Universal Mardi Gras Float Ride and Dine is a delightful date night idea

Universal Mardi Gras Parade - credit: ©2022 Universal Orlando. All rights reserved.
Universal Mardi Gras Parade - credit: ©2022 Universal Orlando. All rights reserved. /

While the good times are rolling during Universal Orlando’s International Flavors of Carnival, one unique opportunity has many guests planning ahead to secure their spot. The Universal Mardi Gras Float Ride and Dine is a night to remember.

Finding a creative, different date night can take a little planning. Many people happily bring that special someone to join their sidecar on Hagrid’s or try to beat that high score on Men In Black, But, sometimes a special event can bring a little extra excitement to that time together. Instead of reaching to the sky to catch all those beads, why not be the couple throwing the trinkets to the crowds.

This year, Universal Orlando offered the opportunity to book a dinner and secure a spot on one of the Mardi Gras parade floats. The experience was priced at $84.95 per person, which included an appetizer, entrée, and dessert, plus a non-alcoholic beverage at select restaurants in City Walk and in Universal Studios.

During one recent Universal Mardi Gras Float Ride and Dine experience, our diner was at Cowfish. Given the restaurant’s robust menu choices, it was easy to find a favorite. From Big Al’s appetizer to a serving of Burgerushi, it can be difficult to narrow down the choices.

For the cost, the value for the Cowfish dinner was tremendous. Even though alcoholic beverages and milkshakes were extra, the dinner was worth the money spent. With attentive, fun wait staff and an energetic atmosphere, it was the perfect spot to get excited about the float experience later in the evening.

Without being rushed through dinner and a slow stroll over to the park, it was time to join the float ride group. Although everyone would like to ride Gator or be part of one of the Elements floats from this year’s theme, each float location is pre-determined.

Truthfully, all the floats are great. From the bead captains to the spotters, everyone is there to make it a great time. While there are a few rules associated with the process (toss or frisbee method, no overhand or whipping those beads), it is a fun 30-40 minutes seeing the crowds, waving to everyone and enjoying the moment. Even if your arm might be a little tired by the end of the night, many people would sign up to do it all again.

This opportunity to be on a float showcases the details. It is more than copious amounts of glitter covering every surface. Walking through the float holding area is an opportunity to find that hidden monkey, appreciate the Universal Orlando’s creative team’s attention to detail, and the enormity of putting this event together every night during the festival’s run.

For a date night, it is a fun idea because it is not the norm. More importantly, it makes everyone involved feel good. It is fun to see the kids’ big smiles when they catch the beads. No matter if you can loft those treasures to the back rows or you can only toss to those closer to the floats, it does not matter. It is about letting the good times roll.

If there is an opportunity to book the Universal Mardi Gras Float Ride and Dine do not miss the opportunity. Where else can you get dinner and be part of the show?

Universal Orlando Mardi Gras event runs now through April 7, 2024. Check with the Universal Orlando app for more information on times and events.