Universal Mardi Gras and More: Stay, Play and Celebrate at Universal Orlando Resort

For adults seeking a fun time with their friends or significant other, the resort offers an exciting experience.

When many think about a visit to Universal Orlando Resort and its theme parks, visions of it being only a place where families have the most fun dance in their head. Well, that’s not all it has to offer. There’s so much more to this fun world in Orlando than meets the eye.

While some might feel this way, I am here to tell you that there is a different side to Universal Orlando Resort, one that is open to adults seeking a fun time with their friends or significant other. From upscale dining options to unique bars inside the parks, classy hotels with adult-only areas, and a thriving nightlife with unique restaurants at City Walk, it’s the perfect place to visit for a little fun escape on a weekend, especially if you come from South Florida.

Let’s start with the stay. When we visited, we stayed at the colorful, fun, and vintage-themed Cabana Bay Resort. The hotel is beautiful, expansive, and perfect for a stay, and I promise you that you’ll be impressed with it. What we loved the most is the fact that it’s retro-style, and as you walk around the resort, you will see a homage to the architecture and colorful elements of that time. You’ll feel like you are taken back to a 1950s and ’60s world, and we loved that it also offers a variety of pools, including a fun winding river where you can relax and keep those worries away as you float. Then there’s the food. The food court is beautiful, and you’ll even be treated to super fun vintage commercials at the expansive food hall’s seating area. Other perks include a bowling alley, ice cream and shake shop, and the lobby’s Swizzle Bar. At night, they sometimes have fabulous guitarists singing some popular songs, and we were impressed by the cocktails and vintage glasses. It’s the perfect spot to end the night. Then, in the morning, you can take the free bus transport to the parks, one that you can also take in the evening to CityWalk, which is also a fantastic way to spend the night.

Then there are the parks. At Universal Islands of Adventure, you will be treated to new rides such as our favorite, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, a speedy coaster in their Harry Potter-themed world, which is a speedy and thrilling one that will have you feel like you are on a motorcycle adventure. When you visit the Harry Potter-themed areas, we recommend you try some of their unique craft beers, some exclusive to the park for a little break. It’s somewhat a best-kept secret and you will enjoy this refreshing draft as you take on your day. Also, dining is certainly not boring here, and we recommend checking out Mythos Restaurant, an award-winning spot that offers delicious food in a mythical setting. There’s something for everyone here, with the restaurant offering Mediterranean, Asian, and American dishes., The menu includes lots to choose from, like Greek salads, pad Thai, sandwiches, burgers, and so much more, and it’s a beautiful place to sit down and dine and enjoy the setting and views. Also, we recommend stopping by the Backwater Bar, a tropical oasis featuring an outdoor patio to catch a breeze on a cool day, or just to enjoy some sporty entertainment, thanks to some well-placed TVs. It’s a bit hidden away, beautiful, and perfect to grab a cold drink at. There are so many rides to enjoy, and it’s only imperative that you take the time for yourself and enjoy the visit at your own pace.

Let’s talk about Universal Studios, the spot’s offerings, and the current event, Universal Mardi Gras: International Flavors of Carnaval. While the park also boasts some amazing rides and another immersive Harry Potter-themed world (we recommend taking your time at both Harry Potter experiences at the parks), the Mardi Gras event is one that you cannot miss. The yearly experience is full of energy, and the kiosks around the park offer food inspired from all over the world as well as refreshing and unique beverages to sip on. Make sure to try by as many as you can because there are 60 tasting-sized items that will satisfy different cravings. These include classic Fried Green Tomato Po’boys, tasty Beignets from New Orleans, Chicken Schnitzel from Germany, Chilaquiles Verdes from Mexico, and so many more. Walk around, grab some bites, enjoy a spicy Bloody Mary (trust me, it was the best) and indulge in the sights and sounds. In the evening, different artists perform at this event, running until April 7, and the experience also offers music, energetic dancers, a float parade, which you can join if you save a spot online, and many, many beads. Make sure to take the time to go, I highly recommend this experience and the weather is so nice in March and April.

As for a night out, besides Swizzle Bar at the hotel, please go to CityWalk. The buses run until 1 a.m., meaning you can dine and party as you please. Antojitos, the Mexican restaurant, is a great spot to try out. The margaritas and food are top-notch, and the colorful environment will make you smile. The area, which offers many dining and drink options, now has such a cool experience that it is worth trying. It’s called Universal’s Great Movie Escape, where you can choose to test your ultimate Back to the Future or Jurassic Park knowledge in an escape room trivia setting. The experience also offers a fun bar with exceptional drinks. Not a bad deal.

To reserve experiences and to book hotel stays, and learn more about Universal Orlando Resort, visit Universalorlando.com/web/en/us. Florida residents also get offered a variety of deals, so make sure to keep an eye out for this and book your perfect getaway.

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