If your hobby is learning about genealogy, history, reenactment groups, equestrian events, or if you need a special event for a group outing, Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament is an attraction worth visiting.
Medieval Times provides dinner and a show set in an 11th-century Spanish castle. The king, Don Carlos, has invited hundreds of guests for an evening of feasting and games. Guests receive a paper crown and have their photo taken with Princess Catalina upon arrival. Guests can also try on period costumes and take pictures.
The castle includes two bars, gift shop, Hall of Arms, and the Museum of Torture. The museum showcases devices that were used to interrogate and torture people in the Middle Ages, including the Head Crusher and the Judas Chair. The museum may not be suitable for small children. It is a gruesome place, and we were all relieved to rejoin the rowdy crowd in the lobby.
Once the arena doors opened, everyone filed in to their assigned colored seating area that matches the color of their crowns. We had red and yellow crowns so we could cheer for our red and yellow knight.
The show began almost immediately, and so did the food. Beautiful horses paraded around the arena while serfs and wenches brought hot baked bread and bowls of tomato soup, along with drinks (tea, water, soda). The knights, squires, and servants marched around the arena and the crowd cheered for the knight of their color.
The show lasted about two hours and throughout the evening, servers brought more food – half a roasted chicken, herb basted potato wedges, spare rib, and an apple turnover – all eaten with bare hands. It was greasy, sticky fun.
Guests gorged themselves as they watched a falconer turn his bird of prey loose in the arena. We ate as we watched our knight compete against the other five in a tournament. When the lights came up for good, everyone went back to the lobby for more drinks, souvenirs, or to get pictures with the cast.
Guests go back and forth in time. Just when everyone seems lost in the authenticity of the moment, someone takes a cell phone and snaps a picture.
That is the attraction of Medieval Times. Everyone is engaged for their own reasons, and everyone can take a little piece of the Middle Ages with them – a photo, a sword, a commemorative glass, a paper crown. Little kids and big kids will enjoy their special evening.
That is something to keep in mind. Medieval Times is not inexpensive, but it is a great option for a birthday party, anniversary, or a family reunion. The price includes a four-course meal and two hours of first-rate performances. There is a separate admission to the Museum of Torture. Guests are not required to purchase the pictures taken by photographers or anything beyond their admission fee.
When making reservations, whether online or by phone, check or ask about special promotions. Visit their Facebook page or subscribe to the Medieval Times email list. There are eight locations in the United States and one location in Canada.
The next morning I had a satisfaction survey in my email box. I rated the overall experience five stars, and then rated specific items accordingly. Nothing got less than four stars.
Medieval Times was certainly a “knight” to remember.
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