Medieval Times Baltimore - 4/9/04

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Wednesday, April 14, 2004 9:04 AM
OK, so Medieval Times isn't exactly an amusement park, but it's close enough, and I make the rules anyway. :)

I was in Baltimore for the massive Northeast Qualifier at the convention center. Thousands of teenage volleyball girls take over the Inner Harbor for this event every Easter weekend. We did OK overall, but not as well as I would have liked.

A couple of months ago, a new Medieval Times opened up at the Arundel Mills mall. I'm not sure if any of the others are attached to a mall (I've only been to the Orlando location), but this mall is perfect for it. The mall is huge, and oddly enough has no "anchor stores." It takes a half-hour to walk through it all and its many themed areas. At the opposite end from the castle, an amazing Egyptian-themed Muvico theater complex lures you in to see a show (we saw The Girl Next Door).

I really like the theme and look to the shop and the beverage hall. The giant fireplace is a nice touch. The only real complaints I can make is that it's too small when you consider that the arena seats a thousand. This is the only thing I like better about the Orlando location. With all of that drinking, I need to sit down!

The arena itself is much nicer. We spent the extra couple of bucks for premium seating, a flag and a program. That put us right in the front row, near the corner. Our serving wench Jessica was top notch.

There must be some kind of local laws regarding alcohol, because unlike Orlando, you don't have the option of having beer or soda with your meal (and that might explain why it's a few bucks less than Orlando). You can't get pitchers either, so you're limited to single bottles/mugs when the bar wench comes by. Not that it mattered, because with the frequency I drink (last time was, oddly enough, Medieval Times in Orlando in November), it doesn't take much.

The food was what I expected. Steph got a vegetarian plate. It was a good variety of stuff, and her only complaint was that they seemed to equate "vegetarian" with "bland." My carnivorous plate was awesome as usual. Half a chicken is a lot of food, but the seasoning (also apparently used on tater and bread) is really tasty. For those of you not familiar, you eat only with your hands, you have no utensils. The soup bowl has a handle.

The show itself was a little more clean than the Orlando show, save for one grumpy horse. They had their own falconer, and a few more horses doing the demonstration stuff. The jousts were better, with only one unconvincing fall. The hand-to-hand fights were a lot more convincing, where one missed block would seriously concern me. They did not appear to mic fights as loud here though.

In the end, the green knight won, which was not surprising given the intensity of the crowd in the green section. Overall this was the best crowd I've experienced at one of these things. They were really, really into it, and that's exactly the reason I'd love to go to one of these with a large group some day.

There were little things that certainly added to the experience. For example, when our blue knight saw I was shooting him, he'd hold his look toward me until I lowered the camera. These guys were really about entertaining the crowd, and it showed. Here are some photos.

Overall, we were really impressed, even though we've seen the show before. Maybe it's because they're new, but the entire package feels like more of a sincere effort to entertain. If you ever get the chance to see this show, it's really a lot of fun and I think you should do it.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2004 9:46 AM
Just say that Medival Times installed a kiddie coaster and this TR is officially legit. :)

We have a MT out here in the Chicago area so when you visit in May, be sure to check the one in Schaumburg.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2004 10:18 AM
Chi.....there *is* a kiddie coaster named "Joust" and it isn't TOO far from B-more, LOL....talk about a segue...;)

Baltimore certainly is a much different place than when I grew up in MD...the Inner Harbor used to be quite the filth-hole...

But regardless, it's Jeff's site...:)

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Wednesday, April 14, 2004 10:35 AM
Hello...LOOONG time reader...first time poster here. But this topic motivated me to ask some things I've always wondered about...

I've been to Medieval Times in several locations (Chicago, Orlando, Myrtle Beach, and Dallas), and while the show is pretty much the same everywhere, I've always enjoyed the different nuances brought to each one by the individual casts.

I've always been very curious about Medieval Times from a business standpoint...does anyone know any details about this company? I've checked their web site, but there's not really any business info available.

Their overhead costs must be incredible. Considering the size of the facilities, the care & feeding of the animals, salaries for the actors (are they Equity members?), etc. But, they're obviously making money, or they wouldn't have expanded like they have.

Joel

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Wednesday, April 14, 2004 10:43 AM
It's funny that you decided to go to *this* MT. "T" and I are going there Friday night for my b-day

Bummer about the beer though. It's strange because, IMO, Maryland has some really lax alcohol laws. Up until about 2 years ago, it was legal to drive with an open alcohol container in the passenger compartment! Maybe it's because it's attached to the mall and they market so much to school groups....

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Wednesday, April 14, 2004 11:11 AM
The green knight won? That surprises me. I've been to the one in Myrtle Beach three or four times and every time I've been, the green knight is the one the king hates, and he always ends up getting exiled in the first fight, usually for throwing sand.
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Wednesday, April 14, 2004 12:47 PM
Actually, Arundel Mills Mall is closer to Washingon, DC, but that's really not too important. If you've never been there, the mall itself is an experiance on it's own. It's over 1.3 million square feet with over 200 stores arranged in a huge oval. To walk around the entire oval is easily a good 3/4 mile long. The entire mall is themed in neighborhoods with huge tv screens hanging from the ceiling in each neighboorhood advertising stores in other neighborhoods of the mall. Some of the better sections include the pinball themed section where a giant pinball roles on a track above your head, the Locomotive Roundhouse food court, and of course the egyptian themed 24 screen Muvico movie theater. There really arn't ancor stores per say, but there are some MAJORLY large stores like Outdoor World with it's three story tall rockclimbing wall in the middle of the store (a store larger than most WalMarts), CrayolaWorks, Jillian's, and of course Medieval Times. It's all stores you'd expect to be found as stand alone stores, just found in a mall. The mall has everything. Every kind of dining from fast food to fine dining, nearly every kind of store you could need, plenty of entertainment, and apparently they now have their own Community College. I mean, all this mall needs is an amusement park and a hotel in the mall and you could spend a nice little weekend there...
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Wednesday, April 14, 2004 1:05 PM

Coaster Lover said:
There really arn't ancor stores per say, but there are some MAJORLY large stores like Outdoor World with it's three story tall rockclimbing wall in the middle of the store (a store larger than most WalMarts), CrayolaWorks, Jillian's, and of course Medieval Times.

Well, I am not sure what people consider "anchor stores", but Outdoor World, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Burlington Coat Factory, and TJ Maxx are all large stores that I personally consider "anchor stores". But that's just my opinion.

But Coasterlover, I am not sure when the last time you were there was, but CrayolaWorks closed. It's quite a shame because that was a great store...but it didn't last very long.

Sean

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Wednesday, April 14, 2004 1:46 PM
Around here an "anchor" is something like Sears, JCPenney, Macy's, Kaufmann's, etc... typical "department stores." While the mall does have some large stores, none of these is even in the ballpark of a traditional department store in terms of size.

From what I could learn talking to our knight after the show, it's a fairly closely held business and the employees, especially the performers, take it very seriously.

As for "overhead," aside from being attached to a mall, I doubt the food costs more than $10 a person, and you bet that the alcohol is 90% profit. The little add-ons like souvenirs and photos likely have equally high margins. I doubt that they're hurting for cash. This was our first visit that we didn't drop $200 between the two of us, not that $150 is that much of an improvement!

Jeremy: The fact that you can't buy beer in a grocery store in Maryland to me is weird! On my way home across Cleveland tonight, I can pick it up at the grocery store, the gas station or even a drive-through.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2004 2:03 PM
Jeff, Pennsylvania is the same way when it comes to beer. I had no idea they had specific stores just for beer. After going to two grocery stores, two gas stations and a "Spirit Store" (a State liquor-style store, minus the beer!), I found out that we had to go to a "Beer Store". Once there, we found out that you could only buy 2 6-packs or one 12-pack. I'm not a heavy drinker by any means... but that's a bit conservative. I guess Ohioans are lucky that beer is so readily available.

I have not yet been to a genuine Medieval Times. The Excalibur's Tournament of Kings is the closest I have gotten. I believe there is a MT in Toronto... may have to check it out this sumer.

ray p.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2004 2:15 PM
I always though one of these would be awsome to go to. I think Ren Fairs are cool so I bet this is just as fun. I like the fact that you just use your hands to eat. Any chance they have those HUGE freakin turkey legs?

As for buying Beer in PA. You can go into any bar and buy 6 packs or 40's to take out. I think you can only take 2 at a time out but you can make as many trips in and out for more. Stupid law :) At beer distributors you can buy as many cases as you want. Sundays are pretty bad since most bars are closed unless they have a kitchen and serve food. You can still take out 6 packs but the number of bars open is really cut down. You need to stock pile for those weekend parties that go into Sunday early Monday. ;) *** Edited 4/14/2004 6:31:42 PM UTC by coasterpunk***

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Wednesday, April 14, 2004 4:07 PM
That is really weird, I was just passing through that mall, less than an hour ago, to visit my friend who works at FYE while I have a break between my classes.

I have never been to Medeival Times, but have met a few people who have, and knew a girl who worked their when it first opened, and most say its fun, but they usually comment that the jousting tournament at the Marlyand Renn Fest (Aug-Oct in Crownsville) is much more impressive and fun to watch....if you can get a seat. I must say that I enjoy the Renn Fest and have seen the jousting show many times, but I'm not sure if I'd want to pay $40-50? to see it in an enclosed environment, where the Renn Fest one is outside and really feels authetic. Plus their beer and chicken legs are probably far less expensive. Plus entrance into the Festival is usually around $13 -$20.

Nevertheless, I would still like to try it sometime with a large group of friends.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2004 4:08 PM
God bless our drive-thru beer stores here in Ohio...what would we ever do without them? :)

As for the PA laws and their beer stores, I made a trip to Penn State last fall and found it quite amusing that our hotel advertised the fact that it had a store within the lobby. No need to even go outside in the cold!

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Wednesday, April 14, 2004 4:32 PM
While I love medieval times, there is a show just like this that I belive is way better, though they only have one location. This show is at the Excalibur hotel in Vegas and was themed to Merlin and the sword in the stone. The arena was about twice the size of the medieval times one in Orlando and had tons of special effects (well magic would be a better term). Too bad they have gotten at least one new show since then.
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Wednesday, April 14, 2004 4:45 PM
I was at the MD Ren Fair last fall. I had a great time. Some friends of mine actually got married there and we were all dressed up. Isn't that one of the biggest in the US? If I remember correctly I think it is pretty close to BWI.

This year I plan on going to the one in PA outside of Lancaster. They are just alot of fun especially if you dress up!

I personally like how you can call a girl a wench and not get smacked!

Any thoughts on the Dixieland Stampeed compared to Medieval Times?

I personally think I would like the Medieval Times more since I love LOTR's and other stuff like that more than John Wayne movies and cowboy stuff. I'm sure both are fun. *** Edited 4/14/2004 8:55:44 PM UTC by coasterpunk***

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Wednesday, April 14, 2004 5:04 PM
Ha Jeff....the girls from my local volleyball place went. We are called Network from Mishawaka IN...we usually do well...good trip report.
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Wednesday, April 14, 2004 5:21 PM
Weird that they'd go to the NEQ when there was a qualifier in Indy the same weekend (though it's a tougher tourney, which is why we go to the NEQ).

We have the GLMF out here, and it's not bad. The tournament last year was pretty lame, but again, the beer saved the day. It can't hold a candle to the MT show. Weird that the GLMF home page has the same people on it as in my album on CF.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2004 6:03 PM
I like your picture of the Freaky Girls more though! punk/goth chicks rule! \m/
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Thursday, April 15, 2004 10:25 AM

Jeff said:

Jeremy: The fact that you can't buy beer in a grocery store in Maryland to me is weird! On my way home across Cleveland tonight, I can pick it up at the grocery store, the gas station or even a drive-through.


Hmm, that's a good point. I forgot all about that. I remember when I first moved here I was all like, WTF?!? But you kinda get used to it as there are liquor stores all around. Plus the fact that DC and VA actually *do* have beer in the markets really helps to forget.

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Thursday, April 15, 2004 10:36 AM
For as easy as it is to get beer in Ohio, I still (after weeks of searching) can't find the one brand that I want!

Ohio needs more Mexican Imported beers.

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