I can’t believe I finally made it to Medieval Times after a fifteen year quest! The evening did not disappoint. Medieval Times is a themed dinner show during which six knights battle on horseback and on foot. The show gets the audience involved by having each section root for a different knight during the tournament. There are nine locations around the United States, the first being Florida, which opened in 1983. Since then Medieval Times has entertained over 60 million guests. New to the show is a reigning Queen rather a King. Nice move, Medieval Times!
So many of my friends thought it was beyond strange that I of all of people wanted to go so badly. They all said the same thing: “I can’t picture you eating with your hands!” I want to go on record to say that as a huge fan of dinner, theatre, dinner theatre, history, knights, armor, swords, and horses, I had absolutely no reservations about eating with my hands and neither should you. When in Rome!
Before the Show
Much like a great theme park, the Medieval Times experience begins as soon as you walk through the castle doors. The lobby is decorated to look like castle halls and offers tons of fun memorabilia for purchase, including real steel swords. They even had Game of Thrones replica swords, if you’re into that sort of thing. (I am!) There are also two bars where you can order fun themed cocktails, all of which come in a keepsake cup of your choosing. The bar on the left by the Torture Chamber was less crowded.
For $2 more per person you can stroll through the Torture Chamber while you wait. It’s actually longer than we thought it was going to be and quite gruesome in the item descriptions! It’s a fun look at history while you wait for the show to begin. When you exit you can even see some of the horses waiting to get tacked up.
Bonus: Medieval Times does not charge extra for parking and there’s plenty of it. Get there early to get a good spot.
I know you all want to know about the food. Dinner begins with Tomato soup and garlic toast. The soup was lackluster but the toast was good dipped in it. The small half chicken was surprisingly wonderful. I was not expecting a lot food-wise and Medieval Times definitely exceeded my expectations with the chicken. It’s incredibly moist and you don’t even need silverware: it falls right off the bone. Also served with dinner is a small corn-on-the-cob and a seasoned potato slice. Dessert I think rotates but the night I went we each received a bright lemon pound cake slice.
The show is a blast. Trumpeters welcome the crowd. As aforementioned, a queen newly reigns the kingdom and begins the show by announcing a tournament. Each section of the arena roots for a certain knight. We were in the yellow section and I was pleased as punch when he kissed a red carnation and threw it at me. (Each knight tosses a few flowers into the crowd.) My friend Jason said, “Wouldn’t you have been so thrilled if that happened when you were eight?” To which I replied, “I’m twenty-eight and I’m still thrilled!” It’s impossible not to smile when a man on a horse tosses you a flower no matter what age you are.
The knights perform various trials on horseback during the first part of the show including a ring pierce, flag toss, and javelin throw. A falconer releases a large falcon into the arena, who swoops dramatically above the crowd. Several spanish horses perform sans riders. Medieval Times wisely holds the jousting until dinner is over so guests can give it their full attention. Some of the knights are knocked off of their horses during the joust, which leads to epic sword fights. The Mandoble swords spark when they clank together! Sadly our yellow knight did not fare well. It was black and white who ended up winning our tournament.
The Medieval Times horses are bred and raised for the sole purpose of performing. They start training at three years old and most perform for about twelve years. Three breeds are used at Medieval Times: the Friesian (hooray!), Andalusian, and Quarter Horse. The Quarter Horse is a fairly modern American breed but because they excel at running short distances and are much smaller than Baroque breeds, I get why they utilize the hearty stock. The Andalusian is a showy Spanish horse that’s popular with circuses and Hollywood. (The good guy almost always rides an Andalusian. Dear Hollywood: sometimes good people ride black horses.) The Friesian should be no stranger to my loyal readers! That’s what my sweet Wendy is. Friesians were prized warhorses during medieval times because they were strong enough to carry a knight in armor, making them a popular warhorse. Fun fact: there’s a waiting list to adopt retired Medieval Times horses! Talk about goals! Don’t be surprised if someday you see a retired Andalusian picnicking with Prince, Wendy, and me in the future.
If you appreciate theatre and swords, you’ll be happy at Medieval Times! It’s a fun way to spend an evening. What, pray tell, is better than hunky knights on horseback? Find a location near you and get more information here. Be sure to follow the castle near you on social media – they often post specials!
A few more snaps from the evening:
Watch my Facebook live from the show: