Get ready for the biggest party at Universal Studios! The 2024 Universal Orlando Mardi Gras celebration features epic weekend concerts, full parade, and delicious food. This annual festival at Universal takes place Feb. 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 with the 2024 concert schedule! Then keep reading for a look at the menu we could expect this year, plus the potential parade schedule.
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 3 – Walker Hayes
- February 10 – The All-American Rejects
- February 17- Nessa Barrett
- February 18 – KC and the Sunshine Band
- February 24 – Barenaked Ladies
- March 2 – DJ Khaled
- March 9 – Ava Max
- March 10 -Queen Latifah
- March 16 – Luis Fonsi
- March 17 – Zedd
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 Menu (2024)
- Sweet & Savory Gouda & Onion Waffle
Warm crystalized waffle, smoked gouda, beer braised onions, black forest ham
- Cookie Butter Liege Waffle
Warm crystalized waffle topped with cookie butter, whipped topping, Biscoff® cookies
- Beers: Hoegaarden or Delirium Red
Bloody Mary Bar Menu (2024 Updates Coming Soon!)
- Bloody Mary Wild
a spicy (Louisiana hot sauce and Sriracha hot chili sauce) version of a traditional Bloody Mary spiked with New Amsterdam vodka, garnished with a variety of Cajun toppings
- Bloody Mary Mild
mild version of a traditional Bloody Mary spiked with New Amsterdam vodka, garnished with a variety of Cajun toppings
Brazil Menu (2024)
- Shrimp Moqueca
Shrimp and coconut cream stew, micro cilantro, white rice (Gluten-Sensitive)
- Pão de Queijo
Brazilian cheese bread (Gluten-Sensitive) (Food is Vegetarian)
- Mango Caipirinha
Pirassununga Cachaça, Bols orange curaçao with lime juice, mango nectar, syrup, and simple syrup
Canada Menu (2024)
- Candied Bacon & Onion Poutine
Candied bacon spiced curly fries with caramelized onion gravy, cheese curds, spiced maple bacon and parsley
- Vegan Wild Mushroom Poutine
Seasoned curly fries with vegan cheddar, mushroom gravy, truffle oil
- Drinks: Fire Cider, LaBlatt Blue Light, La Fin Du Monde Draft
Colombia Menu (2024)
- Arepas de Choclo(GS, V)
Traditional sweet corn cake filled with cheese and griddled with honey butter
- Colombian Burger
Grilled burger with Monterey Jack cheese, pineapple cabbage slaw, cilantro garlic sauce, potato sticks
Crispy wafer filled with dulce de leche, strawberries
- Drink: Aguardiente Punch
Cumbe Aguardiente, lime juice, simple syrup, blackberry concentrate, berry gummies
China Menu (2024)
- Szechuan Noodle Salad
Spicy cold noodle salad with cucumbers, peanuts, cilantro, scallions (contains peanut) (Vegan)
- Spicy Smashed Cucumber
Spicy marinated cucumbers with peanuts, cilantro, scallions (contains peanut) (Vegan)
Pork potstickers served with a black vinegar and chili oil dipping sauce
France Menu (2024)
- Bananas Foster Crème Brûlée Crepe
Banana caramel, vanilla cream, fresh bananas, whipped topping, brûléed su
- Grand Framboise Slush
A decadent mélande of Grey Goose vodka, Gabriel Boudier Créme de Framboise, raspberry purée, white chocolate syrup
- Charles De Fére Cuvee
- Patient Cottat Sauvignon Blanc
- Feudo Maccari Grillo
- Domaine du pavillon Chavannes Côte De Brouilly
Germany Menu (2024)
- Chicken Schnitzel with Käsespätzle
Fried crispy chicken thigh cutlet served with mustard and a lemon wedge
Crispy skin German bratwurst sliced and topped with a spicy curry ketchup (Gluten-Sensitive)
Cheese spätzle topped with crispy onions (Food is Vegetarian)
- Bavarian Pretzel with Obatzda
Warm pretzel with Bavarian beer cheese dip (Food is Vegetarian)
Fried lemon-vanilla fritters dusted with powdered sugar
Italy Menu (2024)
- Roman Suppli
Mozzarella and provolone filled risotto with vodka sauce, roasted red pepper aioli
- Zabaglione with Berries
Frangelico anglaise with mixed berries topped with toasted hazelnuts (*Contains alcohol)
- Aperol Spritz Sorbet
Aperol aperitivo with blood orange sorbet
- Wines: Bollini Pinot Grigio, Querceto Chianti, Bertani Valpolicella
Mexico Menu (2024)
- Chilaquiles Verdes
Tortillas topped with chile braised shredded chicken, salsa verde, cilantro onion mix with lime crema and cotija cheese (Gluten-Sensitive)
Birria beef in a corn tortilla with Monterey Jack, Oaxaca cheese, served with birria broth
- Churro Loops & Chocolate
Cinnamon sugar churro loops with Mexican chocolate dipping sauce (Food is Vegetarian)
- Classic Margarita
el Jimador blanco tequila, lime juice, Dekuyper triple sec, agave nectar, smoked sea salt
- Gran Añejo Margarita
Jose Cuervo Añejo tequila, DeKuyper Triple Sec, lime juice, agave, smoked sea salt
- Modelo, Modelo Chelada Lime, Modelo Chelada Pineapple,
- Agua Frescas: Mango, Strawberry, Jamaica Hibscus
New Orleans Menu (2024)
- Crawfish & Shrimp Boil(GS)
mixed bag of crawfish, shrimp, andouille sausage, potatoes, and corn on the cob (gluten-sensitive)
- Crawfish Étouffée
Creamy crawfish and vegetable stew over white rice
- Chicken & Andouille Jambalaya
Mixed rice with andouille, blackened chicken, peppers and tomatoes
- Fried Green Tomato Po'Boy
Flash fried green tomatoes, lettuce, onions, pickles and Cajun remoulade served with Cajun kettle chips (Vegan)
- Shrimp Gumbo
Stew of trinity, shrimp, andouille and bacon over white rice
- Beignets (Vegetarian)
sweet fried pastry dusted with powdered sugar
- Category 5 Punch
Myers's Dark rum, Cruzan Aged Dark rum, passionfruit purée, mixed with grenadine, orange and lime juice
- Espresso Martini
Brewed coffee, JF Haden Espresso liqueur, New Amsterdam vodka, black sugar syrup
- Chicory Coffee 16oz
Chicory coffee, toasted marshmallow syrup, with toasted marshmallow cold foam
Philippines Menu (2024)
- Pancit Bihon
Rice noodles, sautéed vegetable, pulled chicken, garlic, soy sauce
- Crispy Lumpi
Pork filled crispy rice paper roll with dipping sauce
- Pandan Cheesecake
Pandan cheesecake with whipped topping, shaved toasted coconut
- Buko Juice
Coconut water, coconut milk, coconut cream, pandan extract, smoked sea salt. Served in a souvenir coconut cup
- San Miguel: European-style pale lager
Puerto Rico Menu (2024)
A layered casserole of sweet plantain, picadillo beef topped with Edam cheese (Gluten-Sensitive)
Crispy salt cod fritters with bell peppers, cilantro and onions served with mayo ketchup
- Pastelitos de Guayaba
Guava filled puff pastry with powdered sugar (Food is Vegetarian)
- Piña Colada
Ron del Barrilito Santa Ana Overproof rum, lime juice, coco cream, pineapple juice, smoked sea salt
- Fanta Piña Colada
Spain Menu (2024)
- Ensalada de Pulpo
Traditional Spanish salad with octopus, fresh herbs, tomatoes, cucumbers, paprika, sherry vinegar (Gluten-Sensitive)
- Papitas Bravas
Seasoned crispy potatoes, paprika aiol (Gluten-Sensitive) (Vegan)
- Crèma Catalana
Brûléed citrus milk custard with candied orange peels
- Sangria Flight
sangria tinto, sangria blanco, and sangria rosado
Thailand Menu (2024)
- Green Papaya Salad with Shrimp
Sautéed shrimp on a salad of shredded green papaya, carrots, with Thai basil, peanuts, tossed in a spicy Thai dressing (*contains peanut) (Gluten-Sensitive)
- Green Curry with Chicken
Spicy green curry chicken with shiitake mushrooms, eggplant, snap peas, red bell pepper, jasmine rice (Gluten-Sensitive)
- Chicken Satay
Marinated grilled chicken skewer with Thai cucumber, topped with peanut sauce (*contains peanut)
- Butterfly Pea Blossom Tea
New Amsterdam gin, butterfly tea matcha, passion fruit syrup, mint syrup, simple syrup, lime juice in pipette (also available as a mocktail)
Coca-Cola Market Square (2024 location near Animal Actors show)
- BBQ Pork Sliders
Slowcooked carnitas with cherry cola BBQ sauce
- Orange Whoopie Pie
Orange Soda Whoopie Pie filled with whipped topping and orange marmalade
- Twisted Tater
Fried spirales potato topped with choice of seasoning (seasoned salt, ghost pepper, garlic parm, sour cream and chives)
Food and Beverage – Expert Tips
Each food both 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 food. There is also a helpful Mardi Gras Food and Beverage Card which offers savings regardless of whether you're an annual passholder.
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)
With the 20 oz souvenir cup, we got our Bloody Mary at the $15 refill price – and will all the toppings.
It comes topped with what amounts to a small snack platter. The 2023 Bloody Mary had a shrimp, bacon, pickle spear, cheese cubes, olive, and more!
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).
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.
The parade starts at the Pantages Theater and Mel's Drive-In, then marches up the Hollywood Area and into the New York area. If you want to see the parade right when it starts, then get your spot in the Hollywood area. Otherwise, if your goal is to catch both the parade and the concert (on select nights) then get a parade viewing spot near the Music Plaza Stage near Monsters Cafe and Rip Ride Rockit Roller Coaster.
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.
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.
2024 parade schedule:
Parade starts at 5:15 pm on the following dates:
- Feb. 5, 7, 12, 27
Parade starts at 6:15 pm on the following dates:
- Feb. 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 13–16, 21–23, 25, 26, 28, 29
- Mar. 1, 3-8
Parade starts at 7:30 pm on the following dates:
- Feb. 19–20
- Mar. 11–15, 18-31
- Apr. 1-7
Parade starts at 7:45 pm on the following dates:
- Feb. 3, 10, 17, 18, 24
- Mar. 2, 9, 10, 16, 17
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 www.universalorlando.com/mardigras.
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.
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!
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 excited to this side of the park. You should see this place during the holidays.
For 2024, the theme of the Tribute Store is perfect for folks that 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.
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.
Whether you want to keep the party going at 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 transformed for the Mardi Gras season into the Cursed Coconut Club last year – more details and dates of operation will be shared soon.
For something sweet head over to Toothsome Chocolate Emporium for a special Mardi Gras milkshake. The main event for Mardi Gras at 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.
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.
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