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Mardi Gras kicks off at Universal this weekend: 9 things to know

By Adam Poulisse,


Feet don’t fail us now!

Mardi Gras at Universal Studios Florida officially kicks off this weekend for another season of fun, food and, of course, beads.


Here are 9 things to know about this season’s Mardi Gras.

1. The event begins Saturday and runs through April 16.

2. This year’s theme is “International Flavors of Carnaval,” and those flavors will be everywhere in the park. There will be more than 20 food booths around Universal, featuring flavors from across the country and even some classic Mardi Gras flavors from New Orleans. See a full list of this year’s food booths and menu offerings here .

READ: Festival kick-offs and more: 9 things to do in Central Florida this weekend

3. The Mardi Gras tasting lanyard is returning this year, allowing guests wanting to try several food options offered this year. The card does not expire.

4. If you’re staying on Universal property, hotels will be offering signature Mardi Gras-themed dishes as well. See the menus here .

5. The dazzling parade are back, and guests will once again have the chance to ride the floats and throw beads to spectators. Reservations will be accepted in the official Universal Orlando app once inside the park. There is no parade on March 31. The parade steps off at 6:15 p.m., 7:30 p.m. or 7:45 p.m. depending on the day.

READ: Universal announces expanded Mardi Gras festivities, concert lineup, new Tribute Store location

6. New this year, guests can sign up for the Mardi Gras Float Ride and Dine Experience. On select nights, guests can reserve a spot on a parade float and enjoy a three-course meal at either Finnegan’s Bar & Grill or Lombard’s Seafood Grill in Universal Studios, or Cowfish or NBC Sports Grill & Bar in CityWalk. Click here for details.

7. Through March, there will be eight live performances at Music Plaza stage: Patti LaBelle on Saturday, JVKE on Feb. 10, Goo Goo Dolls on Feb. 11, Maren Morris on Feb. 18, WILLOW on Feb. 19, 3 Doors Down on Feb. 25, Sean Paul on March 4 and Lauren Daigle on March 5.

PHOTOS: Details announced for Universal’s Mardi Gras

8. The popular Tribute Store returns this year, but this time in a location: the Hollywood area. It will transport guests to an international jazz celebration that leads into the alleyways of New Orleans and, ultimately, an international jazz celebration in the alleyways of New Orleans, Universal said.

9. Passholders can take advantage of exclusive benefits during Mardi Gras, such as a free magnet, exclusive parade viewing area and more. Click here for details.

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