I remember it as one of the more magical times of my childhood. When I was in third grade, my parents took our family to Disneyland. One night, my mom and dad took us off Disney property and whisked us away to Medieval Times. I had heard about the place from friends and I had seen it in movies so I was excited from the start. Amazingly so, at the end of the evening, my wildest expectations were exceeded.
It was, to put it simply, an experience. From eating delicious food with our hands to cheering on our knight to watching the show itself, I will always remember it as a very special couple hours. I still remember vividly that we were given green crowns and had to pull for the villain of the show (who appropriately lost) but it didn’t matter. Just to be in that arena is something I will never forget.
Fast forward a couple decades and I don’t quite share the enthusiasm for Medieval Times that I once did. I live in a tourist town that is saturated with themed dinner shows, including a Medieval Times location practically in my backyard. With all the actors about 15 years younger than me, the show doesn’t hold the mystique that it once did. Up until last week, I had not attended one of these quote/unquote “tourist traps” since I moved to Myrtle Beach.
That was about to change.
Our area boasts a show called Pirates Voyage. Staged in an arena with ships and a deep lagoon pool, buccaneers thrill audience members as they duel it out for hidden treasure. The show is extremely popular and plays for sold-out crowds throughout tourist season. But when the visitors go home for the year, the pirates have to appeal to a much tougher demographic…locals.
Last week, needing a crowd to sword fight in front of, Pirates Voyage offered a local appreciation promotion. Those of us who call Myrtle Beach home could buy heavily discounted tickets. If there was ever the perfect opportunity for all of us in Sidney’s family to see the show, now was the time. The 12 of us (Sidney’s parents, her two sisters, their significant others, two nephews, one niece, and the three Resers) purchased a row of seats and marked our calendars for Friday night.
Even though attending one of these shows wasn’t high on my list, once we committed to going I started to get pretty pumped for it. I probably drove my wife’s family crazy with the hourly countdown I would send to the group message thread, complete with pirate photos. By the time we walked through the doors on Friday, I was ready to be entertained.
And entertained I was!
Although Sloan proved to be distracting at times throughout the show, the portion I did get to see was pretty good. You had fire, diving, fighting, singing, and more theatrics than you could ever want. Much to my joy, we weren’t just watching the normal Pirates Voyage show…we were watching the Pirates Voyage Christmas show! You still had all the pirate stuff but there was also “A Christmas Carol” component woven into the plot and a beautiful Nativity scene as well. Although still a little early in my books, it did the trick in igniting the holiday spirit within my soul.
But the show wasn’t even the best part. I gorged on the food, devouring the different courses placed in front of us. From the cheese biscuit to the creamy soup to the corn on the cob to the potato to the BBQ pork to the apple turnover at the end, it really hit the spot – so much so that I finished off portions of Sidney’s plate.
Besides the show and the dinner, I enjoyed watching the stuff I didn’t pay attention to years ago at Medieval Times. I observed the servers working their tails off as they stuck to a system that allowed them to feed the entire auditorium in an efficient manner. I watched the performers interact with each other when they weren’t the center of attention on stage. I noticed how other families reacted when pirates dove into the pool or a staff member placed a big chicken drumstick on their plate. To put it simply, this time I made sure to soak in the finer parts of the production.
In my opinion, it was a Friday night well spent. In Myrtle Beach, it is easy to write off attractions simply because they are primarily meant to appeal to the tourist. However, every now and then it is okay to embrace the tourist mentality yourself – especially when you are able to take advantage of a screaming deal. In all seriousness, I think every Grand Strand resident should experience Pirates Voyage at least once. Don’t Blink.