I like Medieval Times. I had a birthday party there a few years back, which you might want to read about here. (Perhaps not. Your call.) I also love puns. So when Tim forwarded a press release entitled “Resistance is Feudal at Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament,” I was buying whatever they were selling. In this case, they were touting a new performance–the first since 2007–and an upgraded menu, and they wanted a fair lady or lord of the media to attend. Jump if you care about my adventures.
When I told my friend Rhonda about the VIP invite to a fancy Medieval Times premiere, she said, “‘Tis most splendid,'” and we jumped into my Toyota Avalon (which, incidentally, dates back to the days of yore) and headed down I-35. The whole VIP thing was called into question almost immediately when the lord working the front desk couldn’t locate my name on his scroll. After spelling my name three times, he gave up, wrote down our names, handed us some blue crowns, shoved us into a picture with a princess, and sent us on our way.
Here’s where things get weird. Our fellow VIPs–and there were hundreds of them milling about–were dressed up. Very dressed up. Like Hollywood premiere dressed up. Men were rocking suits; ladies were dressed in formals. We saw a lady in full armor and a few kids–but on the whole, this was a group of adults dressed for an evening on the town. The Woodbridge was flowing. Guests posed for red-carpet pictures with employees. And the jousting started early as everyone jockeyed for free stuff (cheese cubes, Beef Wellington, and “dragon throat,” which just turned out to be egg rolls).
Speaking of free, guess what wasn’t? Drinks. Nothing makes you feel less like a VIP than paying $25 for a round of drinks, but we managed.
Drinks in hand, we mixed and mingled, looked at high-priced merchandise ($35 for a “wench” t-shirt seems high), popped into the privy, and checked out ye olde smoking patio. We were pretty busy. But an hour later, even with the cheese and dragon throat, we were like, “Huzzah! We’re pretty hungry! Let’s get the show on the road!”
Finally, by 7:45 p.m., we were seated at our table of fellow blue VIPs in the Casa Valiente section. Between sips of Michelob Ultra, the gentleman next to me told me he was there because his girlfriend works for the CVB. “There are a lot of people from the CVB here,” he explained. Nothing says “VIP” like “CVB,” apparently. Whatever the case, the place was certainly not full–but it was pretty packed.
Our assigned server Bill introduced himself and gave his spiel in an accent that spanned British to Southeast Texas. I wanted to interrupt him with, “I bid you, an ale, sir!” Luckily, Rhonda reminded me that only moat water (tea) and dragon’s spit (Pepsi) were free and that I would have to wait for a different waiter for adult beverages.
A word about that: you know how at most bars, you order a drink, the service provider comes back with the drink, and then asks you to pay? Yeah, not at Medieval Times. I don’t know if people are walking the check or saying, “I have naught,” after the dude comes back with the drinks, but whatever the case, you will pay upfront.
Anyway, the rest of the night was pretty much fine. The tomato soup, rib, chicken, potatoes, and apple pie were pretty much as I remembered. The bread was different. The rib was apparently larger. But for the most part, everything was pretty much the same. We still ate with our hands. While I’m sure the script and music changed, the premise remains the same. There’s a king and a princess. Guys on horses fight one another. The dude with the falcon comes out, and the falcon does his figure-eight routine. Players die. A guy with long hair wins. Â Or, as the press release pointed out, “The live show will still feature two- and four-legged performers with a utensil-free meal serviced in a castle-inspired arena.”
All of which is to say: it’s still awesome.
The new performance officially starts tonight. Go to medievaltimes.com for tickets.