Pros: Fun show, fun dinner, great family activity
Cons: expensive to take whole family, food service rushed
The clash of steel, the stampeding of feet, blood, sweat, and screams of rage, and this was only the ticket counter for the show.
Ok, so maybe I am exaggerating a little but that was kind of what it felt like standing in line for the Tournament of Kings show at the Excalibur. A polite author always gives a little background so I better explain some.
My wife and I decided to take the kids to Las Vegas for a few days. What? Ya, I know what a wholesome family trip. Kinda reminds me of Chevy Chase in Vegas Vacation. Anyway, we wanted to hit a few shows but felt that we should stay in the PG rating area.
We showed up in town with no reservations or tickets. The wife really wanted to go the Excalibur to see the Tournament of Kings show, and, what makes her happy, makes me happy. After waiting in line for the ticket desk, we learned that the shows were at 6p and 8:30p and tickets were $60 each. We were a little surprised at the cost, $240 for a family of four for dinner and a show. Humm .. My wife asked the clerk at the counter if there were any places to get discount tickets. She suggested walking a few blocks down the street to the Tix4Tonight where we could get tickets for half price. We walked down to the discount ticket booth and were pleasantly surprised to get our four tickets for $30 each. You could only get tickets for todays date, but that was fine for us.
Right away the show was starting to look better and better. One trick though, now that we had the tickets we had to actually go back to the Excalibur ticket desk to get our seating assignment for the show. You want to do this at least a few hours early to get the best seat assignments that you can. I do not know if you get worse seat assignments with the discounted tickets, but we were placed in row E which is the back row. Now keep in mind there are only five rows so this is not exactly all that far back. We were also seated on one of the edges of the oval but the seats were great and we had a perfect view of the show.
Now that we had our tickets for dinner and the show, we had a few hours to burn. The show started at 6pm and the doors opened for seating at 5:30. The nice thing about assigned seats is that there was no rush to get into line for the show.
We have been to the Medival Times show in California twice before so we kind of knew what to expect. If you have never been to one of these shows, they are kind of a kick. You are transported back in time to the ark ages. You sit at tables that surround a horse arena to have your meal and watch a jousting tournament. This is a live show with real sticks, knights, swords, and horses. You are seated in sections and as a group cheer for your hero.
The meal is served in true fashion to the era. There is no silverware and you eat everything with your hands. The meal consists of a soup, small roasted chicken, roll, vegetable, potato wedges, softdrink, and small dessert. For a fee you could order from the bar as well. Dinner was fun and while not spectacular was quite good. The chicken was roasted and had a nice flavor and was very moist.
Right from the start the show in front starts and keeps going while you eat. Having the crowd participate in the show is key and a good deal of time is focused on getting everyone into the spirit and having fun. My 14 year old was cheering and yelling with the best of them, it was pretty funny.
I wont give any spoilers on the show other than to say it was much better designed, choreographed and involved that the Medieval Times shows I have seen. There was actually a plot that you could follow, and other entertainment than just the guys on the horses.
My only complaint surrounds the food servers. It was quite clear that it is a challenge to get the food courses and beverages to the entire crowd in the time they are allotted. They are rushing around and much more concerned with time than customer satisfaction. If you are lucky you will get refills on your drinks, but dont waste to much time waiting to eat, you should jump right in and get your meal, remember these are ancient times, eat it or loose it. There is also the obligatory photo that is taken of your party and then ransomed back at a ridiculous price. We just told the photographer we didnt want a picture and he was quite polite about moving on.
So, you know what, we had a great time, my wife was happy, which as you know means I am happy. The kids had a riot and loved eating with their hands and being able to yell and shout as loud as they wanted. I felt great about the price we paid, I may not have been as easy to please if I had paid $60, but who knows. This activity was appropriate for families and children of young ages.
I highly recommend that if you travel to Vegas with you family you consider visiting this show. Dont expect a gourmet meal and a Phantom of the Opera quality show, but do expect to just relax and have a great time.