Touring Plans Guide to Universal’s Mardi Gras 2022
Laissez les bons temps rouler! Universal’s celebration of all things carnival and Mardi Gras kicks off tomorrow, February 5. In this post will cover all the offerings around Universal Studios Florida with touring tips to make your celebration roll. Mardi Gras runs daily, February 5 through April 24 at Universal Studios Florida.
Mardi Gras International Food Festival
Last year’s Mardi Gras celebration was elevated to a whole new level with an expanded food festival focus. This year the food festival continues at Universal Studios Florida with dozens of new and returning food and drink offerings, including a completely vegan booth. Each festival booth is themed to a country that celebrates carnival, from Barbados to Belgium and New Orleans to Nashville. Booths are located through Universal Studios Florida in New York, San Francisco, Central Park, and World Expo.
Here is a sample of the food and drinks available in 2022:
- Nashville Hot Chicken Mac & Cheese
- Chicken Biscuit with Red Eye Gravy
- Yucca Fries
- Chicken & Andaollie Sausage Jambalaya
- Blackened Chicken Po’Boy
- Shrimp Gumbo with Rice
- King Cake
- Bubble Waffles
- Conch Fritters
- Crawfish Boil
- Vegetable Vindaloo
- Chana Masala
- Bloody Marys
- Category 5 Punch (Hurricane)
- Craft Beers
- Red & White Wine
For frequent snackers, a pre-loaded Food and Beverage Card can save you up to $30! Two cards are offered: a pre-loaded $75 card for $65 and a $150 card for $120. Cards are available at all Mardi Gras food booths.
The full menu of food and beverages is available on Universal’s website.
Touring Tips: Food stands open around 11:00 am each day and lines form quickly thereafter. Based on last year’s festival expect France, located across from Mel’s Drive-In at the Crepes stand, to have the longest lines due to low capacity. The booths in KidZone and next to Cafe Labamba are among the least crowded. We suggest picking up a tasting card and planning your route starting at 11:00 am sharp.
Universal’s Mardi Gras Parade
Universal’s Mardi Gras parade returns for 2022 with a brand new theme: Planet Mardi Gras. These new floats, created by legendary design firm Kern Studios, feature celestial and space elements with a Mardi Gras party aesthetic. These six new floats are also joined by returning classics like the King Gator (pictured above) and a giant paddleboat. While the parade features some dancers with bare midriffs the parade is a boisterous, family-friendly good time.
What is a Mardi Gras parade without some beads? Thousands of beads are thrown from the floats by guest volunteers. This exciting opportunity is available for all guests to book online and in the park. Due to the time commitment, we suggest skipping the bead tossing if your touring time is limited.
The parade runs daily, excluding April 1, 2, and 8.
5:15 pm Performances:
- Feb 25
6:15 pm Performances:
- Feb 6 – 11, 14 – 17, 22 – 24, 28
- Mar. 1
7:15 pm Performances:
- Feb 13, 18, 21, 27
- Mar. 2 – 4, 7 – 11
7:30 pm Performances:
- Mar. 14 – 17, 21 – 24, 28 – 31
- Apr. 3 – 7, 9 – 24
7:45 pm Performances:
- Feb 5, 12, 19, 20, 26
- Mar. 5, 6, 12, 13, 18 – 20, 25 – 27
Parade performances and times are subject to change, check the Universal Orlando app for the latest information.
Touring Tips: Universal’s Mardi Gras parade lasts for 15 minutes and takes 45 minutes to make its way through the park. The parade starts at the Horror Makeup Show and then moves clockwise through the park:
New York, Hollywood, and Production Central are the most popular locations to watch the parade, with guests waiting half an hour prior to parade time in New York. Spots in Hollywood and along the lagoon can be found 10 minutes prior to parade time. We suggest viewing next to Transformers on either side of the street, finding a spot shortly after the parade begins.
Mardi Gras Concert Series
Orlando’s premier concert series returns with some of the biggest names in music. Concerts take place on the Universal Music Plaza Stage, located between Despicable Me Minion Mayhem and Race Through New York starring Jimmy Fallon, at 8:30 pm on select dates. The outdoor space is standing room only, so make sure to wear a pair of comfortable shoes.
This is the current musical lineup, subject to change:
- February 5: Sugar Ray
- February 12: Diana Ross
- February 19: Barenaked Ladies
- February 20: Styx
- February 26: Jon Pardi
- March 5: LL COOL J feat. DJ Z-Trip
- March 6: Marshmello
- March 12: Lee Brice
- March 13: Becky G (the artist, not our own Becky G)
- March 18: Khalid
- March 19: Seal
- March 20: Gavin DeGraw
- March 25: The Revivalists
- March 26: Jimmie Allen
- March 27: Jason Derulo
Touring Tips: Concerts vary in popularity from fun diversions to crowds so large they shut down the park. If you are planning on attending a concert we suggest showing up at least two hours early to Universal and staking out your spot 30 to 45 minutes prior to showtime. If you are not interested in attending the concert we suggest avoiding Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket, Jimmy Fallon, and Minion Mayhem and focusing on the right-hand side of the park.
Mardi Gras Tribute Store
Universal’s Tribute Stores combine intricate themed space with exclusive merchandise, food, and beverage. This year’s Tribute Store is themed to a parade float factory and warehouse, where guests can see how a parade float is designed and constructed.
The Tribute Store is your one-stop shop for all Mardi Gras merchandise. Inside you will find an assortment of Mardi Gras-themed t-shirts, hats, drinkware, keychains, and even a retro Mold-o-Rama machine.
Touring Tips: Visit the Tribute Store anytime during the operating day.
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Looking forward to Mardi Gras? Leave your thoughts and questions in the comments below!
3 thoughts on “Touring Plans Guide to Universal’s Mardi Gras 2022”
Still waiting for the April concert schedule! (shakes fist at Universal!)
For the parades, is there a place reserved for those in ECVs or wheelchairs? If yes, where is it and do you have to be there 30 minutes or more to be in a position to catch beads?
I have a child obsessed with catching beads. Any tips for getting as many beads as possible?
How bad are the crowds on a Saturday? I am thinking of going on February 12, and staying for the Diana Ross concert, but I am worried about being trampled by large crowds.
I commented on an earlier post, then found this one. In case anyone is monitoring this:
My sister and I are planning a first-time trip for this winter, and I’m super excited! Priority is lower crowds, but Mardi Gras also sounds fun and exciting! Presuming MG starts Feb 4, for a first trip, would coming the week before, Sun 1/29-Wed 2/1, seeing the parks in their “normal state,” be better than the next week, Sun, 2/5-Wed 2/8? Or is MG cool enough to push us to the February dates? Do you think crowds will be bigger because of MG, or just on the concert nights? Thanks for any insight!