Welcome back Marc and Amy Stumbo for a review of the brand new AMC Fork and Screen Dine-In Theater in Disney World’s Downtown Disney!
The newly renovated AMC Dine-In Theater at Downtown Disney opened this week and we were fortunate enough to get an advanced screening pass to preview the theater on Friday, May 13th — ahead of the May 16th grand opening.
Amy and I were going to be staying on Disney property for the Destination D: Walt Disney World D23 Expo that weekend anyway, so obtaining the free screening passes felt like perfect timing. I discovered the event via twitter, the magical Disney news machine that everyone reading this should already be apart of (and following, among many others, AJ or possibly even myself if you get desperate enough, hehe). Signing up was easy enough, and luckily for us, I got registered quick enough to secure us a set of seats to see Tangled in the new theaters.
Walking into the lobby of the movie theater, one is immediately struck by the notion that the space feels more like the lobby of a performing arts center than a local movie theater. The interior is bathed in warm tones and colorful lighting and the decorations feel a bit fancier than you’d associate with this type of entertainment establishment.
Upon entering the lobby, guests head to the ticket counter same as any other theater. Interestingly enough, when you purchase your tickets the screen in front of the cash register lights up to show the available seats in the theater so that you can pre-select where you would like to sit. I found this very helpful and also guarantee that your party will all be seated together (and I’m sure allow patrons to feel comfortable in getting a few drinks at the bar without fear of losing a decent seat in the process).
Next, we grabbed a couple draft beers from the nicely appointed bar and found a couple lounge chairs to wait for our movie. The bar, MacGuffins, was very nice and clearly employing some sort of future technology that counter-acts the warping of the space-time-finance continuum generally found in the vicinity of theme parks in that they were selling the large draft beers for only $6.
The lobby was full of small groupings of lounge chairs and high top tables and very attentive servers. I think we were approached no less than three times to make sure that we were doing well and had everything we needed. After enjoying our beers for about 15 minutes and talking to the theater manager on how the preview was going, we got up and headed to our theater for the film.
The stadium seating had all of the chairs set up in groupings of four seats in a row so that the wait staff can easily get to any guests in the theater. Every seat in the house was a plush leather reclining chair that felt much larger than your standard movie theater seat. Additionally, if you are the type of person who values leg room or hates the cramped nature of normal movie theaters this is definitely the place for you. There was a lot of room to really stretch out.
Directly in front of you was your table with inset rope lighting to provide a soft glow to eat by. After getting settled, the waiter promptly arrived and took our drink and appetizer orders. I believe we must’ve been channeling AJ at this point because normally we rarely order appetizers but ordered two of them this time… both involving cheese.
The wait staff was very friendly and willing to answer any questions we had on the menu since the fork and screen concept was so new to the area. In short order, our drinks and appetizers arrived and we all ordered our entrees. (Editor’s Note: see the full menu for the Fork and Screen Theater here.)
First, the beer was tasty… but when is it not? Second, the chips and queso tasted great to me, but in retrospect I’m not sure if it was due to a great flavor or because it was a cup of molten cheese and I love cheese.
I’m going to go with the latter here because while the cheese made for an excellent dip, it wasn’t anything particularly special. It was spiffed up with a little diced tomato and multi-colored corn chips, but remained your standard chips and queso found just about anywhere.
The cheese sticks really saved the appetizer selection as far as I was concerned. They were crispy and perfectly fried to a nice, golden color. The cheese was deliciously gooey without tasting greasy in the slightest. In a final touch, they even sprinkled Parmesan cheese on top of them as they came out of the fryer to double up on the cheesy goodness.
For entrees, we ordered the classic cheeseburger, the mushroom Swiss cheese burger, the pepperoni flatbread pizza and the fish ‘n chips. Amy and I both were in a good old fashioned burger sort of mood so we were happy to see them on the menu.
My burger tasted somewhere between a Disney quick service burger and a Disney full service restaurant burger in terms of quality and taste. The grilled mushrooms and melted Swiss cheese were a great accompaniment to the burger as always, and neither of us was disappointed with the food.
I do have to say that the fries were especially good as they were perfectly crispy on the outside while remaining fluffy on the inside. We couldn’t stop eating them despite the large quantity provided with the meal and our better judgement.
Amy’s parents ordered the Fish ‘n Chips and the flatbread pizza, and both reported that they tasted very good. The flatbread pizza was about a foot in length and in the thin crust flatbread variety.
Operationally, each pair of seats had a little red button that you could push to call the wait staff so that they were always just a few seconds away, but remained unobtrusive to not interrupt the show.
Similarly, the bill is brought to the patrons with about 20 or so minutes left in the feature so as to not interrupt the ending of the film. Even though the bill comes at this time, guests are able to continue ordering food or drink up until the end of the film and have the ticket modified.
For the cost of an average movie (around $11 for adults), guests to the newly renovated Downtown Disney AMC Dine-In Theatres can experience a good movie, good food, and good drinks all at the same time (food and drinks cost extra, of course).
The bar and the food options were both very reasonably priced for an on-property Disney location. All of the food was delicious and worth eating again (especially the French fries).
The only issues we could see were that the tables were about one to two inches too high for me to eat at comfortably (it wasn’t bad, but just a little high), and the burgers only had the option of being cooked well done. Other than that, we would definitely take in another movie and meal at the AMC Dine-In if we were down in the Disney area again.
Until next time, happy eating and feel free to follow us on twitter via @PlazaAndMainSt for more Disney fun and to get in on these Disney events with us.