Like many, I’ve always wanted to go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Between the high prices of airfare, hotels and the general debauchery of Mardi Gras, it just hasn’t happened for us. Chris and I have been to Universal Studios during their Mardi Gras Grand Celebration before, and this past weekend, we went back with Angeline and our niece, Katarina for a second dose! I owe a big thanks to Universal Orlando, who were kind enough to give me complimentary media passes.
What Does the Mardi Gras Grand Celebration at Universal Studios Have to Offer?
Tons of Live Music!
With 20 of the biggest names in music playing on the Universal Music Plaza stage, there’s always a concert to suit someone’s tastes! You can find the full concert schedule here. When Chris and I were newlyweds, we went to Universal Studios one year for the Mardi Gras Grand Celebration and saw the Black Eyed Peas! It really is amazing to see a band or singer perform live in such a small venue!
Get Your Mardi Gras Beads!
You don’t have to head to New Orleans to get loads of beads! During the Mardi Gras Grand Celebration parade at Universal Studios, you can catch a ton of beads! Your kids will even love the parade – the Little Jester’s parade viewing area was designed just for little ones! But don’t worry, the entire parade is family-friendly!
The French Quarter Courtyard
The French Quarter Courtyard in Universal Studios is like a little slice of NOLA heaven! You can buy authentic Cajun food at the vendors, such as Spicy Jambalaya, Grilled Andouille Sausage, Shrimp Gumbo and more! Of course they serve drinks too!
You’ll find no shortage of live music, either! Between the food, the music and the street performers, we had a blast!
Citiwalk After Party
When the show’s over in Universal Studios, the Mardi Gras After-Party is just getting started at Universal CityWalk®. You can enjoy New Orleans-themed music, food and fun until 2am, and there are also lots of nightclubs to keep the party going – just make sure you bring your ID, because it’s 21 and over!
We spent an entire morning at Islands of Adventure before heading over to Universal Studios after lunch, so we were way early for the parade. We began our time in the park by going to the first roller coaster in sight, the Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket. As you can see, it goes up pretty high…17 stories over Universal Studios, to be exact! It reaches speeds of 65 mph, so this ride is definitely not for the faint of heart!
Chris and Angeline loved it, of course!
As soon as we left the Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket, we started seeing the Mardi Gras Grand Celebration street performers! They were walking around on stilts, dressed in different costumes, and were always stopping to take photos with the guests!
We all rode the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem 3D ride, and it totally lived up to the hype! This ride is really fun because it begins with the premise that riders are being turned into Minions to work for Gru! Only something goes terribly wrong, and that’s where the real fun begins! A fun sidenote: all of the voices in the attraction are the voices of the original stars of the movie!
Next we headed for the Revenge of the Mummy Roller Coaster, which is not your typical roller coaster. Why? Because as you’re barreling along at 45 miles an hour, you are in darkness! That’s right, the ride is in the dark!
While Chris and Angeline rode the Revenge of the Mummy Roller Coaster, Katarina and I checked out these elaborate costumes the street performers were wearing. They really went all out, didn’t they?
As we made our way through the park, we stopped to check out the Mardi Gras Grand Celebration shows and decor!
Our last stop before heading back to the hotel – after a full eight hours in the parks – was The Simpsons area. Of course we had to ride the Simpsons Ride! As avid fans of Marge, Homer and the gang, this was a must-see area of the park for us!
Universal Studios Hours and Admission Information
The Mardi Gras Grand Celebration at Universal Studios runs through May 31st, so you still have plenty of time to go be a part of the fun! Like Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios is open 365 days a year and opens at 9 AM every day. Park closing times vary depending on whether there are any special events.
Single park, one day tickets are $90.00 for children 3-9 and $96.00 for adults. 2 Park tickets – that allow you to visit both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios in the same day – are $130 for children 3-9 and $136 for adults.
If you’d like to visit Universal Studios after 5 PM for concert nights during the Mardi Gras Grand Celebration, you can purchase one day tickets for just $69.99!
Universal Orlando Ticket Specials
If you’re a Florida resident, you can save $34 on multi-day tickets!
Right now, US and Canadian residents can buy a park-to-park two day ticket for $175.99 for adults and $135.99 for children and get a third day free!
You can find out more information about Universal Orlando park tickets – even order online – right here.