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WonderWorks Magic Comedy Dinner Show

As part of a fun filled week in Orlando and after playing 9 rounds of golf in seven days, we needed something to get us laughing instead of swearing every time we lost, topped, or sprayed the golf ball or hit it directly into one of the many very steep and deep sand bunkers. We are not big fans of the typical tourist traps, so we were a tad skeptical about what was billed as an "outta control magic comedy dinner show." We were a little more encouraged when a couple of young hip locals said the show was fantastic. If we got one laugh, a somewhat fresh slice of pizza, and a couple warm beers, I guess it would be better for the soul than all that swearing!

We arrived at WonderWorks on time (a major feat) and were very surprised when within minutes of being seated we were munching on popcorn and sipping very cold beer! Followed quickly by a tasty salad and a few minutes after that a hot steaming pizza - not a bad start. As usual, the first beer went down pretty quickly and just as I started to look for the waiter he appeared with a pitcher to refill my mug. The same was true for the pizza, which was very good - it kept flowing and each one was a little different from its predecessor. Now I'm stuffed and out came a fantastic piece of cake, which I quickly devoured and then looked toward my wife's cake thinking I could handle that one also - she hates cake! But it was gone - she loved it. The good news, more cake arrived and my beer mug was magically kept full - so that's what they meant by a magic dinner show. But where is the comedy.

Magically, a guy appeared from behind the curtain, and for the next 45 minutes or more Tony Brent (an award winning comedian, impressionist, and magician) entertained us with a wide variety of amazing tricks, hilarious impressions, and high energy and very funny improvisations. Tony is a very talented magician with some tricks that boggled the mind - how did he do that! Like the one where a guy from audience had his $100 bill appear in a fresh lime when it should have been anywhere but there. What makes his show fun is that he doesn't just stand there and do magic trick after magic trick or the same old stale card tricks that every magician in the world does. Tony works a wide variety of props ranging from bowling balls to costumes to folding chaise lounge chairs into his act. In fact, the stage starts out clean and well organized and by the end of the show it is littered with all his props and paraphernalia. His personality was infectious and some of his impersonations and characters were hilarious.

WonderWorks Majic ShowTony and puppet at WonderWorksLifting a table at WonderWorks magic show in OrlandoOne of Tony's funny charactersScott & Tony singing "I got you babe"

Even better, Tony keeps the audience entertained, engaged, and involved. Most of his acts include participants from the audience ranging from young kids to three adults at a time on stage with him. One of the funniest was when he got my brother Scott on stage, put a mask on him with a mouth that was controlled by a spring, and added wigs to both himself and my brother and then started singing Sonny & Cher's "I Got You Babe." The crowd was roaring. And Scott had no idea what was so funny!

We hated to see his show end and we left with sore cheeks and stomach from laughing so hard. We were also full of pizza and cold beer. WonderWorks is much more than just a dinner magic and comedy show and after the show, the local manager John gave us a tour of WonderWorks. When you first approach WonderWorks, you can't help but notice that the building is upside down with a severe downward slope from right to left. The grass, sidewalk, street lights and palm trees are upside down and where a roof would normally be. As we were checking it out, we had a number of kids commenting on this strange upside down building - lots of "Wows," some "that's really cool," and a "Dad, what happened! Is it safe to go in there?"

The premise is that WonderWorks was a research lab from an uncharted island in the Bermuda Triangle that was carried hundreds of miles by a giant tornado and landed upside down and completely intact on an Orlando street. And that set the stage for what you'll experience in WonderWorks. There are over 100 hands-on interactive exhibits, some of which include:

  • fighter jets that you pilot
  • virtual sports like basketball, volleyball, and soccer
  • desert war virtual simulator
  • laser tag arena
  • video arcade
  • 360 degree virtual "wonder coaster"
  • earthquake simulator
  • a space shuttle where you take the controls and try for a soft landing
WonerWorks upside buildingLying on a bed of nailsNASA Space SuitWonderWorks exhibits

Plus lots more including bed of nails you can lay on, the WonderWall which creates a 3-dimensional impression of your entire body using 40,000 pins, and a bubble lab where you can put yourself in a bubble you created. And in the spring of 2010 there will be a ropes challenge course and an XD Theater 4D Extreme Motion Ride.

WonderWorks dinner show has won a number of awards including "Best Dinner Show" by the Orlando Sentinel in 2009. We thoroughly enjoyed the show and think it should be a part of your trip to Orlando. Be prepared, the kids will love WonderWorks and it may be hard to pry them out of there. You can purchase tickets to just the show or the WonderWorks exhibits, but you're on vacation so make it an evening and get the Ultimate Combo which includes the dinner show, WonderWorks exhibits, and laser tag. Have fun.

WonderWorks was part of a fun filled 7 days in Orlando where we played golf on nine different courses, went sky diving, swam with the manatees, drove an Indy race car, flew a WWII fighter trainer, saw gators on an airboat ride, and more. Click on this link to read our Vacation in Orlando article.

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