Have you ever been to Medieval Times? It’s the original “dinner and tournament” show that’s been around for a couple of decades. I remember visiting this in high school in Buena Park (at Knott’s Berry Farm, not far from Disneyland), and there’s one here in Orlando, too.
This is my favorite of the Orlando dinner-theaters.
While the core experience hasn’t changed over the years—it’s still about jousting, swordfights, and rooting against the “bad guy”—there is a new element this summer. During July and August, kids aged 5-12 can take part in a free preshow. I was recently invited, along with my entire family, to experience a complimentary Medieval Times evening with the new preshow. Bottom line: it’s a fun addition, and it’s pretty hard to argue with an experience that is free for everyone.
Line up for fun!
The “Train to be a Knight” experience is free for anyone with a regular ticket to Medieval Times, so there’s little to be lost by giving it a try, as long as you were going to the show already. It begins an hour before the regular show. Kids have to come with closed-toe shoes (this is an important detail!) to participate.
The view from the king’s perch.
The children are admitted first, while the parents have to cool their jets outside in the main hall. The kids get a safety briefing, and are escorted out onto the sandy arena itself. The parents follow shortly thereafter, herded into the front rows of the grandstands.
Attack!The kids seemed to enjoy it.
The knights in training are joined by several of the knights who will star in the show. Using wooden swords, the kids learn four basic moves with the knights, like thrusting and parrying. In practice, it’s not that different from the Jedi Training Academy at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, though there is no one to mock-fight at the end. Instead, all participants kneel down before the king (high up on a platform) and are symbolically knighted.
At the end of the preshow, two knights demonstrate real-time moves that the children just learned.
It’s a fairly short training and ceremony, but it’s a real thrill for kids to be out on the actual arena where the battles will shortly take place. And since it’s free for anyone with admission to the regular show, it’s hard to argue with the (non-existent) price tag.
The Knights in Training only runs on selected nights:
July 31 - 7 p.m.
Aug. 7 - 7 p.m.
Aug. 14 - 8:15 p.m.
Aug. 21 - 7 p.m.
Aug. 28 - 7 p.m.
Space is limited and participation is available on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information (and ticket sales) visit this link.
Lots of real swords for sale.
40x40 Fan Celebration
This week’s meet is for the TTA PeopleMover—but I won’t be there. I have to miss this particular Saturday, but if you’d like to come to meet the crowd of regulars, they will still be there at 2pm at the Main Street Cinema. I’ll be back the following week.
Today’s written update was a bit light on the Disney news, but I have several photos to bring you in the video slideshow to make up for it!
As a reminder, look below the video for a bullet-point list of what’s talked about. For those of you about to watch the video, don’t peek at the bullet points! They would be “spoilers”.
• New character art at Mickey's Gift Station (TTC)
• Walls going up at former Toontown train station
• Ariel's Undersea Adventure rockwork now adding green touches
• The "back wall" to the castle courtyard has started construction right behind Dumbo
• Two rows of carousel horses were removed for inspection after a minor accident
• Minor construction in Caribbean plaza
• Peeling paint on the dedication plaque at Stitch's Great Escape
• Souvenir Mickey straws for sale for 53 cents, including tax
• Several Lightning McQueen shirts near Tomorrowland Speedway
• Tiki Room construction walls push further into walkway
• DHS trying a flash-mob interaction
• Newer concept art for Fantasyland (as well as recent Tokyo additions) are now at One Man's Dream
• Star Tours had zero line at 4:20 pm, though the "luggage scanner" was broken
• New costumes for merch CMs on Hollywood Blvd
Kevin Yee may be e-mailed at [email protected] - Please keep in mind he may not be able to respond to each note personally. FTC-Mandated Disclosure: As of December 2009, bloggers are required by the Federal Trade Commission to disclose payments and freebies, and has noted such in the column above. Generally Kevin Yee pays for his own admission to theme parks and their associated events, unless otherwise explicitly noted.
Kevin is the author of many books on Disney theme parks, including:
The Unofficial Walt Disney World ‘Earbook 2010 is a photo-rich volume of 70 pages that park fans will find especially useful if they want to know what’s changed at WDW since their last visit.
History was on my mind as I composed this book. As you might expect, there is a section on additions, another on removals, and a third on events. But I wanted to make sure to include some prices from January 2010 in the book, the better to capture in future years (and future generations?) exactly what it costs to buy admission, parking, a night at each level of hotel, or such food items as a turkey leg. I also wanted to provide a bit more specificity to the unfolding of events, so the various additions and removals, as well as smaller alterations and debuts, are laid out in a timeline broken down month-by-month.
In short, the book is designed to appeal to those folks who are similarly history-minded, as well as those who are hungry to know what changed at Disney World since their last visit. Or perhaps it’s a worthwhile keepsake for anyone who DID visit in 2010—it captures what was new, after all.
Also recently issued...
Walt Disney World Hidden History: Remnants of Former Attractions and Other Tributes:
As the title implies, this is all about those little things in the parks that have significance to insiders and long-timers, but are never explained or highlighted. When a ride closes, sometimes pieces or props from that ride are folded into the replacement attraction (think of the World of Motion car seen in the queue of Test Track). Other times, designers intentionally craft a tribute to the previous ride—an example of that might be the carving of a submarine in the cement tree created for Pooh’s Playful Spot where the 20,000 Leagues subs used to be.
The other kind of homage in the parks concerns not rides, but individuals. The designers, artists, engineers, executives, and people important to Disney’s history often provide the inspiration for names and titles used at the attractions. Sadly, these are almost always unheralded. All of these remnants and tributes are normally left for the truly obsessed to spot piecemeal. They are usually not even discussed in the official Disney books and tours. This book sets out to change that, and catalog all such remnants and tributes in one spot.
The final result is 225 pages of hyper-detailed historical factoids. Broadly speaking this is a “trivia” book, but remember that it’s a particular kind of trivia. You’ve known before that the Walt Disney World theme parks wove a thick tapestry of details and backstory into a seamless (and peerless) experience. But armed with the specifics of homages and tributes, you’ll become aware that the parks are even more alive, and layered with meaning, that you could have ever imagined.
Might this be an ideal present for the Disney fan on your shopping list? If so, please have a look.
Also written by Kevin...
Your Day at the Magic Kingdomis a full-color, hardcover interactive children's book, where readers decide which attraction to ride next (and thus which page to turn to) - but watch out for some unexpected surprises!
Mouse Trap: Memoir of a Disneyland Cast Memberprovides the
first authentic glimpse of what it's like to work at Disneyland.
The Walt Disney World Menu Book lists restaurants, their
menus, and prices for entrees, all in one handy pocket-sized guide.
Tokyo Disney Made Easy is a travel guide to Tokyo
Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySeas, written to make the entire trip stress-free
for non-speakers of Japanese.
Magic Quizdom offers an exhaustive trivia quiz on Disneyland
park, with expansive paragraph-length answers that flesh out the fuller
story on this place rich with details.
101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland is a list-oriented
book that covers ground left intentionally unexposed in the trivia book,
namely the tributes and homages around Disneyland, especially to past rides
101 Things You Never Knew About Walt Disney World
follows the example of the Disneyland book, detailing tributes and homages
in the four Disney World parks.
More information on the above titles, along with ordering options are at this link.