Universal Orlando Resort’s Mardi Gras celebrations are as fully featured as they have ever been this year, with abundant dining kiosks and entertainment creating something for every guest.
A balanced affair, it does not feel like priority is placed on any of the event’s many elements, but rather the park naturally leads you to all of what it offers. All of the action happens in Universal Studios Florida, where the food kiosks lead you around the park and back toward the front, where the parade happens at the end of the night, just minutes before the concerts (on select nights).
The dining captures the spirit of the holiday and its inspirations better than it ever has. Flavors are more vibrant, spice is more present and, although not every dish can match the New Orleans standard, several Cajun-inspired dishes are closer than ever. Last year’s event had several great dishes, but the creativity and dedication to exciting flavors this year means every direction has something enticing to eat. The combo seafood boil with crawfish and shrimp and the Universal-classic frank wrapped in twisted potatoes and topped with chorizo quest were immediate highlights.
The parade itself is as close as any non-Louisiana destination has come in representing the Louisiana Mardi Gras it pulls inspiration from. Its space-themed floats built by Louisiana’s own Kern Studios are grand, colorful and spectacular, with the guests who ride upon them raining beads upon Universal’s streets in something that feels authentic and celebratory. If you attend only one of Universal’s Mardi Gras offerings, it should be the parade.
The concerts are similarly exciting, with tons of fans and guests standing in front of the concert stage for A-list performances that are as quality as seeing any of the acts on tour or at a festival. The area does wonders for sound, and an excellent camera and stage setup makes for easy viewing no matter location. Those especially interested in an act should watch the parade from the concert viewing area though, as the crowd piles near the stage the second the floats pass.
Whether catching the big-name performer, catching beads or catching a bite to eat, Universal’s Mardi Gras celebrations further the idea that there’s something in Universal for everyone, and it helps that those somethings are all excellent.