Eat, drink and be merry

Albert Aguilera

In the far off land of Orange County inside the province of Buena Park lies the kingdom of Andalusia. Behind its mighty walls you will find the tournament of champions where several knights from different kingdoms fight for the right to be the greatest of them all.

Medieval Times takes you back to 13th century Spain before it was a unified kingdom and all of its provinces were still at war. As you make your way inside the castle you are greeted by a jester or wench and are given a colored crown. The color of the crown corresponds to the knight that will fight for you.

Once inside you take your picture with the King and Princess and it is brought to you in a nice book frame for $20. Since seating is on a first come first serve basis, you are advised to arrive one hour before the show begins. As you make your way through what appears and smells like a casino floor, you come across the museum of torture. For an additional $2 a person you are granted admission to this end of the castle where you can see how people negotiated with terrorists 800 years ago.For another extra cost you can also be knighted in a public ceremony 30 minutes before the show.

Guests arrive an hour early to do all their souvenir shopping. Though everything outside the $300 replica swords and $20+ alcoholic souvenir cups are reasonably priced, things tend to add up rather quickly. All the employees are in costumes and though the older employees are the only ones who stay in character the entire time, the high school kids have great customer service.

As the show is about to begin you are seated according to your color where the push for gratuity immediately begins. The menu is fixed for both vegetarians and carnivores. You are given a roasted half chicken, half a baked potato, ONE spare rib, tomato soup, garlic bread and what looks like a tiny McDonalds apple pie. Use your napkin wisely as you are only given one. The same goes for your beverage as you can get only one refill before you have to pay again.

Don’t be fooled by pictures of a feast as you are given a meal that was hit by famine. The food doesn’t taste bad, it’s just not what you’d expect. The worst part about eating here is that you get your food in portions as if it were a five-course meal. It will be the best cafeteria food you’ll ever have.

Though the show is geared towards little boys, big tough men like myself will also appreciate the fun family environment. The show starts off slow with some horse dancing, bird flying and ring catching games, allowing you to eat without missing anything important because eating in the dark sometimes involves your complete attention.
The good stuff comes after the dinner has been served for a half hour. The show is two hours long and the action really kicks up once the character of the evil green knight goes on a rampage. This tournament of champions has it all from sword fights to jousting. You will find yourself yelling at the top of your lungs while rooting for your knight and booing everyone else’s.

It’s great to see the knights roll around and do somersaults only to grab something a foot away. As funny as it looks sometimes, the actors really go at it, giving each other full-on blows with metallic weapons. The metal upon metal produces real sparks and the blows against their flimsy shields are sometimes so hard you can’t help but cringe.

Ultimately the show goes through its story line and you end up satisfied with your evening as you make your way to get pictures and autographs with the actors. If you attend the last show of the night the bar area turns into a mini nightclub where you can stick around to drink and dance before you head home. This is a great place to check out at least once, but make sure you look online for special discounts, like the two for one specials they sometimes have over weekends, because as fun as it was, it’s not worth the full adult price tag of $54. At least the parking is free, so you can spend that money on a plastic crown for your date.