This week was the week that my friend Sydney and I had been waiting for all semester -- it was finally time to visit Chanhassen Dinner Theatre. This spring's show was especially exciting. CDT is currently putting on the Disney classic, "Beauty and the Beast." Sydney and I have been going to Chanhassen since we were freshmen in high school. We would go with our choir, but now that we are graduated, we wanted to continue the tradition. We also wanted to reward ourselves for surviving our first year of college. So, on Wednesday, we put on our heels and got ready for the one and a half hour trip to the theatre.

We decided to mix things up and go to a matinee performance over our normal dinner for a few reasons. First, tickets to matinees are slightly cheaper, so they were a bit more college-budget friendly. Also, we didn't have a bus to ride on this time, and I was ready to make the trip back down from the metro area at 11 at night. For the matinee show, doors open at 11am and the show begins at 1pm. Beauty and the Beast had a running time of about two and a half hours.

Syd and I were excited, so we got to Chanhassen at 10:30 a.m. This gave us time to visit the little shops inside and buy a souvenir or two (I personally have a collection of signed posters from some of the shows I have been to). At 11, we hopped into line a quickly got seated. Since Sydney and I were on a budget, we didn't get the best seats in the house. There was a "tree" on stage that block part of our view, but we were still able to see most of the action.

Since we were at a matinee, the dinner portion was a little different than usual. We got out bread and entree, but there were no salads this time. I got the vegetarian pasta, while Sydney went for the Famous Chicken Chanhassen. As usual, our meal was delicious. We also chose to have desserts during intermission. I had a fresh baked apple tart with cinnamon ice cream, and Syd chose carrot cake. Desserts cost extra but, in my opinion, they are worth it. Another extra cost that I highly recommend is getting the souvenir cup. If you buy it in the theatre, you get free refills on soda or juice, and they make great water bottles after the fact.

The show itself was wonderful. The costumes were great; they stuck to the original designs from the movie, and even the enchanted housewares were authentic looking. The costumes for Mrs. Potts and Lumiere were even automated so that Potts could pour steam and Lumiere's candles could glow. It has been a while since I have watched the original Beauty and the Beast, so I'm not sure how much they stuck to the original plot line. There was a good mix of songs that I knew and ones I had never heard before, so that was a pleasant surprise.

Overall, Chanhassen once again exceeded my expectations. I recommend going to a dinner theatre like Chanhassen at least once in your life if you are able. "Beauty and the Beast" will be running through late September. Now that I have seen this version of "Beauty and the Beast," I cannot wait for the new live action movie to come out next year!