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Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede
Dolly brings the Spirit of the South to Florida


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The imposing exterior of Dolly's Florida Dixie Stampede complex
8251 Vineland Ave., between SeaWorld and Walt Disney World. Admission runs $43.99 for adults, $28.99 for ages 4-11. Show times vary. Information: 407-238-4455, 1-866-443-4943 or www.dixiestampede.com


Dolly Parton, the Tennessee girl-turned-Nashville legend, has brought her themed Dixie Stampede Dinner & Show to Orlando. Although the attraction bears her name, she doesn't appear in person, but that doesn't detract from a fabulous equine display. One of three Stampede's she has opened (Pigeon Forge, Tenn.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; and Branson, Mo.), the show is essentially a modern-day Wild West revue, pitting the audience against each other in a good natured way as the South and the North battle to win various horse riding competitions. The $28 million production, staged in a 128,000-square-foot facility that seats 1,200, features acrobatic horsemanship with 32 magnificent horses, festive patriotic and country music, singing, dancing, comedy, ostrich racing, a fabulous Southern-style four-course feast and plenty of audience participation."

 

As Carol and I were in Florida in December it was the Christmas show that we went to see. Along with some friends we passed through the ticket office and shop into the show's precursor - an Australian cowboy entertaining us as he not only sang, but rode his beautiful horse around the tables and even up the stairs of the two story theatre. Non alcoholic drinks (no alcohol is available) and popcorn are on sale, the drinks arriving in distinctive boot shaped glasses, which made attractive souvenirs of our visit.


Then it was on to the main part of the evening, where the South Pole and the North Pole battled it out on horses and ostriches to see who would be triumphant at the end of the evening. Interestingly enough the food comes without cutlery, so from the first slurp of your soup to the last morsel of chicken your fingers lead the way, with plenty of soft drinks and coffee along the way.

 

As well as the fabulous horses and riders, an appearance of Santa Claus, the best Nativity I have ever seen, with real camels and sheep, and an ice skating rink that floats down from the ceiling, complete with champion Russian ice skaters made the evening one to remember.

 

The show over, we left via the shop to find the characters on hand to have their picture taken with the guests, and my friend Vincent couldn't believe his luck to be snapped cuddling the star of the show while the rest of us tried on the hats and Dolly keepsakes on sale.

 

The show over, we left via the shop to find the characters on hand to have their picture taken with the guests, and my friend Vincent couldn't believe his luck to be snapped cuddling the star of the show while the rest of us tried on the hats and Dolly keepsakes on sale.

   

Outside the complex, the whole of the side of the building is a stables, so you can also meet the other stars of the show as well as their keepers. All in all, a very worth while experience, one that I would certainly look forward to taking other friends to. My one negative experience was seeing a small shed housing Belgian pigeons, which seemed to have no purpose other than for people to look at. The birds did not look at all happy, all huddled together at one end of the large grating which served as the floor.

Other Dinner Shows to tempt your palette


Pirate's Dinner Adventure

The theme: Ahoy, mateys: This is billed as a classic story of princess meets pirate, set aboard a replica of an 18th-century Spanish galleon. The pirate-themed menu includes Buccaneer Beef and Treasure Chicken.

The details: 6400 Carrier Drive, Orlando; 1-800-866-2469. Showtime: Varies, but usually one show a day at 7:45 or 8:30 p.m. Cost: $44.95, children $27.50. www.piratesdinneradventure.com

Capone's Dinner & Show

The theme: Gangster adventures, circa 1931. Billed as a Broadway-style song, dance and comedy revue with "handsome mobsters and gorgeous dames." Italian/American buffet with unlimited rum runners, sangria, beer and soda.

The details: 4740 W. U.S. 192, Kissimmee; 1-800-220-8428. Showtime: 8 p.m. daily. Cost: $39.95, children $23.95.

Arabian Nights

The theme: Romance, intrigue and horses, all set against an Arabian backdrop. It may sound corny, but, hey, Larry King said, "If you don't love Arabian Nights, check your pulse!" Dinner features prime rib.

The details: 6225 W. Irlo Bronson Highway (U.S. 192), Kissimmee; 1-800-553-6116. Showtime: Varies. Cost: $44, children $27. There's a $10 discount if you book online. www.arabian-nights.com

Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue

The theme: Old-fashioned western fun, with a Disney spin. (It's one of two major dinner shows at Walt Disney World; the other is Disney's Spirit of Aloha at the Polynesian Resort.) Meal includes country fare (fried chicken, ribs, baked beans).

The details: At Pioneer Hall in the Fort Wilderness Campground; 407-939-3463. Three shows daily: 5, 7:15 and 9:30 p.m. Cost: $49.01, $24.81 children.

Medieval Times

The theme: There's no way to prepare for the onslaught of pseudo-chivalry at Medieval Times, the dinner show that has played for two decades. Royal trumpeters will serenade you. Serfs and wenches (aka waiters and waitresses) will feed you. And a half-dozen or so properly attired knights will dazzle you with daring feats on horseback. Be advised: Your royal feast -- basically, roast chicken and one scrawny rib -- is served without cutlery, but with free beer.

The details: 4510 W. Irlo Bronson Highway (U.S. 192), Kissimmee, six miles east of Walt Disney World. 1-800-229-8300. Shows at 6:15 and 8:30 p.m. Saturdays, one show on weekdays. $45.95 adults, $29.95 ages 3-11 (but check for brochure coupons or at www.medievaltimes.com).


Availability   ~  Prices   ~  Booking Form  ~  Partner Villa rentals
Area Maps
 ~ Florida  ~ Osceola  ~  Kissimmee  ~  Poinciana  ~ Shows   Wildlife
Central Florida Attractions  ~  North Florida Attractions  ~  South Florida Attractions
About us   ~  Contact  ~  Faq's   ~  Golf  ~  Video  ~   Useful Links  ~  Home