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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|
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.
There are ten locations: the nine in the United States are built as replica 11th-century castles; the tenth, 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, Florida 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. The eighth castle opened in 2003 at the Arundel Mills Mall in the Baltimore suburb of Hanover.
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 existing locations to continue operating and later opening two additional Medieval Times locations by 2006. The tenth, and most recent, castle opened in Scottsdale, Arizona in 2019.
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.
Beginning in 2017, guests are served a four-course meal precisely timed with the presentation of the tournament. The standard offering is garlic bread and tomato bisque soup, a half rotisserie chicken, sides of herb-roasted potato and buttered sweet corn, and a castle dessert. Vegan and allergy-friendly options are available.
The tournament opens with a light show and introduction of the six finest knights of the realm and their counties, represented by their colors throughout the castle. Also featured are choreographed equestrian, falconry, and character skills. A story-line ensues featuring the first female ruler, Doña Maria Isabella, attended 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 is honored as 'Champion' and ;Defender of the Realm' and chooses a lady from the audience to be the 'Queen of Love and Beauty.'
- Orlando, Florida (opened 1983)
- Buena Park, California (1986)
- Lyndhurst, New Jersey (1990)
- Chicago, Illinois (1991 in the Schaumburg suburb)
- Dallas, Texas (1992)
- Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (1995)
- Baltimore, Maryland (2003 in the Hanover suburb)
- Atlanta, Georgia (2006 in the Lawrenceville suburb)
- Phoenix, Arizona (2019 in the Scottsdale suburb)
- ""Castle Locations". Medieval Times Entertainment. Retrieved July 30, 2019.
- 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.
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