I’ve had the pleasure of attending a private tour and now free screening & meal at the new AMC Esplanade 14 Dine-In Theater (opening in Phoenix on September 7th) and I thought it was fabulous! With it’s more adult atmosphere, upscale feel, good food and ultra-comfy seats, it makes movie-going a whole new experience!!
Let’s take a tour…
Located on the second floor of The Esplanade (next to the Ritz and across from The Biltmore), the location alone gives it a more upscale feel (in high school, we used to like to go to movies there for that reason alone! 😉 ). And, now, you certainly get that vibe immediately after entering. There is not your normal box-office ticket window (as most people will purchase tickets in advance on-line in order to reserve their seats) and the concession stand has been replaced with a full bar called MacGuffins (a term coined by famed filmmaker, Alfred Hitcock). As the AMC Director of Public Relations, Ryan Noonan, suggested on our tour, MacGuffins Bar & Lounge would be a great place to grab a drink before the show–or gives you a place to relax and talk about the show afterward.
For your actual movie-watching experience, you have two options: Fork & Screen® or Cinema Suites®. The theater has 9 Fork & Screen® auditoriums and 5 Cinema Suites®. Obviously, a big change from the original AMC Esplanade 14 (and the normal theaters in general) is the number of seats has been reduced. Now instead of auditoriums with seating for hundreds, the auditorium sizes range from seating in the high 30s to just a bit under 150. This (of course) is to accommodate the oversized, super-comfy chairs and makes servers easily accessible to all seats. On our tour, we started by checking out a Fork & Screen® auditorium…I was immediately impressed! The chairs were super comfy and the auditorium was very spacious! A much different feel from my last movie-going experience, for sure. It seemed great! I wanted to stay…but then, we headed off to check out the Cinema Suites®!And, oh my goodness, talk about awesome!!! My pictures don’t do it justice, at all!! I loved the small, secluded feel! Perfect for a date night! And, then we sat in the ultra-plush, uber super comfy chairs and thought it was sweet. Really, does it get any better?! Actually, yes it does, because they then showed us……the seats RECLINE!!!!! I’ve never been more comfortable in a theater!
I seriously couldn’t wait to try it out! So, we took advantage of AMC’s generous free offer the next night! (*side note: 1. there is still time to jump on the free offer with showings on Thursday and Saturday. 2. This free offer is BRILLIANT marketing!! And, I was SUPER impressed! Not only does it give all the employees a week of actual on-the-job training, but it creates an awesome buzz about the theater. Well-played, AMC!)
Honestly, I was nervous about crowds, about not being able to get in (do arrive early if you want to go), about it not living up to expectations, but we thought it was FANTASTIC! Honestly, it’s going to be hard to go to a movie anywhere else again. Yes, it’s more expensive (ticket prices range from $6 -$15). But, when I only get out to a movie once every few months, I’m willing to pay the extra money to have a totally wonderful experience! So far, so good. But what about the food?!
I was pleasantly surprised! When you think “movie-theater” food, a yummy dinner isn’t really the first thing that comes to mind. But, this was really good–typical of what we would get on a regular date-night dinner out! Is everything wonderful? No! Would I go there instead of a fancy dinner out? No. But, for just a decent “date-night” out dinner, it’s good. Of the foods we sampled, I thought the Bistro Chicken Mac & Cheese and the Citrus Berry Stack (dessert) were especially yummy! Price-wise (& taste-wise), it’s very comparable to your common chain places (say Applebee’s, Chili’s, or Olive Garden) with the majority of dishes ranging in price from about $7.99-$11.99.
We will DEFINITELY be back!
Tips & things to remember:
- The new AMC Esplanade 14 Dine-In Theaters officially open on September 7th
- But…if you’d like to try it FREE first, check out my post here!!!
- If you plan on attending a free screening, do make sure you arrive early! (you might even think about sending a member of your party extra early with all your printed vouchers to pick up your reserved seat tickets).
- On a normal night, plan to arrive at least about 35 minutes early so that you can look over the menu and get everything ordered before the movie starts!
- When placing your order for food, think about ordering everything you want (i.e. drinks, appetizers, meal, dessert) all at once to avoid having to order anything during the movie. They will appropriately stagger the timing of when your food comes out!
- Once the theater is open, plan to order your weekend tickets earlier in the week on-line to make sure you get in to the movie you want and have the best selection of seats (with lower numbers of seats available, they will likely sell out quickly).
- Make sure to take your garage parking ticket with you to get it validated (validation good for 4 hours).
- Given that people are eating & there are servers, there are more distractions than a normal movie. This didn’t bother me much, but if you’re easily bothered by distractions, this type of theater might not be for you.
- Anything else? Let me know! 🙂
So, have YOU checked out the theater? Do you plan to? What are YOUR thoughts?
Disclosure: I attended a special PR tour and took advantage of the same free offer available to all of you! I was not compensated to write this review. As always, all opinions and experiences are my own–I just happen to be especially excited about this! 🙂