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Showboat Branson Belle 9/21/2022

by Chris Guenzler

After a very enjoyable time in Eureka Springs, Elizabeth and I departed and drove to Green Forest, Arkansas.

Missouri and Arkansas Green Forest station used to be in Urbanette, thirteen miles away. From here we drove to Branson, Missouri and checked into the Quality Inn where I worked on the Eureka story and Elizabeth caught up on e-mail and the Internet until it was time to go. Elizabeth then drove us to the Showboat Branson Belle.

Showboat Branson Belle background

The Showboat Branson Belle operates regular two hour lunch and dinner sailings on the waters of Table Rock Lake, built by the United States Army Corps of Engineers during the late 1950s. The lake impounds the White River, which starts along the Arkansas & Missouri Railroad south of Fayetteville, Arkansas.

The Showboat Branson Belle is a modern vessel, launched from a Table Rock Lake shipyard on August 13, 1994 (actually christened April 13, 1995). The ship sails only on Table Rock Lake, a large lake with almost 800 shore-miles. It is claimed that the Branson Belle is the largest ship on a landlocked lake in the country. Reportedly, its original launching was a large tourist attraction. When launched, the ship slid for nine seconds at a speed of 14 miles per hour, sliding on two tons of bananas. The bananas were used as lubricant since they met the required environmental standards, they were biodegradable and would not pollute Table Rock Lake like grease.

The Showboat Branson Belle is 278 feet long and 78 feet wide and holds up to 700 passengers. It stands 112 feet, 3 inches to top of the stacks, and has a draft of 7.5 feet. The reported weight of the ship is 2.5 million pounds, or 1250 tons. To power the ship, the boat features 2 twin paddle wheels, each 16 feet wide and 24 feet in diameter. During each cruise, the Showboat Branson Belle travels at an average speed of 6 miles per hour, but has a peak speed of 11 miles per hour. The captain's wheel is a real classic, saved from the former C.C. Slider, which operated 1928-1952. The wheel, made of solid oak, is more than 10 feet in diameter.

The Showboat Branson Belle is one of four attractions that are associated with Silver Dollar City. The others are the White Water waterpark and the Silver Dollar City Wilderness Campground.

Our visit

We parked and started our walk to the boat.

White River Landing Welcomes You Aboard the Showboat Branson Belle.

Showboat Branson Belle Table Lake latitude and longitude coordinates and a harvest display. We walked to the boarding gate and down a path where an employee scanned our tickets.

Showboat Branson Belle. We walked down the ramp onto the Showboat Branson Belle and they took us to our seats.

Christopher James, our evening host and a magician played a game of Yes and No with audience members. They engaged in conversation but could not say 'yes' or 'no' (or similar words). None of the contestants lasted the whole three minutes but one lady came close. The meals were then served and the first course was a salad, which I declined, then dinner rolls, which I received two of from our server followed by the main course of chicken and pot roast with mashed pototoes and green beans. We both enjoyed our meals and aftewards went up to the top deck.

The paddlewheel of the Showboat Branson Belle.

Views of the shoreline of Table Lake.

Views of my beautiful wife Elizabeth who was really enjoying her first time on the Showboat Branson Belle.

The author was also enjoying himself.

More views of the shore of Table Lake on this warm late afternoon on the first day of autumn. We returned to the lower decks and visited the gift shop where we acquired magnets, two mugs and a Christmas ornament; the T-shirt designs did not appeal to us. We then returned to our seats where a dessert of butter cake was waiting for us then enjoyed the show which featured rock and roll songs which was up my alley.

The show started with "We Built This City On Rock and Roll".

"Carry On My Wayward Son".


"Where Would You Be Now?

"Take It Easy".

"Working For The Weekend", which was followed by "I Need You Forever" and "Don't Stop Believing".

"Johnny B. Goode". Next the singers and dancers paid tribute to Sir Elton John.

"Crocodile Rock".

"Goodbye Yellow Brick Road."

"Bennie And The Jets".

"This Is Your Song".

"Rocket Man".

"Tiny Dancer".

"Saturday Night's All Right for Fighting".

"Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me". Then the singers performed movie songs, 27 of them in 9 minutes with many quick costume changes.

"Somewhere Over The Rainbow" from "The Wizard Of Oz".

"Singing In The Rain" from the movie musical of the same name.

"Supercalifragilisticexpealaodocius" from "Mary Poppins".


"The Way We Were".


"Saturday Night Fever".

"The Time Of My Life" from "Dirty Dancing".

"Let It Be" from "Frozen".

"Easy Rider".

"Bohemian Rhapsody".

"Mammia Mia".

"Paper Moon"

"9 to 5".

"Risky Business".



"Midnight Express".

"Star Wars" A New Hope Theme.

"The Conversation".


"The Blues Brothers". The next musical selection was patriotic songs.

"America the Beautiful", "Star Spangled Banner", "Coming to America" and "Amazing Grace". Christopher James then entertained with a magic trick and had two guests from the audience, one who played drums and cymbal and the other who cut the rope. Christopher then did it in slow motion and everyone laughed at this. Once the show was over, we returned to land.

One last look back at the Showboat Branson Belle. I drove us back to the Quailty Inn and worked on this story.