It was on a Friday morning as our buses pulled out of the
parking lot with eighty-five middle school music students and a dozen
chaperones. After a year of planning, our annual music festival trip at
Disneyland had finally begun.
By we had checked into our
hotel rooms and the students were hungry and restless. So how do you feed
a party of two hundred on a Friday night? For the past seven years, Medieval
Times has been the answer of choice, but during a summer trip to
Disneyland, I had noticed that there was a new dinner theater
in town. Reasoning that it never hurts to try something new, I brought it up to
the music director. After a bit of convincing, we decided to try The Pirate’s
Dinner Adventure. Okay, I’ll be honest; it didn’t take that much convincing.
Each year we have a new “theme” in the music department, and this year just
happened to be…pirates! Even the buses were nicknamed. I was in charge of the
Black Pearl – as it should be.
The Jolly Roger flew over
the otherwise unassuming building on Beach
just down the street from Knott’s Berry Farm. (There is also a location in
Orlando.) Our reservations were for the show, the doors opened
Entering the building, we
immediately encountered gift shops filled with pirate related items. Chaperones
took special note of the wooden swords and other fake weapons, as these were
among the items that would be confiscated until this end of the trip if
purchased. To the left was a “tavern”-style area, with limited seating, a stage
and area to purchase soft drinks in souvenir cups. If you have ever traveled
with a group, especially young teens, you will have to agree that the only thing
worse than, “are we there yet?” or “how much longer?” is “when do we eat?”
Someone at Pirate’s must have been aware of this, because hosts and hostesses
were stationed throughout the extensive waiting area serving appetizers such as
ravioli, cheese cubes, vegetables, and shrimp with a spicy cocktail sauce.
Soon the pre-show started
with eight men being chosen from the crowd to participate in dastardly pirate
games. Our director’s husband was chosen, much to the delight of the students.
This demonstration lasted about an hour before diners were ushered into the main
hall. Each person’s ticket is color coordinated with a specific section and
pirate. Ours was the Purple Pirate, who seemed a bit clumsier than and perhaps
not as sharp as the others. As each pirate paraded into the hall with their
“crew,” they were subject to the taunting of another pirate near the
For those of you who have
tried Medieval Times, the set up is much the same; long rows of tables with
diners facing the action in the center of the room. Pirate’s Dinner is not as
large, but there’s plenty to keep the attention.
As we sat down, a salad was
waiting for us. Dinner was served as the show began, with our choice of beef or
seafood to go with the chicken, rice and vegetables. The vegetarians in our
group were offered veggie lasagna and our one vegan was presented with a large
salad and fruit. Because we had over a dozen vegetarians, we made sure the staff
was aware of our special needs beforehand so that they could be prepared, which
they were. Dessert, unlimited soda and water were also provided.
While we ate, our attention
was diverted to the show. In the middle of the room sat a pirate ship,
surrounded by water. There were masts to climb, and ropes to swing on.Soon our pirates are raising cheers from the crowd as they showed off
their amazing athletic abilities. We found that the story also involved a female
pirate, a princess, and a gypsy. And if there’s a princess involved, you can be
sure there’s a romance in there somewhere. What made this dinner so much fun for
kids was their involvement – loads of involvement. Throughout the show, at least
one hundred audience members of various ages are pulled out for participation.
It seemed that almost every young person under fifteen had been chosen at one
point or another. Even the little ones had a chance. Ever hear a three year old
recite the pirate pledge? There was singing, yelling, swordplay and acrobatics
to keep everyone interested. At our show, the music seemed a bit loud, drowning
out the singing, but otherwise it was all good fun. The show itself runs about
ninety minutes, leaving plenty of time for those caught up in the moment to
purchase additional souvenirs.
Over the rest of the weekend, I
asked for opinions from my group. Most of the kids truly enjoyed themselves,
especially those who had been pulled out to join in. They seemed to enjoy the
food (I saw a lot of empty plates that night). Vegetarians liked the lasagna
option, and our vegan could tell that they really tried to make sure she had
enough to eat. Adults who tended to eat out move often weren’t as crazy about
the food, but many of us were just fine with it. I know I cleaned my
plate.My main question was, “did you have fun?” which was
answered with a resounding, “Yes!"
For More Information: Pirate’s Dinner Adventure
Blvd. Buena Park, CA90620
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