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Review: New Downtown Disney Orlando AMC Theater Concession Stand

Disney Food for Families columnist Erin Foster reports on the brand new concession stand in Orlando’s Downtown Disney AMC theaters!

Finding ourselves at Downtown Disney with time on our hands, my daughters and I decided to take in a film at the AMC theater there. I must confess that our secondary reason for this decision was the desire to see a film. The primary reason we decided to go there was to check out the AMC’s new concession situation.

Downtown Disney Orlando (c) Disney

I had read about the new snack set-up here on the Food Blog and we had a sneak peek at the incredible Coke Freestyle machine during a quick visit to the (gasp) Universal Studios counter service restaurant Richter’s Burgers, so we were excited to dive in.

Concession Stand Overhaul
The revamped food service concept at the AMC is different from anything I had previously encountered at a movie theater. Here you do not walk up to a counter, place your order, and have a clerk hand you items. Instead, with a few small exceptions, you gather your own snacks and then carry them to a single payment line.

The first thing you encounter upon entering is a case of “Better for You” healthy snack items including water, juices, fruit chips and Food Should Taste Good brand snacks. Since we were there with a sweet tooth, we admired the effort and kept on moving.

On the right of the entrance is popcorn station where you grab the size bag you want. There are workers behind the display filling bags. We felt ours was quite fresh and did not suffer from being slightly prematurely scooped. This is also where you pick up nachos and plastic cheese.

Pick up your basic popcorn and nachos

Further down that row you select your protein, hot pretzels, and condiments.

Of course there is packaged candy of the regular movie theater sort, as well as some more gourmet-style offerings.

On the other side of the snack line is ice cream, both packaged and hand-scooped. They’ll even make you a shake!

Next to the ice cream is the gourmet popcorn station. This is totally separate from the regular popcorn. The gourmet popcorn tied with the Coke Freestyle machines as my daughters’, and my, favorite part of the concession stand. The gourmet popcorn area includes a choice of caramel, cheese, or kettle popcorn, or any combination of those, plus mix-ins.

The mix-ins are the same choices available to top the ice cream: gummy bears, sprinkles, tiny peanut butter cups, chopped nuts, Reeses pieces, crumbled Oreos, etc. My girls chose to get the caramel corn with peanut butter cup mix-ins. We got the large bucket and shared that among three of us. VERY satisfying. Next time I’ll get that combo, plus some chopped peanuts for my own version of Cracker Jacks.

Mix-Ins for ice cream AND popcorn

Our bucket.

AMC has not skimped on beverage options here. There are numerous hot and cold alcoholic and non-alcoholic choices – and even a full bar.

The far back of the concession area features about half a dozen of the totally fab Coke Freestyle machines. There is a giant sign that says the machines dispense 106 varieties of soda, but this is just the number of flavors the machine can create.

Assuming there is no one behind you waiting to their turn at beverage creation, you can take as much time as you want blending any of those 106 varieties into the absolute perfect soft drink mixture for you. These were our special brews:

Me – Dasani Lime, Dasani Sensations Lemon, Minute Maid Lemonde, Diet Sprite
Josie – Diet Raspberry Coke, Fanta Zero Raspberry
Louisa – Vanilla Diet Coke, Diet Coke
Charlie – Strawberry Powerade Zero, Strawberry Fanta Zero, Orange Fanta Zero

We each LOVED our own and absolutely detested the others :-).

The basic choices. Clicking through gives you more options.

My single complaint about the new AMC concession stand is that is only accessible to guests with movie tickets. How cool would it be to be able to stroll around Downtown Disney while sipping on your secret recipe soda and popcorn? I have a feeling that the next time we’re at Walt Disney World, my girls are going to ask to see a movie, whether there’s anything playing that they want to see or not.

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21 Comments

  1. chris says:

    At our last visit there in December, I specifically went to the AMC specifically to try the Freestyle machines. I had no intention of going to see a movie, but was discouraged immediately by the roped off entrance to the food court. HOWEVER, I asked the ticket taker, and they let us in no problem. Grape Sprite Zero BTW :)

  2. AJ says:

    Chris — So glad to hear this! I love those machines…they’re like a siren call to a pop mixer like me!

  3. Mary Jo Collins says:

    Wish this would have been there in June when my daughter and I saw TS3 on opening night at midnight. Great job, Erin, as usual.

  4. Kristin says:

    Thanks for sharing! We head down to DW tomorrow and I can’t wait to stop by and check it out:)

  5. Josh says:

    It’s great to see how the Downtown Disney theatre has changed, thanks Erin!

    By the way is the AMC the movie theatre a few doors down from Disney Quest?

    It’s really great to see that movie theatres have made a way for healthier choices as I rarely get anything anymore. Also, we have an ice cream “bar” here as well with the exact same Edy’s brand of ice cream.

  6. Jamie in Jax says:

    Josh… yeah it’s a little ways down from DQ and directly across from Planet Hollywood.

    What about prices? Are they the “normal” theatre prices or are they more/less?

  7. Erin says:

    Chris – Very interesting. When I was there, they weren’t letting people in without a ticket. I wondering whether you encountered an extra-nice employee or whether AMC is wisely realizing what a money-maker they have in those Coke machines.

    Mary Jo – Thank you! And I think you just found the perfect excuse to go back to WDW ;-)

    Kristin – Have a great trip!

    Josh – As Jamie pointed out, the theater is located in the West Side section of Downtown Disney, between Planet Hollywood and DisneyQuest. I’m glad to see the healthier choices there as well – but I’m even more glad to see caramel corn and soda. :-)

    Jamie – If you double click on some of the photos in the review, you can read the signs with the pricing a bit better. A medium regular (not gourmet) popcorn is $6.75. This is about the same as my local New York area multiplex. Not cheap, but definitely in the realm of movie theater normal.

  8. Watch Me Eat says:

    I didn’t know Richter’s had one of these Coke machines too…

  9. Erin says:

    WME – There were two Coke Freestyle Machines at Richters. There was a staff member there marking the cups of guests who purchased the Freestyle drinks. No refills were allowed on the Freestyle :-(

  10. ashley says:

    great article! thanks for sharing! just curious about the prices? are they comparable to other movie theatre snack prices? how much do the delicious looking, gourmet popcorn tubs go for?

  11. Jeff says:

    How about butter for the popcorn??

  12. Erin says:

    Ashley – The gourmet popcorn tubs were $7.75 for a small and $9.25 for a large. This is for the cheese, kettle, or caramel corn. This a bit more than the price of the regular popcorn, but you’re getting a plussed-up product. I thought the gourmet popcorn mix-ins were a bargain. A mix-in for a small was just an additional dollar and for the large, a mix-in was $1.50. We got the peanut butter cup mix-in. This was two huge scoops of peanut butter cups generously sprinkled throughout the bucket – nearly as much candy as you would get in the $4.75 bag of prepackaged candy.

  13. Josh says:

    Thanks Erin and Jamie! I always get the theatre located at Boardwalk (Near Universal) confused with the theatre located at Downtown Disney.

  14. Eric says:

    Mix-ins for Popcorn!!!! Love it. Thanks for sharing as always.

  15. Kathie says:

    Thanks for the great info Erin!! I’ve never had a desire to see a movie while at WDW, but I think I need to check it out now! After all, I need to compare that popcorn to my favorite from the Karamelle Kuche!

  16. susan says:

    There is an AMC theatre at Downtown Disney at Disneyland in California. Is this article about California or Florida? It doesn’t say which Downtown Disney they are talking about.

  17. AJ says:

    Susan — This is in Orlando. My apologies. I’ll add the specifics to the title. Thanks!

  18. Alan says:

    It would be nice if you could get a snack during the day without going to the movies. The bar looks well stocked although the beer taps I could see were just Bud products. I hope they would have something better. That end of DTD could use a watering hole for those hot afternoons.

  19. Daniel says:

    popcorn mixins – great idea!

  20. carolyn says:

    So cool!

  21. I love the new yummy options at the AMC!

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