Saturday, May 14, 2011

Restaurant Review - AMC Downtown Disney 24 Dine-In Theatre/Fork & Screen, 1500 East Buena Vista Dr., LBV, FL

(Updated - with photos!)
Last night, my kids and I watched The Karate Kid (the new one with Jaden Smith) as part of the soft opening for the new Dine-In Theatres at AMC Downtown Disney 24, formerly AMC Pleasure Island 24. AMC converted the 6 theatres on the east side of the complex to the new Fork & Screens, meaning you get table-service dining while you are watching your movie. They have renovated this entire side of the complex, adding a full bar, called MacGuffins, and new indoor and outdoor seating. Movie goers are encouraged to hang out in this area, where you can order food as well as drinks.

We had free passes to the movie, courtesy of The Disney Blog, so we went to check in at the Guest Services desk when we arrived. There is no longer a box office for these particular screens, you can either buy tickets online or you buy them at the Guest Services desk. First thing that is different? You are purchasing a reserved seat. Just like with an airline, you are presented with a seat chart showing which seats are available and which ones are taken. There are about 100 seats per theatre, all set in groups of two or four. We were a party of three so we had an open seat next to us, that ended up remaining empty. A group larger than four, however, will need to split up. Also, due to the reserved seating, if you want your group to sit together, you should plan on arriving early or buy your tickets (and seats) in advance. Oh, and there was no concession stand in this area. I assume if you just want popcorn, snacks, and drinks, you'll still need to order through your server and pay a tip.

We found our seats and starting reading the menus that were waiting for us on the tables. The seats themselves are very comfortable. Wide, and they rock a little, too. The table is actually farther in front of us than I thought it would be. You really have to be on the edge of your seat to eat your food. We were ready to order and I was looking around for our server when my son pointed out that the first page of the menu says to push the call button to call the server. There are two red call buttons on every table and someone came to help us within a few minutes of pushing it. The previews had already started so it was a little difficult to order. I didn't want to yell and disturb those around us but I wanted to make sure our waiter understood our order.

Crab Rangoon Dip - so yummy and creamy!

Our drinks arrived first, with LB's in a kid's take-out cup and mine and BB's in regular plastic cups, like at a restaurant. Nice touch, but then we couldn't put our drinks in our cup-holders. We ordered the Crab Rangoon Dip ($7.99) as our appetizer. This was delicious! A creamy, slightly crabby dip, served with big crispy wonton chips, and a sweet & sour sauce as well. All of us loved this dip and it was a large portion. It was just a little difficult to share though, as you are trying to watch the movie, and pass the dip. For our main meal, LB had the kids' Flatbread Pizzetta ($6.99, including drink, fries, and chewy fruit candies), which is a fancy name for a pizza. He thought it was only okay and was too small as it was only 3 pieces. BB and I each got the Classic Cheeseburger ($9.99, includes fries). While BB liked his, I thought it was just okay, and was a bit too greasy. The fries, though, were good. We were too full for dessert, though they all sounded good from the menu.

Full-size pizza shown here (not kids)

Our server brought our check about halfway through the movie. My kids didn't care but I had to check over the bill and find my credit card so it does take you out of the movie for a few minutes. I handed my card back to the server right away because I didn't want to be watching to see when he would come back to take it. Perhaps I messed up his timing, then, because he didn't come back with my card for 20 minutes which made me a bit uncomfortable as I don't like my credit card being away from me that long.
We never did need refills on our drinks but it was nice to know that if we did need it, we only needed to push the call button. Also, the lighting in the theatre never really got very dark, I suppose so you can read the menu, see your food, check over your bill, etc. It didn't affect us being able to see the movie though. The seating and layout did make it seem like you are sitting in your living room as you are relatively far away from the groups next to you due to the wide aisles and tables. All in all, it was a nice experience. Next time, I'd probably just get a couple of appetizers for us and then have a dessert or two. But it did make a night out at the movies, just a little more fun.

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