One of the popular attractions in Orange County for both visitors and locals is the Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament – Buena Park Castle. On special occasions, we can watch an epic battle and feast with our hands. One time we were invited to go on an exclusive behind the scenes tour, and it was a truly remarkable experience. As their special guests before the show, we sat and observed the knights practicing with their horses. They practice every day. These guys go through an extensive training process to become a knight and they’re passionate about their jobs. Fun fact – long hair is encouraged when you’re a knight because the short hair look is not so medieval. You can have short hair too, but you’ll have to wear chainmail coifs.
All the medieval knights need to stay fit and strong to carry their weapons and shields. In fact, there’s a workout bench backstage. Knight Jesse told us shields weigh about 8 lbs and more if they have fresh paint. If you have seen the show, their Knights don’t just sit there and look gorgeous holding weapons all night. They are always in motion, competing in a tournament, riding their horses, or fighting, and don’t forget they were practicing before the show. Here’s another fun fact. You know the lancers used in the show? They have special slits in them to give it that dramatic effect when they hit the shields. (The cuts make them weaker.) They go through a lot of these and keep on hand 30 boxes with 80 lances per box.
Here’s what we saw backstage… knights tending to horses, preparing their weapons, working out, doing laundry – pretty cool right? Everything is designed for quick changes and set ups. When we’re out watching the show, everything flows smoothly with little to no down time. They are quite organized. Check out their Presentation Parade Armors! These again are designed for quick changes. There are 18 knights and 30 horses in Buena Park. Each show requires 12 Knights including Squires and 18 horses.
We also got an up close look of the horses with Redha, their head horse trainer. There are 6 breeds and they use only male horses for the show. Spanish purebreds are selected primarily because of their medieval heritage. A fun fact about the Spanish breeds – they start with a dark color and turn white when they are older. Most of their horses are bred and trained in Dallas, Texas at their Chapel Creek Ranch, and a few are imported from Italy. In an area beyond backstage, they have a traditional horse stable. Because riding is the most important part, Knights need to bond with their horses.
As the public started to arrive, we went back out to partake in the pre-show activities. Here are three things that you can do before the show!
#1. MUSEUM OF TORTURE: Did you know that there’s a Museum of Torture that features about 30 torture weapons? Not recommended for all ages, but if you want to check it out, come early and visit the Dungeon. Cost $2 per person.
#2. GET ROYAL TREATMENT: Special arrangements can be made when purchasing packages for celebrations with a knighting ceremony with the King. Package includes preferred seating, VIP lanyard, cheering banner and Knights rally towel for each member of the party. Other upgrades are available. See below.
#3. SPECIAL VIEWING AREA FOR HORSES: Want another reason to come early? There’s a special viewing area for the horses while you wait!
Which Knight Will Win?
Every night they rotate which Knight will win the battle so you’ll never know if you’re on the winning team. It’s fun to cheer either way, so go on, Boo the other teams, and get into it! There’s a segment in the show that features the horses and the skills that they were trained to do back in the medieval times during battle. They are amazing creatures and extremely skilled. Sit back and enjoy the show!
TIP: Ladies, if you cheer for your Knight and catch his attention, he will throw you a flower.
What’s for Dinner
Let’s not forget that this is a dinner show. Service begins right when you are seated starting with your beverage order. Here’s what we had for dinner: tomato bisque with garlic butter toast, roasted chicken, corn on cob, herb potato, and for dessert – warm apple turn overs. No utensils are needed, because they want you to eat with your hands! There’s also a vegetarian option.
- Adults: $61.95 (+tax & processing fee)
- Children (12 years and under): $36.95 (+tax & processing fee)
- Lap children under age of 3: Free
- Gratuity not included.
OPTIONS FOR UPGRADES:
- Royalty Package Package: includes preferred seating, VIP lanyard, cheering banner and Knights rally towel for each member of the party. Only $12.00 additional per person.
- Celebration Package: Includes preferred seating, framed group photo, VIP lanyard, cheering banner and Knights rally towel, slice of cake and an announcement of the party during the show. Only $18.00 additional per person. Please note all guests in party must purchase this package.
- Kings Royalty Package: Includes guaranteed seating in the first-row of any section or second-row, center section, entrance group photo, VIP lanyard, cheering banner and Knights rally towel for each member of the party! Only $22.00 additional per person.
You’ll also want to check their website for promos, upgrades, special offers, updated prices and for show times.
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