Like everything else in the theme park world, the 2021 edition of Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras will feel different thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Running daily from Feb. 6 through March 28, this year’s event — dubbed Mardi Gras 2021: International Flavors of Carnaval — will focus a bit more on food. More than 70 specialty dishes and drinks will be available, ranging from Cajun cuisine like jambalaya and beignets to what Universal called “classic Carnaval dishes from the islands, such as pernil & mofongo from Puerto Rico, a vegan pholourie from Trinidad and Tobago and jerk chicken from the Bahamas.”
The Mardi Gras Tribute Store, a fan favorite from 2020, will also return this year.
What will be missing from the typical Mardi Gras festivities will be larger concerts. Instead, Universal promises there will be roaming dancers, stilt performers and brass band musicians.
There will also be no Mardi Gras parade — something not unexpected, given how theme parks have tried to limit entertainment offerings like parades which cause guests to crowd together. Instead, pirate-themed parade floats will stand stationary throughout Universal Studios Florida.
The event is included with entry to Universal Studios Florida. Last year’s Mardi Gras was interrupted by the mid-March shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Universal Orlando did not reopen until the beginning of June, and continues to require face masks and physical distancing, along with operating at limited capacity, to limit the spread of COVID-19.
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