As with so many vacation destinations there are a wide variety of theme parks, attractions, and restaurants available for guests to experience. But with so many options, these places have to try and have a gimmick to draw people in. One niche are Dinner shows here around Orlando, and in years past my family has experienced Medieval Times on numerous occasions. Over the years I also seen similar options like a Gangster dinner, Wild West dinner, and even one where you are attending a scripted wedding. Recently however I came across one that caught my eye and as luck would have it they also had a pressed penny machine so figured this was a great time to head over to International Drive and check out the Pirate’s Dinner Adventure.
This unique dining experience is located not too far from Universal Florida near the big International Drive and Sand Lake Road intersection.
The outside of the building has quite a bit of theming. For one there is a large pirate ship out front, and plenty of cannon damage to the sides of the structure.
We arrived very early for our scheduled time mostly because I wanted plenty of time to wander around and see everything they had to offer. If you arrive a little closer to show time this entrance / check-in area will be pretty busy.
After you check-in there is a green screen photo-op area that you can purchase later on. Once you are done with that you enter into the kind of holding area before your dinner and show start. This is setup like an outdoor market, with plenty of pirate themed merchandise and a couple bars selling all different kinds of drinks both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.
Eventually they will make announcements to start seating guests inside the theater. Your Pirate hosts will walk you inside which has a large water tank in the middle with a pirate ship / stage. Then on either side are long rows of tables with everyone seated facing forward towards the ship.
Each section of tables is color coded and you have your own Pirate to cheer for. All the colors that are on your side of the theater are your allies, and the colors on the opposite side of the ship are our enemies.
The show is all scripted with an interesting story that I won’t spoil here. There is also lots of singing, dancing, fighting and swinging around. Just as a word of warning there is A LOT of audience participation. I personally was brought up on stage to participate about 2-3 times, it was all in fun and I didn’t mind. But I do know that some people are not in to that and just let them know you would rather not participate and the Pirates will quickly move on to find another volunteer.
Let me quickly just go over the food which in my opinion was the weak point of this experience. The appetizer was a simple salad with ranch dressing, the main entree was a half roasted chicken with mushy veggies and some mashed potatoes. The chicken was juicy but not seasoned very well. Our dessert was a stale chocolate brownie. It tasted okay, but was very hard and just seemed like it had been sitting around for awhile, it would probably have benefited greatly if they just popped these in the oven for a few minutes to warm them up.
As we ate the show continued non-stop and even had some arial acrobats performing to music which was both mesmerizing and nerve racking at the same time.
The show culminated with a big finale that included a sea creature, lots of cannon fire, sword fighting and even a mermaid. It was really impressive.
Before we headed out I did want to go over the pressed penny machine that is located here. If you remember after we checked in for our reservation there was that market place area with the bars and this is also where the penny machine is found. If you have trouble finding it just look up at the ceiling and head towards the large Great White Shark which is having over top of the machine. Quick side note here please make sure if you are going to use this machine that you do so before you head in for your dinner show. On some days they have more than one showtime and once your show has started they won’t always allow you back into the market as the next group of guests is already waiting out there.
This machine is themed perfectly for this location. The nice wood design to the cabinet looks like it was create and stored below deck on a huge pirate ship. Even the hand crank you use to press you designs is a held from a ship. I will note though that it does look cool, but turning this thing can be a bit of a pain as it’s not as easy to spin around as you may think. At least that was my experience.
The designs at this machine just like the cabinet are well themed. They include the Pirate’s Dinner Adventure logo which is awesome, a Pirate Ship, Mermaid and the classic Skull and Crossbones.
Once the show was over, we were escorted out through exits inside the theater. You cannot go back into that market place area so please make sure you pick up all your souvenirs and pressed pennies before your show starts. As we headed home the consensus among my family was all unanimous. The experience was fantastic, the show and actors were amazing and our servers all did a great job, the only low point was the food. Maybe it was just an off night, or maybe because we had the early showtime I’m not sure. As much as I would love to go back sometime and I think the show itself was well worth it, but the food is really a downer. Have you experience the Pirate’s Dinner Adventure or any of the other Dinner shows around the Orlando area? Let me know down in the comments below I’d love to hear all about it, and am always looking for new places to try. Have a fantastic week and Keep on Pressing…Argggh!