are not included in a regular ticket, but are well worth the ticket price. The programs range in price from $7 per child, $12 per adult to a flat fee of $12 per person. Since we saved on the fourth hotel night, we used that money to attend one evening program. The VC does a good job of explaining the program's content so a parent can make an informed decision about whether a child should attend.
We chose the To Go A Pirating event. We found out later that we saw the very last performance. Most of the evening programs right now are holiday themed and 2009 will feature all new performances. In To Go A Pirating, they showed an actual pirate trial from 1727 of a man and woman captured in North Carolina but tried in Virginia. Twelve of the audience sit as high justices and ten are allowed to sit as jury. The rest of the audience sit in the gallery section.
My middle son was chosen as a high justice and the rest of us were awarded jury seats. These choosings came from our place in line outside the gate. My suggestion: get there early. No pictures or filming is allowed inside during most of the programs. It's an actual play with audience participation. We were allowed, at the appropriate time, to ask both the prosecutor, the witnesses and the accuseds questions. At the end of the trial, everyone votes to either condemn or acquit.
My boys have always been pirate crazy and this was a highlight for them to attend. We missed getting the earlier reservation time, so it was definitely a late night. It didn't start until 9:00 p.m. and was over around 10:15 p.m. My suggestion: do the research and book your ticket early--you can book online.
The actors greet you outside as you exit for pictures or autographs. It was then we learned that because it was the final performance, a great deal of ad lib had occurred. Our audience voted to convict both pirates. In the real trial, the man was convicted but the woman was acquitted. In the ad lib portion of the trial, the pirates managed to overpower the bailiff, steal his weapons and make off with the evidence loot. It was quite hilarious.
If you're planning a trip, make sure you budget for and attend at least one evening program.