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The Ultimate LA Family Guide ™
(review from June 9, 2009)
Here is the 411 on Medieval Times...
Medieval Times is both a dinner and show theatre. We went to the one closest to Los Angeles in Buena Park. There are however 9 medieval times throughout the united states and Canada. The Show is based in a large castle right in the heart of Buena Park. You end up sitting in a rather large arena in rows with a small counter space in front of you with the stage being directly in front. The cost for medieval times is not exactly a fixed price given that from my questioning of fellow members in the audience their was a range of ways people purchased their tickets: The website states the cost 53.95 and 36.95 respectively for Adult and Children seats for the 2009 season. Our own research has found that many people had online coupon codes for discounts such as free children or seat upgrades as well as purchasing their tickets through referral services such as Goldstar. Group rates were also noted which seemed less and varied depending on whether they purchased a package with tip or not.
The location of Medieval Times is literally right down the block from Knotts berry farm at 7662 Beach Blvd
Buena Park, California 90620. Their seems to be a range of 1 to three show daily with the weekend having the most shows. The show times are as early as a matinee show at 11:30 to an 8:45 pm show on a Friday night... We went to a 7:00 PM show on a Monday night.
The first thing you will notice about Medieval Times is that that it truly looks like a castle from outside. No, it does not look like a authentic castle from Europe but to the children in your party it will clearly be a large castle. Even the burger king across the street is in the spirit of Medieval times in that it too is in the shape of a castle.
Parking is plentiful and before you know it you will be entering medieval times. As you enter you are given a crown to wear on your head. Believe it or not, almost everyone really wears it and puts it on. Its not corny when everyone does it. They take a group picture which you have either prepayed for if you bought a more expensive package beforehand, or you could purchase. You then see a museum they have there called the museum of torture which costs a few dollars to enter. Since we are LAwithKids we decided not to enter the museum, but I imagine an older set might enjoy looking a the display prior to entering the dinner theater.
We were then led into a large room that led way to a rather fun gift shop. The horses were actually on display through glass windows on the gift shop making a gift shop visit fun. The gift shop sold everything from very inexpensive flags to actual swords.
Soon some trumpeters welcomed everyone into the indoor area area and you sit according to your color. This is significant because the whole night you are rooting for a knight which represent your areas color. There are quite a few upsells here and through our research once again you are either given or color flag to wave or have to buy one for a dollar. While the person with the wallet might be feeling a little pain after the gift shop, flags, and picture sales, the children are oblivious to this and seemed to be having a great time. I have to say that we did too and I will tell you why...
The food was not the worlds best, but you don't go to Medieval times for the food. We were served soda out of a rather small cup and refills were not the that easy to come by. In fact there was one period where I actually felt parched waiting for the pitcher to come around with a refill. The servers are assigned to quite a number of visitors and they simply work down the rows serving their sections. There is no menu, but rather a simple Bill of Fare that starts out with a tomato soup followed by a plate that includes a large amount of chicken, one rib, a potato, and a piece of bread.
The desert was simple pastry. Everything was edible.
While it is not a vegetarian delight they do offer a vegetarian meal by request. I did not see anyone eating the vegetarian alternative but a few internet sources said that it was portabello mushroom topped with rice, soup, bread, vegetable skewer and hummus and similar apple turnover pastry. The chicken and rib selection seemed adequate for everyone around us, and eating with your hands and no utensils was kind of fun.
The show was a festival of horse pageantry with a make believe story that leads us to a tournament amongst several knights. As mentioned, you are assigned a color and you are encouraged to cheer for your night. One of the knights also plays the bad guy making that group color to either playfully detest or root for depending on your seating arrangement.
The choreography is absolutely excellent with knights and their horses doing various maneuvers and playing some unique equestrian games with javelins and other apparatus for everyone to see right in front of you.
There are make believe fights at one point and their are fallen knights after sword fighting but everyone know it is make believe. We scanned the audience to see that the reaction was positive to this play fighting.
One highlight of the show was a mini show within the larger choreographed show. Medieval times happens to have a horse that could dance.
As they put on music, the horse could pretty much move to the music. He literally stepped and moved to the beat. Amazing and I did not even know that a horse could be so trained.
Our research tells us that the type of horse that did such a maneuver was a Black Andalusian horse from Spain and that Medieval times takes pride in not only having this type of horse but also in the celebration of how it could be trained.
One of the best things about the show was that there was a number of entertainers, plenty of color, and constant action that would entertain children of all ages.
The knights also through flowers at young ladies and then acted especially super heroish in front of all. This kept children on their toes throughout the show.
After the show, the stars came out and were open to pictures at no charge from all of their now loyal spectators. they also had contemporary music playing on a dance floor and it was fun to see families all dancing together having a great time after the show.
All in all, I have to say that everyone will fined something that they enjoy at Medieval Times... There was action, horses, choreography, wearing silly crowns, and eating with your hands.
It was a fun experience that LAwithKids encourages you to check out for yourself.