This summer, Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament, North America’s longest running dinner attraction, is inviting guests to travel back to the 11th Century with the premier of their first new show since 2007.
“The new live performance will give our guests a one-of-a-kind experience that will keep first-time visitors and returning fans on the edge of their seats,” said Florida Castle’s General Manager Jose Lopez.
While the show offers many new elements, some of the most popular traditions remain. The live show will still feature two- and four-legged performers with a utensil-free meal serviced in a castle-inspired arena.
Almost two years in the making, the new live production presents even more audience favorites such as live jousting, sword fights, horsemanship and falconry. Guests are taken back in time and encouraged to cheer for one of six “Knights of the Realm,” named after historic regions of medieval Spain.
In addition to a new story, the production includes new lighting, choreography and battle scenes, costumes, new horse dressage elements, and a new musical score custom created for Medieval Times and recorded in Kiev, Ukraine.
“In a sense, we’ve gone back to the basics,” said Leigh Cordner, Medieval Times creative director. “Guests will see a celebration of the horses along with more action and elements of high drama. The streamlined plot allows more concentration on the action.
“When we started to put pen to paper, we knew from the start we wanted to grab guests’ attention from the moment they take their seats. This led us to the creation of the opening moment, when Liberty Horse enters the arena.”
After the opening, guests will witness intricate battles, which are precisely planned sequences that have been practiced daily. Director of Stunt Choreography Tim Baker began developing the fight sequences shortly after Cordner started writing the new script.
With authentic weaponry and enhanced armor, the new production presents non-stop action tied to the tempo of the music. And while there’s still a general theme of “good versus evil” throughout the show, guests will see much more of what they like most about the show – fight scenes that maintain the highest quality and safety standards.
While almost all of the royal subjects at Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament stand on their own two feet, the most celebrated members of the Kingdom are best known for their trot, gallop and canter.
“Audiences will witness authentic jousting and equine presentations that would not be possible without four special breeds of horses,” said Victor de Lara, a veteran horse trainer at Medieval Times.
Pure Spanish Horses, Quarter Horses, Friesians and Menorcan – from the Mediterranean island for which it is named – complete the mix of horses at each of Medieval Times’ nine North American Castles.
For the new production, de Lara and Baker worked with all of the horses and knights to incorporate authentic dressage elements.
“Each horse is unique,” said de Lara. “Like any of the actors and actresses in our show, each horse has its own personality, so with our new production, we started the training process several months in advance to develop new routines that are exciting for the horses, their riders and, especially, the audience.”
When audiences experience the new show premiering in mid-June at Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament, they may sense a familiar note behind every clash of swords.
For the third time, award-winning IMAX and feature film score composer Daniel May provides all of the dramatic musical elements that complete the Florida Castle experience.
“Creating music to build the best possible 11th Century experience provides many challenges, but the reward comes in knowing that millions of people will hear my creation over the next few years,” said May.
For the new Medieval Times show, May began arranging compositions for scenes as early as fall 2010. Armed with information such as show concepts, early drafts of scripts and videos, May set out to create a strong and commanding musical score that would once again garner favorable responses from guests.
Highly acclaimed musicians in Kiev, Ukraine, recorded the new score in one day.
“The vibe of the city is classic medieval with a strong artistic soul. It was the ideal location and group of musicians to ensure the score was a perfect match for Leigh’s script,” said May.
Guests will enjoy an upgraded menu for the utensil-free meal during the new show. The menu includes:
- Tomato Bisque
- Focaccia Bread with Olive Oil and Seasoning
- Oven Roasted Chicken
- Larger BBQ Spare Rib
- Herb-Basted Potato Split into Quarters
- Braided Apple Strudel
- Larger Beverage Servings and Coffee
Guests also can find Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament on Facebook and Twitter.