|City/Town: • Kissimmee|
|Location Class: • Recreational|
|Built: • February 29, 1988, | Abandoned: • January 1, 2014|
|Status: • Demolished|
|Photojournalist: • David Bulit|
Since opening on February 29, 1988, Arabian Nights dinner theater has presented over 10,000 performances for around 10 million visitors.
Set in a horseshoe-shaped arena with a dirt floor, the Arabian Nights show spotlights Al-Marah Arabian horses with acrobatic riders. Different acts included but not limited to were chariot races, square dancing cowboys and Indians, and gypsies performing daredevil stunts. Customers, who paid $66.99 for general admission, ate dinner in stands surrounding the action. With seating for up to 1200, it was known as the world’s largest indoor Equestrian Arena.
In November 2013, it was announced the attraction was closing on January 1, 2014. According to owner Mark Miller, the attraction’s revenue could no longer support the kind of show he wanted to present. Ticket wholesalers, which handle the bulk of Arabian Nights’ sales, would no longer pay enough for the blocks of seats they purchased.
The closing of Arabian Nights came as another loss for 192, which has a struggling mix of hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions, some of which have been abandoned. Miller has led the W192 Development Authority, a group of seven businesspeople charged with creating a plan for redeveloping the area.
Dinner-show attractions such as Arabian Nights were once plentiful in Central Florida tourism, and dozens have come and gone during the past two decades. Among the more prominent ones, King Henry’s Feast and Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede have both closed. Medieval Times in Kissimmee and Pirate’s Dinner Adventure near International Drive in Orlando are notable survivors. Demolition of the Arabian Nights Dinner Show arena began in December 2014.