At Medieval Times in Buena Park, California, guests are transported back to a time when kings and queens ruled the land, knights fought for honor, and peasants ate with their hands. This truly entertaining family dinner theater captures all of the senses, from smelling and tasting a feast featuring roasted chicken and buttered corn, hearing the roar of the crowd as they cheer for their favorite knight, to seeing noble steeds prance around the arena and knights engaging in sword fights.
Seating is by first-come-first-served, so be sure to get there early to get front-row seating to watch the live action (parking is free). Show times vary, but are usually being at 3:30 p.m., 6:00 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. and lasts for about two hours. Upon entering the “castle,” guests can pay for a souvenir photo with a princess ($20), purchase medieval merchandise (such as crowns, swords, etc.), or indulge in a cocktail or soda from the bar.
Dress is casual and free paper crowns are distributed to each guest, in the color of the knight they are to cheer for. There are six sections, each a different color, with a knight dressed in the same color. Small ($2) or large ($5) colored flags can be purchased to wave in support of the knights — kids love these.
Once seated in the 1,116-seat arena, it is difficult to get up (and there is nowhere for women to put their purse) except of their lap), so be sure to use the restroom and purchase your cocktail in advance (the food/drink service can be slow; alcohol is not included in the price of the meal).
The theatrical show includes a storyline featuring Don Carlos (the King), Princess Catalina, and Herald of the North. Lord Chancellor is the MC and introduces the knights. The costumes are quite elaborate and intricate. The main show stopper is the horses. Led by the Master of Horse, the stallions are elegant and talented; simply beautiful to watch. Medieval Times owns a ranch in Texas where the horses are bred and trained. During the show, a royal falconer also treats guests to the flight of his bird of prey.
The live entertainment includes knights jousting on horseback and sword fighting on foot with music and theatrical lighting to heighten the sense of suspense. While watching the stunt show, a four-course meal is served. The menu is printed on a napkin (which can be difficult to read after using it to wipe your mouth). The meal includes oven-roasted chicken on the bone, garlic bread, tomato bisque soup, herb-roasted potato, sweet buttered corn, a pastry, and non-alcoholic beverages. A vegetarian meal is also available. While the food might not be gourmet, the portions are large, so guests won’t leave hungry. Kids will get a kick out of eating with their hands!
During the meal, the King and Princess read a list of the audience members who are celebrating their birthday. It is a long list because admission is free on your birthday (with a full priced adult admission). Adult tickets are $61.95 and children 12 and under are $36.95. Upgrade packages are available and include things such as VIP seating, flags, and photos. Medieval Times has nine locations throughout the United States.