Hi! It’s Annie!
I know we don’t usually do posts like this, but this is incredibly important. DO NOT go to ‘Medieval Times’ right now if you life in California. The workers at the Buena Park, California castle of ‘Medieval Times’ are currently on strike due to exceptionally low pay, no appropriate payment for dangerous stunt work, mistreatment of workers, and abuse against horses. Almost the entire cast of the show in California is currently striking including almost all of the regular knights, Queens, announcers and more. Most of the people currently working inside the castle are scabs from other castles that were offered more money to temporarily take the places of the strikers. They just passed their fiftieth day and they don’t deserve the mass amounts of disrespect they are getting from people who decide that going to ‘Medieval Times’ right now is somehow even remotely worth it. If you already bought tickets; still don’t go. Get a refund or accept the loss. There is literally no reason for you to be going anywhere near there right now unless you’re going to picket with the strikers. So because I know that a lot of us fantasy geeks are nostalgic about ‘Medieval Times’, I’ve compiled a list of effective things that you can do without giving that company your money. Feel free to do any of these things if it means that you will support the strikers by boycotting!
I don’t live necessarily close to ‘Medieval Times’, but this is something I’ve been highly considering doing myself. The strikers are making the most of a horrible situation by having tons of fun out there! The striking knights have been using wooden swords to do fighting choreography from the show, they’ve been out there playing instruments, they’ve been singing songs; there’s more than enough reason to believe that you would probably have more fun out there with the strikers than wasting your money on scabs playing their roles in the show. They’ve been having costume days every Sunday where they dress in themed costumes. They’ve done gold theming and I believe a few medieval days so far. And you’ll be helping a good cause! Really, the more out there the merrier and the more the company will see that this treatment can’t go on. If you can’t make it out to the picket line, go and sign their petition! You can find all of the information you need about going to picket with them, signing petitions, or donating to their cause on the TikTok accounts of Kate Farrell and Erin Zapcic. Or look up “medieval times strike petition” and click on the link on ‘Action Network’. I’ve already signed the petition and I hope you will too.
If you’re in the LA area, or honestly in most places, it’s getting to be Renaissance Faire season! There’s a Ren Faire near LA in Irwindale that I’ve been to several times and actually have made a post for on this blog if you want to check it out! A Ren Faire is a perfect way to immerse yourself in that medieval feeling while also supporting more local and very deserving artists and performers. You can dress up in medieval garb, (I know I always do!) and peek into all of the shops as well as watch as many performers as you want all the while really feeling like you’re in a supportive community space. There’s also a joust and sword fighting at the Ren Faire ever year done by a group called ‘The Jousters’! They do several jousting shows throughout the day that all bleed into each other, all leading up to the joust and fight to the death as the final show. That’s where the sword fighting comes in. They also have a female jouster some years! If you’re really into the jousting and sword fighting elements of ‘Medieval Times’, the Ren Faire will be coming soon and you can sit and watch the jousting all day if you want to! All of these jousters are extremely talented and very well trained.
Dungeons & Dragons:
Another more interactive alternative is playing ‘Dungeons & Dragons’. If you haven’t played it before, it is not a cringey or demonic activity by any means. It’s a really fun and immersive way of collaboratively creating a story with your friends complete with improv acting. If you want to watch other people play beforehand in order to get a better feel for the game, you can always watch really any campaign of ‘Critical Role’. If that looks like way too much time and commitment, go ahead and try a shorter campaign like ‘Calamity’ or one of the many other fabulous creators of D&D content such as ‘Dimension 20’. I have personally played around three full campaigns as well as several starts of campaigns and one-shots. It’s amazingly fun and something I highly recommend! It also gives you a reason to have a weekly get together with your friends whether it’s in person or digital. It’s seriously one of my favorite things to do and I think everyone should try it at least once. You’ll probably like it more than you think you will. And there are plenty of two player options if you don’t have that many people as well. I highly recommend checking out Ginny Di’s YouTube channel for ideas. If you like playing the game ‘Mafia’, you’ll probably like this!
‘Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves’:
If you don’t have much of an interest in playing D&D and are more interested in some good old fashioned entertainment without as much immersion; go ahead and go to the movies and watch this medieval fantasy flick! I just watched this one over the weekend and it’s so much fun! While I’m not going to obsess over this movie like I do with the second campaign of ‘Critical Role’, it was still really cute and a good time! The characters are lovable, the comedy is genuinely funny, and the fight scenes are truly badass! Lots of sword fighting if that’s what you’re looking for! Specifically the characters of Xenk and especially Holga have some well-choreographed sword fighting scenes. Hell yeah to more women with swords! Most of the movie was filmed in an actual castle which gives it just a hint of that immersion. No mass CGI everything here! And this definitely has the camaraderie and found family vibe that I was hoping to find in a movie about D&D. It really captures the feeling of playing with friends. It’s absolutely a good time and will give you all of the medieval fantasy that you might be seeking.
‘Merlin’ or Other Nostalgia:
I used to go to ‘Medieval Times’ all the time when I was a kid, so I understand having a certain nostalgia for that show. But going right now is so not worth it that it isn’t even funny, so I usually go for something equally nostalgic when I’m missing it because of my childhood experiences. For me, that’s BBC’s ‘Merlin’. This is a retelling of the Legend of King Arthur completely centered around a young Merlin. It also has plenty of amazing knights, my favorite of which being the incredibly handsome and hilarious Gwaine, and plenty of sword fights. There are even episodes completely about jousting tournaments if that’s what you’re looking for. But if you are also a medieval fantasy nerd, I’m sure you have your own medieval-type fandom that you have nostalgia for. Whether it’s ‘Lord of the Rings’, ‘Ladyhawke’, or Disney’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’. I highly highly recommend ‘Merlin’ for getting any sort of medieval fix, but I find that the best way to combat nostalgia is always more nostalgia. So go ahead and pick your own medieval brand of nostalgia and have a full binging day! You can even invite friends and make it a full event if you want!
Go to a Theme Park:
If you’re looking for live entertainment, theme parks are always a great way to go. ‘Medieval Times’ has been upping their prices recently because of how much the pandemic hurt them, so go ahead and put that money towards a Universal or Dinseyland ticket. Disneyland is practically built on medieval fantasy entertainment with the Princesses, or if you want knights there’s always Galaxy’s Edge! If you want to go to Universal to check out Super Nintendo World and Princess Peach’s brand new castle, that’s a good way to go too! Personally, I’m looking into going to Disneyland soon for the first time in what has probably been way too long. While this is a little bit more of an expensive option, it’s certainly a viable one if you can swing it. The ones I mentioned above, however, are probably much cheaper options than this one.
It is not difficult to find something else to do or put your money towards that isn’t ‘Medieval Times’ right now. There’s plenty of medieval fantasy types of things to do, even in the area, that aren’t supporting an awful company and walking past lines of strikers who have been out there for fifty plus days. Do NOT cross that picket line! Either go there to help and picket with them or don’t go at all. I know that this hasn’t been getting the air time that it deserves and I hope that this at least reaches some people who may not have known about the strike. Tell all your friends and family! Post about it! ‘Medieval Times’ has been in spring break season and is going to be going into their summer season soon, which is some of the most lucrative times for them. The strikers have been striking too long with no change! Now more than ever, it is so incredibly important to boycott them and stand in support with the knights, squires, Queens, and everyone else currently striking at the Buena Park castle. Once again, you can find all of the information you need about going to picket with them, signing petitions, or donating to their cause on the TikTok accounts of Kate Farrell and Erin Zapcic or by looking up ‘medieval times strike’ and clicking on the link on ‘Action Network’. Please at least sign the petition!
See you across the pond!