Medieval Times

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Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament
FoundedDecember 20, 1983; 39 years ago (1983-12-20)
Kissimmee, Florida, U.S.
Number of locations
Area served
United States and Canada
ServicesDinner theater

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.[1]

There are ten locations: the nine in the United States are built as replica 11th-century castles;[2] the tenth, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, is located inside the CNE Government Building.[3]


The first two Medieval Times-styled shows were developed in the late 1960s by Jose Montaner in Spain at Majorca and Benidorm. Montaner converted the barbecue restaurant on the family farm to entertainment and food venue where actors portrayed 11th-century jousting of knights of the northern Spanish and southern French kingdoms of Aragon, Navarre, and Perelada (stories derived from Montaner's family history). Montaner claims to be a descendent of Charlemagne.[4][5] Accounts indicated that Tino Brana, who was involved in the jousting scenes from the 1961 film El Cid, was involved in staging the jousts.[5]

In 1983 the Spanish investment group Manver (incorporated in the Netherlands Antilles) opened the first U.S. show at Orlando near Disney World. In 1986 they opened their second establishment near Disneyland in California. [5]

In April 1997, the franchises in Florida and California sought bankruptcy protection after losing a court battle with the IRS that required the Buena Park location to pay US$7.5 million and the Orlando location to pay $2.5 million in back taxes (equivalent to about $12.7 and $4.2M in 2021). 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."[6]

The chain was featured in the 1996 film The Cable Guy,[7] and the 2004 feature film Garden State. It has been featured in episodes of TV shows such as Friends,[8] Cake Boss,[9] The Simpsons, Hell's Kitchen,[10] The Celebrity Apprentice,[11] and Close Enough.[12]

The shows change about every six years.[13] A new show premiered in late 2017; and, for the first time, the lead role was filled by a queen rather than a king.[14]

The introduction of the knights, pictured in 2008.

On May 31, 2022, employees at Medieval Times in New Jersey filed for a union election with the NLRB, working with the American Guild of Variety Artists.[15]

Jose's son Perico Montaner is now the President and CEO of the private company, which is headquartered in Irving, Texas.[16]


Medieval Times in Schaumburg, Illinois
Medieval Times at Exhibition Place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

United States[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ ""Castle Locations". Medieval Times Entertainment. Retrieved July 30, 2019.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ "Medieval Times". The Miami Herald. August 7, 1988. p. 148.
  5. ^ a b c "Spanish Dinner Entertainment Harks Back to Medieval Times". Chicago Tribune.
  6. ^ James, Granelli (April 26, 1997). "Medieval Times Owners File for Bankruptcy". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
  7. ^ Ramey, Lynn T. (2007). Race, class, and gender in "medieval" cinema. pp. 111. ISBN 9781403974273.
  8. ^ ""Friends" The One with the Soap Opera Party (TV Episode 2003)". IMDb. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  9. ^ "Tournament of Knights and a Tasty Tiramisu" Cake Boss, TLC, June 14, 2010
  10. ^ "15 Chefs Compete". Hell's Kitchen episode 3. Season 9. July 25, 2011. Fox.
  11. ^ "Getting Medieval". The Apprentice. Season 12. Episode 2. February 26, 2012. NBC.
  12. ^ "The Canine Guy" Close Enough, HBO Max, July 9, 2020. Warner Bros.
  13. ^ Palisin, Steve (May 31, 2012). "Medieval Times ready to roll out new show". The Sun News. Retrieved June 1, 2012.
  14. ^ "Queen Takes The Reigns at Medieval Times Castles Starting October 19". Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  15. ^ "Medieval Knights LLC | National Labor Relations Board". Retrieved June 1, 2022.
  16. ^ "How Medieval Times survives in the digital age". The Toronto Star. August 7, 2016.

External links[edit]