Saturday, May 14, 2011

AMC Dine in Theater Review #AMCDIT

I scored a press invite Wednesday night to the new AMC dine-in theater, and man, was it impressive. I think I’ll be doing this full-time from now on. In short: expect to pay $2 more per seat, but you’ll reap the benefits of a much larger chair, a guilt-free recline in a disturb-free zone you can truly call your own, a fantastic footrest, and—oh yeah—the chance to order food and unlimited drink refills directly to your theater seat.

Backing up a bit, let’s explain the set up. AMC at Downtown Disney still has ‘regular’ theaters available, but half of the facility has been converted to the “Dine In” format. Think: Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater at DHS, but done in a standard movie theater format (sloping ‘stadium’ style seating).

In short, it’s a real restaurant experience. You order, they bring it to you. Pretty fast, too. Because they use PDA-style electronic tablets, the back kitchen hears the order before the server leaves your area. That’s not to say glitches can’t happen—my drink was apparently forgotten—but my server noticed it eventually.

There’s a button on the table in front of you, very much like you might use on an airplane to summon a flight attendant. Whenever you want a refill (or to pay your bill), you click this on, and instantly a display lights up at the back of the theater, summoning your server to you.

There are low-level lights on, even during the movie, but they didn’t bother me one iota. My wife, who is shorter than I am, reported later that she found the lights distracting. One strategy could be to block the lights with your menu, which stays on the table even after you order.

The seats are roomy in the extreme. They are comfortable. More to the point, they recline and you can put your feet up on the handy footrail provided. Best of all, no one behind you will kick your chair—because they are unlikely to reach your chair in the first place. Their own table gets in the way. In essence, you have your own cocoon space, and you won’t be disturbed.

Speaking purely for myself, I’ll be happy to pay the extra cost for such a seat in the future, even if I don’t order much from the menu. And it’s not as if the menu is substandard. Here’s the list of food items:

Crab Rangoon Dip - $7.99
Loaded Potato Skins - $2.99
Wings and Things Sampler - $12.99
Veggie Triple Feature - $7.99
Parmesan fries - $6.99
Queso Blanco Dip and Chips - $6.99
Homestyle Chili Bowl - $7.99
Sweet Onion Loops - $6.99
Buffalo Chicken Wings - $8.99
Double Cheese Batons - $7.99
Wedge Salad - $8.99
Fruit Salad - $9.99
Caesar Salad - $8.99
Asian Chicken Salad - $10.99
Thai Coconut Chicken Tenders - $11.99
Chicken Tenders - $11.99
Buffalo Chicken Tenders - $11.99
Fried Shrimp - $12.99
Chicken Mac and Cheese - $10.99
Fish and Chips - $11.99
Country Fried Steak - $11.99
Chicken Alfredo - $11.99
Smoked Brisket Quesadillas - $10.99
Chicken Quesadillas - $9.99
Veggie Quesadillas - $8.99
Southwest Fajita Chicken Wrap - $8.99
Lime Chicken Griller - $8.99
Roast Turkey Club - $8.99
BLT Cheese Griller - $8.99
Prime Rib Griller - $9.99
Smoked Salmon BLT - $10.99
Blue Max Burger - $9.99
Mushroom and Baby Swiss Burger - $9.99
Bacon Cheeseburger - $9.99
Cheeseburger - $9.49
Buffalo Chicken Flatbread - $9.99
Tuscan Pepperoni Flatbread - $9.99
Italiano Flatbread - $10.99
Margherita Flatbread - $9.99
Kids Meal - $6.99 – choice of cheese quesadilla, chicken quesadilla, chicken tenders, grilled cheese, flatbread pizzetta.