7662 Beach Blvd, Buena Park, California 90620 (multiple locations)
Good for: Special events, occasions, or surprises
Price: $58/adult, $36/child, free parking
Features: Live show based on the middle ages, horse dressage, falconer, includes dinner
Have you ever wanted to try something a little different? Maybe treat yourself or someone else to a memorable evening full of action and excitement? Medieval Times just might be what you’ve been looking for. It’s basically a dinner show but what you get, though, cannot be summed up so simply.
The front of the venue is a castle and sticks out like a sore thumb on the busy urban street, right next to the pirate show. After you turn into the parking lot (free), you can see just how huge this place is! They must have remodeled as I didn’t remember it being this big when I went before, which was some 15 years ago. It’s suggested that you arrive early to check out all the displays, get pictures taken, peruse the merchandise for sale, etc. Unfortunately, due to L.A. traffic, we only got there a few minutes before it started and had to hurry to our seats. Sections were divided into six colored areas and seating was arranged in long rows. We were in the first row of the blue section.
The show began with the entrance of a single horse. Wow, that was a beautiful horse! A trainer then came out and there was a little narration about the growing relationship between horse and man. After that, quickly warped to the 11th century. We were introduced to the knights, one by one, as well as the reigning king and his daughter. All performers were in full costume (very detailed) and totally in character.
The focus then went back to the Pure Spanish Andalusians that were brought out. One in particular was quite photogenic and allowed my husband to get some great shots of him performing some amazing skills. By the way, the whip being held was not used to whack the horse.
We were most impressed with the ‘airs’ this horse did. We could tell the rest of the audience felt the same with the rumble of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ echoing through the arena. I’ve been to other shows that featured horse dressage (yes, I had to google that term) but what we saw here was really a breath-taking display of skill, strength, and superior training.
The falconer was interesting as well but just couldn’t top the horses we saw earlier.
Now onto the best part! Each of the six knights competed in games of skill while on horseback, which included collecting hanging rings with a lance and throwing a spear at a target. The enjoyment of this show depended highly on our willingness to get involved. We cheered, we booed, we shouted, we had a great time! Even my daughter, who’s usually reserved in public, joined in with smiles and waving her blue flag. We were having so much fun rooting for ‘our’ knight that it was tough to get all our food down.
I mentioned earlier that dinner is included in the admission price. Everyone received a pre-selected menu (unless you chose vegetarian). Food was mediocre but filling. In keeping with the middle ages theme, we had no utensils and had to eat everything with our hands. They do provide a huge wet wipe before and after the meal though. The servers (also in tavern-type attire) ran back and forth through each row as the action was going on. Make sure you take time to eat during the show or have it packed to go, otherwise your plate may accidentally be taken during the mad clean-up shuffle. My daughter learned that the hard way. By the way, tips are NOT included.
At this time, a screen was lowered around the arena. The next and final part of the show got a bit heavy on the action part, which could be a good or a bad thing depending on personal preference. Now, I enjoy a good joust as much as any other but the drawn out swordplay and ‘fight to the death’ thing was a bit much for my taste. However, this new storyline specifically added more fighting in response to guests complaining there wasn’t enough. I guess you can’t please everyone. In regards to appropriateness for families, there was no blood or exaggerated deaths. Characters just fell to the ground when ‘injured’, only to get up and walk out of the arena while hanging on their squire. It’s also good to remember that sequences are made to look intense but, obviously, the show has been carefully choreographed and rehearsed.
While Medieval times might not be your weekly outing, it is a great family experience and well worth the price in my opinion. It costs as much as a day to the amusement park but includes a full meal and 1-1/2 hours of continuous entertainment (those knights were sweating up a storm). I’d also suggest opting for the ‘royalty upgrade’. It will get you a closer seat, cheering flag, commemorative cup, DVD, and program. Be sure to check the website for specials, as they are now offering this upgrade free with each full-price admission.