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Day Six: Orlando

Posted on Monday, May 11th, 2009

Dave!My original plan after having finished work in Savannah was to make my pilgrimage to Hard Rock Park in Myrtle Beach, SC... the theme park that's licensed out by the Hard Rock Cafe. In my quest to visit all things Hard Rock, it's a glaring absence on my list. But the theme park had been having money problems, and ultimately ended up in bankruptcy with a promise to re-open in Spring of 2009. But instead it was sold to somebody else. And since it was no longer a Hard Rock Park, there was no reason for me to visit.

So what to do with my two trade-out days? It has to be something quick and close-by.

Why not visit Hilly-Sue and see her new house in Orlando?

So here I am.

Hanging out with Hilly and visiting some of the cheesy attractions I haven't been to before on previous trips...


When you visit this attraction, you have two choices... you can either be accompanied by guides in period costumes who will tell "their" stories of being on the Titanic. Or you can go it alone on a self-guided tour. We decided to go self-guided, just in case the place sucked, so we wouldn't be trapped for an hour on a tour.

And thank heavens we did, because the "Titanic Experience" is pretty lame. We spent most of our time trying to escape, but they lock you in...

Hilly tries to escape the Titanic Experience

As we were entering the museum, I made some smart-assed comment to the ticket guy about going to see Jack and Rose (from the Titanic movie) to which he replied "THEY DIDN'T EXIST!!" I found this funny, because at every turn of the attraction they tried to squeeze in all the scenes where Jack and Rose were at in the movie...

Hilly's Handprint on The Sex Car

I expected the "Captain's Bridge" to have some cool effects... like giant computer screens outside the windows so you could pretend you were steering the ship or something. But no... it's just a wheel bolted to the floor of a small room, so it's like steering a ship at midnight with sunglasses on...

Dave Captain's The Titanic

Since this was the Titanic "Experience," you'd think that you'd get to "experience" stuff. But you really don't... it's more like a museum than an attraction... though they do have a room with a small cut-out of an iceberg that has ice glued on the front so you can "experience" what an iceberg is like. Hilly says it's cold...

Hilly Touches Ice

That look on her face pretty much sums up our "Titanic Experience."


After our disappointment at "The Titanic," we went to the Universal CityWalk to have a few drinks. Since it was a little to early to be falling into the gutters of Orlando just yet, we then took Miss Britt's advice and went to the Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum...

Ripleys Building

And, while it was a heck of a lot more interesting that TITANIC: THE EXPERIENCE, it was still pretty tame. Probably because I had already been to the one in San Francisco. My favorite piece was the "Vampire Killing Kit," which I was hoping they sold in the gift shop. But alas, they did not...

Ripley's Vampire Killing Kit with Cross and Holy Water


As most everybody already knows, I love pirates. So when Hilly reminded me about the Pirate's Dinner Adventure here, we simply had to go. Sure these things are usually cheesy and crappy and the food is bad... but it's pirates, dammit! The building didn't open until 6:00 for the 7:30 show, so we decided to have lots of drinks at the TGI Friday's next door. That way, we could drunkenly stumble across the parking lot and enjoy the show...

Pirates Adventure Building

Now, when it comes to interactive dinner shows... you only get out of it what you put into it. So you can either buy into the experience by putting on your paper pirate hat and cheering on your team... or you can sit back and make snarky comments about how cheesy everything is. We did both...

Dave and Hilly Are Pirates!

And had a really good time!

The show was fun and well-done, and our table was totally into everything...

Pirates Advanture Stage

Yes, some of it was kind of lame... like when Captain Sebastian The Black told Green Pirate Jose that he could have the Gypsy Wench and do whatever he wanted with her. And what did Green Pirate Jose want to do? Why, take her to the top of the mast so they could hang from ropes and spin around! It was actually amazing acrobatics that were cool to watch... but not very pirate-like at all...

Pirates Spinning from the Rafters

The story itself is fairly predictable, and you see what's going to happen from miles away... but they do try to get in some cool sword fights and other piratey goodness...

Pirates Sword-Fighting

Since this is a dinner show, you also get served food. I was expecting the worst... but was pleasantly surprised at how good our meals were. Hilly-Sue had the chicken, which she said was really good. I requested a vegetarian meal and was served a nice cheese lasagna with vegetables. For dessert you get a yummy peach cobbler with ice cream. Not bad at all.

Overall, this is one of the best dinner shows I've ever been to. But there are places for improvement...

  • We paid for an "upgrade" which got us close to the stage where the action was at. But the food service was a downgrade. People in the back rows were always served first, which is backwards from how it should have been. My food, while good, could have been hotter... but people who didn't pay extra got theirs first and piping hot. WTF?!?
  • The drinks were weak. We bought the special "Rum Punch" for $3.50, but could barely taste any alcohol. Rip-off.
  • You have to pay for everything with cash as you get it. You can't run a tab and pay at the end of the night. But, worst of all... gratuity is NOT included! They ask that you tip $5 per person to your server! This is just lame, because it's not like the server ever has the opportunity to do anything special... they just bring out stuff as it's available. For a show like this, the cost should really be all-inclusive.
  • The show is too long. They really need to cut out about 15 minutes of the more repetitive stuff, because it does get tiring after a while. Especially if you've brought kids, which a lot of people did.


And that was our day. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

Categories: Travel 2009Click To It: Permalink


  1. Miss Britt says:

    So… I can skip the first two and take the kids to the last one?

    Good to know. 🙂

  2. noraisins says:

    So sorry you didn’t enjoy the Titanic Experience. It is actually one of my favorite Titanic Exhibits, though I really can’t imagine it would be that interesting without the guided tour. They do a great job.

    Also, I am not sure that they were trying to recreate scenes from the movie. The car, staircase, and locked gates were already famous long before the movie.

    Hope you enjoy the rest of your visit with Hilly even more.

  3. Hilly says:

    At least we got to sing Celine Dion music by the Grand Staircase. Because yanno, that made it authentic.

    Hrm, what to do today? Drink?

  4. A Lewis says:

    I leave for a week’s cruise and you head off to YET ANOTHER trip…..Happy and safe travels!

  5. doctawife says:

    I’m not surprised that you couldn’t taste the alcohol in a $3.50 drink! I haven’t been able to buy any kind of mixed drink anywhere for less than $5 for years. Heck, getting a beer for that price is hard. (Although I know a few places with $1 Lone Stars…) In your situation, especially with the slow service, I would rather have paid more to get a large, knock-me-on-my-butt drink. Or three.

    Then again, they probably don’t want folks puking on the pirates. Giving good wench money to the dry cleaners would be a drag.

  6. Avitable says:

    I can’t believe you guys enjoyed the Pirate Adventure. I remember falling asleep in the Arabian Nights show, which is kind of the same thing.

  7. sue says:

    Fun times with a good friend. Always works. 😉

  8. sizzle says:

    I like reading yours and Hilly’s blog post back-to-back so I can get the full experience. So glad you guys are having a great time!

  9. martymankins says:

    Having seen the Titanic Experience in Vegas in 2007, I can personally attest that it was lame… even after doing a bunch of coke before hand. Maybe I was missing the hooker experience somewhere else in town.

    Now I want to do the pirate dinner theater thing. That looked pretty cool, even if there was some lameness to it.

  10. So cool! Glad you two are having fun! 🙂

  11. lizriz says:

    That all looks like so much fun! Even the bits that weren’t! lol

    There used to be this place in Orlando that was like a replica of China. Seems like it might fit into your trip in some weird way.

  12. Robin says:

    While I am happy that you and Hilly are having a great time, I am really effing jealous that you are drinking your way through Orlando and I am slammed out of my mind with work. Seriously.

    Please (you AND Hilly) have 3 drinks for me….my liver will thank you with big hugs the next time I see you. 🙂 🙂

  13. etinny says:

    Wish I’d know you were planning on going to the Titanic Experience. I’d have warned you to “steer clear” (pun intended). I felt it was bad sign when, pretty much where you enter that they had this gigantic 4-bladed ship’s propeller and nearby a construction photo of Titanic with with 3-bladed props. BTW It sounds like the Pirates’ Dinner Adventure is pretty much like the hourly Pirate show at Treasure Island in Las Vegas……..only with food and you had to pay for it! Have fun in Orlando.

  14. whitenoise says:

    The Titanic is waaay more interesting when you’re chasing toddlers who keep slipping behind the ropes while laughing maniacally.

  15. martymankins says:

    I forgot to mention in my comment above about your Hard Rock Park mention. I’m sad that I didn’t go to SC last year when it was open for the few short months it was. I still may visit the park with the new name, but it’s not a priority anymore.

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