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Tons of beads, an energetic parade, delicious cajun food and great musical acts make this one of the best theme park events of the year. Whether you wanna rock, line-dance to country or jam to rap, there's something for everyone at Mardi Gras.

The entire park turns into one big party each concert night. Over at the "French Quarter Courtyard" you'll also find several food booths serving New Orleans cajun fare, bars and live musical acts straight from New Orleans entertaining during the day. All this is included with your general admission ticket for that day! Visit UniversalOrlando.com for more ticket information.


Select Dates from February 8 - June 7, 2014

2014 Line-up  |  Parade Info  |  French Quarter Courtyard
 | Cocktails & Food | CityWalk After Party

Mardi Gras Tips, Reviews & Photos

Entries in universal studios mardi gras (2)

Thursday
Jan132011

Mardi Gras 2014 Line-up

©Universal

February 8 - June 7, 2014
Saturdays & Select Nights 
Only at Universal Studios

Concert Times
Most concerts begin at 8:30pm, just after the parade. See your park map for exact times.

2/8 - Daughtry
2/15 - Barenaked Ladies
2/16 - Thomas Rhett
2/22 - Robin Thicke - CANCELLED
3/1 - Collective Soul
3/8 - Prince Royce
3/14 - Cody Simpson
3/15 - Foreigner
3/21 - A Great Big World
3/22 - Gavin DeGraw
3/28 - Kelly Roland
3/29 - Weezer
4/5 - Skillet
4/12 - Lynyrd Skynyrd
4/19 - Kool & The Gang
5/3 - Nelly
5/10 - The Wanted
5/17 - The Roots
5/24 - Cher Lloyd
5/31 - Huey Lewis and the News
6/7 - Robin Thicke (rescheduled from earlier) 


Read a short bio on each artist at UniversalOrlando.com

Sunday
Feb272011

Mardi Gras Tips, Reviews & Photos

There are two ways to approach your night at Mardi Gras.
1. Do you want prime bead-catching parade watching?
2. Close viewing of the concert?
You can't have it both ways. The parade starts about 30 min. prior to the concert, and the concert begins at the end of the parade.


1. Parade
If you want to enjoy the parade and leave the park immediately afterwards, your obvious best place to watch would be near the entrance. However, if you'd like to catch the concert, trying to get there from the entrance area is a nightmare. You'll be fighting the hordes trying to get out as you're fighting your way in. For any big name group night, the area from the entrance to the concert stage is jam packed. We have noticed that Universal has gotten much better with their crowd control over the last year.

The best area for great parade watching and being able to make it over to the concert area while avoiding the throngs of visitors is the back of the park near Twister/Mummy. How do you get the most beads? Well, be in the right place at the right time.
People begin staking out their spots on the parade route about 30min before it begins. Being at the beginning of the parade route helps a little too - the throwers are more excited and generous when it starts. Also, if you're already sportin' a ton of beads, they aren't going to throw towards you. The throwers also seem to aim for children & older folks, so space yourself accordingly.

We're looking forward to seeing the new floats for 2013, as they always do a stunning job. And as always King Gator'll be making another appearance - the highlight of the parade is always seeing that beast of a float make a tight corner! Be extra nice to those gator bead chuckers, someday soon it'll be PTTP tossing beads! Oh, and "Feet Don't Fail Me Now" will be stuck in your head for the next several days...

2. Concert
Like we said, if you want front row-center viewing you better line up early at the Music Plaza - at the very least an hour ahead of time - and the more popular the artist, the earlier you need to get there. They split up the grassy standing area with fencing to create walkways but it doesn't really help you getting out & back in if you need to leave for a refill. There are two giant video screens showing the concert at the back edges of the plaza. This area is typically where you'll find PTTP enjoying the show. It's not as crowded and you've got faster access to food & drinks.

Is there an age restriction?
We've been getting a lot of questions & search hits regarding age restriction. There is no age restriction for the Mardi Gras nights or the concerts. However, we recommend you use your best judgement when bringing the little ones. It gets crowded - VERY crowded and navigating a stroller would be incredibly difficult. It also does turn into a pretty adult-oriented party scene at night, at least when certain bands are performing.

Specialty Drink Review & Advice
In the French Quarter Courtyard you'll find a few Voodoo Bars that serve a limited selection of liquor and beer. The signature drink of Mardi Gras is the Voodoo Juice and you can read our new review here.
 One to definitely stay away from is the Long Island Iced Tea pre-mix. It's pre-mixed in house, not by some professional bottling company. Not even a knock-off cheap brand would put their name on this stuff. Unless you enjoy a terrible mix of sweet & sour and coke, you'll be upset at the price you paid. Trust us on that one - we're saving you money here.

The souvenir cup is 20oz. and mixed drinks are supposed to be poured as doubles. So, in theory, it should be a better deal to get the souvenir cup. Here's the issue, nearly every drink we ordered was poured closer to a single and we had to (strongly) remind them they're supposed to be doubles. More than once we needed to get the person in charge of the stand to talk to the bartender. Once even the guy in charge wouldn't back down on insisting it's just a single in the refills. Keep a close eye on the bartender pouring your drink, if it's not done right, speak up. Be tough on this one, you're paying a small fortune for your drinks here, you shouldn't have to get three to get an ounce of liquor. If it's not done right, refuse it and get a beer. Frankly, beer's the best deal - can't be watered down. If you only plan on drinking beer that night, obviously skip the souvenir cup unless you want to spend an extra $3 on a blinky glass. They're the same size.

Don't get the wrong message here, we're not inciting over-indulgence. We're just saying for $10 you ought to get a decent drink.

Finnegan's, Bone Chillin' and the two vendor booths at the edge of the concert grounds are also open. Finnegan's is a full-service bar, Bone Chillin' has limited slushie drinks and beer, and the vendor booths only have a small selection of beer.


2012 Event Experience Reviews

2/18/12 Kelly Clarkson. On President's Day weekend. We should've known better. But let's start at the beginning of the night with the first obligatory Voodoo cocktail (the taste tests we do for you guys, sheesh). With the slightest naive hope that the cocktail had somehow improved from last year, we tried it and it tasted awful. Not "this drink is gross" bad, but something had obviously gone wrong in the mix - it was essentially nothing but thick syrupy grenadine. I'm betting it didn't get mixed once it was finished and the grenadine settled to the bottom. We immediately went up to the next bar to ask for a new pour.

This is where we've had the worst customer service in a long time. I simply said "This drink isn't made right - the ingredients are off or wasn't mixed properly." The bartender's response was "That's how it tastes - I can't give you a refund". I said again "No, there's something wrong with this one - it's just grenadine. Can I just get a new pour from your bar to see if it's different?" She responded with a snotty "If that'll make you happy. It's all the same." She ended up telling the other bartender to "Just make a fresh one for her then" and barked the ingredients to the other bartender who made me a new drink. When the drink was made properly it was actually pretty decent. If Universal needs someone to taste test their batches of mixed drinks we'd be more than happy to offer our services.

We must have caught that bartender at a bad moment to get the response she gave us. From how she sounded, she's apparently been getting lots of complaints. Still, that's an awfully strange attitude from someone in the service industry. The message was pretty clear: "I know it's terrible and I can see you're unhappy with it but your options are to pour it out and pay for something different or drink it and then pay for something different."

On a positive side, the parade was a lot of fun and the new floats really looked great! After the parade, and a nice collection of beads, we grabbed another drink at Finnegan's while waiting for the concert. The closest we were able to get to the concert was well past the entrance to Twister away from the concert area. Every area was absolutley packed with people. We could barely hear her around the corner by Twister, and only kind of see her on the video screen. Needless to say, it wasn't a fun concert experience. Now, we aren't the kind of people to camp-out at 2pm for a front row seat either. We ended up leaving after a couple songs. Like I said in at the begining of this review - it's President's Day weekend with a big name act. We'll be returning for more Mardi Gras, and I expect they'll be much more enjoyable.


2011 Reviews


2/19/11 The B-52's were, um, better in memory than in actuality. We think it's time to put a "Closed" sign on that Love Shack. That event night was moderately busy but manageable. Be very wary of your mixed drinks this year - they're pouring them weaker than ever. PTTP best drink suggestion - a beer. We really wanted to enjoy their chicken wings that night too, but didn't. They've got some fantastic, unique sauces, but make sure they're crispy and not ooey-gooey soggy before you pay for them. Apparently the 18 year olds they've got manning the fry station aren't exactly wing aficionados. We ended up tossing two orders of inedibly nasty wings - watched another couple next to us do the same thing with theirs. I'm sure the temperature made them perfectly safe to eat but anyone that's ever made wings knows there's a big difference between a "cooked" wing and a "done" wing.

2/26/11 Our next visit was for the Pitbull concert. We saw him last year for the Summer Concert Series and had a blast, so we were hoping for a repeat of that awesome night. Unfortunately, we arrived rather late, and were stuck at the entrance area as the parade was going by. After the end of the parade passed by our area, we tried to make our way to the concert area.

This is where Universal failed. Miserably. Between the masses trying to leave the park, and the masses trying to get in toward the concert area, it created the biggest mob of body-to-body crowd we've ever seen in a theme park. This could have been dangerous. Someone could have been trampled if the crowd turned unruly. Fortunately, the people that we were around were decently mannered, but understandably frustrated about not being able to move. We didn't see one employee out trying to help in this mess.

After cleverly maneuvering our way through the panic-attack inducing mob, we looped around the back of the park and came around towards the concert area by Twister. The crowd was so large that night that people were spilling out towards the front of the Twister attraction. From our spot even the video screens were hard to see. Universal clearly needs to put a capacity on these concerts. Eventually we did enjoy ourselves, but not nearly as much as when the crowds are manageable.

After the concert ended, we hung back for a while to not get caught up in that traffic jam of people again. You're not going anywhere any time soon, so our best advice is to pull up a seat off to the side and chill.