I was given a discounted rate for the Dolly Parton’s Stampede dinner show in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own.
When we first arrived in Branson, we saw the advertising for Dolly Parton’s Stampede every where you looked. I honestly thought it would be very similar to the medieval dinner shows we’ve seen. The food advertised look similar, and I wasn’t quite sure what the show as going to be as I had read some controversy about the Civil War and North vs. South debate.
They open the doors about 2 hours before the actual show. As you walk from the parking lot, you can see all the horses in the show. My 8 yr old LOVED this because she is a huge horse lover. Each horse was in their stall with their name over it, and there are a lot of horses. There’s also some great places to snap a photo or two along the way.
It was recommended to us to stop by and pick up our tickets early in the morning to avoid the lines. We did this, and it was wonderful to be able to walk right in and not wait in the line for tickets.
Once you enter the mansion, you hand over your tickets and get photos taken (which they later bring to you in the dinner show to purchase). Then, there’s a gift shop and a preshow about 50 minutes before the actual dinner show.
For the preshow, they have seating and a bar both upstairs and downstairs. We found there wasn’t a bad seat for the show. They sing a lot of older country songs everyone knows (even if you don’t like country), and there’s lots of fun singing along. The bars do not serve alcohol. They do have some fun themed drinks as well as popcorn and nachos. We got some popcorn as well as some fruity fun drinks for all of us to share and sample. Compared to other dinner shows, the drinks with souvenir cups were very affordable.
Once the preshow is over, they immediately usher you into the arena for the dinner show. There is a North side and a South side, like the Civil War. But, the show is really not about the Civil War at all. We felt the only reason they had sides was because they had lots of competitions throughout the dinner show, including audience and animal participation.
The show starts off a little magical with some amazing aerial dancers who perform as the “Native Americans.” Then, they have some history about pioneers and bit about the Civil War. There’s even a big number where a stage descends from the ceiling full of Southern belles dancing and singing.
They had amazing trick horse riders, including one who rode through a ring of fire! There was lots of fun competitions, including dog races, pig races, and kids chasing chickens, and so much more. There’s lots of audience participating.
Our North “side” won a couple of competitions, but the South won more. I’ve read that the South usually wins most of them, and I have my suspicions that we might have been held back a little. But, it’s all in a good fun!
There’s a rodeo clown of sorts named Skeeter who really brought the comedy to the show. He even does a really good magic trick that takes up the entire arena. It’s funny and really amazing to watch!
The food is good, as is the service. Our waitress was constantly there to refill drinks and kept the food coming! The meal starts pretty quickly once you sit down with your drink order and then creamy vegetable soup and a cheddar biscuits. Then there’s a cornish hen, some pork, half of a potato, and corn on the cob. And, it’s finished off with a delicious apple turnover. We enjoyed it, and all of our kids did as well. We even had some leftovers to take back to the hotel.
They do allow lap babies to go for free. I brought baby food and a sippy cup with no problem. Our youngest sat on my lap and shared my meal. She is a very busy baby, but did amazingly well for the entire show. She loved seeing the animals and the fire, and she especially loved waving one of the flags we had for our side of the competition.
You can’t miss Dolly Parton’s Stampede, as it’s right on the main strip in Branson. They have at least 2 shows a day. On the day we attended, there were 3 shows available.
Dolly Parton’s Stampede was one of the highlights of our trip, and the kids are still talking about it! It’s a wonderful experience that your family will definitely enjoy.