We were able to take part in a cast member sneak peek (thanks, David for inviting us!) of the new AMC Dine-In Theaters at Downtown Disney Pleasure Island on Sunday. We had already signed up for the May 13th free screenings for the public, although we may not make it due to the D23 Scavenger Hunt.
The AMC Fork & Screen concept is relatively new, with the Downtown Disney location being the 7th (according to the AMC website) to include theaters with this dining experience. And while we'd originally heard that there'd be a built-in ticket price that would give dining credit (to ensure everyone purchased food), we were told that this is not the case. The six screens will cost $2.00 more per seat than at the other side of the theater. A $6.00 movie would cost $8.00 at the Dine-In side, plus food and beverage. As of this writing, there are no cast or AP discounts, but that could change by opening day. The system was also not yet set up to take any sort of passes – gold passes, silver passes, movie cash, etc. Again, that could change by May 16th.
There are a total of 647 seats spread out over six theaters, with between 96 and 127 seats per theater. Seats are reserved when you buy them, and one of my favorite features is that each seat is within one seat of the aisle. No climbing over a half dozen people if you need to use the bathroom! The seats themselves are ample and very comfortable, which is good since I was getting a little antsy from the 2 1/2 hour long film. There are two metal bars below the tables to rest feet on.
We were told that movies would be shown all day, starting around noon.
This advertising outside will probably be changed soon. The Movie Watcher card was recently changed to the new Stubs program – not a move I was happy with, I really loved being a Movie Watcher for 15 years!
AMC Dine-In Theaters:
There is an outside seating area, which we showed a few weeks back in a video that included a walk-through of Pleasure Island/future Hyperion Wharf:
The lobby includes comfortable seats, tables, and MacGuffin's Bar. We were told that if you show up early and get a soft drink, you can carry it into the theater and enjoy refills during the movie. I took most lobby photos after the film, since we arrived just in time to enter the theater and start our meal.
AMC requests that guests arrive 30 minutes prior to the film. We sat down 20 – 25 minutes early, and ordered our drinks. The cast member offer included a free appetizer or entree and free soft drinks. The menu was more extensive than I expected, with a variety of appetizers and entrees. I have photos from the menu later in the article. I found the prices reasonable considering the high price of popcorn and drinks. The theater is not fully dark – AMC was experimenting that day with the levels of darkness that would be most comfortable for everyone. We had no trouble seeing our check, while a friend in another theater could barely read his. I liked the level of darkness in our theater, but just a little darker would even be better.
Our theater was not busy when we arrived, though it filled in as guests arrived around movie time. It is better to arrive early, we enjoyed our appetizers prior to the film and entrees as the film started. We were impressed by the real silverware, although I thought the silverware might be loud with so many guests dining during the film (there wasn't any problem with that). There is a button to call the server for drink refills or other requests. The bill for our appetizer showed up maybe 2/3 through the film, I'm not sure if they could change that. I'd not want to be in the middle of a great moment in the film when the check showed up! I wasn't really impressed with the film we did see (The Karate Kid), so that wasn't a problem this time.
We ordered our drinks, as well as one appetizer (which we paid for) in addition to our free entrees. We chose the Sweet Onion Loops (7.99), which were hot and crispy:
David ordered two appetizers. First up was the Loaded Potato Skins ($7.99) – Jeff and I each tried one, and they were delicious. The second appetizer was the Crab Rangoon Dip ($7.99), which the server said was a favorite of guests. Both Jeff and David enjoyed this, I don't eat seafood.
Our entrees were not as good as the appetizers. The Chicken Tenders ($11.99) hit a low note with me – bland and dry, and the french fries reminded me too much of Walt Disney World fries. Another friend who had the Buffalo Chicken Tenders wasn't impressed, but we were told that the Asian Chicken Salad was a good choice. And while the french fries were just so-so, David enjoyed his Smoked Salmon BLT (10.99) and said the included chips were terrific – they are homemade, and served warm. Jeff's shrimp was overcooked, we'd both stick with non-fried entree's next time (and chips). Even with the hit-or-miss food items, we really enjoyed this new theater experience. It isn't something we could afford to do often – if 2 guests bought tickets, entrees, an appetizer to split and soft drinks, the price could top $70 with tip – more if you add alcohol. But it's something we'd think about doing a few times a year, maybe when we have $10 Stubs credits to use.
The theater after the film was over:
We spent some time in the lobby after the movie: