His Majesty the King graciously invites the Lords and Ladies of the land to his court to feast, to enjoy the joust, and to witness a tournament of bravery and honor! Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament, located at the Exhibition Grounds in Toronto, is a gem in the city. The Medieval Times franchise has locations throughout the United States but Toronto is its only Canadian city which makes this a must visit for Torontonians and those visiting. Admission to the show includes a communally served dinner and a full interactive tournament with horses, knights, squires, a falcon, and all the royal fanfare you can ask for. At this show, immersion is paramount and, as the audience, you are encouraged to get involved and get rowdy. Clap and cheer for your knight! Boo and hiss the opponent! Eat and drink your fill and have an uproariously good time!
Tickets to Medieval Times are $65.95 for general admission adult and $45.95 for children under the age of 12. You can upgrade your tickets for additional costs to include various packages, more information on additional packages to help celebrate special occasions with a larger party is available on the website. Medieval Times is a fantastic party idea for any celebration from birthdays to anniversaries, promotions to engagements. If it is your birthday, check the website for how you can get in for free! If you find the admission price a bit too steep, fret not, a bit of Google sleuthing will unearth quite a few discount codes you can use when ordering tickets online.
Evening performances begin at 7:30 pm Tuesdays through Saturdays, matinee performances are at either 1:30 or 4:30 pm. Sunday performances are at 4:30 pm. Doors open an hour and 15 minutes before show time and guests are encouraged to arrive early. When you arrive and after your tickets are scanned, you are greeted by the staff, all of whom are dressed the part in Medieval style wear of the serving class. Be prepared to be addressed as ‘My Lord’ or ‘My Lady’ quite often throughout the adventure. You will be handed a coloured marker indicating which section, and therefore which knight will be your hero for the evening.
Upon entrance, staff members will hand you a coloured coordinated paper crown for the section you are in and you are welcome to take a photo with either the King and Princess or the falcon and her handler. Inside the main foyer, the bar is opened. Standard bar rail is available as well as signature fruity frozen drinks. Admittedly, those are delightful, in particular, the Dragon Slayer, and it is even worth it to splurge to have your drink served in a beautiful branded hurricane glass. Yes, all of that costs a pretty penny, but this is a celebration! In the main foyer, you can browse the souvenirs that range from lit plastic swords and fantasy jewelry and headwear to more realistic swords and weaponry along with wine. As you mingle about, the King will welcome everyone to his castle. In a separate area, you can see the falcons resting on their perches before the show is to begin. For the adult audience who are fascinated by the macabre and more gruesomely inclined, an extra $2 will gain you entrance into the dungeon where replicated Medieval torture devices are on display.
When the show is to begin, VIP members are seated first and then the audience takes their seats, section by section. The tables are long and, on a busy weekend, seating arrangements are tight. When the show commences with introductions of the King and the Princess. Birthday and anniversary announcements are made as well as announcements of any official groups (student groups, summer camps, etc.) present.
The start of the show is fantastical and beautiful with dazzling lights and haze effects. Gorgeous horses and their handlers execute a graceful equestrian show. I’m always concerned when a live show includes the use of animals and wonder if they are treated well. From what I could see, they look very well cared for. The flight of the royal falcon is also a delight to behold.
Then dinner commences. The four-course meal is served communally by the serving wenches. Due to the large quantities of food that need to be prepared for two shows a day, the meal is standard, lacking room for alternatives aside from a vegetarian option. The standard meal consists of tomato bisque soup (that they call “dragon blood soup”) with garlic toast, half a season roasted chicken served with buttered corn on the cob and half of an herb-basted potato, a pastry dessert (usually a butter tart), coffee or tea and two rounds of drinks. Pepsi is the preferred soda of the castle but if you ask nicely, they can bring you a 7-Up. Additional drinks can be purchased at the bar. The vegetarian option includes a hummus appetizer with pita bread and crudités unless you would prefer the tomato bisque soup, a hearty spiced three bean stew with rice and potatoes, fresh fruit or Italian Ice, coffee or tea, and two rounds of drinks. Vegetarian options are available by request.
The Knights take the arena and stand with their section – the Red Knight, Green Knight, Yellow Knight, Blue Knight, Red and Yellow Knight and Black and White Knight. They compete against each other in light hearted games like the relay, javelin, and ring catching before helmets are donned and the joust begins. Lances will break and knights will get knocked off horses. This is pretty heavy duty work. There’s a reason why nets are lowered in front of the audience sections at the middle of the arena, to prevent anyone getting hurt from flying shrapnel. This is where you let loose and cheer for your Knight and boo and heckle the opponent on the opposite side. When a knight wins a game he is given flowers that he can present to audience members in his section that catches his eye. It’s fun getting yourself noticed.
A representative from the Northen lands appears and demands the Princess’ hand on behalf of his King. This is an outrage and the Knights battle. The winner will face this intruder. The knights battle each other with real swords, shields, axes, and maces. Sparks fly. It’s incredible to watch. One knight will come out victorious and the winner changes every few months. Who knows, it may be your knight.
The whole performance lasts about three hours long and it is indeed a wonderful way of spending an evening of celebration. Come for your birthday and encourage your friends to do the same as Medieval Times, this icon in Toronto family entertainment is an adventure you’ll want to experience more than once.
Review and Photos by Samantha Wu