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Mardi Gras Date Night at Universal Orlando Resort

by: Shelley Caran\/OntheGoinMCO.com Updated:

I am always looking for new and interesting ways to visit the parks as a local, and one thing that my husband and I really enjoyed was our date night at Mardi Gras at Universal Studios Florida at the Universal Orlando Resort!

Mardi Gras at Universal Studios Florida is an amazing way to spend a great night out with you significant other or a group of friends! Where else can you experience a New Orleans Street Festival, catch beads at a Mardi Gras Parade, and see an amazing concert in one place?

When we arrived at Universal Studios, our first stop was the French Quarter Courtyard.

> IMAGE GALLERY: Date Night at Universal Orlando Resort's Mardi Gras

This area is located directly across from the concert stage, and really brings the spirit of Mardi Gras to Universal Studios Florida! Here you will find New Orleans' most popular bands performing authentic blues, zydeco and more while you eat some amazing Cajun foods, special Mardi Gras cocktails, and take in the party atmosphere that is the French Quarter Courtyard. 

The French Quarter Courtyard is where you will find the amazing Cajun foods that make New Orleans so special. The creole gumbo, jambalaya, and beignets are amazing! This is definitely not your run of the mill theme park fare!!!

In addition to normal drink options there are tons of specialty Mardi Gras cocktails and shots that are offered in and around this area.

Many people consider New Orleans to be the birthplace of true American music. The spirit of the city's signature sound has inspired people around the globe. As they say in Laissez les bons temps rouler! — Let the good times roll! 

French Quarter 2013 Concert Lineup is full of some amazing performers, and set times for 2/9 - 3/9 are 4:15pm, 5:30pm and 6:30pm. 

FEB 9: JOHN LISI & DELTA FUNK!

FEB 16: THE DIRTY BOURBON RIVER SHOW

FEB 17: THE DIRTY BOURBON RIVER SHOW

FEB 23: COLIN LAKE           

MAR 2: BETH MCKEE

MAR 9: GRAVY

MAR 15: LIL BRIAN AND THE ZYDECO TRAVELERS

MAR 16: LIL BRIAN AND THE ZYDECO TRAVELERS

MAR 22: SOUL PROJECT NOLA

MAR 23: SOUL PROJECT NOLA

MAR 30: BIG AL & THE HEAVYWEIGHTS

APR 6:  MISSISSIPPI RAIL COMPANY

APR 13: THE ROCKIN' JAKE BAND

APR 20: DADDY MACK BLUES BAND

In addition to the great musical performers, there are ‘street performers’ that roam the crowds or you can duck into a tent to have your fortune read!

We spent a lot of time just hanging out in the French Quarter Courtyard, because it had a great vibe and something was always going on.

But as it drew closer to concert and parade time, we found a spot along the parade route and got ready to catch some beads! Last year we were very fortunate to spend almost two weeks in New Orleans for Mardi Gras (I even got to march in two parades with the Sirens of New Orleans!), and I was very nervous about how this would measure up to my experience there. And I have to say that I definitely wasn’t disappointed! The parade had an amazing flow, and the floats were just as intricate and really captured the spirit of Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

This year the Gator, Riverboat, and King and Queen floats are returning for Mardi Gras at Universal Studios Florida, along with incredible brand-new designs. This year’s theme is "Colorful Cultures Around the World," and it’s your passport to exotic faraway lands. The Elegance of India will enchant you with vibrant colors and hypnotic charm, while Chinese New Year celebrates Asian mystique complete with a giant dragon. The Mexican Day of the Dead is led by a skeletal bride and groom who summon souls from the other side, and the Music of New Orleans brings it all back home to the great city itself, and the legendary music that made it an American treasure.

Viewing along the parade route can get kind of hectic, so little ones get their own private parade experience in the Little Jester's Parade Viewing Area located next to the Terminator 2®: 3-D attraction. This area is available beginning one hour before parade starts. 

The parade runs on certain nights during Mardi Gras at Universal Studios Florida.

Friday Nights: March 15, 22 TBD 
Saturday Nights: Feb. 9, 16, 23 at 7:45pm; March 2, 9 at 7:45pm; March 16, 23, 30 TBD; April 6, 13, 20 TBD 
Sunday Night: Feb. 17 at 7:45pm 

This year, a great tip is to head to the Lagoon at 7pm for Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular, then grab a spot along the parade route for the Mardi Gras parade.

One of our favorite parts of Mardi Gras at Universal Studios Florida, is the concerts held at the Music Plaza Stage!

Mardi Gras 2013 Concert Lineup is amazing, and features 14 top bands from diverse musical genres live at the Music Plaza Stage Saturdays and select night from February 9 to April 20.

FEB 9

LIFEHOUSE

MAR 2

DEMI LOVATO

APR 6

KOOL & THE GANG

FEB 16

STEVE MILLER BAND

MAR 9

MONTGOMERY GENTRY

APR 13

PITBULL

FEB 17

BOYS LIKE GIRLS

MAR 15

SEAN KINGSTON

APR 20

THE ALL-AMERICAN REJECTS

FEB 23

TREY SONGZ

MAR 16

MATCHBOX TWENTY

 

 

 

 

MAR 22

AUSTIN MAHONE

 

 

 

 

MAR 23

PHILLIP PHILLIPS

 

 

 

 

MAR 30

PAT BENATAR 
& NEIL GIRALDO



You will definitely want to make sure that you get to the Music Plaza Stage a little early, because as the concert is standing room only there is a bit of a rush to find a great place to stand.

For Florida residents there are some great deals and options when it comes to attending Mardi Gras!

You can also find some great information about questions you may have at the Mardi Gras Event FAQ.

With so much to do at Mardi Gras at Universal Studios Florida, you might even find yourself planning several date nights!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Shelley Caran moved to Celebration, Florida a little while ago from Virginia, but has had a passion for Disney World and SeaWorld since her first visit in 1986.  She is a wife and stay-at-home Mom, who never seems to stay at home! She loves to take pictures, talk about her adventures, and what is important to know as you are on the go in the Orlando and Tampa attractions.  In addition to her own site, On the Go in MCO (www.onthegoinmco.com) she is a contributor for Touring Plans (www.touringplans.com).