**RECEIVED 2018 BLOGGING BRANSON AWARD OF EXCELLENCE**
Grab your cowboy hats, get ready to get your grub on and prepare for a wild night of foot stomping fun! Because, when in Branson, Missouri, attending the Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction is a must-do!
Disclaimer: I attended a media event as the guest of Niccole from The Creative SAHM. While this was a sponsored event, all opinions listed below are 100% authentic and mine alone.
Branson is known for many things ~ its shows and attractions, its southern hospitality, the delicious food and its family atmosphere...just to name a few. Among those fabulous shows is a dinner attraction that draws the crowds in from all over the country. In fact, Branson’s Stampede has been deemed the World’s Most Visited Dinner Attraction!
If you have been following along on the blog, you know that I recently had the opportunity to visit Branson in early April of this year with a wonderful group of talented bloggers. Among the many amazing adventures we had was an evening at Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction. Now, I love me some horses, always have and always will. They are stunningly beautiful creatures and I have very fond memories of riding a bit when I was a little girl. Take those gorgeous four-legged gems and match them up with a four course feast and some good ol’ entertainment, it is a no-brainer that this was going to be a night of world class fun!
A Little Background:
There are two locations that call Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction home ~ Branson, Missouri, and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. This year, the Branson Stampede celebrates its 24th season and continues the tradition of bringing high-spirited adventure to the masses and a dinner plan to please the most feisty of crowds. The Stampede in Branson is located on HWY 76, right the on the famous “strip.” It sits so elegantly at the top of a small hill and has this magnetic attraction about it that draws people to her. She is like a southern belle catching everyone’s eye as they drive by.
I’m going to start you off with a HUGE tip – arrive early! In fact, the recommended time to arrive is 90 minutes early! There is so much to see and do that you don’t want to miss out on a single part of the experience.
Before you even enter the building, take a stroll down the beautiful Horse Walk to meet some of the Stars in their open air stables. Each of the 32 horses (Quarter horses and Palominos, as well as Appaloosas and Paint breeds) has a name placard nailed in plain sight so you can familiarize yourself with the talent.
Once you enter through the main entrance, it is never a dull moment. Charming Belles greet you and make you feel welcome. There are unique pre-show photo opportunities and tons of souvenirs in the store from which to choose (so sad I didn’t spend more time in there!). Not to mention, popcorn is available for purchase, as is Coca-Cola® or a non-alcoholic drink, before the evening’s festivities even begin.
TIP: Check out this adorable souvenir boot mug available when you purchase a drink pre-show!! It sits so pretty on my shelf here in my office now. It’s a constant reminder of how much fun I had that night!
Speaking of festivities, be ready to get your giggle on 50 minutes prior to the main event! Grab that popcorn and your drink and find yourself a seat to catch the opening act in the Carriage Room. The evening we were there, we heard from a set of three brothers who played some foot-stomping music and kept us chuckling up until it was time to enter the dining hall.
It’s Show time!
Directly From the Carriage Room, guests enter into the 35,000 square foot arena to find their seats. To be honest, no seat seems to be a particularly “bad” seat. Everyone has good visibility as the show is performed on a “stage” spanning nearly the entire width of the arena. The excitement comes your way at some point multiple times during the evening.
The stadium seating is set in such a way that guests sit in a row at a bar. Just a step down from each dining row is a platform on which the servers walk back and forth in an orderly fashion throughout the performance. This is how your meal is served and how clean up is done quickly and efficiently. This also leaves no room for tripping or stumbling over feet, pocketbooks, little ones or chairs. That was some good planning!
Oh, my goodness, people. I cannot tell a lie. You get your money’s worth out of this four course meal! There is no going home hungry! Of course, there is a fun little catch to partaking in this feast ~ NO UTENSILS!! It was so much fun to eat with our fingers!
In a very scheduled fashion throughout the course of the evening, we dined on the following:
- Stampede’s Original Creamy Vegetable Soup, served with a scrumptious homemade biscuit.
- A whole rotisserie chicken
- Delicious hickory smoked pork loin
- Hot butter corn on the cob
- A tasty herb-basted potato
- Stampede’s very own specialty dessert (we had an appleturnover that was to die for!!!)
- Unlimited Coca-Cola®, tea or coffee.
Everything was perfect. The chicken and pork loin were tender and full of flavor. The potato was seasoned just right and, to be honest, just the way I like it! Oh, and who can forget that apple turnover?! It had the right amount of flakiness and the apple filling was nice and warm (see below)! It was sooo fresh! Mmmm-mmmm! Now, I was personally unable to do the soup for dietary reasons. However, my friends said the soup was soooo creamy! I even have it on good authority that this is the a weakness for some of the higher ups. So – you know it has to be good!
Food Allergy tidbit:
Vegetarian Meals and gluten-free options are available upon request. The staff at Stampede just ask that you mention this at the time of your reservation. **Stay tuned as I have another post coming very soon that is completely dedicated to this venue’s management of food allergies. Food allergy families, you won’t want to miss that post!
**UPDATE: Here’s that post on managing food allergies at Dolly Parton’s Stampede Attraction!!!
Time for the show
While we feasted on the good eats mentioned above, directly below us the main attraction was taking place. There were horse-riding stunts, spectacular effects, musical productions and hilarious comedy brought to us by Skeeter and Nugget (what a trip!).
Woven in between the horse races and musical productions were a few audience-involved games, buffalo, canine capers and a pig race. We even saw chickens running around the arena!!! It was quite amusing to see the audience get involved “onstage.” They seemed to have a really good time and what a memory to carry home with them!
As is common among Branson shows, the show closes with a Patriotic Grand Finale. As Dolly Parton’s anthem, COLOR ME AMERICA, is played, Doves of Peace soar through the show and a spectacular light show is displayed on the dimensional LED wall backdrop. It pricks the heart every time and reminds us of the “pride and spirit of America.”
Don’t miss this spectacular show!
Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction entertains the entire multi-generational family unit. It’s a tremendous opportunity to create memories for everyone ~ from the littles on up to the matriarchs and patriarchs of the group. So, remember to get there early, greet the four-legged stars on the way inside, snap a memorable photo (or ten), catch the pre-show and then enjoy a night of thrilling and incredible entertainment!
As a group, we had a fabulous evening! It was truly a foot-stompin’ good time had by all with every moment packed with wonder. It’s one of those events you simply cannot afford to miss when you visit Branson, Missouri.
Branson, MO 65616
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Quick note before we go: It should be noted that the Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction involves live animals, dramatic lighting, sound and pyrotechnics. In light of this, if you or anyone in your party has allergies or medical conditions that may be sensitive to any of these , please be advised to take the necessary precautions prior to entering the facility.