They didn’t need any convincing to spend an afternoon “training to be a knight.” The thought of swords and sword fighting were enough to get my boys excited. Ah boys. There is something always enchanting about knights and princesses, castles and kings. Even for me. So it was with great anticipation that we showed up in the hallowed halls of … “Medieval Times.” Okay, stop thinking cheesy or of that scene in Cable Guy.Medieval Times is a dinner and tournament venue… yes like Pirate Dinner theater and the like, but from the moment you step into the castle and are handed over your paper crown, you cannot help but be transported.
We were ushered in by costumed characters and posed with princesses. Later we visited the Museum of Torture en route to the Hall of Arms for some pre-training briefing.
Medieval Times in Buena Park, CA is a 70,000 square foot castle, featuring a soaring tower, elaborately decorated Hall of Arms, Knight Club (with a full bar!), an outdoor courtyard, gift shop and indoor stable area for 30 horses including the graceful Andalusian Stallions.
The thing about going into a “dinner-theater type of place” is that half the fun comes from the collective experience of the audience. At Medieval Times, everyone gets into it — the typical tourists, people celebrating birthdays and other special occasions, parents accompanying their kids.
Knight training consisted of exclusive weapons demonstration by knights, and participation in a special group knighting ceremony. Basically the “training” was a class wherein the knights using wooden swords teach the kids some moves like head strikes and such. My boys and the rest of the kids were mesmerized. And to this day, a week later, my younger one gets into form and shows us his moves…culminating in kneeling on the ground, when he describes how he was knighted by the King with a REAL sword!
The Knight Training is a new program at MT, free with paid admission, in Buena Park only during the first show on Sunday (230pm).
What’s cool is the kids get to meet the actual performers, so that my boys after bonding with Sir Robert, the black and white knight, ended up cheering for him during the tournament even if we were seated in the Red and Yellow Knight’s section.
The Pageantry and thrills were sorta authentic,in that real titanium swords clash and spark, and the knights involved are very athletic — doing martial arts types moves, rolling around, falling off horses. Ah yes, the horse. The beautiful Andalusians are natural performers.
We ate a decent meal of barbecued chicken, ribs, potatoes, soup and pie for dessesrt — with our bare hands — lending to the “authenticity” of the experience (because they had no utensils during medieval times.) My kids were in heaven with the simple and tasty cuisine.
Dinner seems an after thought at most dinner + tournament places…. because the focus is really on the show.
There are Medieval Times castles in Atlanta Baltimore/Washington DC area, Chicago, Dallas, (Lyndhurst) New Jersey, Myrtle Beach, Orlando, Toronto and the castle we visited Buena Park. For more information visit www.medievaltimes.com