Medieval Times: Dinner and a Tournament in Grand Medieval Style

Lisa Fritscher January 13, 2011 No Comments

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Medieval Times Pageantry Castle

Enter an 11th century castle for the pageantry of the Middle Ages

With nine locations in the United States and Canada, Medieval Times is a chain of dinner theaters specializing in the Middle Ages. The theaters are styled as 11th century castles, complete with drawbridge and moat. We recently visited the castle in Orlando, FL, which is currently the only location to also house a replica Medieval Village and Museum of Torture.

Ticket Options

Medieval Times Knight Matches

Cheer for the knight that matches your seating section

All tickets include dinner and the show and, in Orlando, admission to the Medieval Village and Museum of Torture. The castles are relatively small, ensuring that all seats offer a good view. Upgrade packages are available at an additional fee. The Royalty package includes preferred seating in the second or third row, a cheering banner, a behind-the-scenes DVD and a souvenir program. The Celebration package includes all of the above plus a slice of cake. The King’s Royalty package includes everything in the Royalty package with preferred seating in the first or second row center section and a framed photo of your party with a knight. Discounts are often available on the Medieval Times website for non-holiday shows.

Medieval Village and Museum of Torture

Medieval Village Orlando Florida

Visit the medieval village before the show

Doors open 90 minutes before show time, and seating is assigned in order of check-in. We purchased our King’s Royalty tickets a week in advance and arrived before the doors opened. We were among the first to check in, and assigned to Table 2 in the Red and Yellow section. We posed for our free photo with the knight and were given directions to the Medieval Village (located just across the courtyard from the castle). We took a few minutes to look around the Great Hall and gift shop, filled with suits of armor and other displays, before heading to the Village.

The Medieval Village is surprisingly large, featuring replicas of buildings that were common during the Middle Ages. Several of the rooms were staffed with employees eager to answer questions or share a bit about the time period. All of the items on display are authentic to the period rather than reproductions.

The Museum of Torture is filled with devices that were actually used as punishments for various crimes from lying to heresy. Drawings show how each device was used, and there are small plaques that explain the item’s function. While it is easy to use your imagination, none of the images are graphic and the displays are tastefully done. We saw lots of children of all ages in the museum, and most seemed mildly interested. There is no reason to skip this even if your children are small.

Seating Procedures

Medieval Times Dinner Seating

Bleacher-style seating gives everyone a great view of the action

Plan to be back in the Great Hall approximately 30 minutes prior to show time. When the arena is ready for seating, a knight will ascend the stairs to a small balcony where he can address the crowd. The knight calls for seating by color section, and a pair of heralds play their trumpets to welcome each new group of guests.

You will climb a staircase and then descend into the tournament hall. An elevator is available for guests with disabilities. Seating hosts and hostesses are on hand to direct you to your table. The process is easy and relatively quick, but with so many guests being seated at once, it does feel slightly like a cattle call. The room is also extremely loud with everyone talking at once.

Seating is at long tables arranged bleacher-style, so that everyone has a good view of the tournament floor. A low wall in front of the front row prevents dirt kicked up by the horses or knights from reaching the audience. We were in the first row of the center Red and Yellow section, and could not have asked for a better view.

The Feast

Medieval Times Dinner Service

Food service is quick, efficient and friendly

The Bill of Fare is standardized, so expect the same meal at any Castle you visit–tomato bisque, garlic bread, roasted chicken, spare rib, herb-crusted potato and a pastry for dessert. Vegetarian meals are available upon request. Servers are quite friendly and do an excellent job of timing their service to minimize the distraction from the show. In order to accomplish this, however, service is decidedly assembly-line in style. If you need something extra, such as extra napkins, expect to wait until your server’s next “pass” down the line. Pepsi, Diet Pepsi and water are available at no charge, while full bar service is provided for a fee.

The food is surprisingly good, both well-prepared and well-seasoned. Prepare yourself in advance, though–since eating utensils did not exist in the Middle Ages, all food is eaten by hand. Everything is prepared in a manner that makes this easy. For example, the soup is served in a metal bowl with a long handle. Hot, wet towels are provided at the conclusion of the meal.

The Show

Medieval Times Dancing Horses

Dancing horses are among the evening's entertainment

The main event is, of course, the tournament. Featuring knights on horseback, a master falconer, jousting and other feats of skill the entire show is overlaid with a love story that you will not soon forget. Your seating section represents the knight for whom you will cheer, and good-natured back-and-forth banter with other sections is highly encouraged. The performers feed on the attention, so be sure to cheer and scream loudly for your chosen knight.

Medieval Times Knight Jousting

A safety screen is lowered before the joust. Make sure you change your camera settings!

For safety reasons, a screen is lowered between the performers and the audience during the jousting portion of the show. You will still be able to see everything, but you may need to change the settings on your camera. Take a couple of test shots when the screen first comes down, before the action starts.

Tips for Parents

Medieval Times Seating for Children

Most kids are fascinated by the spectacle

Children’s tickets are available for those aged 3 to 12. Children under age 3 are free if they sit in a parent’s lap and share food from the adult’s plate. Note that you will share a long table and bench seating with others, so there is no room to put a lap child down beside you if he gets fussy.

If you have small children, you may want to coordinate with your table mates to get seating at one end of the table. If you need to take the child out to the restroom or to burn off energy, it is less disruptive for everyone if you are the end of the table.

Medieval Times is an excellent choice for kids of all ages. The pageantry and spectacle of the tournament, the kid-friendly foods and the excitement of cheering for a favorite knight keep most children wrapped up in the experience. The dress code is casual.

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Lisa is a full-time travel writer. She lives in an RV with her disabled father and writes about their experiences. Although she has no children of her own, Lisa loves being an Aunt to her own relatives and the children of all her friends. You can follow her adventures on her blog, Travel Confessions.

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