I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting much when Jon and I went to Madame Tussauds for our last date night before Foster was born. I knew our dinner would be fantastic because it was at Cafe Tu Tu Tango and they never disappoint; but I figured the evening’s entertainment would be… just ok. Somehow I was expecting a big room with a red curtain backdrop and a bunch of unconvincing wax figures lined up for me to look at. I was so wrong. It ended up being an awesome date night all around and I decided I had to share it on the blog!
If you’ve never been to Cafe Tu Tu Tango, you’ve got to try it. The food is phenomenal. It’s served tapas style, so you get a few small plates to share. I highly recommend the sangria, Cajun Chicken Egg Rolls, and Tuscan Meatballs. But you really can’t go wrong as long as you save room for the Banana, Cinnamon and Caramel Pizza. It will change your life.
It’s also easily the most visually interesting restaurant in town. The walls are covered in paintings by local artists, there’s usually some sort of live entertainment in the evenings (we’ve seen magicians, belly dancers, tarot card readers, graffiti artists) and an artist creating pieces in the restaurant. While you wait for a table, you can walk around and look at everything! I wish I had a picture to show you and I’ll definitely be updating this post the next time we visit, but believe me it’s worth seeing.
I know I-drive isn’t most locals’ idea of a good time, but believe me when I tell you it’s changed. If you haven’t been even in the last five years you need to get down there and give it another shot. Playing tourist can actually be fun. My favorite update recently has been the addition of I-Drive 360. The Orlando Eye and Sea Life Orlando are both great attractions for families with young kids, but if you’re doing a date night I highly recommend Madame Tussauds. It’s definitely not what I expected.
As you walk around each corner in the building there’s a new vignette with famous people from various time periods, and they’re interactive! Many have props for you to take pictures or touch screens for you to learn more about the person. I love that they incorporate historic figures as well as pop culture icons and modern celebrities. Juan Ponce De Leon, Martin Luther King Jr., and Einstein all make appearances.
The coolest part is that the figures were all created from actual measurements and photos of the person they replicate, so you can see what these people really looked like. I was surprised at how small Walt Disney was and it was cool to stand next to Shaq (even though I already knew he was a giant).
The details on the figures are amazing – even things you wouldn’t think of, like Tom Hanks’ freckles or a bracelet on Elvis that’s mostly hidden by his sleeve. More than once Jon and I actually found ourselves doing a double-take because we thought the figure standing or sitting there was a real person.
My favorite part of the night was hamming it up with some of the figures. Jon was “interviewed” by Jimmy Fallon and got into a boxing match with Muhammad Ali and I for some reason thought it would be a good idea to put a headband from the Katy Perry scene on like it was a bra… you’re welcome.
- You could definitely take the kids to Cafe Tu Tu Tango (and you totally should! What a great way to get picky eaters to try things!), but I honestly think they wouldn’t get much out of a visit to Madame Tussauds, so I’d recommend making that a date night. It’s fun and interactive, but in my opinion the adults are going to get a much bigger kick out of seeing the historic figures and most of the celebrities.
- Let your babysitter know it will probably be a late night. You’ll want at least a couple hours to play at Madame Tussauds after dinner.
- I recommend reservations for dinner at Cafe Tu Tu Tango. It can get busy.
- Don’t worry too much about crowds. Even on the weekend there weren’t so many people at Madame Tussauds that we felt claustrophobic.
What is your favorite way to “play tourist”? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!