Review: Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament – Buena Park Castle

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My lords and ladies I had the privilege to visit Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament in Buena Park, CA. Upon stepping onto the castle grounds and retrieving your tickets you are whisked away to the Hall of Arms where you will be given your table assignments and being crowned depending on your colored knight for the evening tournament and festivities. You are then greeted by a wench or squire seeing if you had purchased a package upgrade for more photo opportunities, if you did you are sent to a different room where you can dress as royalty, knight, maiden or any honored subject of the kingdom and you can choose from a multitude of backgrounds. If you did not purchase an upgrade you still get a photo opportunity with King Don Carlos or Princess Catalina. After tour photo opportunities you may visit the Royal Dungeon where they have about 30 reproductions of torture devices that were used in the Middle Ages for a small fee.

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Whether you choose to visit the Royal Dungeon or not you are then free to roam the castle grounds prior to dinner. As you wander the castle you may stop and quench your thirst with a tasty libation at either of the two bars. Have no fear my lords and ladies the mystical beverage slush that you see in the marvelous machines are prince and princess friendly with no alcohol. You may however prove your age and make any beverage slush into a noble alcoholic one indeed. Also you may visit some of the merchants selling trinkets to commemorate your visit to the kingdom. A unique experience is to purchase a scroll that will be announced during the tournament by the Princess or Lord Chancellor. You may also visit the stables prior to the show and you can see many of the horses getting groomed and prepared for the pageantry and tournament. When it is time to enter the arena the trumpets will herald your attention and your colored seating sections will be called, also any good gentles that need assistance will be ushered into the arena about 10 to 15 minutes prior to the general searing.

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Upon taking your seats you will be greeted by your hard working Wench or Squire for the evening. They will be slinging the food and beverages throughout the evening, they will instruct you how to place your mug in different positions to show then what beverage choice you have made. Printed on your fine linen for the evening is your Bill of Fare, your four course meal, they do also offer a vegetarian option as well. Your first course is Dragon Soup with garlic rock (tomato bisque soup and garlic bread), Baby Dragon that taste like (chicken), Dragon Rib (spare rib) and half a herb-roasted potato and finally Pastry of the Castle (warm apple turnover), fresh fruit can be substituted upon request.

We were fortunate enough to sit in the front row of our colored section (we got Green). During the pageantry one of the horses riding at full gallop, kicked a clump of the sand that flew over the railing and onto my lap and exploded. I am okay, I am just thankful it was not horse droppings. I quite enjoyed watching Redha, head horse trainer for the king and the knights helped the horses demonstrate some fantastic skill skills like waling on its hind legs, trotting backwards in a straight line, and even doing a midair jump kick. They seem to be having a lot of fun on the field and I think the horses are very spoiled. Caitlin the royal falcon trainer showed us some skills with her falcon flying all around the arena and over our heads before being rewarded with a tasty treat.

For the tournament we were cheering for the Green knight, he is the champion from Leone this evening, I was very excited since my favorite color is green. Some of the games of skill at the tournament were a baton race on horseback, spear onto a target while riding horseback, large ring which is when two knights compete on horseback while holding a lance and charging thru the field and trying to catch a ring on two separate logs suspended over the arena. If they are successful upon catching the ring a ribbon is also released that is attached to the ring, that’s my favorite game of the tournament besides the famous joust and hand to hand combat. After each game of skill the knight or knights who were victorious were awarded carnations by the princess and then the knights may choose to reward any faire maiden in his realm. Those carnations can fly pretty high going to the back of the area table at times for some lucky maiden. Next to us was a family from Australia, the little princess was raising her hand and jumping up and down each time our green knight road by throwing carnations, she was a bit bummed because each time our knight would pass her up. It was okay because after winning the joust tournament the winning knights were awarded a colored ribbon representing their win and our brave knight awarded her with that special honor, she was so very happy and then a noble squire came down and asked to take her picture, she has a huge smile on her face the rest of the evening.

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It was nerve racking at times during the tournament; since during the fight our knight was loosing steam but then our section cheered him onto being victorious in the kingdom and he was awarded by being able to honor one lucky maiden or princess to be the Queen of Love and Beauty. This time the Princess Catalina also came down and presented the little princess with a crown as well and a lovely photo was taken to commemorate this auspicious day. After the tournament you may wander some of the shops to purchase your souvenirs, and or also pick up and purchase your photo(s) from earlier in the evening. The highlight then is you may meet and great the knights at the Knight night club bar. This is where the royal knights retire after an evening of pageantry. You can strike a knightly pose with them or ask them any questions. I suggest doing this and it will help you kill time and not have the headache of possible gridlock with the other gentles trying to leave the castle as soon as the tournament is over.

I highly recommend Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament to anyone local and also anyone visiting from out of town, seats are $59.95 per person they also offer two upgrade options, the Kings Royal package is a $20.00 upgrade and you are guaranteed front row seating in your respective colored section, commemorative program, framed group photo, a behind the scenes DVD (1 per group), and knights cheering banner so you may use it to cheer on your brave knight. The Royalty package, it’s only a $10.00 upgrade and it guarantees your seats closer to the arena like row two or three, commemorative program, and knights cheering banner. The Royalty package is what I recommend to any gentles who are visiting the castle for the first time.

My lords and ladies, are you ready to step forth and step back in time, then you are ready to visit Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament in Buena Park, CA. 7662 Beach Blvd. Buena Park, CA 90620. To make a reservation please call 1 (888) 935-6878 or visit www.medievaltimes.com.

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