23 Employees From Medieval Times Share Their Secrets
Jobs generally aren’t thought of as fun, but Medieval Times is one of those places that just seems really, really cool to work at. The experience has it all: sword fighting, medieval-style talking, knights, Queens, Kings, really good food, horses, games, and jousting, just to name a few things. Going to Medieval Times as a visitor is always an experience to remember, so working there? It has to be pretty epic, right?
As it turns out, it kind of is. Employees from Medieval Times, who did everything from waitress to be a knight to work in the more corporate divisions, have written about their jobs online, and honestly, they all seem like they really enjoyed themselves while working there! That’s kind of hard to find, but it’s definitely refreshing to see.
Whether you want to know what it’s really like behind the scenes at Medieval Times or you want to get some dirt on how employees feel about certain things, check out these Medieval Times secrets, brought to us by real people who worked there.
1. The knights get around
There are a lot of characters in Medieval Times, but the knights are kind of the star of the show (is that any surprise?) And, apparently, they actually get a lot of action from it.
Reddit user PrincessLeonor, who worked as a Medieval Times princess, said that “the knights get their share of ladies.”
But it’s not all good. She was quick to note that “that place owns them.” She explained, “They’re there every day, every night, so the free time they have is spent resting and playing WoW. They do get phone numbers after the shows though.”
2. Sometimes there are reasons for who gets a rose
At each show, a knight will throw a few flowers into the crowd, and it’s always exciting to be on the receiving end.
But how they decide who gets a rose? One former knight explained.
Reddit user TheDovahkiinsDad, who said he used to be a knight at Medieval Times, was totally honest with his answer: “Sometimes because they are hot, others because they are little girls, and the others are just random. Depends on the knight really. Usually wild fans get noticed first.”
3. The fighting is all staged
The jousting and sword fighting may look real, but don’t be fooled: it’s totally staged and everything is fake.
Former knight TheDovahkiinsDad said the fights are “100% choreographed unless something goes wrong.”
He added, “When it’s time to improvise, you can tell… usually they will just freeze up and stare with the ‘wtf do I do now?'” This is because the knights are highly trained. He added, “Training is drilled into us, so when something is different it throws us off.”
Creative director of Medieval Times, Leigh Cordner, told Reddit that they rehearse combat for about three hours almost every day of the week.
She added, “The Knights may range in experience from 30 days, to 25 years. If you see a less-than-believable action sequence, you are probably watching a novice knight (or two) in a fight. With training comes more speed.”
4. Training to be a knight is actually really intense
If you want to be a knight at Medieval Times, you better get ready to work for it. Reddit user Keko2461, who said he used to be a knight, called the training the most difficult part of his job.
He said, “Honestly nothing compared to the training I received there for 12 months before I got my first show in my Armor.”
It was so hard that he said he wanted to “just quit mid training” as he was “pushed to his physical limits.” He explained, “Running, walking, fighting in that sand is no joke! Wearing real leather booths that got heavy, have you been to the beach and tried to walk on the sand? Not easy just walking is it? Imagine trying to move around and walk backwards, forwards, shift side to side in that sand while wearing a pair of heavy boots that sunk into it.”
Performing on a horse was also really tough.
He explained, “My legs and thighs killed me for weeks learning how to ride! I couldn’t get out of bed at times. It takes time to get used to riding everyday for hours. It was the physical work that was so hard. It was honestly a military boot camp on sand on steroids. But felt so good when you finally get that ‘you’re ready for the show here’s your armor.'”
5. They might introduce female knights soon
As of right now, only men can be knights in Medieval Times. Not surprisingly, this has caused a bit of an uproar. One fan asked Cordner why that is the case.
She said, “This is a hot topic right now – all I can say is that for us, it is a challenging job from a training and staffing point.”
Still, it’s not completely out of the question. She added, “We continue to change and evolve as a show, stay tuned – you never know!” So, it’s possible!
While female knights were extremely uncommon, because women weren’t allowed to be trained, some disguised themselves as men.
The most well-known female knight is Joan of Arc. According to Medievalists, as a “teenaged-peasant from north-east France, Joan began receiving visions from saints telling her to drive the English forces out of her country.”
Ultimately, she was tragically tried and executed for heresy. She, now, lives on as a national symbol of France and canonized as a saint for her brave actions in the Middle Ages.
6. There’s a method to who wins the matches
If the fights are all staged, then obviously, everyone working knows who’s going to win the match. So how do they pick?
Reddit user Pandas_of_doom, who said they were a server there, knows the secret…
But if you don’t want spoilers for an upcoming trip, then don’t read on! They said, “At our castle it rotates around the arena counterclockwise.” So, sure, those aren’t genuine matches, but honestly, how could they be?! That would be like a real life Game of Thrones!
7. It’s really hard to get extra food
One of the best things about going to Medieval Times is eating. They serve large portions of their version of medieval-style food, and it’s a huge hit.
But if you were thinking about trying to get more than your share, good luck: it’s not that easy.
Reddit user Pandas_of_doom, who said they were a server at Medieval Times, explains that it’s tough to score more food because you already paid for just one meal. But, they added, “if your server is feeling nice and the kitchen has extra, then they may be able to swing it.”
Oh, and they had one piece of advice for anyone who wants to try this.
They added, “My one additional note is to tip your server well if they manage to get you extra food.” Seems fair enough to us!
8. Nothing is that historically accurate
If you were visiting Medieval Times and assuming that you were really getting a taste of medieval culture, well… think again.
The show is actually not very historically accurate at all. Disappointing, sure, but still fun.
Reddit user TheDovahkiinsDad, a former Medieval Times knight, said, “I know at one point the story line was very accurate to some history in Spain. Now? It’s all out the window.” He added that the only accurate parts of the show are the “country names and knight names… supposedly.”
9. The horses are generally treated well
Anytime animals like horses are used in a show like this, it’s common for people to think about how they might be treated. Are they pushed aside and treated like another prop, or are they treated like living beings?
According to employees who spoke about it on Reddit, at least, the horses are treated well.
Former knight and user TheDovahkiinsDad said that while treatment generally depends on the trainer, he’s never seen anything that has made him “mad,” stating that he’s an “animal lover.” And when one trainer was “being too harsh,” they were fired. He added, “Those horses were treated very nicely, fed regularly and in normal quantities, groomed and washed daily, given expensive medicines when sick, and cared on immediately with any injuries.”
Another employee in a separate thread backed up that statement as well, which is comforting.
Reddit user atlasobscura, the creative director of Medieval Times, said, “We pride ourselves on our horses and the care they receive.” She explained that they have a “horse treatment policy that has to be reviewed and signed annually by anyone in the company that interacts with the horses.” She went on to say that the horses are bred at their own ranch in Texas and described them as “almost pets to us, and just as loved and respected.”
10. Hazing knights isn’t really a thing
You may have heard rumors that knights in Medieval Times are hazed when they first get a job, which doesn’t sound fun.
Employees on Reddit, however, say hazing isn’t really a thing.
User atlasobscura, the creative director of Medieval Times, denied that, saying maybe it was from “the old days of the company when there was more of a frat-house atmosphere.” She added, “We are serious about a healthy and safe work environment, and about respect. It’s serious work for serious people.”
A former knight also chimed in to deny any hazing occurs.
They said they had never heard of any hazing, adding, “if so, it was just simple pranks.”
For example: “We would normally prank a new squire during a show to grab a left-handed sword or axe. They’d get super confused and sprint like crazy to find this thing that doesn’t exist.”
11. If you want to work there, it’s best to have some experience
Working at Medieval Times kind of seems like a dream job: you get to dress up, sword fight, and eat awesome food all the time.
But getting a job there isn’t super simple. Although theater experience isn’t necessary, it is preferred.
The creative director of the show explained on Reddit, “I prefer experience on stage, but in the sand, we look for something different.” They explained the process of applying, saying, “We audition and augment the speaking roles as needed. Each actor is videoed, and I review the recording before we make a decision to hire.”
12. Be prepared to do some acting in your interview
If you plan on applying to Medieval Times, you’ll want to be as prepared as possible.
Luckily, some employees spilled on more of the process.
Reddit user Pandas_of_doom, a Medieval Times server, said, to be “comfortable giving minutes-long speeches to 30 people.” Any public speaking experience is good, but not necessary if you want to be a server. But, they added, “The more in character you are then typically the better tips you get.”
Wondering what kind of questions get asked during the job interview?
The user went on to say, “Most of the questions are standard interview questions like, ‘what would you do if ___ happened?’ but also a few niche things like, ‘can you carry 50lbs? Are you allergic to horses?’ Honestly interview like you’re interviewing for any other serving job and you should be fine.”
13. Becoming the Princess is hard
If you want to be the Princess instead of a server, then that’s described as a bit of a process.
One user says that it’s actually even harder than becoming a knight.
Reddit user Keko2461, a former knight at Medieval Times, explained that it’s tough because the Princess is a performer, but “her job is more about learning the lines and being a princess.” They described the interview process as long with a lot of auditions, and you have to make the show’s MC believe you are a princess.
It’s also tough because you’re auditioning in front of other people.
The user added that during auditions, “we’d be in the sand training, and the serfs and wenches would be setting up the tables.” Oh, and also, a lot of girls apply for the role, so it helps to have theater experience.
14. The pay is okay, but the job takes over everything
Convinced you need to work at Medieval Times? You can, but know that employees think the pay could be better.
Reddit user Keko2461, a former knight, described the pay as “decent, not bad.”
They added, “As with any other job, it could pay better.” It wasn’t the pay that encouraged this former knight to leave, though, but the fact that the job took over his life. He said, “It became a lifestyle. You lose family time, friends, important events, everything. The people that worked there became your family because you saw them 6-7 days a week 10-12hrs a day. I left because I wanted my life back. It was fun working there, I still miss it at times, but I have other plans in life and I needed to get my life back.”
15. The food isn’t very medieval at all
Although Medieval Times is known for their excellent spread, the food actually isn’t very authentic.
Creative director and Reddit user atlastobscura said, “To be honest, I don’t think there is any aspect of our meal prep that is ‘medieval’ (and you should be glad).
She added that on a typical Saturday night, just one location might prepare up to 4,000 meals. That would make the authentic way of cooking medieval food a little difficult.
16. Speaking of which, they do go through a ton of food
Since Medieval Times is so popular, it’s not surprising that they go through lots and lots of food.
Reddit user 3RoWN, who worked as a food server in one of the castles, said that on a Saturday, when they have three shows, they go through about 3,000-4,500 chickens.
They added, “Yes, the kitchen prep for all the food is very treacherous. The cooks are there almost four hours before a show.” That’s a lot of food to prepare!
17. The kitchen is also really careful when preparing food
If you’re worried about food allergies or special requirements, you’re probably in good hands.
Reddit user BloodSoakedMoose, who worked in the kitchen in the Dallas castle, called the kitchen “a pretty well-oiled machine.”
They explained that the cooks tried to cut down on waste by cooking the right amount of meals and paying careful attention to the amount of tickets sold. User 3RoWN added, “We have meals ready for anything. I’ve had gluten free vegans, people allergic to nuts… we are prepared for any allergies.”
18. The kids are one of the best parts of the job
While you as an adult may realize that Medieval Times is fake and scripted, little kids don’t quite get that concept.
And for many employees, this is one of the best things about their job: seeing kids get super excited.
Reddit user and creative director atlasobscura said, “For us, kids are the best thing to see in an audience! I can’t tell you how many times I have see little boys or girls crying when their knight gets ‘killed’! They think it’s real of course (as if we would kill a half dozen employees every night) and that is one of the main reasons for both the ‘Finale’ and the meet & greet after a single, or late show. So the kids can meet and talk with the cast (and be assured they aren’t ‘dead’!) The new role of ‘Queen’ has some of the little girls in the audience speechless when they meet. It’s awesome.”
19. Waitressing at Medieval Times is not easy
It might seem like being a server is a pretty plush job – you get to be around all the fun but don’t have to “fight.”
But Reddit user PrincessLenor, who said they were a server at the show, said it’s pretty tough.
They explained, “They have deal with all kinds of awful, drunk, angry customers who get angry when they’re told they can’t have utensils. Also, those trays they carry around are sooooo heavy. And with being called a wench comes harassment…oh, and often people don’t tip..and they don’t make much.”
20. Employees enjoy the food… to a point
Wondering if the employees also like and eat the food? They do!
Even though it seems like you would want Medieval Times food every day, employees say they get sick of it.
User and former employee PrincessLeonor said they eat during the show, adding, “The premise is that the guests are invited to join us in a feast, so they bring us food. I’m not gonna lie, I get pretty sick of it. But, on the other hand, at a certain point during the show I always get hungry and am glad to have the food—totally conditioned.”
21. You have to be kind to the kids
u/LateKnight, who worked as a knight for four years, at Medieval Times in the Buena Park, CA (the company’s busiest castle,) replied he’s comforted quite a few kids.
Spacekitteh commented, “I must shamefully admit that as a kid, I wholly and completely believed that Medieval Times was real. I knew that it was a show put on for the entertainment of the audience, but I still believed that people died. In my 8 year old mind I couldn’t piece together the logistics of how it was acceptable to have someone die every single show.”
“So I guess what I’m trying to say is, thanks for keeping the magic alive. And distorting my views of the world. You’re right up there with Santa Claus in my memories,” the Redditor concluded.
u/LateKnight replied, “SO DID I! And working there, I can’t tell you how often I had to console a crying kid who’s dad was telling them, “It’s alright! See? He’s fine!”
22. If you’re playing the bad guy, prepare to get booed
Not only should you expect people to boo and yell at you, if you’re the villain, one knight revealed it’s common to get objects thrown at you.
Seriously, this one former employee says he’s been hit with everything from food to underwear.
“I got booed all the time, being the bad guy so much, but it was all part of the show. I never actually got mad at anyone unless they were throwing shit into the arena (which happened a lot). If people were booing me, I was doing my job right. The best nights were the nights when everyone in the crowd hated my guts and everyone in the Green section cheered me on,” said LateKnight.
So, how does one respond to booing?
“My favorite thing to do was ride along the wall near other sections and wait for someone to boo me really distinctly form the front row. I’d stop my horse dead, turn really slowly and give them the murder-stare. They shrunk away into their seats, everyone else in the crowd laughed and thought it was great, then I’d ride away,” LateKnight revealed.
23. Knights don’t even need to know how to ride a horse when they apply
Despite being a staple part of their role, knights are not required to already know how to ride a horse. They just have to be able to learn and pass a series of tests, which one former employee describes as incredibly easy.
“It’s like getting a job at McDonalds. As long as you can move across broken ground (the sand pit) they’ll give you a chance. Since I first applied they put a bunch of physical standards in place, you have to take some ridiculous test, but it’s honestly so tame that as long as you don’t have a wooden leg and lupus you’ll be fine,” LateKnight wrote.
“They taught me everything I know about horses. As I said in my hiring interview, I was on a horse once when I was five. I wore a helmet and I think it bit me,” LateKnight concluded.