It's been a long day at Central Florida's theme parks and you are tired and hungry, though still ready for another dose of fantasy. Head for one of the many themed diners in Kissimmee and the surrounding area. They are fun and family-friendly, so parents and grandparents can bring the kids without a second thought.
"I love the horses!" says Megan Douin, 10, who's enjoying the Arabian Nights dinner show in Kissimmee with her sister Alyssa, 12, and her mother, Tina Douin.
"I love the genie, the costumes, but best of all the horses," Alyssa says.
Both girls ride horses back home in Searsmont, Maine, so they understand the amount of training it takes to make horses race, march and dance as they do in the show.
The attraction, with a cast of 70 horses and 30 performers, is especially well-suited for their family because of the girls equestrian interests, but Tina Douin says she would recommend it to any family with children, because the show is enjoyably eye-popping for all age groups -- and casual. In attendance on any given night are families with kids from infants and toddlers to teens.
Our grandson was 16 months old when he attended his first dinner show with his parents and grandparents, the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue at Fort Wilderness, the camping area at Walt Disney World. He contentedly munched on fried chicken, beans, corn and strawberry shortcake, and the only sound that came out of him and other children at the show was giggles and laughter at the cast's antics during this Old West-themed musical revue.
If you'd like to top off a day at a Central Florida park with the additional magic of a family-friendly dinner show or themed meal, here are 10 options:
1. Arabian Nights
6225 W. Highway 192, Kissimmee
407-239-9223 or 800-553-6116
It's like living a fairy tale as you attend the wedding of a prince and princess at Arabian Nights. The festivities include dancing Arabian horses, costumed courtiers, and a prime rib dinner or vegetable lasagna with unlimited beverages. Dessert is, of course, a slice of wedding cake. There are fried chicken fingers for the children. Prices: $50.29 adult, $31.03 child (3-11), children under 3 are free.
2. Capone's Dinner and Show
4740 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway, Kissimmee
407-397-2378 or 800-220-8428
This Gangland Chicago song and dance comedy revue includes unlimited buffet, beer, cocktails -- a blast-from-the-past '30s-era speakeasy. Prices: $39.95 adult, $23.95 child (12 and under), $19.95 senior (55+).
3. Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament
4510 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway, Kissimmee