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Guest Review: Downtown Disney’s AMC “Fork and Screen” Theater

Let’s welcome back Bill Iadonisi with another fun Disney Food review! This time he covers the “Fork and Screen” experience in Downtown Disney’s AMC Theatre!

When the film “The Jazz Singer” premiered on October 6, 1927, it ushered in the beginning of the “talkies” and the demise of the silent movie era. It was stated that this was the most revolutionary and evolutionary advancement for the film industry. The movie-going public would never view films the same way again. But although this technology did change the way films were made, the movie going experience has changed very little since.

Outdoor Seating

That was until the concept of combining the proverbial “dinner and a movie” was brought into being. The “Fork and Screen” theaters were born, and the way we go out to see a movie has been revolutionized.

Atmosphere

The Fork and screen made its debut here in downtown Disney on May 16, 2011. When I first heard about this, I was a bit skeptical. After all, I thought “where in a movie theater could you possibly eat and be comfortable?” There was no room to put the food, and you would be bumping elbows with everyone else.

But AMC had totally re-designed select theaters into what amounts to a restaurant/theater/pub combination. Patrons sit in comfy leather lounge chairs with a large table in front of them. You can order food and drinks from a menu, all while viewing the latest movie releases in living room comfort.

Comfortable Seating

Seating

The Fork and Dine entrance of the AMC’s 24 in Downtown Disney is located on the East side of the theaters, right next to Planet Hollywood. Here you enter a spacious lobby, which includes a bright, cheerful lounge named “MacGuffins” — a term that was coined by famous filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock. On the right are the kiosks for tickets.

MacGuffins Bar

Ticket Kiosk

In the center of the lobby, you’ll find large colorful chairs surrounding small bistro tables. Along the walls you’ll find comfortable love seats with tables in front of them. This is more reminiscent of a high-end nightclub than a movie lobby.

Comfy Love Seat

Seating Area

After you purchase your movie ticket, you can now choose the seat you want. From a diagram of the seats, you pick your row and seat position. Another wonderful plus is that if you go online to www.amctheaters.com you can pre-purchase your tickets and even pick your seat out, so when you arrive at the theater, you are all set to go. It’s like a Disney FastPass!

Seating Diagram - click image for larger version

AMC recommends that you arrive about a half hour early so you can order your food before the movie starts. For folks who like to come early, you can sit in the lounge and have drinks or an appetizer while waiting for your movie.

Lounge Area

Spirits - click image for larger version

Once you enter the theater, your server will show you to your seat, where you can look over the menu and make your selections. The ideal part about the movie theater is that it seats a limited amount of guests inside. Some theaters have a combination of four rows and two rows, and some theaters have only seating for four across, so the maximum number of guests in any theater is 150. This makes the experience more intimate and relaxing.

Side Seating

Seating for Two

One more note: the Fork and Screen is geared more toward a mature audience. However, 18 years and younger accompanied by an adult can still enjoy this experience.

Eats

AMC’s Fork and screen first debuted in 2008 in Buckhead, Georgia. There are also theaters in New Jersey, Texas, Phoenix, and Kansas City. The menus are the same in all of the theaters, and were designed by corporate chef Jason Henderson. The food is robust roadhouse fare, similar to Chili’s or Outback Steakhouse.

The menu is quite extensive, and the portions are large. In fact, many of the appetizers can be shared. This is roadhouse, rib-sticking fare — food that is robust, easy to eat, and tasty is what you’ll find here. From appetizers like jumbo Buffalo wings to Crab Rangoon dip, assorted burgers, fish, several varieties of pizza, salads and chicken, there is something for everyone here.

Joining me for dinner and a movie was my wife, Donna, and good friend John. We arrived approximately half an hour before the movie, purchased our tickets, and sat down. The wait staff at AMC is efficient and courteous. We ordered our beverages and started going over the menu.

Instructions - click image for larger version

Drinks - click image for larger version

Appetizer Menu - click image for larger version

Salads and Entrees - click image for larger version

Sandwiches

Fish and Burgers - click image for larger version

Pizza - click image for larger version

Desserts - click image for larger version

Kids Menu - click image for larger version

Donna and I decided on the Wings and Things sampler ($12.99). There is enough food on this plate to serve two or three, so we all had a chance to sample it. It consisted of spicy Buffalo wings, onion rings, cheese sticks, house-made potato chips with marinara sauce, ketchup and blue cheese for dipping. The food was flavorful, hot, and with just the right amount of crispiness.

Wings and Things Sampler

I ordered the chicken Caesar salad ($10.99). This nice sized salad had grilled all natural chicken breast over a bed of crisp, fresh romaine lettuce. To top it off, there was house-made Caesar dressing and fresh grated Parmesan cheese. The lettuce was crisp, and the chicken moist and meaty. I was very satisfied with my selection.

Chicken Caesar Salad

John decided on the chicken quesadillas ($9.99). This plate consisted of nine plump quesadillas wrapped in a soft, fresh flour tortilla. There was an ample amount of chicken and cheese stuffed in the quesadillas and John could not even finish his meal!

Quesadillas

My wife Donna chose the Chipotle Chicken with Bacon ($9.99). Grilled chicken, cheddar jack cheese, and bacon are sandwiched between a golden flatbread covered with smoky chipotle sauce. This is all served with a container of chipotle style mayonnaise. The flatbread sandwiches are served with house made potato chips or your choice of classic cut fries ($.99), or Parmesan fries or onion loops ($1.99).

Chipotle Chicken

Overall

All in all, we were very satisfied with our selections. The food was hot and fresh, and the portions more than enough to satisfy the average eater.

Since my wife and I have experienced the Fork and Screen several times before, I can report that other items on the menu are consistent in quality and taste, as reported here. If there was one negative aspect of the experience, I thought that some of the beverages were somewhat pricey.

The atmosphere at the Fork and Screen is more of a high-end restaurant then a theater. Even as the theater became busier, you never got that crowded feeling. To us, that means that the folks here at AMC hit on the right formula and have made going to the movies a whole new experience.

What about value? A night at the movies plus dinner at the AMC Fork and Screen will set you back, depending on what you order and how much you drink, an average of $45-$55 for two. But in the bigger picture, a meal at a nice restaurant plus the movie will cost about the same. Here at the Fork and Screen you can do both, which in the long run will save you money.

The convenience and immediacy of seeing a movie while dining makes for an enjoyable night out! Since our first experience at the Fork and Screen, my wife and I find ourselves scouring the movie times again, looking forward to dinner and a movie. This time we’ll combine the experience in one place.

Pricing - click image for larger version

The AMC Theater does not offer any Disney Discounts. Keep in mind that there are only select films that are on the Fork and Screen’s menu, so make sure you check the ShowTime guide to see which movies can be selected.

You can also just walk in the lobby and have lunch or dinner, or enjoy a drink if you choose; you do not have to see a movie. And remember, this new concept is catching on fast; the theater is very crowded on the weekend, so get there very early or order on-line.

The Fork and Screen concept is the best innovation since the “Talkies,” and judging from the crowds at the theater, I’m sure it will only become more popular.

Have you experienced a Fork and Screen type of dining experience? Share your tips with us in the comments below!

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19 Comments

  1. papamouse1 says:

    Couldn’t agree more. On our last trip to the World in Dec., I asked my 17 yr old what was her favorite part of the cruise (4-day Dream) and WDW stay (4 days doing the all the holiday goodies) and she said without hesitation, the Dine-In Theater.

    I think I will save a bundle next year and just bring them to see a movie instead of a cruise… hmmm maybe not :)

  2. Paul says:

    I love the Fork & Screen in Downtown Disney. It’s where I see the majority of movies these days. One quick correction to the review however – AMC theaters in Downtown Disney (both Fork & Screen and traditional) *do* offer Annual Passholders a discounted movie ticket. I believe it’s $1 off, which granted isn’t much, but it’s still not nothing. Note that in order to get this discount, you have to buy your tickets in person from the actual registers. You can’t get your AP discount if you order your tickets in advance online, or if you use the self-serve kiosks at the theater.

  3. I like the setup at Fork and Screen, but I didn’t like the food. I also found the waitress was a little distracting mid-movie.

  4. Bethany says:

    Great review! Didn’t know this was in DD. My husband and I have eaten at a similar chain called CineBistro. If Fork & Screen are similar (and it sounds like they are for the most part) servers will not come in and out of the theater to take orders or collect plates after the first set of previews have shown – probably to avoid detracting from the movie. If you’re really sensitive to food smells, this might be something to keep in mind. I know it sounds really picky but I made the mistake of ordering a seafood based dish and what I didn’t finish sat with me the entire 2.5 hours. It was a little nauseating. Also, we recommend finger foods since dishes like pasta that require a fork and knife is sometimes tedious throughout the movie (leaning back and forth in your seat) … especially a 3D movie LOL!

  5. NT3 says:

    This sounds like an awesome idea but also all would depend on the movie. I could definitely see having a grand time watching a comedy or an animated film or a big summer blockbuster in this manner, but I don’t see myself watching any more “serious” dramas…aka anything requiring undivided attention. Nevertheless, it’s a cool concept. And a great idea to put it in Downtown Disney because now people will go while on vacation, enjoy it, and years down the road when one opens in their hometown be excited to go again.

  6. Jamie in Jax says:

    The passholder discount is actually $2 off the ticket price… so if you and your wife/husband are passholders like my wife and I are, you can save $4 and almost buy a coke! ;)

  7. DaGuru says:

    My wife and I really love to do this… the crab dip is our favorite appetizer! When we first tried it, we were afraid that we would be too distracted by eating, the additional (albiet minimal) lightening, and increase noise levels. We were very surprised that once you get settled and get into the movie, everything does “blend” away…

  8. Carrie says:

    I still don’t understand how this works. Are people talking to the servers, placing their orders while you’re trying to hear the movie? Do servers constantly walk into your field of vision during the movie to deliver others’ orders? What about when it’s time for dessert? It sounds so distracting to me.

  9. Jeff C. says:

    That’s my question too, Carrie. I struggle with the idea of going to the movies and having wait staff coming in and out, talking and taking orders, and the general sounds of people eating (more than just movie snack foods) – can you enjoy the movie?

  10. John says:

    I have been really interested in checking this out when I go to Florida for two weeks in May.

  11. To all, thank you for your comments. To Paul, when I inquired about any Disney discounts, the manager on duty stated no, which only proves sometimes one hand does not know what the other is doing! The concern about the wait staff is a good one, but in the dozen or so times we were there, you never noticed any distractions; the staff is very discreet when they are in the theater. Most folks do order before the movie, and the wide spacing of the seats gives plenty of room when someone orders that extra beverage or appetizer for the server to bend down and take the order, sans disturbing anyone. As with everything in this world, one man’s junk is another’s treasure! The fork and screen may not appea to all, but judging from the crowds, especially on the weekends, it does appear to be a hit. Give it a try, it is a unique way to view the flicks!

  12. Jeff C. says:

    Thanks Bill! And thanks for the awesome review. I have to say the pictures really help me, and my thoughts are ALOT more positive now than I was thinking before seeing them and reading this!

  13. Jim says:

    This was a great place to see a movie until they made it into 2 theatres with one being a Fork & Screen. You will pay 3 extra to see a movie at the Fork theatre even if you do not order food.

    If you go to the Fork theare do not plan on enjoying the movie because of the noise of the wait staff and people ordering and eating during the movie. Also, the lights are on during the movie. Movies always look better in the dark. The seat are of same quality as the non Fork theatre with a table in front. If I was eating, I would have had to got up from my seat everytime I took a bite of food. Also, note that the rooms are small for it looks like a wall was placed in the middle of 1 big screen.

    Thanks God that they did not make the entire theatre this way. Eat before the movie and Avoid the Fork and Screen.

  14. Dani says:

    Fork and Screen in Buckhead used to be down the street from us…miss it a lot, and I’m happy to know I can get my fix while I’m in Disney. Awesome!

  15. Angela says:

    I would like to say that when I went to this theater in February, I received a $3 discount with my Annual Pass.

  16. angelina says:

    Do you have to order a meal? Or can u just go for an appetizers or split a meal?

  17. Ashley says:

    does anyone know if they take the disney dining plan?

  18. Debby n Petr says:

    Love ,love, love Disney Dine-in theater. We are snow birds who have annual passes to Disney World. We have been to Downtown Disney Amc Dine-in theaters over six time in the last two winters. The staff are very helpful with meal selection and keep drink refills coming. Pete loves the chicken tenders while I’m sold on the prime rib sandwich with truffle oil parm fries. We wil definitely be back next winter for our “date nights” .

  19. Scott and Michelle says:

    My wife and I are avid movie buffs and just spent a week there at WDW. We went to the AMC Dinner/Fork set up for 3 straight days (2 movies 1 lunch). The whole experience at the AMC 24 was mind blowing. Great food, comfortable seats, and at no time for us were there any distractions from the staff during the films. Very costly but very memorable.

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