“I never called my work an ‘art.’ It’s part of show business, the business of building entertainment” – Walt Disney
Have you ever been out to dinner with your kids and heard “I’m bored.” “When is the food going to come out?” “I don’t want to sit here anymore?” Let’s be honest, we have all heard this at one point or another. After a long day in the parks, or maybe a nice relaxing afternoon by the pool, sometimes all you want as an adult is to sit back and enjoy your dinner but feel like you can’t because you need to keep your kids entertained while they wait for their food.
Well parents, have I got a trick for you! Two words…..dinner show!! That’s right, entertainment for the kids (and you) while you eat. So long “I’m starving!” and “Can we leave now?” complaining from your kids because they will be engrossed in the spectacle before them! Side note: I am totally aware that dinner shows are not the Fairy Godmother’s magic wand that will turn your child into a perfect little angel for two hours, but Disney magic has been known to perform some miracles! Here are three shows that the kids and adults in our family have thoroughly enjoyed.
First up is a favorite to everyone who stops by Germany in Epcot: Biergarten! When you walk in you feel as though you stepped into a town square in Germany and you know something fun is about to take place. This restaurant hosts a buffet of wonderful German dishes from wurst salad to pork schnitzel to apple strudel and everything in between. Of course you can also order a half liter or liter of a tasty adult beverage to raise high during the “Ein Prosit” toast as you yell “Ziggy Zaggy, Ziggy Zaggy, Oi Oi OI!” The entertainment is not constant during your meal so you can get up to grab food and eat while not missing a moment. The show is a little different each time but there has always been lots of dancing (kids love this part) and even some friendly competitions (anyone up for some yodeleing?). Our girls ask to go back every trip because it is so much fun and the adults never hesitate with that request!
The second dinner show that we attended was Disney’s Spirit of Aloha at the Polynesian. It was so much fun walking towards dinner and being stopped to receive leis and a family picture! Once we were escorted to our seats, we ordered drinks and then sat back to relax as this was a family style dinner. The luau began and my daughter’s were in awe of the dancing and singing. This was great to keep the kids occupied before dinner came out. Generous portions of pulled pork, roasted chicken, and veggies were devoured by everyone in our group when the luau took a break for us to eat dinner. Once dinner was over the show began and they had the kids up doing the hula, adults dancing to a love song, and some very impressive fire tricks. By the time everyone finished dessert and the show ended, the kids were asking when it started again! One tip is that I would suggest sitting on the main floor during this dinner so that you are closer to the action. This is about a two hour extravaganza, so plan accordingly!
One last recommendation, Mickey’s Backyard BBQ! Now I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one, but I am so glad that we booked this dinner. It is located at the Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness and I found out when we got there the campsite area is so large that we had to wait for a bus to take us from the parking lot to the pavilion! With that said, make sure you allot extra travel time for this outing. This dinner was exactly what the name said: you are in an open pavilion, sitting at picnic tables, eating your BBQ favorites. The BBQ is buffet style with hamburgers, hotdogs, chicken, ribs, macaroni and cheese, and corn on the cob. As I told you, BBQ favorites! There was a show country-western band that started playing and had the kids up dancing and watching an impressive cowboy rope display but the best part was that Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Chip and Dale were all out on the dance floor with the kids! When the band stopped then all five characters headed over to a designated area for pictures. The interaction was so much fun and the kids almost fell over when they were told that dessert was Mickey ice cream bars and a variety of other ice cream sandwiches that you could just go and grab out of the ice cream carts!
One last reminder, most dinner shows last two hours or more when you factor in the travel time so be sure to plan accordingly! There is no way that you can be at Mickey’s Backyard BBQ for the 5:30 PM show and back at the Magic Kingdom by 8:00 PM. These do take a chunk of time out of your day and unless you are already in a park or at a resort close to a park it will take some time to travel so plan your evening wisely!!! Hopefully a dinner show will bring the same magical experience to your family as it did ours!