Planning Your Food Budget for Universal Orlando Mardi Gras Food Tents


Everyone looks for a bargain. One of the best theme park food deals was the previous Mardi Gras lanyard at Universal Studios Florida. The best deal for the guests was the annual passholder tasting lanyard. In 2021, this made the cost of each food sample equal to about $4.33. Now that system has been discontinued, being replaced by a food and beverage card/lanyard system this year.

The food and beverage card system offers benefits that the previous system did not (In a previous article, I reported $150 card would cost $125 based on info before official announcement. Good news, the card cost $120 giving you a 20% discount.) However, change creates chaos for theme park goers.

But which items look like solid value with this new system and pricing structure?

The event has not begun. In fact, Universal Orlando still has not announced the official food menu. Still, annual passholders experienced an unannounced opening of a few of the food tents recently. Menu boards with prices display across Universal Studios Florida. This list may change once I try a few of these items. However, I suggest these items to start with. Please be advised there will be math involved.


-Anything priced on the menu board $6.50 or below will cost less this year than previous system for premier annual passholders buying 20% discounted food and beverage card.

-Any preferred annual passholders doing exact same thing will save more on any item $6 or under.

-A season or power passholder doing same procedure will pay same or less than last year on any item costing $5.50 or less. Remember this calculation assumes season/power passholder bought 15 sample annual pass exclusive lanyard last year.

-A non-passholder last year would have paid $5.50 per item if buying a lanyard. This year if buying $150 food and beverage card (costing $120), they pay less than last year on any item under 6.50.

In other words, if you like a menu description of an item costing under stated number for you, then it is a good deal. If you want a review on the items you will need to wait for food reviews to come over the next few weeks (I can only eat so fast).

Some other menu items looking like good values overall above said price point are:

Blackened Chicken Po Boy ($7.99 menu board price)- I have heard some good reviews but not enough to recommend this sandwich yet.

Chicken and Andouille Sausage Jambalaya ($6.49 menu board price)-also heard good reviews but not enough to recommend yet without trying myself.

I suspect several other solid values exist in food tents not open yet. I will endeavor to update you as Mardi Gras continues.

As I discussed with a well-respected “unofficial” Universal Orlando expert this week, I did not think so much math would be involved. Please accept my apologies for a non-math person explaining math calculations. However, any money you save on food can be used for other things. However, in my world, saving money on food means getting more food! Let the good time roll!

Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.