Insiders Say “Tournament of Kings” is Closing at Excalibur

It’s great news for Cornish game hens, but bad news for dozens of knights and maidens at Excalibur’s “Tournament of Kings.” Word is the beloved dinner show will soon close.

There’s been no official announcement of the end of the long-running, King Arthur-inspired show, but rumors and speculation are a lot more fun than news releases, don’t you think?

“Tournament of Kings” made its debut when Excalibur opened in 1990.

Tournament of Kings

It’s estimated “Tournament of Kings” serves up about 45,000 Cornish game hens each month.

The show employs a hefty 30 cast members, making it one of the more expensive productions to produce on the Las Vegas Strip.

Rumors suggest ticket sales for “Tournament of Kings” have been soft, made worse by the fact many shows and retail businesses at MGM Resorts hotels have been hard-hit by drops in patronage due to the implementation of paid parking across the city.

One source said that while MGM Resorts officials vehemently deny it, many shops at Excalibur have suffered a staggering 30% drop in business because of a de facto boycott of the hotel resulting from controversial paid parking policies.

Don’t be surprised if MGM Resorts adjusts its parking fees downward to ward off further hits to the bottom line. There’s also talk that MGM Resorts will tweak its loyalty club tier requirements so it’s easier to attain Pearl status. Parking is free for Pearl members and higher. Get details.

Could cancellation of “Tournament of Kings” lend credence to the rumor Excalibur will be rebranded, just as Monte Carlo (also owned by MGM Resorts) will? Monte Carlo will soon become Park MGM and a boutique hotel-within-a-hotel, NoMad Hotel.

Excalibur Dick's Last Resort

Since about 2006, many of Excalibur’s medieval elements have been removed or changed. One of our least favorite changes was the replacement of Merlin with an ad for Dick’s Last Resort. Keep it classy, Excalibur!

Some suggest MGM Resorts also has its eye on Luxor as another aging hotel in need of attention, although what that might entail hasn’t been spelled out.

There’s no word on what might replace “Tournament of Kings,” or what changes the show’s very specialized, circular, 900-seat theater might undergo once the show is shuttered.

We hope the show’s horses get to move on to greener pastures. News “Tournament of Kings” will close is especially surprising given the show recently invested in upgrading and expanding its stables for the show’s nearly 30 horses.

If “Jubilee!” was the end of an era in Las Vegas, the end of “Tournament of Kings” marks another. Shows are being scrutinized, and have to earn their keep, as opposed to the early days of Las Vegas when production shows were a loss-leader, intended to draw customers to the slot machines and table games where the real money was made.

Excalibur Las Vegas

Fun fact: The Excalibur site was originally supposed to be a project called Xanadu Resort. Awesome renderings here.

As far as we know, “Tournament of Kings” is the only show in Las Vegas where guests are encouraged to eat with their hands.

If you want to see “Tournament of Kings,” book your ticket. You’re likely to see it joust in the nick of time.

What, we were supposed to write an entire post about “Tournament of Kings” and not make a stupid pun? Go home, you’re even more drunk than we are. Allegedly.

Update (9/16/16): Responding to our story, MGM Resorts released a statement saying rumors about “Tournament of Kings” closing are untrue. MGM Resorts was, perhaps not surprisingly, mum on the issue of whether businesses are taking a hit because of the new paid parking policies.

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  • DSchwartz99lv

    Wow. Even the newer old Vegas is going. Wonder what they’re going to do with the Luxor. (It’s my favorite hotel btw.) And I do remember Xanadau. I’ll look into getting back to Tournament of Kings soon.

  • Photoncounter

    I have not entered an MGM casino since they introduced paid parking. I did park elsewhere and stroll through the very unimpressive “Park” and look at their silly public art. The arena looks impressive. I won’t go in. Shredded my Platinum player’s card and parking pass too. I do miss some of the restaurants but they closed Andre’s so really no need.

    The $10 parking pushed me over the edge. Yes, I know I wouldn’t have to pay it anyway it’s just the greed issue that torqued me off. First resort fees, then lower comps, next was drink coupons at the VP machines at the Mirage bar and then $10 parking. Soon it will be a $1 ante per hand like the Windstar casino in Oklahoma (left there in a heartbeat).

    Always feel sorry for the loss of jobs for the workers. They have bills to pay and families to feed. The MGM execs are very well taken care of though.

    • Dr Dee

      well there is always Fremont St

      • Photoncounter

        Very true. Some people really enjoy Fremont St. I don’t. The individual casinos like the D have improved but the overall feel of the area is still seedy. The container park is a cruel joke and embarrassment.

        I use the strip properties now mainly for the restaurants although there are many excellent ones off strip as well. Unless there is a big convention it seems like the restaurants aren’t as busy these days (everywhere).

        • Lewmoore

          Wait, what is wrong with the Container Park? It’s been maybe a year since I visited but I remember getting some pretty great tacos and drinks down there. Plus, the fire breathing Praying Mantis is hilarious when it cranks up and startles everyone walking in the area!

          • Photoncounter

            The whole thing reminds me of a trailer park, and not a classy one. The walk there brings you by some really unimpressive joints and hang arounds. The area was filthy, trash blowing by. The day I went to the container park I was about the only person there and wasn’t looking for food. Maybe the food is good, maybe I caught the place on a bad day. But either way I avoid business in the downtown area as much as possible and laugh at all the attempts to polish the pig.

          • Container Park is actually awesome. Most days, it’s quite busy, and the shops are great, including a couple of my favorite downtown eateries.

          • Bouldersteve

            Nice if they could put a retractable roof over it like they have at some stadiums. Open it up at night and when the weather is pleasant. Too hot for me in the summer months

          • Yeah, it’s a great spot!

        • Downtown isn’t for everyone, and you’re right, as you move away from the tourist corridor, it does get seedy.

  • henrik

    I was there in november and tried to Visit Aria and the new Park. I drove in to a empty garage at Aria and was stoped by a guard.

    I was not able to park for a couple of hours because of event that would start the next day! The garage was all empty and the guard instructed me to park at Monte Carlo and walk back to Aria. 🙂

    When i came to Monte Carlo it a nice guard instructed me that first hour was free. I took the advice, skipped Aria and looked at the Park, did not buy anything and made it within the hour.

    I can put 1000 dollars in a machine but i will never pay MGM for bullshit parking. Will come back in november and stay at Stratosphere, great comp and not the same level of greed.

    /Henrik, from Sweden

    • Agree. They’re running the risk of losing a lot to gain a little. Although, it adds up, and the company’s profits are up, which is ultimately the goal.

      • henrik

        You must do a follow up on this parking thing, are they loosing or winning 🙂

    • Try SLS instead. Nicer place overall. Nice food options too. But if Strat is comping then by all means stay there.

      • henrik

        Yes i think i stay at Strat but SLS is also nice, stayed there at the Sahara times 🙂

  • MikeJenkinson

    The only surprise in the pending rebranding of Excalibur and Luxor is what took them so long? The only thing Excalibur has going for it on the Strip is that it’s the cheapest hotel (which is why I basically stay only there and nowhere else even though it’s a dive). Heaven knows that will change once the rebrand goes through, and there won’t be any $39 rooms left on the Strip, but the interior of that hotel is tacky at best and brutal at worst. The trend in destination/resort hotels for at least a decade now has been ultra-modern, luxury, high-end spa/restaurant/amenities. Excalibur and Luxor are throwbacks to a bygone age.

    • Bouldersteve

      A $39 room is a fantasy. After resort fee and taxes not to mention parking your lucky to pay $80.

    • FYMYAWF

      Don’t really think they can “rebrand”, it’s a freaking medieval castle, after all. Probably will be more like a renovation, and even that will likely have to wait until after the MC reno gets done.

      Outside of Dick’s Last Resort, there’s nothing that brings me into the Ex anymore. A run-down smoke filled dump.

      • Not sure they’ll be putting “run-down smoke-filled dump” in their ads!

  • Mike L

    I can’t say I’m surprised about the drop in business and it really is MGM’s fault. This is exactly what happens when businesses start putting pennies before dollars. Remember THEY are the ones that introduced our beloved “Resort Fee” too. All this will do is discourage people from visiting their properties.

    • henrik

      It will be nice to see what the parking fees will do to the overall budget for MGM. Hope that the majority don’t use the MGM-brand. Which casinos do they own?

      • Mike L

        Yeah, hopefully they will wake up and at the very least include it for hotel guests. They own Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Excalibur, MGM, NYNY, Monte Carlo, Aria, Vdara, Bellagio and Circus Circus.

        • henrik

          Have they applied parking fee for all their Casinos? I was at Circus Circus to buy a ticket for a show and it was free parking. Maybe have changed?

          • Mike L

            I believe Circus Circus is their only property with free self parking now. Here is a breakdown of the fees:http://mgmresorts.com/parking/

          • Lewmoore

            For whatever reason (though I’m sure we can all guess why) MGM doesn’t really claim Circus Circus as one of their own. It’s not part of “Mlife” so it’s not listed on their website, not typically included in their marketing, etc.

          • Mike L

            If I had to guess, they will probably shop around for someone to buy it if/when that end of the strip gets more popular.

          • Still free at Circus Circus.

          • I thought I saw pay machines in place near the west entrence when I was there the other night but no toll gate in place.

  • ZzjitterzZ

    I only feel sorry for the people losing their jobs. Some of them have probably been there for years, and because of the greedy upper management at MGM their business and shows are suffering and will likely perish. Sadly, MGM execs are probably fine with it- they gain revenue from parking fees AND not having to pay their salaries anymore. I have too many friends working at MGM properties to abandon them completely, but I definitely will not patronize them on purpose in the future.

  • it wasn’t the best show but they did fill the stadium when i was there on the myvegas comp

    • Mike L

      You can bet that will be the next MyVegas “comp”… free parking.

  • Bouldersteve

    I hope the paid parking policy bites them in the ass. I don’t care for MGM properties even with free parking but maybe if their business suffers it will make other casinos that I go to think twice before charging for parking.

    • Sounds like that’s happening. Interested to see what they’ll do.

    • Hundley Fan

      I avoided the MGM properties during my July visit, as I refuse to pay for parking in Las Vegas.

      I had a Labor Day weekend trip planned, so I applied online for the M life MasterCard two weeks before the trip. No annual fee and an automatic upgrade to Pearl for free self-parking? Sold. I was instantly approved, and the credit card arrived seven business days later, just in time for the trip. Side Note: Interesting that you have to have an M life players account in order to apply for the M life MasterCard.

      I self-parked at Mandalay Bay on Labor Day. The parking garage was emptier than I’d ever seen it on any of my two or three visits per year, every year without fail, since the hotel opened in the 1990s. If they wanted to scare away potential customers and their dollars, I’d say MGM found just the ticket. As I was pulling up to the parking structure, the car in front of me made a U-turn and drove away. My guess is the driver saw the large sign that mentioned paid parking only.

      After spending two or three hours in Mandalay Bay and Excalibur, my parking tab was $7. The parking payment machines say to insert your M life card after inserting your parking ticket, but it would not validate my ticket. I pressed the intercom button on the machine and was immediately connected to a CSR who told me to drive to the exit and insert my parking ticket into the machine there, followed by my M life players card. Thankfully, the validation worked.

      I did not go to any CET casinos this trip, so I can’t say how full their self-parking garages were. My hope is that the non-MGM properties are benefiting from MGM’s paid-parking blunder. Time will tell.

    • Yes, when I have to start paying for parking in December I will be spending even more time at SLS and hopefully Lucky Dragon. Although one generally has to pay to park Downtown, I know a spot where it is ‘only’ $5 so, maybe will even spend more time there at D or Golden Nugget or Golden Gate. Also, many of these places such as Binion’s will even validate if you use their garage.
      Will the MGM properties validate?
      (This comment sounds like keyword spamming but I assure you it is snot.) LOL!