Dani Meyering

Be sure to hydrate and take breaks, I try to have one full cup of water in between each alcoholic beverage. If your epic night takes place on a Saturday night you'll need to be prepared for crowds, so just relax together and let the good times roll!

All images by Dani Meyering