AMC Dine-In Theater at Downtown Disney

My fiance and I were recently invited to attend media night at the new AMC Dine-In Theater at Downtown Disney. The theater will open to the public on Monday, May 16, but they are hosting several media nights as a soft launch, and to get the word out.

This is the 8th AMC dine-in theater in the country, and the first one in Florida. However, this is not the first dine-in theater in the area, the Enzian and Aloma Cinema grill have been around for years. The AMC Dine-in Theater is much more like a traditional theater though. The AMC 24 now has 18 traditional theaters, and 6 dine-in theaters. The dine-in theaters have a separate entrance, and admittance is 18+ unless accompanied by an adult. Sorry parents, no dropping your kids off at this theater for babysitting on the cheap.

The theaters I was able to tour all had 3 sections, of 4 seat rows. Four of the theaters seat between 100 and 110, while the other 2 can seat around 200. The chairs recline, and felt larger and more comfortable than what you would typically experience. There is more lighting than a traditional theater, so you can see the menu, as well as your food and drink, as well as providing adequate lighting for staff to serve you. Lighting may be an issue for those of you that require a pitch black theater, but shouldn’t be a problem for most. There is a full bar, MacGuffin’s, in the lobby, that serves a variety of beers, wines, liquors, and mixed drinks. The beer is a hair on the pricey side, $5.99 for a pint of premium (Blue Moon, Guinness, etc.), and $4.99 for a pint of domestic (Budweiser, Coors Light, etc.), but it is to be expected because of the venue.

The food is comparable in variety to what you would get at a restaurant like T.G.I. Friday’s or Chili’s, but definitely better in quality (you can view their menu here (PDF)). We started our meal with the sampler appetizer, which came with 4 Buffalo wings, 4 mozzarella sticks with marinara sauce, kettle cooked chips with ketchup for dipping, and onion rings. The mozzarella sticks and onion rings were excellent, the wings were good, but the chips were bland without ketchup. They would have been much better if they had been salted, and could have been enjoyed on their own then. I had the Thai Coconut Chicken Tenders with french fries, and my fiance had the Bistro Chicken Mac and Cheese. The Thai Coconut chicken was good, but the Mac and Cheese was much better. They use thick spiral pasta which hold a lot of cheese, making every bite delicious, and it’s topped with bacon and breaded chicken, making it that much better.

I had talked with our server, Brad, over how they handle this unique experience. He said that one big obstacle to overcome is people’s habit of arriving at the theater right on time, or just a little late to skip the previews. It’s generally better to arrive a little early here, so you have time to look over the menu and place your order before the movie starts. While it wasn’t a full theater, distractions from servers and other patrons was minimal. Rather than the server checking on you every few minutes, there is a call button at each seat that you press if you need anything. Your check is typically delivered toward the end of the movie, which you can pay right away, or wait until the end of the movie, and even until the final credits have rolled if you feel so inclined.

I see the AMC Dine-in Theater as an excellent adult geared movie theater, providing a much needed alternative to the typical theater. While I wouldn’t consider it an optimal dining or movie going experience (it was somewhat awkward leaning forward in my recliner to eat), the hybrid experience is enjoyable. The pricing is on par with a traditional dinner and movie, but now you can do both at the same time. I see this as a great way to get people out of their homes watching movies and back into theaters.

From what I have been told, ticket prices will be as follows:

  • Adult: $13.00 – After 4:00 pm
  • Child: $10.00 – Age 2 – 12
  • Matinee: $11.00 – Before 3:55 pm
  • Senior: $12.00 – Age 60+

This is $2 more than standard ticket prices at the AMC 24 theaters in Downtown Disney.

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