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“Interesting Evening”
Review of Columbia Star Dinner Train - CLOSED

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Columbia Star Dinner Train
Attraction details
Reviewed 28 April 2014

The food was good, as were the drinks. It was a bit awkward sitting with a couple we didn't know, but it was consistent with the theme of pre-WWII train travel. After the initial awkwardness of introductions passed, we actually had a good time with the couple sharing the table with us. I could see how this could be an issue. On this particular trip, we only filled one of the four diner cars on the train, so I dont really see why we had to sit so close. The train travels so slowly on the way out that meal service isn't a problem at all. It only takes half as long to return, and there still isn't much jostling. The Prime Rib and Trout were great choices and that is the same thing the other couple ordered as well so I can't tell you about much else on the menu. Its a little pricey for forced company, but the ambiance is good and the wait staff is super.

4  Thank Brybatson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviews (47)
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7 - 11 of 47 reviews

Reviewed 24 February 2014

I booked the Valentines Day dinner train on 1/30/2014 via phone reservation. As a business professional, I deal with dozens of business every day, and this was the WORST experience I have ever had!!
Our train was advertised as this "Boarding begins at 6:15pm and we depart at 7:00pm for a three hour train ride that includes live entertainment and a six course meal prepared fresh on board by our Executive Chef, all on board a classic moving train departing from Brown’s Station in Columbia Missouri. The train returns at 10:00pm."

615 – we arrive on site, as instructed to board the train. We wait for over 35 min in 15 degree weather while 1 person with an non- alphabetized list attempted to check people in.
720- our train departed, 20 min past schedule
740 – the wait staff took our first drink orders
830 – we received our first drink order, 50 min after we ordered
850 – we received our appetizer, which our waiter could not give us information on what it was
920 – a table at the back of our car begin to take the entertainment microphone and sign/yell/annoy the whole train. Not one staff member asked them to quiet down or refrain from disrupting the train, so they continued the whole trip
945 – I asked a staff member in charge if they train was still on schedule, considering we had not even received our entrée, and told him we had children at home and needed to know. He proceeded to tell me we were on time and may arrive 15 min late.
1020 – we received our entrée (20 min past when they trip was scheduled to end). The entrée I ordered, Port Chop, was not there. When I told the wait staff I ordered a Port Chop and not chicken because I do not eat chicken, one young lady told me “just because you made a mistake doesn’t mean the chef has extra food laying around”. I then informed her I did not make a mistake, I ordered the Port Chop and my entrée isn’t extra, it is what I ordered. The young lady told me again, “there isn’t an extra chop laying around, sorry”. I took chicken because it was after 10 pm and had not ate anything, and took 2 bites because I DO NOT eat chicken.
1115 – I asked the wait staff to bring me my ticket so they could process payment now, she told me that wasn’t possible.
1145 – 1 hour and 45 minutes after the scheduled arrival of our train, the staff collected the entire trains tickets and began running them, 1 by 1, through a credit card machine.
1145 – the table in the back, mentioned above, then screamed at the wait staff and in turn had their ENTIRE alcohol bill waived. So, by ruining everyone else’s trip and drinking an absurd amount of alcohol, they were the first ones of the train with a free tab!

12  Thank Leeann C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 February 2014

What a Valentines Day train wreck! From start to finish! Disorganized! We had to wait outside for 30 minutes on a windy 15 degree night to board as they searched with a flash light to find each person’s name on reservation form. The ride was supposed to begin at 7:00 and return at 10:00. We did not get back until midnight! It took much too long between each course of the meal. We did not get the main course until 10:30 so we were starved to eat! I had ordered a trout meal but received pork chops, sauerkraut, and mashed potatoes. Yuk, there was nothing on my plate that I wanted to eat! My husband asked to speak to the manager but we were told there was nothing they could do. During this time two drunks on the train found the microphone and started yelling nonsense for 30 minutes. No staff attempted to stop them or ask them to sit down. This was going on while the (very poor) actors in a “who dunnit” play continued to out shout them on their microphones. People were yelling at them to “shut up”! Total chaos! FINALLY we got back to Columbia, they give us our drink bill and we were charged for a bottle of wine we did not receive. My husband refused to pay the bill and once again asked to see the manager. Several other couples wanted to speak to him about problems also. Too bad, the busboy tells us the manager “just skated”. He can be seen outside literally running across the parking lot, jumps in his car and drives away! Four people who bought a package deal that included a hotel and free shuttle were stranded because there was no shuttle waiting for them! A waitress told them she would take them to the hotel! We paid $199 dollars for this fiasco. My husband tried for a week to talk to the owner of Columbia Star by phone but he would not return our calls. The bright side - This will certainly be a Valentine’s Day we will not forget! I felt terrible for my husband who planned and surprised me with this gift. He read good reviews before planning this trip but that was not our experience, sadly. We must have hopped on the wrong train!

9  Thank TravlingE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 February 2014

There were 4 of us that waited outside in freezing temperatures with other complaining people while 2 staff members looked for names and tickets which took about a half hour. That was enough to make sure I never did this again. We were informed we had the warmest car and everyone was very cold. Then we asked for a bottle of wine as soon as we were seated and they were already out. We had 2 other choices that we thought would be good and they were out of those, too. The ride was supposed to be for 3 hours and ended up being 4 1/2. We did not get our main course until 10 PM. The food was delicious, the play was good, the staff was great but I think owner/management needs to do something to change how things are done before I will recommend or do this again. Overall, we had a good time but we were not paying a babysitter or had to get up early the next day and we could afford to let go of our expectations. There were some very unhappy people when we were leaving and that is too bad. I think this could really be a great and wonderfully different experience. Another tip: When you call to make the reservations, the answering machine usually picks up and don't assume someone will call back. I called several times, left a message, and after a few days, tried one more time and got someone. The message on their machine asked to leave a number and they would call back. They were not aware of my message. If I had not talked to someone that day, I would have given up. I am giving this an average rating because I am hopeful.

3  Thank jjfitzsimonds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 15 February 2014

We made a reservation but never got confirmation but our credit card sure got charged right away for the $199 dinner plus 18% gratuity before we got there. We were made to stand in the freezing cold for over 30 minutes while they tried to figure out the reservation mess. Once aboard we waited over 90 minutes for our drinks and then they had run out of the wine we ordered. The food was actually pretty good when you could get it. Our entree wasn't served until after 10 pm which was 3 1/2 hours later. We were supposed to return at 10 but it was more like midnight. Many diners were panicking, some were loudly complaining and demanding their money back. One waitress was trying desperately to get drinks for about 80 people. Worse yet in the midst of all this chaos was a "murder mystery" entertainment troop who did nothing but scream into microphones and harass the patrons. We were expecting dim lights and soft music but ended up in the middle of a 2 bit Vaudeville act. The only thing that was close to prompt was the bill at the end. Additional suggested gratuities were added - imagine. People were scrambling to get paid and just get off. Our dinner companion said he would have jumped off the train if he could. My husband who is the world's kindest man finally lost his temper when after waiting a long time to pay found they had grossly overcharged us. He asked for the card to be rerun and they just tossed him a $20 bill and we got out of there. My husband was so visibly disappointed - I just felt terrible since he surprised me with this unfortunate experience. It ruined our Valentines day completely. Never again:(

7  Thank Bbqcouple
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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