We were recently talking about taking our 7-year-old to Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament and so I booked tickets for this past weekend as a Father’s Day surprise for my husband. He and I had been there with adult family members about 15 years ago. The show’s format was basically as I remembered, though this time, the yelling and screaming and cheering for our knight and chanting our knight’s colors “Red & Yellow! Red & Yellow!” all while sitting with our excited, bouncy kid, made the experience even more fun.
Our closest Medieval Times is in Schaumburg, IL — a suburb outside of Chicago. There are currently nine locations in total (eight in the U.S. and one in Canada). I often see coupons/discounts online for the show and by doing a quick web search, I found a “summer discount” of 40% off each ticket and applied the coupon code at checkout. Discounts vary by location and days of the week, but if you are flexible with dates, you can definitely find some great deals for the show.
There are three upgrades to the basic tickets — the King’s Royalty Package, the Celebration Package & the Royalty Package — they include various levels of priority VIP seating and other fun extras such as group photos & announcements by the King during the festivities. We went with the least expensive upgrade — The Royalty Package. This gave us Priority Castle Access, VIP seating, Priority Seating Access, Knight’s Rally Towels, Cheering Banners and VIP Lanyards. The package was an additional $12 per person and was worth it as we truly did have awesome seats & it was quite fun using the rally towels & cheering banners during the show.
Doors opened 75 minutes prior to our 4:30 p.m. show. They recommend getting there as early as possible after the doors open to obtain the best seats — they are assigned once you arrive at the castle in whichever category you purchased. It’s quite the brilliant strategy on their part from the sales standpoint, as it gets show-goers in the castle nice and early in hopes of obtaining the best seats & that means there is more time to browse & buy souvenirs & drinks while meandering through the castle before the show begins. There are several kiosks with everything from light-up swords to fancy crowns to toys and decorative figurines and more. They also have a few bar areas set up where you can purchase beverages of both the alcoholic and non-alcoholic varieties to take with you while you explore. You can even pre-order bottles of wine for during the dinner show.
Although you are slightly bombarded with things to potentially purchase, it was a lot of fun arriving early. They do some pre-show festivities during that hour in the Great Hall. For those who pay a bit extra, you can participate in a knighting ceremony — we didn’t purchase that experience, but it was fun to watch. The actors did a great job with the pre-show theatrics and getting everyone pumped up & excited to be there.
After we watched several guests participate in the knighting ceremony, we decided to explore the castle. They have some neat artwork in different areas as well as various historic artifacts on display. We strolled through one section and ended up running into the Royal Falconer along with a beautiful, 9-year-old falcon named Liberty who was going to perform in our show. It was very cool for the kids (and their adults!) to see the falcon up close and have the chance to ask lots of questions & learn about how falcons were used back in that time period. Arriving early was worth it for that experience alone.
You can also see the horses ahead of time if you head to another area when you first arrive, but we didn’t get over to that section of the castle in time, so the horses were already “backstage” prepping for the performance. We’ll definitely head over there early on our next visit.
If you have time and are interested, there is a Torture Museum at the castle as well — I hear it’s pretty cool so we’ll have to check that out down the road. We skipped it this time around since we figured it might be a bit too intense for our little one.
Just as we finished up talking with the Royal Falconer, they announced that the doors to the arena were opening. Since we had purchased one of the VIP upgrades, we were allowed to enter the arena right away. The servers were fantastic and ours, in particular, was great fun! He joked with the kids in our row every time he came by and got a great reaction when he told our daughter and the little boy she was sitting next to that the chicken he was serving was actually a baby dragon like Spike from My Little Pony. That got huge “eewwwwws” from all the kids as well as lots of giggles!
The food was great — I remembered it being tasty last time as well. The kids all got a kick out of the fact that there are no utensils so you have to eat everything with your hands & drink your soup out of the bowl without a spoon. The meal consisted of garlic bread, a super yummy tomato bisque soup, roasted chicken that was perfectly moist with a still-crispy skin, corn-on-the-cob, herbed roasted potatoes, two rounds of select beverages (our choices were cola, lemon-lime soda, iced tea & lemonade). For dessert, we had an apple turnover & they served coffee as well. During dinner you can also order other beverages from the bar, for an additional charge.
I won’t spoil the theme & background story of the show, but as for the logistics, each section of the arena is assigned a specific knight who is yours to cheer on to victory. We were seated in the section for the Red & Yellow Knight. We were also technically able to cheer on the Green Knight and the Blue Knight since they were on our side of the arena as well, but had to watch out for the Yellow Knight, Black & White Knight and the Red Knight…they were our foes.
The two-hour show includes demonstrations of Falconry, Horsemanship, Weaponry & Jousting. Some segments of the show are in tournament format — knight against knight — and some other parts add to the drama of the overall story. In addition to enjoying the various games & battles (the sparks coming from the swords during the battle scenes were a huge hit!), we all really enjoyed watching the horses.
The price of the tickets was more than worth it just to see the reaction of sheer amazement from our daughter when the first horse came running out through the fog…her jaw dropping to the floor paired with her long, drawn out vocalization of “WHOA….they are BEAUTIFUL…!!!!!!” was priceless to us. The horses truly were stunning & their gentle gracefulness was lovely to see.
The Royal Falconer & Liberty, who we met pre-show, did a fantastic job during their performance. It was really cool watching Liberty soar throughout the arena and overhead, as well as work with the Royal Falconer.
Our Red & Yellow Knight didn’t win this particular tournament, but he sure was fun to watch! Our daughter was quite happy that he threw a flower to her during dinner, too.
Of course there has to be a villain…the mood sure shifted when he was around…and at the end he appears to have been captured, but you won’t know for certain unless you go and see the show!
We will definitely head back again and this time we won’t wait another 15 years. As we were leaving the show our daughter asked if we could come back the next day. We told her that maybe we’ll go back this fall for her birthday…in this case, maybe is definitely a “yes.” We look forward to surprising her with the timing of our next visit.
Hope you have a chance to see Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament sometime soon! It is well worth the ticket price & a great way to spend a few hours with family or friends!