Last year we experienced Mardi Gras at Universal Orlando for the first time and loved it. My baby girl had such a fun time collecting beads, watching the parade, and enjoying the Mardi Gras atmosphere that fills the Orlando theme park. In fact, she loved it so much that last December when we attended their Christmas events, she asked if we’d be able to come back again for Mardi Gras in the new year. Luckily, we were able to do so a few weekends ago and once again, our family enjoyed the fun and festivities of Mardi Gras at Universal Studios.
This time, our baby boy came with us as well, and it was so great to see him get into the fun of Mardi Gras. Just like his big sister, he enjoyed viewing the Mardi Gras parade, wearing a few beads, and dancing along to the vibrant music. Oh, and let’s not forget about the beignets that are available! My baby girl and I especially liked our beignets with chocolate sauce on top.
If you’re wondering if you should take your family to Mardi Gras at Universal Orlando, let me share with you a few reasons why I think you’ll love it and why the kids will have a great time!
7 Reasons to Celebrate Mardi Gras at Universal Studios Orlando
1. Mardi Gras Parade
The Mardi Gras Parade is spectacular. Huge and ornate floats parade down the streets of Universal Studios playing upbeat music and throwing beads to the crowd. I will mention that you have to watch out a little to make sure the beads don’t hit your little ones, as they can hurt a bit if they land the wrong way on your skin, but the kids truly love trying to catch as many beads as they can. Some of our favorite floats from this year included the Chinese New Year and Mexican Day of the Dead floats. I love that the theme of the parade this year is Colorful Cultures Around the World! Check out the free printable coloring pages on the Universal Orlando site for the kids to have fun with some of the parade floats!
Have I mentioned beads enough? I’m not sure what it is about them, but kids love collecting the Mardi Gras beads. I saw several kids wearing an insane amount of beads around their necks and it almost becomes a competition for them to see who has the most. Not only can you catch beads from the parade floats, you can also purchase fancier beads, necklaces, head pieces, and even a tie made of beads throughout the park. Another fun fact is that each parade float hands out a different color bead, which was fun for my girl to remember which bead came from which float!
I don’t know where in Orlando you can get beignets (it’s not something I’ve searched for, honestly), but I know that you can purchase some at Universal Orlando during Mardi Gras. This makes for a fun treat for kids and adults alike, and though my girl and I poured chocolate sauce on top of ours, I also saw caramel and strawberry sauce as other topping options.
Included with your Universal Studios park admission, Mardi Gras hosts live concerts each weekend featuring artists such as Demi Lovato, Sean Kingston, Pitbull, and many more. The night we attended, Matchbox Twenty performed, so we got to see a bit of their performance before heading out since the kids were pretty tired at that point. If you’re local or visiting Orlando in the upcoming weeks, you still have a chance to see Kool & The Gang, Pitbull, and The All-American Rejects perform before Mardi Gras at Universal Studios wraps up for the year.
5. Street Performers
All along the streets as you walk through the Universal Studios park, you’ll find street performers, including stilt walkers, dressed in Mardi Gras costumes and colors. Our kids loved this and it’s nice that they interact with guests, especially children.
6. Cajun Food
In addition to beignets, you can also purchase red beans & rice, jambalaya, and gumbo in the French Quarter Courtyard at Universal Studios. And here’s a little bonus I just found – Universal Orlando provides a recipe for Jambalaya and a recipe for Creole Gumbo so you can try them at home! (PDF files)
7. Music from New Orleans
Musicians from New Orleans also perform every weekend in the French Quarter Courtyard, bringing authentic New Orleans sounds to Mardi Gras at Universal Studios Orlando. What better way to truly enjoy the experience of Mardi Gras than by listening to live New Orleans bands?
What’s your favorite part of Mardi Gras? Will you be celebrating Mardi Gras at Universal Studios Orlando?
Disclosure: Our family was provided a complimentary 1-day visit to Universal Studios Orlando to experience Mardi Gras. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Except where noted, all photos © Melanie Edwards/modernmami™