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Review of Pirate’s Dinner Adventure in Buena Park California

Pirate’s Dinner Adventure in Buena Park is a family-friendly combination of live theater, dinner and dramatic entertainment. Located on Beach Blvd, this dinner theater is in the same area as Knott’s Berry Farm and Medieval Times. Disneyland is a 15 minute drive away. With so many excellent entertainment choices, is Pirate’s Dinner Adventure a good choice for your family? Keep reading for my full, honest review!

My family and I received complimentary tickets to attend Pirate’s Dinner Adventure. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Please note that this post contains affiliate links. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Buena Park is a combination of live theater, 3-course meal and swashbuckling entertainment. Read my honest review on who should go, what the food is like and what to expect during the show. #VisitBuenaPark

Pirate’s Dinner Adventure in Buena Park

Pirate’s Dinner Adventure is located in Buena Park, a city in Los Angeles/Orange County. It’s just a few blocks from Knott’s Berry Farm and about 15-minutes drive from Disneyland. My family (including my husband, toddler, six-year old and two teenagers) visited Pirate’s Dinner Adventure for the first time.

For more ideas on what to do in the Buena Park and Southern California area, be sure to check out my post.

Many guests were dressed in pirate garb, which is encouraged for young and old alike. My son brought his pirate hat and we saw many guests wearing bandanas and carrying light-up pirate swords. There are, of course, plenty of costuming accessories for sale in the souvenir shops inside the lobby. The lobby is appropriately decorated with a giant pirate’s map and skeletons.

Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Buena Park is a combination of live theater, 3-course meal and swashbuckling entertainment. Read my honest review on who should go, what the food is like and what to expect during the show. #VisitBuenaPark

Purchasing Tickets for the Event

When I was at the ticket window getting our tickets there was a family of 7 next to me trying to get seats for that night. Unfortunately the show had sold out, which I understand is fairly regular. Don’t expect to just show up and try to purchase tickets, it’s best to buy ahead of time. Tickets can be found on the website or through Groupon (for select nights only). Sign up through Ebates first, then click Groupon to purchase – you’ll receive an additional 9% cash back! Even with your Groupon ticket, you’ll still need to call ahead of time to book your reservation.

Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Buena Park is a combination of live theater, 3-course meal and swashbuckling entertainment. Read my honest review on who should go, what the food is like and what to expect during the show. #VisitBuenaPark

Pre-Show Entertainment & Appetizers

Before entering the theater you’ll have your group photo taken. Printed pictures will be brought to you tableside during the show. You can purchase them, or not. It was recommended that we arrive 60 minutes before the show. This allowed plenty of time for purchasing a drink at the bar, souvenir shopping, taking in the pirate decor and a restroom break. There is the opportunity to have your child’s face painted for an additional charge. Unless you’re planning on shopping, I don’t think you need to get there quite that early. We did a lot of standing around, waiting for the doors to open. Actually we have a toddler, so technically that just meant we took turns chasing her through the crowds!

Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Buena Park is a combination of live theater, 3-course meal and swashbuckling entertainment. Read my honest review on who should go, what the food is like and what to expect during the show. #VisitBuenaPark

As far as the pre-show appetizers, they are tray-passed through the lobby. We saw meatballs on toast, ham and cheese open-faced sandwiches, and carrots and celery with ranch dressing. Not too special, I’d wait to eat and save room for the hearty dinner instead. However you can purchase both alcoholic and non-alcoholic specialty drinks in the lobby, then bring them into the theater.

There is a pre-show in the bar area which introduced the pirates. We were in the entryway room but were able to watch on a television. Each pirate walks through the lobby, carrying a colored flag and leading guests that are seated in his colored section. We waited until the orange pirate came through and then followed him with the rest of our group into the theater!

Seating Inside Pirate’s Dinner Adventure

If you choose a seat in the upper part of the theater, know that you won’t be allowed much elbow room. Guests were squeezed in pretty tight in those last few rows. Also, there are some seats that don’t have very good views of the action. In fact some spots have obstructed views with all the pirate ship rigging and poles in the way.

I recommend opting for a seating upgrade that allows for more space and an unobstructed and closer view of the action. My family and I were seated in the second row of the orange section, which offered us a perfect view of the stage.

Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Buena Park is a combination of live theater, 3-course meal and swashbuckling entertainment. Read my honest review on who should go, what the food is like and what to expect during the show. #VisitBuenaPark

Food Review

The Pirate’s Dinner Adventure includes a three-course meal. Non-alcoholic drinks like soda, water, lemonade, coffee and tea are included. You can also request a vegetarian. gluten-free or vegan meal in place of the traditional dishes. Children will receive the kid’s platter, which includes small portions of mashed potatoes, macaroni & cheese, and cubed melon alongside a generous amount of chicken nuggets.

Soup or Salad – Guests have their choice of either a large dinner salad or a small bowl of vegetable soup. I ordered the salad, which was large for a dinner salad. It was already covered with ranch dressing, which was fine, except that the server never asked me what kind of dressing I wanted (and I usually request dressing on the side). My older two kids ordered soup.

Main Course – Roasted quarter chicken leg and thigh. The meat was moist and flavorful. There was a veggie and shrimp skewer, which was also tasty. Carrots and zucchini are served on the side (zucchini was slightly under cooked, which was better than being overcooked in my opinion). Creamy mashed potatoes rounded out the plate. Our server did bring a platter with more chicken to see if anyone wanted another piece (my husband did).

Dessert – A slice of tres leches cake that is drizzled with chocolate. Usually not my favorite dessert but this was delicious!

Overall the food is good and our platters were served hot. Note that your entire party may not be served at once (my older kids didn’t get their plates until about 5 minutes after their dad and me). There are additional upgrades that can be made to your meal, including adding lobster and champagne or three-layer chocolate cake.

Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Buena Park is a combination of live theater, 3-course meal and swashbuckling entertainment. Read my honest review on who should go, what the food is like and what to expect during the show. #VisitBuenaPark

Service

Pirate’s Dinner Adventure is a loud and boisterous place. This means it can be a challenge to get messages to the server. We were seated at a long bench table and if you’re seated in the middle, you won’t really be able to speak to your server directly without yelling! I had to “talk” to the server by telling my husband and having him pass the message to the server. Meal plates are passed from the ends to the guests in the middle of the table. Not every seat is like that in the theater, but having the bench seats without server access made it difficult.

We received beverages at the beginning of the show but they were never refilled. Guests are encouraged to “Drink! Drink!” at times during the show and my 6-year old said to me with his stein turned upside down, “I can’t drink, my cup is empty!”

Audience Participation

Throughout the show, the audience is encouraged to participate. Each colored seating section is assigned their own pirate. We sat in the orange section and cheered on our themed pirate throughout the show. Shouting, standing, banging your cup and cheering is all encouraged! My husband was given the job of raising our orange flag. Some children were invited to the stage to ride in one of the row boats. Other guests were included in the show as well. It’s a boisterous place and that adds to the fun!

Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Buena Park is a combination of live theater, 3-course meal and swashbuckling entertainment. Read my honest review on who should go, what the food is like and what to expect during the show. #VisitBuenaPark

The Show – Legend of the Loch Ness Monster

This action-packed show takes place on what looks like a Spanish galleon. The ship is surrounded by 200,000 gallons of water on which row boats float. The “stage” is impressive for sure, and the colorful lighting and dramatic music adds to the effect. Did I mention the shirtless pirates? These singing, dancing and sword fighting pirates swing from ropes, leap on trampolines and duel each other throughout the show. Each pirate has their own personality and allows for plenty of comic relief in between the drama.

There is also a comedic “pirate in training”, a headstrong princess, an acrobatic gypsy girl, a teensy-bit of romance and lots of one-on-one pirate battles. The stunts are all great quality. The swinging ladder was my favorite part (I held my breath the entire time!) Don’t bother trying to figure out the story plot in between eating. Just watch and enjoy (ahem, shirtless pirates!)

Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Buena Park is a combination of live theater, 3-course meal and swashbuckling entertainment. Read my honest review on who should go, what the food is like and what to expect during the show. #VisitBuenaPark

Can You Take a Baby or a Toddler?

We mentioned on the reservation that we would have a toddler with us. I asked initially if there were high chairs and was assured that there were. However our seats were in the second row, which was all bench seating with one long table. There wasn’t any way to get a high chair there for our toddler. I asked our server for a booster seat, but it was never brought.

The seat and table were too far away from each other for my petite toddler to sit at (she is just a few weeks shy of her second birthday). My husband and I ended up taking turns holding her on our laps so that she could reach the table to eat. She watched most of the show but started to get bored towards the end (naturally, after the cake was served!) I took her out into the lobby to run around until the show was over.

Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Buena Park is a combination of live theater, 3-course meal and swashbuckling entertainment. Read my honest review on who should go, what the food is like and what to expect during the show. #VisitBuenaPark

Trying to hold a squirmy toddler while watching the show.

What Age Is Most Appropriate?

We attended Pirate’s Dinner Adventure with our almost-2 year old daughter, 6 year old son and two 14 year olds (boy and girl). I already shared about my toddler in the section above. There are some loud moments (like thunder sounds or cracking whips) that might startle young children. The show is appropriate for all ages but at 2 hours, it might be too long for some children. My older three kids were highly entertained. They all liked the food and enjoyed the action. My 6 year old lamented that he wished he’d been chosen to go onto the stage! There is one scene at the end that frightened my son and he hid under the table (I promise, it’s not that scary!) My teenagers both liked the show though my jaded older son said it was a “little corny”, but I don’t think that was a bad thing.

Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Buena Park is a combination of live theater, 3-course meal and swashbuckling entertainment. Read my honest review on who should go, what the food is like and what to expect during the show. #VisitBuenaPark

Who Will Enjoy Pirate’s Dinner Adventure?

If you’re looking for a high-brow, elegant dinner, this is not the place for you. If you like to relax, enjoy live entertainment and can get into the fun atmosphere, Pirate’s Dinner Adventure is a great family place! You can read my review of Medieval Times (which is literally a block away from Pirate’s Dinner Adventure) so you can compare the two and see which is the better choice for your family.

Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Buena Park is a combination of live theater, 3-course meal and swashbuckling entertainment. Read my honest review on who should go, what the food is like and what to expect during the show. #VisitBuenaPark


Paint the Night – Disneyland’s Nighttime Spectacular Parade

This bright and brilliant nighttime parade literally “paints” the streets of Disneyland with colorful lights, floats and costumes. The parade route comes to life with your favorite characters, all illuminated in ways you’ve never seen before!

Raise your hand if you remember the Main Street Electrical Parade? If you listen closely to the music playing during Paint the Night you might hear a familiar tune that reminds you of the synthesized sounds of that classic favorite. The parade theme song is “When Can I See You Again?” by Owl City that is given slightly new lyrics here and really sets the tone for the parade. Because after watching Paint the Night, I wanted to see it again! There are just so many details that you miss the first time it passes by.

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Green Loop. Today we are discussing some of the amazing nighttime spectaculars at the Disney Parks.

I was able to film the parade on my visit and will share it with you in snippets below. This is the opening scene (pardon the first few seconds when my camera was adjusting before it focuses)

I recently found a YouTube video that showed the iconic Main Street Electrical Parade and I have to admit that I started to tear up at the familiar sounds and cheerful floats. It was such an important childhood memory for me, watching this parade as a child with my family. I think that children years from now will have the same wonderful memories witnessing Paint the Night, as well.

With over 1 million colorful lights, this is a very modern parade with cutting-edge technology yet it still remains true to its roots. Reminiscent of the Main Street Electrical Parade, Paint the Night also features a giant drum float in its opening scene, this time with Peter Pan riding atop and an illuminated Tinker Bell at the lead.

Many favorite characters are here including classic Disney princesses and characters from newer Pixar films. I love parades that have lots of interaction from characters (waving, blowing kisses, talking, pointing) because it’s a great way for children to see their favorites without the long lines of typical “meet n’ greets”. Feel free to tell your kids, “Yes, she’s waving right at you!”

Paint the Night - Disneyland's Nighttime Spectacular Parade

Monsters Inc. float with Sulley in front

Paint the Night - Disneyland's Nighttime Spectacular Parade

Mac the Truck from Cars

Paint the Night - Disneyland's Nighttime Spectacular Parade

Hypnotizing lights

Mack the Truck features 25,000 lights in rows that create the most incredible displays and designs in an almost three-dimensional way. We watched this parade near “it’s a small world” on a raised platform and I liked being slightly higher. I was able to capture more of the details of the top of the floats than I would had I been sitting on the curb.

Paint the Night - Disneyland's Nighttime Spectacular Parade

Ariel and King Triton from The Little Mermaid

Keep in mind that the Disneyland Forever fireworks spectacular often follows Paint the Night so choose your location wisely. We were able to watch both the parade & fireworks from our spot near “it’s a small world” and catch the light show that shines on the building during the fireworks as well. Main Street U.S.A. is another great choice, but highly populated, so you’ll probably have to stake out your spot much earlier.

Love the “Light Bright” effect on this float! Jessie toe-taps along the route while Buzz and Woody wave from their perches on Slinky Dog.

Paint the Night - Disneyland's Nighttime Spectacular Parade

Slinky and Woody from Toy Story

The Beauty and the Beast float is an absolute showstopper (and impossible for me to capture on photo, it was lit so brilliantly). It features animated video that is so lovely. But I was able to capture it on film as well as the other princesses and dancers trailing behind. Be sure to check out Rapunzel’s glowing hair!

Paint the Night - Disneyland's Nighttime Spectacular Parade

Cinderella

Yes, even Anna & Elsa from Frozen make an appearance (and speak live to the crowd from atop their balcony). Theirs is a breathtaking float that looks like a castle made of ice. I was happy to see Olaf in his glittering wonderland in the back.

Paint the Night - Disneyland's Nighttime Spectacular Parade

Anna & Elsa from Frozen (with Olaf in the back)

I loved all the dancers and street performers in this parade as they were equally decked out with bright lights. It truly added a fun dimension to have them weaving along the streets and engaging with the crowd. They really add life and fun to the parade in between the large floats with their fantastic choreography and truly amazing costumes that appear to be lit from within (even some with light-up wigs!)

Paint the Night - Disneyland's Nighttime Spectacular Parade

Loved these spinning pinwheels of color

And what’s a parade without Minnie, Goofy, Donald and Mickey? Naturally they make their appearances here too.

Paint the Night - Disneyland's Nighttime Spectacular Parade

The Mickey Finale

The finale, featuring Mickey as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice has a float that is so hypnotic and beautiful, it might have been my favorite. It was quite impossible for me to capture on film but the rotating feature on this float is incredible.


After the dance-inducing sounds and bold colors, you’ll be asking “When Can We Do This Again?”

Which float in Paint the Night would you be most excited to see in person? Share with me in the comments!


For more information about Disney’s nighttime spectaculars,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Green | Disney Nighttime Spectaculars Loop:

Paint the Night - Disneyland's Nighttime Spectacular Parade