Men, step aside. It’s time for women to rule. And we’re not just talking about Game of Thrones. At Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament, the themed dinner theater show in Orlando, the 34-year reign by a king is over.
Beginning today at the Orlando flagship, which was founded in 1983, Queen Doña Maria Isabella will ascend the throne. It’s too bad this transition of leadership is happening only in a fantasy world, but maybe we can learn something in the midst of #MeToo, President Trump’s troubling treatment of women, and the epidemic of toxic masculinity that has continued to rear its ugly head.
Orlando’s new queendom will be ruled by actor and performer Eveleena Fults, who joined the cast at Medieval Times 15 years ago when she auditioned for the role of a princess. Her relationship with the entertainment company runs in the family: Fults’ mother worked as one of Medieval Times' servers, referred to as “wenches” at the dinner show, when her daughter was in elementary school.
“I’m very excited to debut as a queen. After 15 years, it’s about time... I’ve been a feminist my entire life thanks to a strong mother. I started developing feminist ideals at an early age. Working with mostly women, I’ve continued to develop the feminist ideal that women and men are equal,” says Fults, who is openly gay and also works as a burlesque performer and go-go dancer under the name Ivy Les Vixens.
The new show starring the queen has already been rolled out at Medieval Times castles in Dallas, Chicago, Lyndhurst (New Jersey), and Buena Park (California). After Orlando’s launch, the four remaining locations in Atlanta, Myrtle Beach, Toronto, and Baltimore will follow suit. Fults says she began working with show director Leigh Cordner about two years ago to develop the script.
“The first idea was to have a two-princess show, [but we decided] that we don’t need a king and two princesses. Let’s just have a queen and she will rule it all without a male love interest or male protagonist. It will be her kingdom, her power, her realm, and it will not be diluted [by a love interest]... Romance does not play a role. [In pop culture], the female leads are diluted by love interests that make her weak in the knees. This queen stays strong in the knees, which is especially important now."
Although the script was developed two years ago, "it’s really great timing for us to be introducing the show, especially with the current climate," Fults says.
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Medieval Times, though, isn't exactly the last frontier of feminism. But representation is important, Fults says, even at a themed dinner show for tourists. She hopes the bold female leadership at the dinner and tournament make an impact on young audiences.
“Our castle has hundreds of thousands of visitors every month. Young people need to see a strong female lead. It teaches them that women can be authority figures, that they can rule with grace and strength, and they can be equal [to men]. Young girls can see someone like them rule and they don’t have to think that when they grow up, that they have to rely on a man... This sort of representation is huge for the next generation. After 34 years of millions of fans [of Medieval Times] seeing a man lead, the next million will see a female lead. What changes will happen when young girls and young boys see a female rule everything? The change will ripple outward, create strength in men and women. These changes that are happening with the feminist movement and the current climate will change the whole world,” Fults says.
“It is gratifying to me after being with the company so long to feel recognized and have the opportunity to perform such a wonderful character. I love this queen. She is strong and graceful, firm yet friendly. Her dimensions are remarkable. I’m honored to be the new queen. Long may she reign.”
Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament. 4510 W. Vine St., Kissimmee; medievaltimes.com. The new show starring the queen begins April 19. Tickets start at $62.95 for adults and $36.95 for children aged 12 and younger.