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Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament is a family dinner theater featuring staged medieval-style games, sword-fighting, and jousting. Medieval Times Entertainment, the holding company, is headquartered in Irving, Texas.
Medieval Times in Exhibition Place, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
|Privately held company|
|Founded||December 20, 1983|
Kissimmee, Florida, U.S.
Number of locations
|United States and Canada|
There are nine locations: the eight in the United States are built as replica 11th-century castles; the ninth, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, is located inside the CNE Government Building. Shows are performed by a cast of about 75 actors and 20 horses in each location.
The first Medieval Times location opened in Orlando on December 20, 1983. In 1989, this location was expanded with a unique medieval village not offered at other locations.
The second location opened in Buena Park, California in 1986. By 1992, the chain had five locations. In 1993, the sixth location opened at Exhibition Place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Toronto location is the company's sole international location and is housed in the Government Building, a Beaux-Arts structure formerly used for the Canadian National Exhibition, as opposed to an 11th-century castle replica. A seventh location opened in 1995 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
In April 1997, the company's owners sought bankruptcy protection after losing a court battle to the IRS that required the Buena Park location to pay $7.5 million and the Orlando location to pay $2.5 million in back taxes. According to the IRS, Medieval Times improperly deducted royalties, loan interest, and management fees in the 1987 and 1989 tax years. When asked why the company was filing for bankruptcy the company’s bankruptcy lawyer, Alan Friedman, said, "one of the primary reasons for filing was to prevent the IRS from beginning to seize any assets."
The company emerged from bankruptcy, allowing all of its locations to continue operating. It later opened two additional Medieval Times locations, reaching its current count of nine since 2006.
The chain was featured in the 1996 film The Cable Guy, and the 2004 feature film Garden State. It has been featured in episodes of TV shows such as Friends, Cake Boss,Hell's Kitchen, and Celebrity Apprentice.
The arriving guests are served garlic bread and tomato bisque soup, with a full chicken course to come during the show. It opens with narration, choreographed equestrian and character skills, and a light show where each color represents a different city in the kingdom. A storyline ensues with King Carlos versus Lord Ulrich, accompanied by knights, squires, serfs, and wenches on parade and in competition.
Knights on horseback compete at games, including catching rings on a lance, flag passing, and javelin tossing. Horseback jousts and fights have large nets to protect the audience from the wooden splinters from the lances and flying weapons. The winner chooses one of the women from the audience to be the Queen of Love and Beauty.
- Atlanta, Georgia (opened 2006 in the Lawrenceville suburb)
- Buena Park, California (opened 1986)
- Dallas, Texas (opened 1992)
- Hanover, Maryland (opened 2003)
- Lyndhurst, New Jersey (opened 1990)
- Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (1995)
- Orlando, Florida (opened 1983)
- Schaumburg, Illinois (opened 1991)
- Scottsdale, Arizona (expected to open early 2019)
- ""Castle Locations". Medieval Times Entertainment. Retrieved April 29, 2010.
- Duncan, Kimberly Allyson; Rentz, Lisa Tomer (2008). Insiders' guide to Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand (9th ed.). Guilford, CT: Insiders' Guide. ISBN 978-0-7627-4407-7.
- Reynolds, Christopher (August 7, 2016). "How Medieval Times survives in the digital age (paper version headline: "All in a knight's work")". Toronto Star. pp. B1–B3.
- James, Granelli (April 26, 1997). "Medieval Times Owners File for Bankruptcy". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
- Ramey, Lynn T. (2007). Race, class, and gender in "medieval" cinema. p. 111.
- ""Friends" The One with the Soap Opera Party (TV Episode 2003)". IMDb. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
- "Tournament of Knights and a Tasty Tiramisu" Cake Boss, TLC, June 14, 2010
- "15 Chefs Compete". Hell's Kitchen episode 3. Season 9. July 25, 2011. Fox.
- "Getting Medieval". The Celebrity Apprentice. Season 12. Episode 2. February 26, 2012. NBC.
- Palisin, Steve (May 31, 2012). "Medieval Times ready to roll out new show". The Sun News. Retrieved June 1, 2012.
- "Queen Takes The Reigns at Medieval Times Castles Starting October 19". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
- "Medieval Times breaks ground in Phoenix, to open in 2019". azcentral. Retrieved September 26, 2018.