REVIEW: Titanic Gala Dinner Event

Photo: Titanic The Artifact Exhibition
All aboard for a one-of-a-kind experience as you set sail to cross the North Atlantic on the world's most luxurious ocean liner. She's been called the 'Ship of Dreams', but her name is Titanic. You can find this fabled vessel in one of the last places you may expect... on Orlando's International Drive.

Titanic The Artifact Exhibition is a year-round attraction that serves as a clever combination museum-show experience. Guests have the option of a self-led tour, or a guided tour with an authentically tailored period character through the series of recreated scenes and hundreds of artifacts. And, if you really want to make it a first-class experience, jump into your mental time machine for the Titanic Gala Dinner Event!

Guests are asked to arrive at 6:30pm for the dinner event. Although the show doesn't technically begin immediately, the experience does! After checking in at the Purser's Desk and obtaining boarding passes, guests are photographed and welcomed to the Captain's cocktail party with fellow guests, including the socially elite like Dorothy Gibson and Margaret "Molly" Brown and powerful magnates such as J. Bruce Ismay, Thomas Andrews, and Captain Edward John Smith. Though guests are able to order what they wish, the signature drink of the event is "The Iceberg" (Vodka, Blue Curacao, and Sprite), and it is fantastic!

After everyone has had a chance to meet and mingle, guests are led through the docks to learn about the Titanic prior to boarding and touring the mighty ship. Examine artifacts and reconstructed rooms of the ill-fated vessel, as the events of April 14th, 1912 are brilliantly and thoughtfully re-enacted by cordial fellow shipmates and crew members.

Midway through the evening, everyone is invited to a special, first-class dinner in honor of this maiden voyage, which also marks Captain Smith's retirement after an immeasurably impressive career. The Titanic Gala Dinner Event features a four-course meal including salad and rolls, soup, and a dual beef and chicken main course with carrots and roasted potatoes on the side - all capped off with a scrumptious chocolate mousse dessert. Alternative options are available for children, vegetarians, and those with dietary restrictions.

Available only on Friday and Saturday evenings, the Titanic Gala Dinner Event is unlike any other dinner show in the Orlando area (where dinner shows are easy to find). As dinner shows go, I'm hesitant to even categorize this as one. When I think of 'dinner show', one of two descriptions generally come to mind - a spectator experience with a mediocre performance element and modestly-portioned food that you'd rather avoid OR an extended-length show that relies far too heavily on an audience of strangers bonding together to carry the brunt of the performance responsibility. This is neither. While there is an implied expectation of participation, that participation is not awkward, intrusive or annoying (as is the case with some dinner shows); and while the length of your stay is approximately three hours, the time is not passed with uncomfortably forced improv attempts and boring periods of silence. Best of all - the food is actually good - and plentiful! If you have a child who requires extensive stimulation and a more hyperactive environment, this may not be the most suitable dinner show for your group. Otherwise, this is the type of experience anyone can appreciate. Birthdays and special events are happily acknowledged by the cast of characters!

The planning of the dinner event is intelligent. Sandwiched between two tour segments, the timing of the meal is wise, appropriate to the "story", and appreciated. It takes the already praiseworthy Titanic tour and adds a natural enhancement that only enriches the overall experience. I have to specifically praise the staff and the cast. The service was flawless, and the cast demonstrated exceptional knowledge of not only the topic and their characters, but tactful interaction. The well-synced charisma of the cast offered lighter moments sporadically, while staying sincere and respectful to the nature of the story. The moments of levity are naturally balanced by somber moments of reflection. All of your feels will get the tingles throughout the evening - that's for certain!

As a longtime fan of this location, I have to admit that I wasn't completely convinced that a dinner event could work here. I am happy to say that I was very, very wrong. It works perfectly, and it's an experience you don't want to miss.

Photo: Titanic The Artifact Exhibition
The Titanic Gala Dinner Event is priced as follows: adults $69.00, children (10 years and under) $42.00,  under 2 years (not requiring meal) free (all prices are pre-tax). Advance reservations required. For more information on Titanic The Artifact Exhibition, visit their official site.