Universal Orlando Bids Final Farewell to Mardi Gras 2021 This Weekend

Universal Orlando Mardi Gras 2021 King Gator featured

After two extensions due to popular demand, Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras 2021 celebration is finally coming to an end on May 2, and we’ve got your final farewell to the International Flavors of Carnival festival.

Universal Orlando Mardi Gras 2021 final weekend entrance
This weekend is your last chance to attend Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras 2021 event and savor the International Flavors of Carnival. (Photos by Seth Kubersky)

As you already know from our Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras 2021, this year’s Lenten bacchanal kicked off on February 2, and it has already received multiple reprieves from its original March 28 end date. But the good time will stop rolling after Sunday, May 2, so we took one last lap around Universal Studios Florida to bid goodbye to this Big Easy extravaganza.

Since Universal Orlando’s theme parks are currently closing before sunset on weekdays, I didn’t get a last look at the authentic Mardi Gras floats in their full glory. With a 9 p.m. scheduled park closing time on Saturday and Sunday, guests at the closing weekend will want to stick around to see King Gator and friends lit up after dark.

Luckily, the Mardi Gras food booths were in full swing, although several started shutting down about an hour before the park’s closing time. Spain’s paella was one of my early favorites of the festival, and the chartcuterie board turned out to be my final top pick.

The generous portions of meats and cheeses are a good value, even if (like me) you abhor olives. I especially liked the coarse mustard and cornichons.

At the far end of the Universal Studios Lagoon, I gave the Bahamian food booth another chance, and although I wasn’t crazy about their jerked jackfruit, the chicken version of this rice dish was a winner. Be sure to have a quenching Goombay Smash on standby to wash down the scorching scotch bonnet salsa.

Last but not least, I’d like to start a petition to make these massive Bavarian bread knots—served with warm mustard-cheese sauce—the standard pretzels sold around Universal Orlando. Once you’ve tried these warm, soft, wonders, the idea of going back to the crusty common kind is tough to swallow.

Finally, as we’re waving goodbye to Universal’s socially distanced take on its traditional Mardi Gras festivities, we are also welcoming an old friend back into Universal Studios Florida.

Bruce the shark, icon of the extinct Jaws attraction, was recently reinstalled in the San Francisco area after an extended refurbishment, and his smile is brighter than ever!

For all there is to see and do at Universal Orlando, check out The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando. If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to our YouTube channel and sign up for our newsletter here. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.


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