Since it set sail in that fateful April of 1912, the Titanic has held the fascination of millions for generations. If you are a Titanic fact buff, have nearly memorized the movies starring Leonardo DiCaprio or the 1958 movie "A Night to Remember" based on the 1955 non-fiction novel by Lord Walter, then you owe it to yourself to spend some time at this museum. Just a short drive from the Walt Disney World attractions, this museum, dedicated to preserving the memory of this ship and her passengers on land and under the sea, features 17 galleries spread across 20,000 square feet. Managed by Premier Exhibitions, there are similar museums in Richmond, British Columbia, Las Vegas, and Waco, Texas.
Trace the events of that fateful voyage through the life of a fellow Titanic traveler. You will begin your experience in this interactive exhibit when you receive your admission ticket, which doubles as a boarding pass printed with the name of an actual passenger. By the end of your stay, you will learn the fate of your long-ago companion. Hint: if they were in steerage, your chances might be slim. Other elements of the exhibit, such as interior architectural details, the piping of popular music of the era in some of the galleries, and docents dressed in period clothing, further enhance the experience.
You may receive, for example, the boarding pass of second-class traveler Florence Agnes Angle, age 36. Angle, born in Warwickshire, England, was headed to New York City with her husband. According to a 1961 interview, her husband woke her as he went up on deck to see what had occurred. Only when the commotion outside her cabin got louder did she fully get up. The couple together climbed the stairs to the upper decks. Angle was placed on rescue boat 11. Her husband was last seen waving to her from the deck. Receiving a story like this as you journey through the galleries personalizes the enormity of the tragedy that is still very moving—even a century after that night has passed. The Titanic struck the infamous iceberg on April 14. If you happen to visit the museum that day, actors in period costumes memorialize those lost at sea reading aloud each of the names, declaring that in death, there are no classes of rich or poor.
During your visit, climb a recreation of the grand staircase or visit the first-class cabin. Plan your trip ahead and you can reserve your seat in the dining room for the Titanic Gala Dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings. During this dinner theater encounter, you will be treated to a five-course, first-class meal and hobnob with the likes of the “Unsinkable” Molly Brown or Captain Edward John Smith. The dinner, at $69 for adults and $42 for children, is a bit pricey, but you are in a first-class dining room, after all. Each table seats 8-10 guests and diners should arrive by 6:30. There is no dress code; tuxedos and gowns and feathered hats are optional. (prices subject to change)
Cover Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons