We made our annual summer trip to Branson this year from July 2 to July 8. We left on the morning of July 2. Hubby likes to leave so early in the morning. It's like he's in a hurry to get to Branson. I am too, but at most places, you can't check in until after 3 or 4 PM. The traffic on Hwy. 44 wasn't too terribly bad, although it probably would have been bad in the afternoon with everyone headed to the Lake of the Ozarks.
We usually eat a light breakfast before we leave and stop in the city of Pacific at either McDonald's or Hardee's to grab a breakfast sandwich. However, neither restaurant was open for dine-in. So we went through the Hardee's drive-thru and ate in the car in the parking lot. We stopped at the McDonald's in Lebanon for lunch, and they were open for dine-in.
We stopped at the Conway rest stop. I looked for the Best Read Guide in the area with all of the tourist information, but I couldn't find one. I did get a Travelhost magazine and other assorted brochures. We stopped at the Huck's in Ozark to fill up the car. We arrived in Branson at 1 PM, which was an hour too early than the 2 PM arrival time I arranged with the owner of our condo. So we drove to Walmart in Branson West to get groceries and other supplies.
For this trip, hubby wanted to stay on Indian Point. The last time we stayed on the Point was in 2018 when we stayed at Golden Arrow Resort. Golden Arrow is now closed, however. With the exception of our Memorial Day weekend trip last year when we stayed at the All American Inn, we have stayed at condos for the last few years. We enjoy the comfort of not staying in a hotel room and our 24-year-old son enjoys having his own bedroom. We booked a condo at Eagles' Nest Resort, which is the condo resort closest to Silver Dollar City. The streets of the resort were all named for birds and our condo was on Woodpecker Lane. It was a very nice condo and we especially enjoyed the screened-in porch that went across the back of the unit. If you are interested in seeing where we stayed or in booking it for yourself, you can see the listing here.
On Saturday morning, I wanted to go to Tanger Outlet Mall. I enjoy shopping at the Vera Bradley Outlet Mall and the Reebok outlet store. I was happy to discover that Tanger opened at 9 AM. Last year, due to COVID, it didn't open until 11 AM. The hubby and son insisted on going with me - I guess they thought I was going to stay there all day. I shopped at Bath & Body Works, Vera Bradley, and Reebok. Then the son and I bought root beers at the A&W restaurant - they still have root beer that comes out of the spigot rather than fountain soda. Hubby decided that he wanted a new pair of shoes too, so we went to Famous Footwear. After that, we stopped at the Mickey Gilley Theater to pick up our tickets for the Texas Tenors. We went back to the condo for lunch and to hang out for a while. I had picked up a Branson Insider magazine at the theater and saw a 20% off coupon for the Escape Reality Magic Dinner Show. I didn't have to cook dinner and we would see a show while saving money - that was a win-win for me. I called and made our reservation.
We had to be at the Branson Central Theater at 4 PM. The first course started at 4:30 PM. It was a three-course meal with salad, beef and gravy and a chicken breast, two entrees, roasted potatoes, steamed vegetables, and a brownie for dessert. My son, who is a finicky eater, only ate the roasted potatoes and the brownie, so hubby ate his salad and we shared his beef and gravy. The food was very tasty.
The show was supposed to start at 5:45 PM, but it didn't start until 6 PM. It was an enjoyable magic and illusion show, but I think the Rick Thomas show and the Reza show are much better than the Escape Reality show. This show might be better on a bigger stage. At the end of the show, Garry told the audience that the show is rated #2 on TripAdvisor and asked us to post good reviews. This turned me off. If I really enjoy a show, I will post a review, but I don't like being asked to do so. Wanting to post a review has to be natural and not forced.
The next day was July 4. We viewed our church's Sunday morning service on Facebook Live, then ate lunch at the condo before heading to town. I had bought 2 vouchers for the Branson Ferris Wheel from radio station KKOZ. My hubby is afraid of heights, so the son and I went on the Ferris Wheel. The view was lovely from the top of the Ferris Wheel. We bought the photo package because the photo was actually very good (see above).
After we went all the way around once, it was time to get out of the car, but the attendant asked if we wanted to ride again. I did, but the son didn't - the arcade at the Tracks was calling his name. We went there for a while, but it was really crowded. So we decided to go to Andy's for frozen custard. The Andy's coupon from the St. Louis Cardinals calendar that we've used in past years, however, no longer works at the Branson location. But the frozen custard was as great as ever. After Andy's, we went back to the condo for dinner and to rest up for our Silver Dollar City visit the next day.
On Monday, we went to Silver Dollar City. We wandered around the stores on the square until the opening ceremony. The son and I rode Fire in the Hole. We then saw Sadie's Wild West Traveling Revue in the Boatworks Theater, which is the saloon show in a more outdoor location. We then rode the train, which was entertaining as always. We then went to lunch at what we thought was the Reunion Hall, but it turned out to be Molly's Mill. We then went to the Grand Exposition area. Our last stop of the day was to see Down by the Riverside at the Dockside Theater. The Rivertown Ramblers were energetic and talented and I really enjoyed this show.
We stopped at the ice cream shop in the main square for ice cream. After that, it was time to go back to the condo. We had an easier time finding our car this time than we did during our last trip to SDC.
On Tuesday, we went to Grand Village and did a little shopping, because we wanted to go to The World's Largest Toy Museum, but they didn't open until 10 AM. Actually, the only places in Branson open earlier than 10 AM are restaurants. We bought a Groupon deal that is almost always available. The museum is actually in two buildings. There is a BB gun museum - I have never seen so many BB guns in one place in my life. There is a room with nothing but board games. There is a large Barbie display. If you played with a toy as a kid, it's probably here. If you plan on going to the Toy Museum, prepare to spend at least two hours here, if not more. After we left the museum, we went back to the condo to eat lunch and relax before we went to see "Jesus" at the Sight & Sound Theater.
We went to the 3:30 PM show at Sight & Sound. The Sight & Sound productions are always excellent and high quality. We picked the 3:30 show because we wanted to use our voucher for McFarlain's. However, by the time we got to McFarlain's, there was a 45 minute wait time. My hubby didn't want to wait that long, so we left McFarlain's and decided to go to Florentina's Italian Restaurant instead. But the wait time for Florentina's was an hour. We decided to try for Florentina's Wednesday night after we saw the Texas Tenors (since it was a 2 PM show) and we went to Pizza Hut on Green Mountain Drive to order a pizza, which took about 20 minutes, which we took back to the condo. It appears that all the restaurants are short of help and so it takes longer to get seated and eat.
On Wednesday, we went to Branson Landing. We did some shopping at Bass Pro Shops (where I got another new pair of shoes), looked around at a couple of other stores, and then we went to Garfield's at 11 AM for lunch. After lunch, we went to our favorite indoor mini-golf place, Coral Reef Mini Golf, on a Groupon voucher that is always available. Then it was time to go to Mickey Gilley's theater to see the Texas Tenors. We have wanted to see the Tenors for years but their show schedule never lined up with our vacation schedule. We bought a voucher from OzarksDeals.com that is now available again (but in limited quantity).
The Tenors were excellent singers and very personable. It was a very enjoyable show. They performed "God Bless the USA," and everyone stood up. I wonder when we started standing up for "God Bless the USA" like we do for the Hallelujah Chorus, though. Before the show, there were some older ladies behind us whining about the fact that there were so many people sitting together. I had asked about social distance seating when I made our reservation; however, it appeared that things had changed. The older ladies moved from behind us to some empty seats across from us.
We tried Florentina's again after the Tenors and the wait time was only 15 minutes. A lady sat down next to me and asked, "Weren't you at the Tenors?" I replied that we were, and she realized that she had been at "Jesus" with us too. We got to talking, and she said she was from the state of Washington and that this was her first trip to Branson. A newbie! Later, I stopped by her table on my way back from the bathroom and told her about this blog and its Facebook page. I gave her the card with my Cardinals blog information on it and wrote the link to this blog for her on the back of the card. If you're reading this, I am so sorry but I have forgotten your name. I hate getting old and forgetful.
The next morning, we left Branson for home. We had a very enjoyable trip and I am already planning our November trip to Branson. Thanks for reading!