I’m sure he’s going to love me sharing this fun fact, but in case I’ve never told you all, DadJovi has a very unusual favorite movie. OK, I don’t know if it’s his “favorite favorite” movie, but whenever he has insomnia or is home sick, one movie is usually his go-to flick: “Titanic.” Yes, this one.
He used to be more quiet about his love for this sweeping saga but lately he’s been embracing his love for the movie that goes on (and on). And for the record, he went to go see it during its recent return to theaters in 3D, not me. So, um, yeah, he’s a fan.
But he’s more than just a fan of the movie; he’s become a bit of Titanic buff. So when I got an invitation for a special blogger event at the newly opened Titanic: The Experience on International Drive in Orlando, I knew I was going to win the Wife of the Award this year. Boom. (Keep reading to find out how you can get an exclusive discount to check out Titanic: The Experience yourself!)
They even told us we could bring E., so he got to share his love with the whole family.
(Note: I wish I could take credit for them, but all of the pretty pictures to follow are courtesy Titanic: The Experience)
It’s as if organizers had my husband in mind. As soon as we walked in, they had a large showcase of “Titanic” movie memorabilia, including the whistle Rose blows after she ignores her promise to Jack and lets him go.
They also had a huge green screen set up and they ushered us over to it to take a couple pictures. Well, clearly there was only one pose we were going to do:
She’s QUEEN OF THE WORLD! (OK, fine,
DadJovi, movie purists, the line for this pose is actually, “Jack, I’m flying!”).
We also had the option to be on the stairs of the Grand Staircase or in the Boiler Room.
Titanic: The Experience is part museum, part show. You begin in the lobby and each person is handed a Titanic boarding pass. On the back is the name and story of a real passenger from that fateful trip (more on the cards in a moment).
In the lobby, you’re greeted by your tour guide, a trained actor in period costume depicting a famous passenger from the ship. And we hit the tour guide jackpot. Ladies, I have found where Robert Pattinson is hiding out during Cheatgate: Orlando!!
The picture doesn’t quite do it justice, but I’m telling you, I’ve found RPatz’s doppelganger. It was downright eerie. He was depicting passenger Harry Widener (a Pennsylvanian!), but he had a vaguely British accent and was wearing skinny pants (OK, fine, they were pants in the style of the 1910s but they looked like skinny, hipster pants to me). And then there was the perfect recreation of Edward Cullen’s hair. It was even the same copperish hue. I think I made
DadJovi him uncomfortable with my constant staring.
Two things convinced us that it wasn’t really RPatz: 1) he never tousled his own hair even once 2) DadJovi said he was a much better actor that Pattinson. So rude. But if he had been a James Franco lookalike instead, I would have thought it was the real person because this is the exact kind of thing I can see Franco doing.
I promise, I paid attention to much more than our guide’s vampirishly good looks! But it was distracting to me at least.
Our first stop on our 17-gallery tour was the docks in Belfast.
The exhibit does a beautiful job of combining actual artifacts recovered from the wreck site of Titanic with faithful recreations, such as the ginormous (technical term) propeller above.
After learning about the construction of the ship and its sister ship (I had no idea!), it was time to board RMS Titanic:
This was my favorite area. There were several showcases featuring a combination of recovered items (such as one of the deck chairs!) and period pieces (clothes, jewelry, magazines, currency, etc). There were also full-scale recreations of several rooms, including the Marconi operator’s room, a first-class living room (I swear I saw Cal’s bodyguard lurking in the corner) and the Verandah restaurant.
In that room, they had several showcases featuring recovered wine and champagne bottles (with the bubbly still inside. Amazing), the menus for first- and second-class passengers and recovered dishware.
When I studied abroad in London during college, one of our classes traveled to Lockerbie, Scotland one weekend. Pan Am 103 exploded over this tiny town, and all of the passengers aboard died, including 35 Syracuse students. The town residents were amazing and went around collecting everything they could for the victims’ families. I’ll never forget the item that may have haunted me the most — one woman discovered a full set of tea cups and a pot that a Syracuse student had bought for her mother for a Christmas gift. I can just remember that feeling of amazement that this delicate set of China could survive, yet no humans could.
I felt the same way when I saw these dishes that the Titanic’s passengers had eaten off of 100 years ago that somehow survived not only this horrific wreck but decades on the bottom of the ocean.
Of course, one of the highlights of the tour is the Grand Staircase. E. obviously hasn’t watched “Titanic” yet but DadJovi was watching it the other day to prepare for our visit (**cough, dork, cough**) and E. walked in on the scene when Jack kisses Rose’s hand at the bottom of the stairs.
As we turned the corner into the room housing the staircase, E. shouted, “This is where he kissed that girl!” Or maybe that was DadJovi I heard?
In any event, it was stunning.
Pretty awesome, huh? Who needs Jack? I nearly convinced RPatz to kiss my hand at the bottom of the stairs, too.
Things got really awkward when I asked him if the backseat of the car in the cargo hold was as big as the one in the movie. Sadly, he had no interest in steaming up the windows with me.
OK, fine, none of that happened. I may be inappropriate here but being there, you really could feel the emotions of this sad chapter in our history. The exhibit just makes you feel as if you’re walking in the footsteps of the 2,200 people who boarded Titanic.
After passing through several other interesting areas, things get chilly — literally. You’re taken to the ship’s decks and the temperature noticeably drops. After discussing the lifeboats (including some really interesting insight about why the boats left half-filled and why Bruce Ismay may not have been so evil for getting into a boat), we headed into the ship’s bridge.
One of the most amazing artifacts of the exhibit is in this room — the very telegraph machine that was used the night of the sinking to send a message to the boiler room to try and (unsuccessfully) steer the ship away from the iceberg now resides here.
From here, we entered the most solemn room of the tour — four backlit tablets with the names of everyone on board.
The tablets were divided by first class, second class, third class and crew. At the bottom of each tablet, it says how many from each category were on board and how many survived.
And remember those boarding passes I told you about. At this point in the tour, we got to find out the fate of our Titanic counterparts.
The bolded names survived and the hollow names died. Pretty powerful, huh?
Our next stop on the tour was E’s favorite part and the most traumatizing for her parents.
That, my friends, is an iceberg. Well, sort of. But it is a giant block of ice that is the exact temperature of the water the night of April 14, 1912 — 28 degrees. Robert Pattinson had us all stand shoulder-to-shoulder and on his count, he had us walk up to it and keep our hand on the ice for 10 seconds. Neither DadJovi nor I could do it (E. did, though). The people in the water died quick deaths in water that cold. The smaller they were, the faster they died. What a horrific thought.
The centerpiece of Titanic: The Experience is 3,000-pound section of Titanic’s hull, recovered from the bottom of the ocean in 1998. It’s the second largest piece ever recovered and it’s massive in size and significance.
Of course, before we left, I couldn’t resist grabbing our tour guide for one quick picture, which I then used to convince my friends that I hung out with RPatz.
I know I’ve referred to him as RPatz too much, but he really did a fantastic job as Harry Widener. He was funny, very knowledegable and spoke with true heart about the events of that night. There are several different tour guides, including a Captain Smith and Molly Brown.
DadJovi is already planning his next trip back. I think E., who is 4, was probably a little too young for this. There was nothing inappropriate or scary (well, other than the fact that I had to tell her the boat sunk) but if you do have a young one, there are certainly enough bright, shiny things to amuse them. And they’ll LOVE the iceberg.
I’d like to return too when I’m not making sure she’s not breaking a 100-year-old artifact and really spend some time slowly exploring the exhibit. I think this would be a fantastic school trip for elementary school kids.
Here are a few more details about it:
- Titanic: The Experience is located at 7324 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819
- It is open seven days a week, and tours start at the top of every hour. Check the website for complete and updated hours.
- Prices are:
- Adult: $21.95
- Child (4-12): $12.95
- Florida Resident Adult: $17.95
- Florida Resident Child: $10.95
But here’s something fun for you! If you want to check out Titanic: The Experience, I’ve got a special discount for MomJovi.com friends. When purchasing your tickets, just mention the promo code “BLOG” to the front desk staff, and you’ll get 20 percent off!
They’ll even throw in a few playings of “My Heart Will Go On” for free. How can you pass up a deal like that?
My family and I attended a free blogger preview event of Titanic: The Experience. The tour was free but we loved the photo so much, we purchased it. And I can all but guarantee we will be returning on our own dime. So, as the saying goes, all opinions are 100 percent mine.
Also, thank you to Titanic: The Experience for providing all of the tour photos above. All images (except for my RPatz stalkarazzi shots) are copyrighted to Premier Exhibitions, Inc. All rights reserved.
Are you a “Titanic” fan? What’s one artifact you’d like to see from the real ship? What movie prop would you like to see?