We've visited Pirate's Voyage many times over the years, but for some reason never made it over to the castle to catch Medieval Times. Well, we finally fixed that and booked tickets as part of our daughter's birthday celebration weekend.
The experience did not disappoint! This is a perfect activity to do when it's not necessarily beach weather outside. We actually went in March and it was nice to have something do with the kids that was indoors. It is a 2 hour show, but allow plenty of time for checking out the main hall before the show.
We queued up outside and were able to get a couple family selfies out front. The line to check in was not bad and at the time they had temperature scanners at the entrance (this was in the spring, their processes may have changed since then).
In case you don't know the back story on Medieval Times, it is set in Spain in the 11th Century. We are guests in the court of the Queen, Doña Maria Isabella, who is hosting a tournament that brings the bravest knights across the land to compete in a variety of challenges to win the title of Defender of the Throne.
The six knights hail from different parts of the kingdom: the Green Knight of Leon, the Red & Yellow Knight of Perelada, the Red Knight of Castilla, the Blue Knight of Asturias, the Yellow Knight of Navarre, and the Black & White Knight of Aragon.
After entering the main castle doors, we confirmed our tickets with the front desk (we had opted for VIP since we wanted to be closest to the action), and then were given our color-coded crowns. From there we had our souvenir photo taken and then moved into the main hall, which had two levels.
Both the upper and lower level had bars to purchase drinks before the show, along with gift shops which ranged from selling dragon stuffed animals and princess cone hats all the way to medieval combat armor. We told our son he could not have a mace until he was in college. Ha! So our kids opted for the swords of the lighted variety
We headed to the bar and did get drinks in the souvenir glasses, since they offered discounted refills (we do plan on going back!) and walked around the main hall looking at all the wares for sale. We were delighted to see that there were some guests that were dressed for the occasion, from little girls in princess dresses to full-grown adults in cosplay.
You are allowed to come in medieval frocks, but hats or headdresses that block others' views are not allowed, and of course no weapons (even fake ones) are allowed. Though you *can* buy a battle axe at the gift shop, I bet they hold it for you until after the show.
Then the announcement was made that we could begin entering the tournament stadium. The entrances are color-coded so you can see which side of the stadium you should proceed to get to your seat. While you do cheer for your own knight, during the competition there are also teams, so we cheered for the two other knights who were on our side of the stadium as well.
In keeping with the medieval setting, the meal is served with no utensils, so be ready to dig in with your hands. They do provide a wet-nap packet with your place setting, but I brought hand sanitizer as well. And if you really want it, you can request silverware but we went for the full experience.
Our meal consisted of garlic bread, tomato bisque soup (dubbed "dragon's blood soup"), oven-roasted chicken, a half-cob of corn, half of an herbed potato, and then we wrapped up with the dessert of the day, which for us was an apple strudel. The roast chicken was literally half a chicken, per person! It was so huge, our kids took doggie bags home and we used it to make fried rice the next day. They also have dining options for those who are vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free.
While we were eating, there were a variety of demonstrations. There was a falconer who demonstrated the agility and grace of his charge. We were instructed to stay in our seats as the falcon swiftly flew throughout the stadium. It swooped and swerved over our heads for several laps and then landed on the falconer's outstretched arm.
The horses featured in the demonstration section of the show are Andalusian, which are native to Spain. They are actually bred at Medieval Times' own ranch in Texas and they are beautiful animals! The master horsemen demonstrated the horses doing some fancy footwork, which totally wowed the kids. The art of dressage is on full display, with complicated formations and weaving patterns. At the end, the horses made a graceful bow.
For the tournament proper, American Quarter Horses are used for their speed. There were several competitions, such as the knights on horseback going at full gallop attempting to spear in a target or to catch metal ring on the end of their joust.
For the jousting, we don't have many pictures from that portion because for safety, they drop a net down between the guests and the knights, to help catch any stray flying pieces.
The jousts were intense, and after a knight was knocked from his horse, the battle between the knights continued on foot, with their faithful squires providing them with a variety of weapons. Lots of sparks were flying during the sword fights, which made it extra exciting while cheering for our knight. Aside from long swords, there were daggers, spears, battle axes, and maces in play. There was some extra drama thrown in with a knight going rogue but I won't give any of the ending away.
During our visit, not only did our valiant Yellow Knight triumph over all, but he also named our daughter Queen of the Tournament. The dashing knight gave her his golden sash using the point of his joust to deliver it to her, which was a pretty cool birthday present! They also announced her birthday, as well as several other guests' celebrations.
All in all, we had a fantastic time! Check out their website, Facebook and Instagram for more info. Will definitely come back again (with our souvenir glasses, of course) and highly recommend it for families and groups of friends.