Our first ever Ben-Voyage feature brings us back in time...WAY BACK! I admit, I was a little hesitant to bring Ben to Medieval Times- the 11th century inspired feast and tournament attraction in Lyndhurst, NJ. Would it be lost on him? Would he eat the food? Would it be too violent? Would the 2-hour show be able to hold his attention? Any doubts I had subsided when we pulled into the parking lot and his face lit up upon seeing the castle. “MAMA!” Ben shouted, “A CASTLE!” Whew! Off to a great start! The castle sticks out amongst the otherwise residential streets of Lyndhurst. Parking was plentiful and a breeze too, much to my relief.
|Ben was all smiles!|
We arrived at 7:20pm for the 7:30pm show, however, it is recommended to get there early as seating is first come first served. The doors to the castle open 75 minutes prior to the show, giving you and your family plenty of time to interact with the various characters, explore the gift shop, get a medieval picture taken in full costume, or even see the royal Falconer and his impressive bird of prey up close! In retrospect, I wish we had gotten there earlier to be able to experience all of the fun extras Medieval Times had to offer. Parents be forewarned-there is a medieval torture museum that you can tour at an additional cost. It is NOT recommended for little ones, and there are signs posted that say that as well. On the plus side, there are lots of cute photo ops, so have your camera charged and ready! We exchanged our tickets for crowns bearing the color of the Knight we would be rooting for, and headed to get our seats. Seating was well organized and timely!
The lengths the staff went to set the tone for the evening especially impressed me. Expect lots of ‘M’Lord’ and ‘M’Lady’ jargon. It was a charming touch. Our server, Joe, was nothing short of exceptional. He made sure our mugs were filled and our bellies were satisfied. He said he had been working there a while, and you can tell everyone working there truly enjoys it. Just a side note-sales tax and gratuities are NOT included in the price of admission, so budget ahead for that. You’ll want to budget ahead anyway for your kids at the gift shop (which is reasonably priced!).
|Image courtesy of Medieval Times Lyndhurst Facebook page|
The show opened with a monologue to set the mood for the night, and the announcer did a phenomenal job getting everyone super excited and ready to see all the action. We were encouraged to cheer for our Knights (3 either from the East or West), and jeer for the opposing ones. The storyline of the show will definitely be lost on little ones-however talking is pretty minimal, and the action resumes quickly. The feats of skill that the Knights displayed were truly exceptional, and the horses were beautifully trained. Ben was on the edge of his seat with the fight scenes, and they were choreographed amazingly enough that I was too. The weapons hitting each other actually produced sparks, how cool! There was generous use of smoke and lighting to enhance scenes, and the music also did a great job to accompany the action. Ben’s favorite was the Falcon. It was really breathtaking to see it soar above the audience. Another charming touch-after their skillful showcases, the Knights threw roses to the females of the audience. It was adorable to see all the little girls excited to catch them. Also, there were a lot of kids at the show! It was definitely family-friendly and appropriate for all audiences.
Mid-show, they announced all the birthdays and special events that were being celebrated. Medieval Times offers different packages that you can upgrade your general admission ticket with, which will include things as a royal announcement during the show, VIP seating, a cheering banner, and much more! To see what packages are offered, check out: http://www.medievaltimes.com/lyndhurst/ratesdirections.aspx. There was a little girl a row ahead that was celebrating her 7th birthday and having the time of her life! She definitely looked like she was enjoying the royal treatment! I would recommend going to Medieval Times for a special and unforgettable way to celebrate.
|Image courtesy of Medieval Times (Yes! It really looked like that!)|
The food was SO GOOD. I was not expecting to be overly fond of it, but I was! The first thing that was brought out was the Tomato Bisque Soup, which was so flavorful and complimented the Garlic Bread wonderfully. The Oven Roasted Chicken was juicy and VERY generously sized. I thought that would have been it for our feast, but no! A spare rib was also brought out, and it did not disappoint. It was literally falling off the bone. For dessert, an Apple pastry rounded our meal out. Delish! Ben loved eating with his hands, which is surprising because he usually errs on the pickier culinary side (He’s very refined in his 3 years!). The servers will bring utensils out for the little ones if you ask them. I also appreciate that they offer (upon request) a Vegetarian meal, which includes: Hummus, Warm Pita Bread, Carrot and Celery sticks, 3-Bean Stew with Fire Roasted Tomato and Brown Rice, Fresh Fruit or Italian Ice (based on availability), and select Non-Alcoholic Beverages.
I would encourage anyone looking to go to book reservations, ahead of time, as it can get crowded. Toddler Tip: You may want to bring a portable booster seat, as the seats are low. Also, children 3 and under are free as long as they sit on an adult lap and share from their plate!
We had a knight to remember (get it?)! Thank you to the staff at Medieval Times who made our visit magical! We definitely will be back! I highly recommend you bringing your little Knight or Princess here for some good old (and I do mean old!) fashioned fun! To buy tickets or learn more information about the show, please visit the Lyndhurst Medieval Times website at: http://www.medievaltimes.com/lyndhurst
P.S. For those of you who don’t live in New Jersey, fear not! There are 8 other Medieval Times locations: Kissimmee, Fla, Buena Park, Calif., Schaumburg, Ill., Hanover, Md., Myrtle Beach, S.C., Dallas, Texas, Atlanta, Ga., and Toronto, Canada.
Have you ever been to Medieval Times? Comment below and share your memory!
Disclaimer: Medieval Times provided our tickets with the intent for this review