• 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).