One of the great things about living in the area I do is the convenient proximity to most anything. I have access to most any major store or restaurant…within half an hour, I can get to 3 or 4 of the same chain! I can also get to several malls within that time frame, but one of the most interesting ones is Arundel Mills - an outlet mall with some unique anchor tenants.
I always wonder what strangers must think when they drive around the mall the first time. Sure, there’s stores….then there’s some sort of log cabin, an Egyptian tomb, and a castle. Yes, I said castle, and yes, it’s in the mall.
That castle is home to Medieval Times, a themed dinner theatre that has a few locations scattered about the US and Canada.
In 2003 I visited the MT in Myrtle Beach with a girlfriend in celebration of our high school graduation. We had a blast together! When I found out MT was looking for bloggers to give them some love, I jumped right in. Would I find the food as good now that I’m vegetarian? Would the show be as fun?
MT gave me a total of 4 tickets for this review. Base tickets include dinner and entertainment, then patrons can choose to purchase upgraded packages for better seats or other novelty experiences like a Knighting Ceremony or personalized announcement during the show. A full-service bar is also on-site for those who desire to purchase drinks.
The process is easy; you check in with your tickets, get "crowned," and handed a table/section assignment. They also ask at this time if any vegetarians are in the party so they can give the staff a head’s up. If you arrive early as recommended, you can browse the castle gift shop or grab a drink at the bar while you wait for the arena doors to open.
The arena is quite large, so it is a good thing tables are assigned; there is no fighting over seats or stress if you’re the last one in! They call guests in section by section for crowd control. The sections are color-themed and each have a corresponding Knight for whom you will cheer during the show.
As everyone is seated, wenches (servers) come out to explain how the process works – drink choices are minimal (Pepsi or unsweetened iced tea were our two choices), and how you position your cup signals what your order will be. They again ask for vegetarians present before pouring drinks and starting with the first course.
The show itself is fun, especially for first timers and those who like to be interactive as audience participation is encouraged. I don't want to give much away so I won’t get too specific, but the entertainment follows a story line and includes live animals!
As there are many horses in the show, I was naturally curious about their treatment and training (in Myrtle Beach, they clearly had room for stables, but I was concerned as this location is literally in a mall). It turns out that the location is large enough for 20 stables, plus there are additional stables in a nearby town so the horses can be rotated for R&R. Good to know!
Servers are in and out throughout the show to serve the rest of the fare. I was concerned that the vegetarian option would be a nasty cheese pizza or some plain spaghetti…one of the lazy options for restaurants who know they need a vegetarian option but really don’t care. So not the case here! After my hummus appetizer, I was given a three bean stew which was delicious and left me full. I barely had room for the apple turnover they brought out for dessert! (FYI, my carnivorous guests all enjoyed their King's Feast including chicken, ribs, potatoes, and tomato soup. I do remember it being quite tasty back in the day!)
Overall, the experience is run well. The food is tasty, the staff is friendly, and the show is enjoyable. I feel like this was the same show I’d seen 10 years ago at the beach, but friends who came with me said the storyline was different from the last time they’d attended the Maryland location a year prior. That is good as it sounds like there is some show rotation. First timers will certainly find more magic in the experience, but I still thoroughly enjoyed myself.
My only real complaints are on the business side of things – servers are to be tipped which makes sense, but instead of doing a mass announcement or including it at time of purchase, the servers seem to be scripted to beg for their tips at the beginning of the meal. It’s kind of a downer, and for people like me who rarely carry cash, I’d like to have the convenience under normal circumstances to include tip when I purchase the ticket.
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