Suburban Eats: Medieval Times (As A Child-Free Adult!) | chicago foodie girl


Suburban Eats: Medieval Times (As A Child-Free Adult!)

As I'm sure you've all figured out by now, I am a total nerd... I have a serious love for the written word, I'm thoroughly obsessed with The Crown, I count down to Ren Faire every summer, and my vacations always involve leisurely days wandering through museums. So, it should come as no surprise that a trip to Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament has long been on my must-visit list. A dinner show filled with dashing knights, majestic horses, epic battles, and a feast prepared by the Queen's royal chefs? Sign this nerdy girl up for a trip back to the age of chivalry!

While it seems as though practically everyone I know has childhood memories of a visit to a castle, my trip out to the Schaumburg a few weeks ago was my first time stepping into the pageantry of the 11th-century royal court. Yes, it's true that a visit to one of the ten castles is often touted as a perfect activity for kids, but let me just say that it's just as fun as an adult (perhaps even more so, as you're able to partake in ye olde massive vodka slushies!). Pro tip: take someone with you who's not afraid to wear a paper crown, cheer with abandon for their favorite knight, and lose themselves in the moment (Jess was that perfect nerd-rrific partner for me). It's true you'll find tons of young kids at the show, but you'll also find plenty of child-free adults - there was even a bachelorette party (complete with a loaded party bus) on the night we visited.

As recommended, Jess and I arrived approximately an hour before our showtime. After making our way through the check-in process (which was extremely organized!), we found ourselves in the Hall of Arms, a giant catch-all spaced filled with shopping opportunities, full-service bars, and a museum of torture. We also the chance to observe the master falconer and his birds of prey up close (so cool!) and watch the knighting ceremony performed by the newly-installed Queen.

While it was mostly kids who participated in the knighting ceremony, there were a few adults who took part (most of the child-free adults were busy picking out their favorite drinking vessels at the bar!).

Once we were ushered into the theater, we were seated in the Red & Yellow Knight's section (assigned at check-in). We were upgraded to the Queen's Royalty section, which guarantees first or second-row seating in the center section, along with a commemorative group photo, lanyard, and cheering banner. Here's the question everyone asks: is the upgrade worth it? In my opinion, it is worth it if you're with a group that's really into the show and wants to be super close to the action. Realistically, there are no terrible seats in the theater, but it's definitely a fun treat to be so close. There were a few families in the front section (mostly kids celebrating birthdays), but the majority was the child-free adult crowd.

As soon as we were settled, we got down to the important business of choosing our favorite Medieval specialty drinks.

Of course, we both chose the commemorative blue goblets, as fitting for any member of the Queen's court!

Right before the Queen's welcome, the servers (serfs and wenches) brought out the first course: Dragon's Blood Soup (aka tomato bisque). In case you don't already know: everyone is served the same set menu and there are no utensils. Everything is super finger-friendly though (or slurp friendly), so eating with your hands just adds to the fun!

This year is the first featuring Queen Dona Maria Isabella in the lead. In the old show's plot, the King's knights had to fight off a challenger from another realm; in the newly debuted script, Queen Isabella has taken over for her late father and proceeds over a tournament to find the best knight in the land - there's even some drama involving a knight that challenges her authority as a woman. This is the first time since the show's inception in 1983 that a woman has taken the helm; not only has this change provided a much-needed new role model for girls but it has also reinvigorated the show.

After the Queen's welcome, we were treated to the pre-tournament entertainment featuring a variety of skills games, jousting, the Flight of the Royal Falcon, and my favorite, the horse dressage. I swear the louder the crowd cheered, the higher this horse jumped!

During the exhibition, the servers brought out the main course: garlic bread, roasted chicken, sweet buttered corn, and herb-basted potatoes. I have to admit that I didn't have super high hopes for the food (it's all about the show!), but it was all surprisingly good. Please excuse the terrible quality photo, as I took it in the dark... I promise it tastes better than it looks!

Finally, it was time to cheer on our individual knights. And yes, they were all adorned with beautiful hair!

The Red & Yellow Knight charmed our section with carnations and blown kisses. One little girl was particularly charmed by him and practically swooned when he tossed her his first flower.

The big battle began when dinner was winding down to allow us to really focus on the show. Once the Knights advance, the netting drops, and everyone gets down to some serious jousting business. This is the point in which you definitely want to be with someone who gets into it, as it's so much fun to cheer for your knight!

There were all sorts of cool armor and weapons, including battle axes, halberds, and flails. Jess and I, along with the couples around us, got super into it as the horses galloped and the knights smashed their opponents' weapons (sparks! clanging! cheering! drama!). There was a point in which I found myself with chicken in one hand and cheering banner in the other while the woman next to me screamed "KILL HIM! KILL HIM" at top volume. 

 Near the end of the battle, the servers brought out lemon pound cake for the final course.

The Red & Yellow Knight prevailed! Yay! 

Needless to say, we had such a fab time at Medieval Times! Everyone was super friendly and talented and they do a fantastic job at making sure the entire dinner/show runs smoothly. It's definitely an experience kids and adults alike can enjoy (especially if you're of the super nerdy variety like me!).

You can take a trip back to the land of knights, jousting, and Queen Isabella at Medieval Times: 2001 N Roselle Rd, Schaumburg, IL (additional locations can be found on their website). Make sure you do a little research online, as there are always discounted tickets available!

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