Several opportunities to celebrate Mardi Gras, New Orleans style, await you near Disney World. Mardi Gras at Universal is the most elaborate celebration in the area. Think Mardi Gras, everyday, for 59 days! Disney World is offering a FREE homemade parade of sorts on Fat Tuesday and delicious cajun food at House of Blues, while The Oasis Club in ChampionsGate is holding a Mardi Gras weekend celebration you won’t want to miss!
Catch the beads, catch the music, and catch the spirit now through April 7 at Universal Studios Orlando’s Mardi Gras celebration. Admission to the celebration is included with theme park admission. Nightly parades, cajun cuisine, and concerts are not to be missed! Details are below.
Mardi Gras at Universal Orlando Parade
Gather the family to enjoy the nightly Mardi Gras at Universal parade. Confetti will fly, beads will be thrown, and floats designed by Kern Studios (the same group that designs them for Mardi Gras in New Orleans) will be featured. This year’s theme is constellations and 6 new floats have been added. Prepare to sing along and collect your beads as the beautiful floats, dance “krewes”, and stilt walkers take you away to Mardi Gras, New Orleans style! You can’t resist dancing along!
Cost: Mardi Gras at Universal is included with park admission. I recommend purchasing tickets from Undercover Tourist for the best prices.
When : Now through April 7. Start times vary, so definitely grab a Times Guide when you arrive, but here are the times I could find:
- 6:45 pm February 12, 13, 14, and 15
- 7:15 on February 16
- 7:45 on February 17, 18
- 7:15 on February 19, 20, 21, 22, and 23
- 7:45 on February 24
- 7:15 on February 25, 26, 27, 28, March 1, and 2
- 7:45 on March 3 and 4
- 7:15 on March 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9
- 7:45 on March 10-31, April 1-7
Where: The route begins in the Hollywood section of Universal Studios (yellow section of the map, below). There are three special viewing areas. The Little Jester’s Parade Viewing Area, located in the Hollywood section in front of the Brown Derby Hat Shop (The shop looks like a brown derby hat, imagine that!), offers an unobstructed view for petite partygoers. Access is available beginning one hour before the parade starts. The ADA Viewing Area is in front of the Macy’s facade in the New York Backlot next to Revenge of the Mummy attraction (green section of the map, below) and the Annual Passholder Viewing Area is at Mel’s Drive-In
Mardi Gras at Universal Orlando French Quarter
Where: Universal transforms the New York Area (green on the map, below) into the French Quarter Courtyard
Cost: Mardi Gras at Universal is included with park admission.
When: Everyday At 4 pm, now through April 7
“N’awlings Style Food and Spirits” are served up Cajun style in the French Quarter during Mardi Gras at Universal, included with park admission.. French Quarter Bands directly from New Orleans (featuring Louisiana jazz, blues, and zydeco) play nightly while you sample crawfish, jambalaya, gumbo, red beans and rice, and my favorite – beignets (warm, fried doughnuts sprinkled with powdered sugar that melt in your mouth.) CAUTION: Don’t bring anyone not willing to share, because you’ll want to try it ALL!
- Feb. 3–Feb. 20 – Free Agents Brass Band
- Feb. 21–Mar. 6 – Naughty Professor Brass Band
- Mar. 7–Mar. 20 – New Breed Brass Band
- Mar. 21–Mar. 31 – Young Pinstripe Brass Band
- Apr. 1–Apr. 7 – Dirty Bourbon River Show
2018 Mardi Gras at Universal Orlando Concerts
Cost: Mardi Gras at Universal Concerts are included with park admission. I recommend purchasing tickets from Undercover Tourist for the best prices.
When and Who: 8:30 PM the following dates:
- Saturday, February 17: Kelsea Ballerini
- Sunday, February 18: Andy Grammer
- Saturday, February 24: Macklemore
- Saturday, March 3: 311
- Sunday, March 4: Phillip Phillips
- Saturday, March 10: Jason Derulo
- Sunday, March 11: Fitz and the Tantrums
- Saturday, March 17: Foreigner
- Sunday, March 18: Fifth Harmony
- Saturday, March 24: Jessie J
- Sunday, March 25: Bush
Where: Gather at the Universal Music Plaza Stage (In the pink area across from “A” on the map) for a standing room only view. The earlier you arrive, the better your view. If you aren’t willing or able to arrive early (Maybe you rode Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey too many times?), there are two large screens on either side of the stage that broadcast close-ups of the performance. There is also an ADA concert viewing area near Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon (“5” in the green area on the map), and Universal Team Members can help with admission into this area.
Port Orleans Resort offers a fun, cast member created parade on Fat Tuesday and House Of Blues offers delicious cajun and southern cuisine year round, for an anytime Mardi Gras Celebration.
Port Orleans Resort Fat Tuesday Parade
Where: 2201 Orleans Drive, Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830-8424. The parade begins at Building 80 and ends at the resort guest relations desk.
Disney Springs @ House of Blues
After viewing the Fat Tuesday parade at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort, take the ferry back to Disney Springs and stop in at the House of Blues for authentic Southern cuisine, including popular cajun dishes of jambalaya, Lowcountry shrimp and grits, Voodoo Shrimp, and gumbo. The bar showcases specialty cocktails, spirits, and craft beer. If you’re lucky, live music will make your experience extra special. Check the calendar for the latest event times. If you miss the parade, enjoy the House of Blues anyway. It’s a year-round celebration.
House of Blues @ Disney Springs
1490 Buena Vista Drive
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
FREE. Park in the Orange Parking Garage at Disney Springs for the shortest walk.
1500 Buena Vista Dr, Orlando, FL 32830
The Oasis Club at ChampionsGate
The Oasis Clubhouse
1520 Oasis Club Blvd.
Davenport, FL 33896
When: February 17 and 18
Cost: FREE to guests of Gathering Houses near Disney
Celebrate Closer to Home
Sad you can’t be near Disney to celebrate Mardi Gras? Try this delicious beignet recipe and you’ll feel a little closer to the fun. Your friends and family will love you forever if you choose to share this deliciousness and if you don’t, be sure to wipe the powdered sugar evidence off your face :)!
If you are in the area and have photos you’d like to share with us about your Mardi Gras experience near Disney, please post them here!