It’s official! I’m royalty! Well, okay, at least for one night. I was crowned Queen of the Tournament at Medieval Times!
It’s Spring Break and what a better way to spend the time than at Maryland’s own royal castle, taking advantage of their buy one/get one free special! You’ll enjoy a night of feasting, medieval games and fighting at Medieval Times, located at Arundel Mills Mall in Hanover, Maryland, right off I295 near Thurgood Marshall, BWI Airport.
For those of you who know me, you’re well aware of my love affair with all things King Arthur, medieval, knights, jousting, knights, feasts…and…did I say, knights? For just a mere pittance, you can enjoy a cocktail hour, a full-fledged feast and a 90 minute show that includes some of the most amazing athletic and theatrical showmanship anywhere. While dining on a meal truly fit for any king, you will be entertained by a falconer, world class horses and an exciting, nail-biting jousting tournament by our realm’s finest warriors!
Everyone, and I mean everyone from the door keepers, to security, to bar and wait staff, to performers, and even the management at Medieval Times are consummate professionals. They take customer service to a whole different level. There are not many places left anywhere that treat their customers as well as they do at Medieval Times. I’m no stranger to the Maryland castle and my recent visit was just as exciting as my first, about ten years ago. Some things never change and in this case, that’s a very good thing.
After the show, I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with two of the knights; the Yellow Knight (Don Eduardo del Rey – how cool is THAT name??), winner of the tournament games and the Red and Yellow Knight (Lord del Font), victor over the enemy, neighboring King Urlicht’s evil knight who wanted to steal the princess away for himself. When all others failed, the Red and Yellow Knight saved the kingdom from debauchery and ruin!
The Red and Yellow Knight, Matt, has been at Medieval Times for twelve years and I have had the privilege of meeting him before. He is, just as you would expect a knight to be, personable, intelligent, well spoken, and simply charming. His smile lights up his whole face and I had to keep reminding myself that we were not actually sitting in a tavern in Spain during medieval times, but in a mall in modern day Maryland.
Travis, the Yellow Knight (I was seated in his section), is equally charming…and very tall! The dimple in his cheek will make you blush. Originally from Los Angeles, he’s been at the Maryland castle for six years. He told me that when he first arrived to the area, while walking through the mall one day, he put in an application at the castle. He got the call to come in for an interview because management felt he looked the part and hired him. He’s been there ever since. I asked Travis what it was like being a knight. He said it was a fun, adrenaline rush. I can totally believe that!
Applicants for knighthood initially start off as squires where they learn and train and “pay their dues,” sort of like an apprenticeship. They tend the knights, take care of and clean up after the horses, learn horsemanship, weaponry and the art of swordplay. The squires’ duties are extremely important and critical to their advancement to knighthood. They make sure that everything is right and goes smoothly during a show. Matt says they basically do everything and their training lasts anywhere from six months to a year.
There is much more to these elaborate shows than meets the eye. Each show is intricately planned. Matt described it as there being almost a science to it. Not only is the show masterfully coordinated, so is the planning of each performance. Well-trained, seasoned knights and new, not-as-experienced knights must be carefully matched so there is not only balance, but also for the safety of everyone in the performance, including the regal and magnificent Andalusian horses. The horses are just as much a part of the show as the jousting. They are beautiful, amazing animals. I don’t support the circus or the zoo. But you can tell – you can feel it – those horses are well loved and well cared for. You can sense that they actually enjoy their work. The horses are visibly happy and enjoy performing!
The knights practice two hours per day, usually between nine o’clock in the morning till two o’clock in the afternoon, and work forty hours per week – a full time job. Performances are held during the day and in the evening.
Medieval Times performances are suitable for people of all ages. I enjoy people-watching so each time I attend a show at Medieval Times, I love to sit back and watch the audience before and during the show. The castle arena seats 1,009 people and a typical audience is made up of an extremely diverse crowd from every walk of life. From infants to seniors, bridal parties to divorce parties, graduation parties to Girl Scout/Boy Scout troops, from singles to couples, from girls-night-to fellas hanging out, there is something for e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e to enjoy.
Reasonably priced, starting at $59.95 person for adults and $36.95 for children under twelve (lap kids under three are free,) you can’t beat the price for all you get. I usually upgrade and purchase the Royalty package for a few bucks more to get the extra perks. They are well worth it – including guaranteed front row seating so you’ll be up close and personal to catch all the action. If you are a lady, you may even be lucky enough to catch a single carnation, sealed with a kiss, tossed by your knight!
The amount of food you get (included in the ticket price) is outrageous! It includes:
Oven roasted chicken (aka “dragon meat”) is HALF a chicken…yes half a chicken and, wow, is it delicious.
Tomato Bisque soup (aka dragon’s blood)
Herb Roasted Potato (I really need their recipe for this one)
Spare Rib (rib of the dragon, of course!)
Castle Pastry (apple turnover)
Even the napkin is a keepsake souvenir.
The show changes about every four years, so if you haven’t been for a while, you’ll enjoy the new show. If you have never been, you won’t be disappointed because each show is very special.
After the show, all of the knights convene in the Main Hall where you can meet them, shake their hand and take a picture with them. I have seen little girls (well, some not-so-little girls too…HA!) stare at them with glassy, wide-eyed fascination and little boys vow to become knights themselves when they get a little older. In turn, I have seen the Medieval Times knights, rather large men, surely exhausted after so much exertion, bend down with tenderness, kindness and patience just to smile at a little girl or to shake a little fellow’s hand.
I’m so very relieved to know that chivalry is NOT dead. It’s alive and well at Medieval Times!
For Spring Break and for a limited time, Medieval Times is offering an UNBELIEVABLE buy one/get one free opportunity. Fun for the whole family, you will not be disappointed and you can’t beat the price for all you get.
- Jousting is the official sport for the state of Maryland.
- I personally and highly recommend the delicious “Dragon Slayer” cocktail for attendees over the age of 21.
- A Medieval Times, it’s actually O.K. to call the bartender a wench! Huzzah!!
- I collected all the chicken scraps and rib bones from my party’s plates to bring home to my dogs. They love dragon. I hope the wench didn’t think they were for me. >.<
- Matt was the inspiration for the character “Mathias” in my novel, The Broken Sword. I mention him and Medieval Times in the author’s comments.
- (Not fun, but…) Matt says the most common injury a knight usually suffers is when he clobbers HIMSELF in the head with his own shield! (Ouch!)
- Matt and Travis will soon join me on my podcast, Lette’s Chat, for a LIVE interview. Check back here for details.