Recently my family and I received an invitation from the king to attend a feast and tournament at the Buena Park castle and were given the royal treatment. During this momentous event we enjoyed a four-course meal and were entertained by many acts of bravery, swordsmanship, jousting and combat.
Going to Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament feels like stepping back in time to an age of castles, kings, knights and stallions, battles of honor and chivalry and great duels to the death. If you enjoy movies like The Sword in the Stone or shows like Merlin, then you will feel at home in this medieval 11th century castle.
Before the show
As you enter the castle, you get assigned your seat and colors and you will receive a crown with the same colors. The colors represent the knight that will defend your honor during the tournament. Be prepared to cheer for your knight and boo the other knights.
Your seat assignment depends on the package you purchased and your time of arrival. If you get the King’s Royalty package, you are guaranteed a seat in the first row. With the royalty package, you get a seat in the first 3 rows.
If you are getting the standard package, you should try to get in 1 hour before the start of the show. This way you can get better seats from the remaining rows. No matter what row you end up in you will still have a good view of the action. The rows are arranged in stadium style with a lot of clearing from the row in front of you.
While waiting for the show to start you can enjoy some mixed drinks at the bar. They have good margaritas in large souvenir glasses that you can take home. The reception hall also showcases horses, swords and shields. The kids can buy toy swords and shields and the adults can admire and buy the real things.
Everyone gets the same feast. You start with a hot tomato bisque soup with garlic bread. After the soup you get a large piece of roasted chicken, a spare rib and herb-roasted potato wedge. The portions were large and filling. No one in our group was able to finish the meal (you can ask for a takeout box if you have a lot of leftovers). Make sure to leave room for the dessert – an or apple turnover. Soft drinks are included.
If you are a vegetarian, make sure to let the reception staff know before you enter. They will arrange for a special meal.
Finally, you don’t get any utensils so expect to eat with your hands and get messy - but if you insist they will bring you a plastic form and knife.
Our server was great. He was friendly and attentive. He made sure we got our food on time and refilled our drinks quickly. Tips are expected, like any other restaurant.
The knights start the tournament in friendly competition. First we witnessed some awesome sword fights - with sparks flying on contact and shield clanking when hit. Then we enjoyed jousting matches with horsemen knocked off their horses. When a knight wins a fight, he goes around throwing flowers to his section.
We also watched a falconer showing off the grace and obedience of her Falcon.
Later the tournament turned more ominous when a neighboring king requested the princes as a prize. The champion knight had to defend the princes’ honor and vanquish the offending knight.
The show was very entertaining with some audience participation. We really did not feel the passage of time. The only low moment in my opinion happened towards the middle of the show. A lone horseman spent a lot of time showing off his horse dancing and prancing to great music. Don’t get me wrong, the horse was magnificent, but this act was way too long. I am only guessing that they probably needed this intermission to prepare for the next act.
This description was deliberately kept brief to avoid spoiling the fun and surprises for everyone.
Value for the money
This dinner and tournament is a little on the pricy side. You pay $57 for standard tickets and you can add $10 or $20 for the royalty packages. But keep in mind that you are paying for a 4 course meal and a show.
Throughout the year you can find special deals through Groupon or through Medieval Times website. I saw some deals for half of the normal price.
Buena Park, CA 90620