Even though my family and I have visited Walt Disney World Resort 20+ times, we are still able to find lots of “new to us” things to see and do. As a matter of fact, I actually set out to find at least one new thing for us to experience each trip. Thanks to the fact that the Disney Imagineers have lots of ideas and inspiration, I never have to dig too deep before I find that “new to us” restaurant, attraction or experience.
During the planning stages for our May/June, 2015 vacation, I received an email from House of Blues advertising Kirk Franklin Presents Gospel Brunch at House of Blues. From their communication, it sounded like it would be something that we would enjoy. “Join us for our new Gospel Brunch experience which includes local talent performing both traditional and contemporary Gospel songs personally selected by legendary gospel producer and artist, Kirk Franklin. Before and during the show treat yourself to an amazing all-you-can-eat buffet featuring breakfast favorites plus tender carving stations, southern specialties and mouth-watering desserts. Don’t miss our signature chicken and waffles!” (excerpt from House of Blues website).
I searched the internet for reviews and, quite frankly, there weren’t many out there. The few that I did find didn’t go into a lot of detail. If you’ve read any of my articles, you know that I’m a detail person. I like pictures, descriptions, etc. and that will be the case in this article as well. Even though I couldn’t find much on the brunch, we decided to book it anyway since we have enjoyed all of our previous meals at Crossroads at House of Blues. As a matter of fact, I wrote about one of those meals here on Magical DIStractions.
Seating & Ticket Options
Once the decision was made that we wanted to book, I used the Ticket Master link in the email. Choosing the venue and date was, obviously, easy. When it came to choosing seats, not so much, because I really had no reviews of which seating choice would work best for our family. The prices for all of the tables on the floor were the same price for adults, $41.50, but some of the tables had seating for two, some for six and the larger tables would seat eight. We were a party of three so, no matter where we were seated, we would be assigned to a table with other Guests.
When using the Ticket Master site, you have two options: 1) choose the seats for yourself with “buy on map;” or 2) you can use the “find seats for me” feature. The “find seats for me” option had us assigned to Tier 2, Table 51 which is a table for six and all six seats were available. Sharing a table wasn’t an issue for us but I really wanted to talk with a live representative before purchasing the tickets. I put the three seats that were assigned to me in the cart and my total came to $162.00 which included a service fee of $12.00.
DIStracted Tip: If you book through Ticket Master, you have the ability to print your tickets from your own computer at no charge or you can choose a USA delivery option for a small fee.
I called Ticket Sales at House of Blues Orlando at 407-934-BLUE and the representative was extremely helpful as she had actual knowledge of the seating because she books concert tickets all the time and is actually there. After giving her the date, she was able to recommend seats and, coincidentally, Table 51 was one of the tables that she recommended. It had a great view of the stage and was close to the buffet. I took her advice and booked the tickets directly through her and took the items out of my cart on the website. I was told to pick up our tickets any time during regular ticket booth hours and to bring a photo I.D.
DIStracted Tip: I booked the brunch in April 2015 and again in December 2015 (both for May concerts) directly through the House of Blues and was not charged a service fee. That’s an additional $12.00 that I did not have to spend each time that I booked.
Before moving on to my review, I’d like to give you a bit more information regarding the seating and I’ll post the seating chart again for easy reference. All seating is assigned. The tables directly in front of the stage are on the floor and seat up to eight people. Then, there are two small tables and two six seater tables to the left and right of those. In the back “on the floor” are small two seat tables. So, the first four rows of seats are on the floor. Just a step up from the floor are several tables that seat six and some that seat two.The long dash-like lines at the very back of the picture are upstairs and are called loge and pews and I believe that those are only open for booking during very busy times.
DIStracted Tip: Although the seating chart shows only one accessible table, there were others in the venue. There was a sign in front of our table indicating that it was considered an accessible table as well.
We had arrived at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort the day before and visited Disney Springs on our night of arrival so we were able to pick up our tickets before the date of the brunch. Because we had our tickets in hand, we were able to join the line instead of stopping at the ticket booth. As I said, the seating is reserved so I wasn’t worried when I saw that the line started near the venue door and extended out past The Smokehouse. You can get an idea of where we were standing by our view in the next picture. The three ladies in the picture are part of the gospel brunch singing group. They entertained us while we waited in line and gave us a taste of what was to come.
Not long after the mini-concert was over, the line started moving and we were facing the venue.
Seating and Views
Once we got to the door we were greeted, asked for our ticket, and led to our assigned table. In the middle of the table is a large wooden circle with the chair numbers painted on it and the condiments are sitting in the middle of the circle. Our reserved tickets were for Table 51, Seats 3, 4 and 5, and as it turned out we were not joined by other Guests. The hostess pointed out the various food stations and invited us to visit any or all of the stations as many times as we wanted during the brunch. She did let us know that as the end of the concert neared, they would begin clearing the buffets to get ready for the 1:00 p.m. buffet and performance.
I will apologize in advance for the quality of my pictures. At the time, I had no idea that my camera was about to go on the blink during the middle of our vacation. I was also hesitant to stop and take pictures while in the buffet line, as I didn’t want to hold up the line for other Guests who were anxious to try the abundance of foods prepared for us. As you can see from this picture, the House of Blues ticket representative was spot on when she stated that Table 51 was close to the main buffet table. Just a few steps and we were in line.
Our view of the stage which is just behind the screen in this picture was great as well!
The Buffet & Food!
With my camera on my shoulder, we got in line for the food and there was a lot of it! The main buffet table had fresh fruits, an assortment of salads and boiled shrimp.
The next section had two sides. On one side, there were all sorts of breakfast meats and foods: biscuits, rolls, bacon, sausage, gravy, eggs, grits, etc. On the other side there were Louisiana/soul food type dishes. Guests could choose from red beans and rice, chicken, jambalaya and more. Over in the corner was a chicken and waffles station and near it was a sweets section that had all sorts of pastries and sweets. Just beyond that was the omelet station where they made them to order. Over on the total opposite side were the beverages and there was juice, water, sodas and coffee. I didn’t get pictures of the other stations but I did take pictures of our plates.
Every single item that we sampled was delicious! The salads had just the right amount of dressing. The shrimp was seasoned properly. The grits were thick and creamy. The pastries were light and fluffy. The bacon was crispy just like we like it. And the bread pudding? Out of this world! Our server was attentive throughout the meal, cleaning the table and encouraging us to visit the buffet as many times as we would like. The House of Blues was showing us some true southern hospitality!
Gospel Brunch Music & Entertainment
After the majority of the Guests had their plates filled and had taken their seats, the concert began. While Kirk Franklin doesn’t actually perform in the concert, he does make an appearance onscreen and introduces the performers.
The music started playing, the curtains parted and the concert was on!
The music and songs performed during the concert were a mix of classic gospel and what I would consider contemporary or modern gospel. It was lively! It was awesome! It was moving! I took two videos on my phone and did do a little bit of editing (not enough to make them of spectacular quality but you can still get a feel for the show).
If the video does not work in your browser, you can view it here.
You can really see how into the music they get towards the end of “Ain’t Nobody (He’s My Friend)”!
If the video does not work in your browser, you can find it here.
At one point they asked for people celebrating birthdays or special occasions to come on-stage and they were also going to do a contest. My son, who aspires to rock the stage for hundreds of thousands of people, jumped at the chance. They had a singing contest in which the performer would give them the lines and the others had to sing the lyrics. They ended up choosing four contestants. Three were women and the other a gentleman. One of the women could sing really good, the guy was alright, the older woman was pretty good and the other lady couldn’t sing at all but really got into it. The audience’s applause decided the winner and a gift bag was awarded to the winner. I think that the others came away with a little prize as well. It was a fun way to get the audience involved in the show.
More singing and music came after that and, as I said before, we were encouraged to visit the buffet as often as we wanted.
Kirk Franklin’s Gospel Brunch Review
By the time the gospel brunch was winding down some in the audience, including myself, had their hands lifted. Others were standing and giving a rousing round of applause. For those who may be wondering if the brunch feels like a Sunday sermon, it all depends on what you want out of the brunch. There is no preaching and it is not overly religious. If you are looking for outstanding musical and vocal performances, delicious food and an electric atmosphere, look no further than the House of Blues Gospel Brunch.
It is my hope that this detailed review and information was helpful to you. I know that we all go to Walt Disney World to get away from the “real” world and to leave our cares behind. If you truly want to leave them behind, book the House of Blues Gospel Brunch. You’ll be glad that you did. We certainly were! So much so that we have it booked again for our upcoming May/June 2016 trip.
Current ticket prices are $41.50 for adults and $23.25 for children ages 3-9. You can book by calling House of Blues directly at 407-934-BLUE or through Ticket Master.
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