I am a huge Medieval Times fan. I make no bones about it. I love the swordfighting, the horses, the food, the experience, and especially the feeling of having gone back in time to an era of chivalry and romance. (I don’t think about the lack of modern plumbing and rampant disease, of course.) Shawn and I have attended Medieval Times twice before, including a trip for my 29th birthday! So when I received an email invitation from the Toronto Castle to attend a free VIP premiere to their new show on November 8th, I was absolutely thrilled!
We decided to make a mini-vacation of it and booked a hotel using Hotwire.com. I was a little apprehensive because with Hotwire, you don’t get to see what hotel you’re actually booking until after you’ve made the reservation. However, the descriptions are quite detailed, and we made sure to choose a hotel with a higher star rating (I’m willing to pay extra for a non-fleabag hotel!). To our surprise, we ended up at the Renaissance Toronto Downtown Hotel, which is known for their Rogers Centre view rooms! Shawn was really excited because he had stayed there once before with friends to see a Blue Jays game, and really enjoyed the experience.
(On a funny note… Medieval Times… Renaissance Hotel… it was like we were time travellers!)
Our room had a city view and queen-sized bed, with a huge bathroom and Aveda toiletries.
Once we were settled into the hotel, we changed and were ready to head out to the festivities. We made sure to peep in at the Rogers Centre, which was set up for the Toronto Argonauts football game!
We arrived at approximately 6:30 pm, checked in and were assigned to the Blue Section! We were happy about that, because at both of our previous visits we were seated in the Black & White Section, and our knight was eliminated first! I was also happy because the Blue Knight’s symbol is the fleur-de-lis, which reminded me of my time working on The Three Musketeers. We were also handed our dinner vouchers, a free photo voucher, and two free drink tickets! Score!
Once we had our photo taken with Princess Catalina, we went into the great hall, where we were presented with a goodie bag full of Medieval Times swag! Double score! And of course I had to buy a blue cheering flag and hurricane shot glass (to cheer for the Blue Knight and join my collection of Black & White Knight gear). There were also serving wenches and serfs roaming around with various appetizers and sweets for the guests. Shawn and I redeemed our drink tickets for a beer (for Shawn) and a Maiden’s Kiss cocktail (for me) which were served in souvenir cups. The Medieval Times goodies were just stacking up! We were a little surprised that we were not given the traditional paper crowns on our way in though. (This is the point where I’m feeling like a greedy-guts.)
We had the opportunity to go through the Dungeon as well, which showcases a number of medieval torture devices and weapons, and normally costs an additional $2. This was my first time going through the Dungeon and it was pretty gruesome — maybe not for the faint of heart or little ones.
We were seated at about 7 pm, and the Blue Section was sent to sit second. I actually got a shout-out from the Lord Chancellor because of my vigorous cheering and flag-waving. What can I say? 🙂 And, lo and behold — our paper crowns were waiting for us at our seats!
Finally — time for the dinner and show! Our serving wench’s name was Chantal, and she was very sweet, polite and friendly, with a smile on her face at all times! One of the fun things about Medieval Times is that you are not given cutlery — yes, you have to eat with your hands! Luckily there are lots of napkins and wet-naps available. The tomato bisque soup at Medieval Times is friggin’ fantastic, and Chantal gave me a nice big portion. Shawn was sad that I wouldn’t share with him. (Medieval Times, if you’re reading this, please publish an MT cookbook, I’d be first in line to buy it.) Our main course was next, and Shawn was thrilled with the huge portion of roasted chicken he received, along with a BBQ spare rib and roasted potato. I requested a vegetarian meal, and was surprised to see that the vegetarian meal had changed. It used to be a roasted red pepper or mushroom cap with rice, skewer of roasted vegetables, and hummus and pita chips, but instead I received a serving of cooked carrots, broccoli and cauliflower, along with a huge serving of cheesy vegetarian lasagna. My only complaint was that that the lasagna was a bit hard to eat with my hands (I developed a sort of “ripping apart the layers” technique which worked well) and the food could have been a bit hotter. The apple pastry dessert was great, nice and hot and flavourful — you could smell it coming!
The show itself was amazing. I don’t want to spoil the new storyline for you — you’ll have to go and experience it for yourself! But the combat was fantastic, fast and furious and sparks were flying! The degree of difficulty has definitely increased, and the fights were noticeably longer. The Knights also performed in a skills competition, and those Knights who succeeded were given carnations to throw to ladies in their colour section. There were also incredible feats of horsemanship, and a performance of skill by the Royal Falconer. Watching this show always makes me want to take up horseback riding, in addition to wanting to train more and more in stage combat. Unfortunately, it’s pretty unlikely that I’ll ever get to perform in this show, since the only female in the cast was Princess Catalina. All the Knights and Squires were men. Maybe someday Medieval Times will write a show where one of the Knights’ younger sisters disguises herself as a man to train as a knight too? 🙂
After the show, we were invited back to the great hall for celebratory cake and champagne were served. This cake was INSANE — look at all the detail! The cake was created by SanRemo Bakery, and they did an incredible job! And the victorious Knight (again, won’t reveal who!) cut the cake with a sword. I’m totally using that idea in my wedding. I’m sure Shawn will be fine with that.
After we left the castle, we returned to the Renaissance to find this lovely surprise in our room! Needless to say, I was blown away.
Thank you so much to Medieval Times Toronto Castle and the Renaissance Hotel for an amazing getaway! We were treated like royalty and I cannot wait to come back. The service was impeccable and we didn’t want to leave! Be sure to follow on Twitter: @MedievalTimes, @TorontoCastle (don’t forget the hashtag #medievaltimestoronto), and @RenaissanceTO. Highly recommended!
Disclaimer: I was invited to attend the Medieval Times event free of charge. All opinions are my own. Photos taken by me with my iPhone.
Please note that as of this blog posting, the Toronto Castle website has not yet updated the Court section of their website, so it doesn’t have the new character names there. The California Castle has the new show information.
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