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Medieval Times

June 2, 2007

Last Sunday we went to Medieval Times. Manufactured fun people! If you are not familiar with their set up, here it is:

Customers pay for the dinner and show on a single ticket; after purchasing, they gather for pre-show entertainment outside the venue at a “castle”. Each castle has a capacity of between 1,000 and 1,400 patrons.
Upon admission, patrons are seated at tables encircling a large indoor arena, in which the performing knights engage in jousting as well as sword fighting and individual and equestrian skill games.
Note the different color lights in my first picture. Also everyone gets a paper crown the same color of their knight.

“The house is divided into six sections, each assigned a different color, and the audience members are encouraged to cheer for knights who wear the same color (an authentic nod to traditions of courtly love).”

As people enter they are assigned a seating color and table number. Some how they are able to track you down and solicit twenty dollars for the photo that you were coerced into taking at the door with the king or princess. There is no getting by it, really. Ten years ago, it was the king and queen. Incidentally, that little change greatly annoyed my feminist sensibilities. Because even though the plot was never equal to Thomas Malory’s, it was more tolerable than this princess made fuckavailable for the winning knight nonsense. Now the queen is erased, absent, nowhere to be seen. And the Princess’s valley girl accent must go. It was particularly grating because not only was it my first time with the Princess as part of the plot, we were seated in the green section in the very first row in the very first seats which means we were right next to the thrones. It did give me the opportunity to observe the anachronic boots on the trumpet blowers (I searched this list and could not find the official name for trumpet blower). I was so entertained with his boots that I snapped a picture.
This trip makes my third visit, the black/white and green knight seems to be the favorite, however, this time the blue knight slipped by and won the hand of the princess after the black/white knight was killed twice and the green knight was defeated but not before a few dramatic almost dead but not quite dead yet stunts. The knights obviously intern for the WWF to learn their moves and techniques. Nevertheless, regarding dinner:

Dinner is served in courses, without eating utensils, as the audience is to eat with their hands in “medieval fashion” (historically, knives were customary; sporks knives are available at the show for those who desire).

There is no menu to choose from; a typical meal for all consists of carrots and celery with ranch dip, vegetable soup, garlic bread, bone chicken, one potato, one rib,a varied pastry, and Pepsi, iced tea, beer and/or coffee. It differs from a Medieval kingly feast, with the potato, Pepsi, and coffee being especially anachronistic. Dinner and show are designed to last two hours.

Perhaps the two times I went before I was just happy to be going and allowed myself to be caught up in the fun or maybe I am getting old because this time I saw it so differently. At times the show stalled, was too contrived, and cartoonish. Instead of being on the sides I was at the vertical head therefore I think I saw the mechanics of the stunts, for example, I saw a knight jump off his horse about five feet after he was supposedly knocked off of it. At times, the buffoonery was so funny I thought I was going be asked to leave for laughing so loud and long. Fortunately, the green section had more than its share of drunks, so I think I was drowned out by their super bowl tailgate like antics. I know one drunk had to be hoarse that night. We had fun though, far more than at a place like Disney Land for one reason alone, the employees were very nice and service oriented, even if they were out for every dime in my lady’s pocket.

By the way, the restroom needed some care, it was horrid. Apparently, someone was not too happy with the Red Knight’s performance. Note the red crown in the wet floor!

  1. Chris permalink
    June 2, 2007 2:27 pm

    We are taking Trevor to see Dixie Stampede sometime this summer and I expect a similar event with a southern theme.

    I played the trumpet from 7th grade through college but don’t ever remember being called anything other than a “first trumpet” or “second trumpet”. We were objectified by whatever we played.

    So if that is the case….I guess a “trumpet blower” would be….oh nevermind;)

    Perhaps the attendee’s thought they were just supposed to pee on the floor like a medevial stable?

    What was your final bill? I’m scared to ask, even though we will get a discount at Dixie Stampede, I know it is going to be like 40-50 a head.

    My Blog
    That being said…..

  2. JoannaOC permalink
    June 2, 2007 6:03 pm

    Last year at the Renaissance Festival(TM) in our neck of the woods, I stuck around for the jousting. I was amazed at how hard those folks get smacked around, even if it is a show. I love the horses, too. At our version, there were princesses, but they were more the “bawdy wench” (TM) type and had some by-play where they ended up smacking the knight around. No “medieval meal” although that option was available for a hefty fee.
    I know it is overpriced and all that, but I remember the first one I went to, way back in the 70s when it was much more low rent, and how absolutely enthralled I was, so I love taking my daughter and her friends. Last time, they all dressed up. I know we have some kind of medieval veil headdress lying around the house somewhere, as well as a unicorn stick-horse.

  3. Professor Zero permalink
    June 2, 2007 9:09 pm

    I like the Oregon Country Fair – also a renaissancey festival:

  4. E. K.(Kitty) Glendower permalink
    June 2, 2007 11:36 pm

    Chris, two adults and one child was $112. That is of course before anything from the gift shop, photos, or drinks (pre show), drinks are included during the show, but only Pepsi and beer I think, anything else one would have to pay extra. But we got a discount, so I think at the door the total without discount would be around $130. I checked their website but I could not find a listing. Keep your eye out for discounts though. We bought our tickets last summer. They are strict about reservations however, very.

    Joannao and Prof Z, I went to two Renaissance Festivals when I was 13 and 14 years old. They were wonderful. It was mostly vendors, but there were shows, and turkey legs, and cornish hen, and salt in burlap sacks, and the pretty flowers that go around one’s head. But when I had planned to go to another one when I was in my mid-twenties it seemed to be very corporate like and I decided not to go. I know it is about making money but I hate the whole treating the consumer like cattle aspect of it all.

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