Before we went a couple of years ago, I always thought of Medieval Times — the equestrian, jousting, sword-fighting dinner show — as something to do in Orlando the day after exhausting the Disney parks (and indeed there is one down there!).
But for families like us living in the DC area, it’s easy to forget that Washington and Baltimore are tourist destinations in their own right, so it’s fitting that there’s a Medieval Times “Castle” located, somewhat unexpectedly, in an outlet shopping mall near BWI Airport.
If you’re a DMV family that will be enjoying a stay-cation in the area this Spring Break, or a family visiting during Spring Break, Medieval Times’ Arundel Mills Castle has a great deal for you to consider.
My family received four free tickets in exchange for this review, but we paid out-of-pocket for three additional tickets, and for the Royal VIP celebration upgrade. All ideas are my own.
TRAINING WITH THE KNIGHTS OF THE REALM
On April 11, 12, and 13, children ages 5-12 can train (Jr. Knight Training ) with the Knights of the Realm, free with admission. The first 80 kids to sign up for each night will enter the ring — the same ring where horse prance, knight do battle, and n’er-do-wells threaten the kingdom — to train with the “real” knights of the show. While parents watch from the stands, the lucky kids learn basic swordsmanship (don’t worry about safety — the kids practice with the same wooden weapons that are on sale in the gift shop). After a bit of swooshing swordplay, the young squires will kneel in the sands of the arena (maybe don’t bring your kids in their fanciest dresses or trousers) to be knighted by the king himself. This special offer begins at 3:30 p.m. each day, so be sure to come early! Read on for more Medieval Times savings.
THE MEDIEVAL TIMES EXPERIENCE
Afterwards, the kids rejoin their families for a feast and a show. And what a show! The fun begins the moment you pick up your tickets and enter. You quickly forget you’re anyway near a shopping center (unless, of course, you’re the one paying for the souvenirs, or you begin wondering if this shopping center also has stables somewhere for the care and feeding of the show’s majestic horses) The castle opens 75 minutes prior to the show, and early arrivals get to meet the stars of the show: the King, Princess, knights — and even the falcon who later swoops throughout the auditorium. Just before folks are allowed in, the crowd assembles to witness the Medieval Times special celebration honorees. Birthday party packages are just $7 extra per person, and can include a knighting by the king. As showtime nears, and the crowd reaches its peak, so expect the castle to get pretty noisy. Thankfully, alcoholic drinks are easily purchased to take the edge off the crowds.
The show, of course, is the highlight of the evening. Think of it as a combination of an equestrian show and pro wrestling match. There’s a little bit of something for everyone, from a dressage performance, to circus-type horse jumping, to mounted games of skill, to jousting (complete with splintering lances), to hand-to-hand combat with sword, spear, lance, and shield.
And what food! Prepare to arrive hungry and leave sated. The meal — to a eaten by hand, without utensils — revolves around an enormous half-chicken served to every guest (there are no kid-sized portions), but begins with soup and ends with dessert (along with a hot towelette). My kids relished the chance to make greasy messes of themselves without having to worry about table manners.
There’s more food than I expected, and more show than I expected. I left stuffed and tired, but exhilarated, as I swooshed my own imaginary sword through the mall parking lot.
During March and April, Kids and Student tickets are just $29.95, Adult tickets are $37.95. This deal is valid for every show in March and April 2017. Use Code: SB3729 when booking online.