We recently had the pleasure of visiting Medieval Times in Orlando for a bit of dinner theater. The show features a King and his daughter holding a feast where the nobles (that’s you) of the kingdom are invited. The feast also includes a variety of games where the King’s knights fight for the favor of his daughter. During the feast however a marauder shows up in the kingdom and also demands a place in the games. Now the knights are not only fighting for her honor, but to save her from being taken away by the evil marauder.
Disclosure: A discount was provided by Medieval Times to attend this dinner show. This piece also contains details of the show which may spoil the story, you have been warned! All opinions are my own.
Photographing the show
Now that you know the basics of the story, lets talk about photo setup. The arena where the games are held is broken up into six sections, one for each knight. We were seated in the section for the Blue Knight. This section is also the closest to the King’s dais but all of the sections have an equal view of the arena. One important note about the arena is there is a net that will come down later in the show to protect guests from flying objects. The net covers about three quarters of the length of the arena. If you happen to be seated behind this net it will make taking photos difficult. I asked a server and they had no problem with me getting up and moving to one end where there was no net but doing this will obviously impact your dining experience.
For this event I came equipped with two cameras. The first had my 70-300mm telephoto lens and my 17-55mm f/2.8 and flash. I knew there would be a lot of opportunities for both wide and long range shots so I wanted to be prepared for that. The games move at a steady pace, sometimes in the dark, so swapping lenses isn’t ideal. If you have the ability I recommend bringing two camera bodies. If not, bring your most versatile and widest aperture lens.
Let the games begin!
Our night at Medieval Times starts with some introductions from the King, his Chancellor and the Princess. As you can see I was swapping back and forth between cameras quite a bit during this part. The arena at Medieval Times is more than bright enough to get lots of photos. We meet all the knights with their squires and then the games get under way.
As the games begin our first course comes from the kitchens and it’s tomato soup. Silverware was not used in medieval times and so we sip our soup from the bowl. As we sipped our soup, they started by having the horses come out and show off their skills. They trotted up and down the arena doing different moves, so if you’re into horses this really highlights the training they receive and skill they have.
Note: you can ask for silverware if you really want it. I asked for knife and fork for the chicken so I could continue taking photos without worrying about greasy fingers but I really recommend the authentic experience.
Next up was the falcon trainer. It was truly impressive to watch what the falcon can do. So often you see birds just soaring around but to see a falcon in full hunt mode really shows you their speed and power. Getting these shots was not easy. What I found worked best was staying on the trainer and waiting for the falcon to come around. It’s all in the timing here because of the falcon’s speed and if you can time it right you will be rewarded with some amazing shots.
The knights came out and performed a number of medieval feats. These included catching rings with the end of a lance, throwing javelins while riding and other tasks to show off their skills. We cheered on the Blue Knight as he performed all of these tasks with precision earning a number of flowers as a display of the Princess’ favor. He then tossed the flowers to the noble ladies who supported him throughout the games.
The Medieval Times Joust
The Blue Knight retired to the back of the arena to prepare for the next set of feats. The kitchens began sending up the chicken course which also included corn and potato. I only got a photo of the chicken since they bring the sides out a little later. I was already almost done with the chicken when the potato and corn came so I didn’t bother taking another photo. While the soup was nothing special and the corn and potato were both simple fare I have to say the chicken was fantastic. It was very juicy and packed full of flavor from the spices rubbed into the skin, it really is the star of the meal.
The Blue Knight returns in full armor to the applause of the section. They begin to set up the jousting lanes and the Chancellor talks what comes next. From here on out I am exclusively using my telephoto lens because the net I talked about is down.
The jousting begins with the knights taking turns against one another and moving one step closer to winning. The Blue Knight does well but then battle heats up and the knights take to closer combat.
Only one may be the victor
All the knights took to hand to hand combat with a variety of weapons. One by one the battles were won and lost. As the battles wore on the Blue Knight was the last one standing.
It doesn’t end there!
The evil marauder still demands the Princess leave with him and he won’t take no for an answer. It’s up to the Blue Knight to defend her and the Kingdom. He fights valiantly and is ultimately victorious over the marauder earning the favor of the Princess.
If you liked this article about our night out at Medieval Times then follow along with my other adventures at other Central Florida Attractions.