Saturday, October 25, 2008

my big fat Medieval birthday

As i've mentioned before, there aren't a lot of fun activities open to people in their 8th month of pregnancy. Ice skating, roller skating, rock climbing, amusement parks, running with the bulls, and sky diving are totally out. But I needed to celebrate 31 in a fun way, which led us to Medieval Times.

On the Epcot Trip in 6th grade, we went to the MT in Florida, but the experience was darkly colored by my teacher's concussion and my own insecurities. I mainly remember Ms. Everiss flying into the bus windshield, not quite knowing what to do with an entire chicken and no silverware, and trying desperately to pretend that I was cool despite the fact that I was pudgy with bad hair and no friends.

It was much better as an adult.

Here's the play-by-play:

6:15 - My mom shows up to watch the biscuit and we drive to Medieval Times in the rain. Although I am utterly terrified by highways (thank you, mortality salience!), it's so relaxing to be sitting somewhere cozy and not moving that I really have a nice time.

7:00 - We arrive at MT and meet The Kids. We give them our preprinted tickets, which entitle us to "The Royalty Package". We are VIPs. Which is why they give us cardboard crowns and take our photo with the king and princess. The king is pretty realistic, but the princess looks like that girl from your high school drama club that gets all the roles requiring a girl to be pretty in an extremely caucasian and harmless way. For one brief moment, Dr. Crog and I realize that we are utter dweebs, but we come to terms with it. Dr. Crog gets a big ol' beer in a souvenir glass and makes me hold it for him while he uses the can, which makes me feel totally redneck and/or medieval.

7:05 - We realize that when the website tells you to be there an hour early to ensure good seats, they really mean that they want to hold you captive for an hour by the open bar, souvenir shop, and $2 torture museum. We opt for the torture museum, OBVIOUSLY.

7:15 - We slip by the executioner and his wench to enjoy the torture museum for 10 minutes. They have many interesting torture devices with colorful descriptions and illustrations. I am somewhat bothered by the fact that the couple behind us in line appear to be Mennonites, or some other extremely modest sect that involves the woman covering every inch of skin and wearing a little basket on her head. Feeling them read the description of a chastity belt over my shoulder and exposed cleavages is a little surreal.

8:00 - We Lords and Ladies are invited to sit. We are in the Black and White section, front row center. Luckily, the black-and-white knight is one of the better knights and is always on a fabulous horse. They bring us tomato soup in a pewter cup to sip with some garlic bread while the show starts with a bunch of drama and subplot. The microphones attached to the actors are a bit distracting, but I suppose it's better than bullhorns. As we're big movie and book fans, Dr. Crog and I immediately know whodunnit, but i'm too busy drooling over the villain's Friesian horse to care.

8:15 - The Master of Horse exhibit begins, and they bring out a parade of gorgeous Andalusians, Lippizaners, and Friesians. It is total horse porn for a girl like me, and I am practically drooling into my lap watching all those big, sexy horse feet. I'm talking dirty under my breath to a particularly sassy Andalusian with a gorgeous, thick, dappled neck when I realize that someone has placed half a chicken and half a potato on my plate. It's like MAGIC!

8:30 - The King's Falconer comes out, and a hawk starts swooping over our heads, and we have a discussion on the difference between being the Falconer in the actual medieval times, being the Falconer for Medieval Times TM, and being the Falconer from Saturday Night Live. We agree that the real thing would have been best, even with the rickets and lack of toilet paper, because anyone would get sick of 13 year old boys asking stupid questions every day or having your falcon, Donald, constantly reject and abandon you to go do coke off a hooker's butt.

9:00 - Or something. The games begin, with jousting for rings, picking up sticks at full gallop, tossing things from horseback, etc. We are impressed with the horsemanship and lancemanship, and we really enjoy watching the knights have fun while performing esoteric and utterly unpractical tasks. We can completely respect a guy who says to himself, "You know, I want to have long hair and wear tights and fight with a sword, but selling candles at the RennFest ain't enough. I'm going full-time." And then he actually does, it, does it well, and makes a living off it. We are also curious as to whether the dude who has to pick up the horse doodies actually applied for that job, or if they just make the latest person each night do it, or if they draw straws.

9:30ish - Actual jousting, swordfighting, maces, lances, and fisticuffs ensue. Each knight must choose a Lady from his section to carry his token. Our knight wisely chooses a four-year-old girl with a pink furry princess hat who is celebrating a birthday. Her extremely drunk mother later defends her daughter's knight by standing up, shouting obscenities, and shooting a bird at the knight who unseats him in the joust. Classy!

The Kids split sometime around here due to Adrienne's ferocious horse allergy. Poor girl! You guys are so good to humor us when we act like giant 7-year-olds with endocrine issues.

10:00 - Things happened. We ate all our food with our fingers and used wet naps. There was drama and subplot and (gasp!) betrayal. There were silly little moments, like when we realized that the gimp-masked bad guys were really the knights who had been grievously wounded in swordfights. In real life, their intestines would have been spread all over the dirt after the many broadsword gut slashes, but in MT world, they limped offstage to recover, some in the princess's bower. Bom-chicka-bomp-bom! We found ourselves shouting and waving our pennants and really pulling for our knight, who would have won, if not for (gasp!) BETRAYAL.

A good time was had by all.

In conclusion, if you are a big ol' dork (or a small child) who likes pageantry and fun and greasy fingers and really sexy horses, we highly recommend Medieval Times. Four very enthusiastic thumbs up.

And the bonus? The Biscuit got a crown and pennant, and she's been cheering for us all day.

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