For most of the United States and Canada, Mardis Gras is just another Tuesday in late winter. For many Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama residents, Mardis Gras can mean school holidays perfect for a mid-winter vacation! Whether school closes for the entire week or just a few days, Mardis Gras can be a good time to vacation to Walt Disney World.
Mardis Gras flies under the radar as a vacation holiday because it’s not celebrated everywhere. It is known to have some impact on crowd levels. In my experience, it’s not a significant enough impact to sway me from traveling. When Mardis Gras falls over Presidents’ Day week, the combined impact to crowds is significant. When Mardis Gras is late and falls in early March, it can mingle with early spring break.
Mardis Gras 2017 is February 28 which falls one week after Presidents Day on February 28, 2017. This will help separate these two vacation crowds, but the weekend in-between check-outs and check-ins will overlap.
The drive from Baton Rouge to Orlando is 10-11 hours. Southwest flies nonstop from MSY to MCO. This is a very popular route around Mardis Gras, so the best flights will sell out or rise in price early. 1 stop flights are available out of MSY New Orleans, BTR Baton Route, and MOB Mobile.
Port Orleans French Quarter is the first choice hotel for a Mardis Gras trip. The hotel buildings are modeled after the historic buildings of the French Quarter with wrought iron “balconies.” The hotel food court, Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory, is a mock float storage building with large float props hanging overhead.
In search of Cajun inspired food? Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory is where you’ll find it. At lunch, choose from 8 po’ boy options. Have a cup of gumbo, or jambalaya and cornbread for dinner. Beignets are served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. BYOB – bring your own baby, king cake is not sold here. UPDATE – As of November 2016 King Cake is on the menu of the renovated Sassagoula Floatworks! You should still BYOB though, babies are not baked into these individual sized cakes.
Port Orleans French Quarter may sell out of rooms early for Mardis Gras week. If so, Port Orleans Riverside is a great back up choice. If French Quarter is the city side of fictional Port Orleans, Riverside is the rural side. The Alligator Bayou has a rustic theme with Princess and the Frog motifs. The mansions have both standard décor and richly appointed Royal rooms.
Port Orleans Cast Members create their own Mardis Gras parade with decked out resort golf carts. The route and time varies each year, so be sure to check the hotel activity guide or with the front desk for current information.
There are no special Mardis Gras celebrations in the theme parks. Bring your green, purple and gold clothes (or Saints jersey) and enjoy the parks as you would any other day.
Princess Tiana meets regularly behind the Christmas Shop in Liberty Square in the Magic Kingdom. Prince Naveen occasionally joins her, primarily later in the day.
We hope this guide helps you plan your next Walt Disney World vacation over Mardis Gras. Request a Quote on our site anytime, but earlier is always better if you have a hotel preference for the Port Orleans resorts.
Laissez les bons temps rouler!