I am raising boys ~ boys who love swordplay, jousting, battle, etc. Oh, and this is not to exclude the BIG boy. Yes, even the man approaching his 50s loves a good joust. In fact, he expressed a desire to celebrate his most recent birthday at Medieval Times, a unique dinner and entertainment experience designed for the whole family. Unfortunately, at the time, I was nervous in light of our youngest’s food allergy situation. So, the requested reservation was never made. I know, bad wife. However, I was recently offered the opportunity to bring the entire crew to the dinner and tournament in Orlando. At this point, I thought ~ well, okay. This might be a good way to see how well they accommodate guests in our situation. So ~ I made the call to see if traveling back in time was going to be an option.
My family and I were provided a complimentary meal at Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament in exchange for my honest review. All opinions in this post are 100% mine and mine alone. This post does contain affiliate links. See my DISCLOSURE POLICY for more details.
In light of our son’s health situation, this Mama needed to speak directly with someone knowledgeable to ensure that this was even a possibility. A contact number had been provided to me with the offer and it was actually encouraged to make reservations by phone if dietary restrictions were involved.
When I did make the call, I was connected with a gentleman by the name of Joseph. Joseph did EVERYTHING he could to provide me the information I needed, as well as the confidence to proceed with making a formal reservation. He listened to my concerns, found allergy information to share with me and even offered to connect me with the general manager at the venue we would be visiting. Unfortunately, we called during show-time, so we left a message.
In the meantime, Joseph made sure to annotate on our reservation that one member of our party had severe, life-threatening food allergies and that we would be bringing outside food with us just in case they were unable to accommodate during our visit.
That left me feeling ~ pretty good.
The Saturday night we were scheduled to attend, the testosterone level was quite elevated in our house. We were attending the 6 PM show, but were encouraged to arrive around 5 PM so that we could enjoy the grounds and other festivities prior to the main event.
It was still daylight when we arrived, which was perfect! The parking situation was a little narrow, but we made it in time to find a good spot. The weather was gorgeous and the crowd was still manageable, but starting to grow. Since it was our first time there, Hubby and the boys got into the long line that was forming, while I went to the front to make sure there was nothing else I was supposed to do.
I’m glad I checked because I was able to get to a window, secure tickets and find out our next step all within minutes. Phew!
I approached the window and was greeted with a sweet, “What may I do for you, my lady?”
I proceeded to explain our situation, showed her my printed voucher tickets and gave her my order number. She immediately found my tickets and provided me with our seat arrangements. She gave me four cards, all green and with the same number on them. The number denoted our table and the color signified which Knight for whom we would be cheering.
Then we launched into discussing food allergies. Fortunately, there was a note on my reservation alerting them to our son’s allergies and the need to speak with the area manager. The young lady helping me said the area manager would gladly meet with me over to the side to discuss the situation more in depth. I have to say this – I very much appreciated how sweet and kind she handled the situation.
I was instructed to pull my family together and head over to the left where Tristan would meet us. Within minutes, a charismatic young gentleman approached and introduced himself as the area manager. Tristan listened to me regurgitate our situation once again, as I always do, and then he proceeded to share the safety measures they take with their guests who have food allergies and dietary restrictions. We talked about various aspects of the meal for a moment and he then offered to grab the ingredient list so that we could visualize firsthand any disclaimers that may be on the products.
Once we had the book in hand, Tristan told us we could keep it with us to review until we no longer needed it during the meal (they have several). What a blessing that was!!! Our son immediately began to peruse his options ~ particularly the dessert. I then asked Tristan two very important questions:
The answer to both questions was a resounding, “YES!”
Sweet! He just instructed us to share this information with our server and Tristan willingly offered us his name to use just in case there were any issues.
We were free to roam the castle!
On the way in, we picked up our gorgeous paper crowns (once again color coded to denote the Knight for whom we would be cheering) and tried to find our way around the building. We knew there were things to see, but our first stop was over to the photo area, where they had the falconer and the Queen’s trusted adviser waiting to capture the moment.
**NOTE: The photos are taken before the show, but then printed and brought to you during the course of your meal. At that point, they share the price (usually a price for one and a deal for two) and you have the choice whether or not to purchase them. They do take another photo of your party when you are in your seats, so there are two of these opportunities.
After the photo was taken (ours with the falconer), we walked into the larger court where merchandise was being sold and a full service bar was located. Knowing that there was an area we had been encouraged to explore, we asked someone working there to direct us where to go. We were instructed to go through a set of double doors leading outside the Castle, where a Medieval Times Village was waiting across the yard.
THIS ~ WAS ~ COOL! My boys ate this up. There is a beginning and an end to this self-guided tour, so you need to find the entrance and begin there.
It all begins in the Architect’s House From there, we walked through where the seamstress worked, the potter’s barn, the carpenter’s work area and the kitchen.
Of course, right before the kitchen, we found the dungeon and torture chamber.
I am going to be upfront with you right now. There are warnings at each entrance of this area that state it may not be suitable for children. Heck ~ it may not be suitable for some adults. If you like to take the time to read all about these machines (like Hubby), you may very well cringe. You may very well wince. You may very well find yourself unconsciously picturing these scenarios that are just – not – pleasant.
Perspective: It really made me think about how good we have it these days…
We had been told to return to the large inside courtyard approximately 15 minutes prior to our event time. That is when they begin to call guests in according to their tickets – VIP first, and always by color. We were in the VERY last group, but it didn’t matter to any of us. There really isn’t a bad seat in the arena.
We marched in with the crowd and found our place among the guests. The arrangements are similar to another venue we visited earlier this year – where you are seated at a long community table and the server travels back and forth on a chair-free row in front of you.
Matt initially introduced himself separately to each and every family before launching into his nightly spiel. He was charismatic, energetic and quite the cheerleader! He was good with the crowds and absolutely terrific with children! When he came to us, he was already aware of our son’s food allergy situation, but he was willing to discuss the scenario once again for my own peace of mind. Matt was all on board with bringing out our son’s plate separately from the others and was keenly aware of what to avoid.
I liked him a lot!!!
The meal served consists of an appetizer, a full main course, dessert and two rounds of non-alcoholic drinks (alcoholic beverages are available for separate purchase). The unique aspect to this venue is that no silverware is provided. Your utensils are your own two hands! It makes for an interesting spectacle – trust me!
As far as what is included as a part of the feast, each Guest receives:
Everything was absolutely delicious – hot, tender, full of flavor. We absolutely loved the seasoning on the potato, chicken and corn!
Amazingly, our son enjoyed pretty much the same meal we did!! The only difference was that the garlic bread and the standard dessert were off limits due to their coming from outside sources. The potential for cross contamination was deemed higher for those items. Otherwise, he was in his glory sipping his tomato bisque soup, devouring his piece of roasted chicken, chowing down on his potato and nibbling away at that corn.
When it came to dessert, they had a few options from which our son could choose. Fortunately, this included Italian Ice. Umm – this was a no-brainer!! We were leaving with a happy tween!!
And to boot? Everything was delivered separately, as requested, and with a smile. This includes our son’s second round of lemonade because we were concerned the pitcher may have touched a cup that may have had allergens on it (you know ~ eat a piece of garlic bread, take a sip of your drink). Matt truly made our evening spectacular and SAFE!! We could not be any more grateful!
While we ate our dinner, the show in front of us never took a break. Right from the get-go, we were mesmerized by the pageantry and thrills of an authentic 11th century medieval tournament. We were introduced to Her Majesty, the Queen, as well as the six armor-clad Knights who would be competing by sword and by lance.
Each section of the arena had their own Knight for whom to cheer. As we were seated in the Green section, we were rooting for ~ go ahead and take a guess ~ yes, the Green Knight. Whether we were watching gorgeous and valiant horses parade around the arena or cheering on our fierce competitor in heart-pounding combat, we always had something to watch while we picked away at our feast.
Every single aspect of the tournament was dynamic and magnificent. The musical score was captivating and the backdrop truly does take you into a world of both fairy tale and spectacle. I particularly enjoyed the portion where the falcon flew freely over our heads. There was something so peaceful, beautiful and serene about it. It was breathtaking.
We enjoyed the banter between the Knights, the Queen and her trusted advisers, watched a display of pageantry and skill and filled our bellies with a bountiful feast. The night was a success in our books and we walked away having had a spectacular time and no allergic reactions!
Yes – I would. It’s a unique family experience that has been around for decades and provides a well-rounded evening of fun and opportunity to make memories. It’s even a great place for a date night or to celebrate a birthday, anniversary or graduation!
I would, however, ask that you just keep in mind what I said about the section of the village that showcases torture equipment. It may very well be okay to just walk through and there ARE written warnings before you enter that section. However, should you choose to take the time to read how the equipment was used ~ it’s simply not something for children to read. It’s pretty graphic and fairly descriptive ~ in my honest, motherly opinion.
Well, the safety of this venue is obviously going to depend upon the individual’s food allergies and severity of them. Medieval Times does have a unique serving style, but they are willing to accommodate the best they can. It is up to you, however, to take the information provided and decide whether or not this experience is safe enough for you.
**As a reminder, I am not a medical professional, nor do I pretend to be. I am just a mom trying to provide her son who has food allergies the best life and best opportunities he can experience.
On that note, however, I would HIGHLY recommend you make your reservations over the phone (1-888-935-6878 or 1-888-WE-JOUST). Give them a call, discuss your situation with them and see how you feel. I had a very positive experience and would hope you would have the same. The venue in Orlando, Florida, does allow you to bring in food if needed, but we did not have to break it out. They were also very accommodating when it came to having our son’s meal delivered separately. We look forward to traveling back in time….in the future.
In the end, we enjoyed our trip back to the 11th century and I’m very grateful for the attention to detail and tremendous service that was provided. (Thanks, Matt!) It is always a good feeling when I can share a positive food allergy experience with you and I do hope that you have opportunity to experience the same.
So tell me ~ have you visited any of the Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament venues? If so, which one? Did you enjoy your experience? I’d love to hear your story, so feel free to share below!! If not, add this to your bucket list ~ whether nearby or when you travel. It certainly makes for a memorable evening!