MurderWatch Mystery Dinner Theater
by Dave Marx,
Author of PassPorter Travel Guides
Weve been hoping to attend this staple of Orlandos dinner
theater scene for many years, and finally had our chance this past December. Your evening
begins, middles and ends at Baskervilles, the buffet restaurant at the Grosvenor
Resort on Walt Disney Worlds Hotel Plaza Blvd. (see our report on the Grosvenor). As dinner progresses, guests meet some of the
entertainers and various suspicious characters who will play a part in the mystery to
come. You may have a chance to chat with characters, enjoy a song from a sexy chanteuse,
witness an emotional outburst from a jealous boyfriend, or spy suspicious behavior from
some very shifty characters. Sure enough, by the time youve finished dessert, a
heinous crime has been committed, and everyone in the audience has been recruited to help
solve the mystery.
Wed rather not spill the beans on
the specifics of a mystery that we ultimately failed to solve (other guests had that
honor). In fact, the producers of the show have developed a variety of mysteries, so that
even repeat "sleuths" will find a new challenge (or at least a new twist) with
each visit. What we can say is that we were on our own for most of the investigation, but
when it finally came time to assemble the clues and solve the case, diners were divided
into several teams. Members of the winning team received modest prizes, along with the
satisfaction of a case well-solved.
|The cast of
the show works very hard to involve the guests and ensure that everyone, regardless of
age, has a good time. The entire production is very tongue-in-cheek, filled laughs and
light-hearted entertainment, so parents should have no problem bringing the kids. The
mysteries are also intended for everyones enjoymentyou dont have to be a
Holmes or even a Watson (as Jennifer learned) to solve the crime. In fact, a mystery fan
looking for a good, logical crime to solve may be disappointed. Whimsy wins out over
brilliant deduction here.
"Sherlie" Holmes gets us in the spirit of the evening.
The guests around us seemed to be
having a good time, and we "pros" also were engaged and entertained. We think in
terms of entertainment value, food quality and overall satisfaction, MurderWatch Mystery
Dinner Theater ranks behind Disneys Hoop de Doo Revue, but can hold its own against
Disneys Polynesian Luau, and beats Medieval Times hands down. Why? The show at Hoop
de Doo, corny though it may be, is loaded with high energy entertainment value, and the
audience gets roped into all the merriment. The dinner is simple, all-you-can eat fried
chicken, ribs and fixins, but its a crowd-pleaser. The show at the Luau
(although its due to be overhauled) isnt nearly as entertaining, and few
guests are pleased by the all-you-can-eat Polynesian dinner. Medieval Times in Kissimmee
is definitely not our cup of mead. The show starts impressively, with pageantry and
showmanship, but we detest the way the evenings entertainment descends into its
gratuitously middle and end (tournament combat doesnt have to be "to the
death"). In the end, the shows most likely to entertain professional wrestling
fans. On top of that, the food and service is the bare minimum needed to satisfy the
audience. Not only was the food mediocre, but I was still hungry at the end. MurderWatch,
in its plain hotel dining room setting, feels a little down-scale compared to the Disney
shows, but the good humor and enthusiasm of the cast, and the engaging plot make for a
very enjoyable evening. Similarly, though we dont give the buffet a high rating (see
Grosvenor review), most guests will be happier with this
traditional menu than with the Luaus uninspired offerings.
MurderWatch Mystery Dinner Theater is
held twice on Saturday evenings at the Grosvenor Resort, on Hotel Plaza Blvd., just across
the street from Downtown Disney. Guests at Disney resorts can take the bus to the Downtown
Disney Marketplace stop, and cross Buena Vista Blvd. near the Once Upon a Toy shop. The
Grosvenor is the first hotel on the left (north) side of Hotel Plaza Blvd. Tickets are
$35/adult, $15/child. Call 800-624-4109 for reservations or visit http://www.murderwatch.com.
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