by John Bowers
AllEars.Net Guest Blogger
(additional photos by Sandi Lamborne)
Tables in Wonderland hosted the Cairo Dinner Show at the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular theater at the Hollywood Studios on Saturday, April 30, 2011. The event lasted from 7:30 until about 9:30 p.m., and the weather was perfect. It had been unseasonably hot here in Orlando for a few days, but it cooled off somewhat and was ideal.
We were welcomed right inside the entrance with a table full of screwdrivers and boxes of popcorn. Everyone got a name tag with the name of their dinner table. The dinner tables were named
for major world cities.
For ‘Scene One’ of the evening, the casting director selected about a dozen people from the crowd and led them through various (somewhat embarrassing) ‘acting’ roles. Screaming with fear, slowly dying from a gunshot, similar to what the show does for regular audiences. Always funny for the crowd. And you can usually count on a few of the selected ‘actors’ to be real hams.
They were then led away to get into their costumes while the rest of us got to see part of the action sequence that the attraction is famous for: Indiana Jones narrowly escaping the punji sticks which erupt from the floor and the giant rolling ball which threatens to crush him.
The show’s director then introduced the actor who plays Indiana and gave us a couple of fun insights into the performance. The punji sticks are activated when the actor steps on one of a series of small plates on the floor. Each stick has a little square plate right beside it,
not really obvious from where the crowd sits. When Indy steps on a specific plate, the punji stick fires upward, so he knows exactly when and where to jump out of the way.
Then the director told us how many ‘tons’ the rolling ball weighs, as two guys easily pushed it back uphill behind him.
All those ‘volunteers’ from the crowd returned in their funny costumes, the rolling ball stage set parted and we were led out onto the floor to find our tables. The tables were all set up at the back
of the stage, in front of the ‘houses’ that make up the rest of the set.
We had a DJ who played some theme-appropriate music and it was time to attack the buffet and the bar. The food was quite nice. Cucumber and red onion salad, wild greens, grilled flatbreads, roasted vegetable cous cous, grilled vegetables, braised chicken breast with garlic, cumin, and olives, roasted spiced lamb meatballs (yum), and seafood tagine with scallops, shrimp and crab in saffron charmoula! WOW! Delightful. Beer, wine, mixed drinks, tea, and coffee.
Fresh Cucumber & Red Onion Salad
Wild Greens with Cherry Vinaigrette
Roasted Root Vegetable Cous Cous and Flatbreads
Grilled Seasonal Vegetables
Braised Chicken Breast, Garlic, Cumin, Olives.
Roasted Lamb Meatballs
Seafood Tagine with Saffron Charmoula
And dessert! Mocha eclairs, baklava, citrus tarts, and fruit salad with mint yogurt.
As we were finishing our dinner, it was time for the belly dancer. A very lovely lady, not at all shy about making close contact with the most nervous-looking gentlemen in the audience. She was terrific.
Finally the director let us know that for ‘Scene Two’ we were all to remain seated, not stand up, and not move around at all. He made it quite clear. Then the cast of the show commenced to staging the big sword/bullwhip fight, the building-climbing-fighting-rope-swinging-ladder-falling scene, and (yes) even the fiery exploding jeep sequence all around us. We were right in the middle of it. It was amazing. When those firebombs hit, you don’t want to be too close. It scared the daylights out of quite a few of us.
The cast all came out for us to take pictures with them, and then it was time to leave. It was a beautiful evening weather-wise, perfect for an out-of-doors event.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Cairo Dinner Show cost $160 per person, plus tax (gratuity included). Tables in Wonderland hosts a number of special dinners at Walt Disney World throughout the year. For more information about Tables in Wonderland, click HERE.