Drive-in Movies with Kids

Not for the first time, my husband announced a plan that I thought was dubious.  It was an evening at a drive-in cinema, with children in tow.  To watch “The Lego Movie,” no less. I was emotionally blackmailed into attending by my child and also by the prospect of french fries.

Also not for the first time, I was proved ill-considered in the my judgment of the husband’s plans.  We had a mostly lovely time, though as one of kids stated, “I don’t know why they were all singing ‘everything is awesome,’ when only a little bit of it was awesome and a lot of it was scary.”  Tip number one, movie choice is critical.  This is probably obvious, but it allows me to share with you a great website that rates movies and other media on their suitability for children, including a rating on the violence called Common Sense Media.  Admittedly, “The Lego Movie” didn’t have a high rating for violence, but in the review it did describe clearly what to expect in terms of suspense and violence, so I wasn’t that surprised.  Also my husband had watched the whole movie already as ‘research.’

The cinema we visited didn’t seem to have any rules about what you could bring with you in terms of food and drinks.  And if they did, they were very lax about enforcing it.  This was great, due to some dietary restrictions in our family and and firm belief in cheapskate living.  If you did decide to have the full experience, there was the option of ordering from a menu using SMS, which I was very tempted by just for the novelty, but didn’t want to set a dangerous precedent in front of the children. We had already visited a drive-thru, mainly to be sure that I was not going to cause any trouble.

Our love of bargains also meant we were more than pleasantly surprised to find that children under 12 were allowed free entry and one car wouldn’t cost more than $40 in any case.  Score!

(People in countries other than Australia may not see this as a big deal, but at normal prices it would cost $68 for two kids and two adults to see a movie.)

Something that was not a pleasant surprise was when all of a sudden we could no longer hear the movie through our stereo system.   We were unable to override the power-saving system in our modern vehicle to keep the stereo system running, and from the sound of engines humming in the rest of the car park we were not alone in our frustrations. Winding down the windows solved that problem for the most part, because our neighbours had the soundtrack blaring so they could hear it as they lay around in their ute tray, but next time we will take a separate radio.

I thought it was so nifty how the soundtrack was broadcast on a particular radio frequency. (It’s true, I’m easily impressed).  It was especially helpful to be able to control the volume, which is often too high for children in the cinema.  And really that is the beauty of attending the drive-in cinema, the fact that you are effectively in you own private viewing booth.  We could easily discuss things as they happened and other patrons didn’t have to put up with the whinging when it got too scary.

Overall I would definitely recommend other families have an evening out at the drive-in. I’d also recommend “The Lego Movie.”  It’s about what you’d expect, although perhaps a little more violent and sarcastic in parts than I’d expected.  It’s definitely aimed at adults and children of at least school-age, maybe older, depending on the nature of your child.  Of course, I would have been happy whatever the movie, because I got my french fries.




8 Comments Add yours

  1. freebutfun says:

    That sounds like something I would try! Pretty funny that you could even order food via SMS…

    1. mumsumsum says:

      You definitely should give it a try if you get the chance. My first born loved sleeping in the car as a baby, so I wish we’d had the idea back then!

      1. freebutfun says:

        That would’ve been a great way to spend an evening with hubby when we still had a baby!

  2. This is something I would like to try! Unfortunately we don’t have drive-in cinemas around here. 😦

    1. mumsumsum says:

      Thanks for your comment. It’s a shame you don’t have drive-ins. When I was growing up we didn’t live near any type of cinemas, so whenever I go to the movies it reminds me of being away on holiday as a child. Perhaps you’ll have the chance when you travel somewhere like I did when I was a kid. (:

  3. They shut down and redeveloped the drive-thrus in our home town (unless there’s one tucked away I don’t know about). It’s about time for a revival! I went as a kid and loved it.

    We also liked the Lego movie. Some friends brought their young kids so we took both of ours, but it was kind of scary for T. P seemed ok, though.

    1. mumsumsum says:

      Yes, I was surprised there was still one in our town. It seemed to be getting a lot of custom though, judging from the massive queue we had to wait in. So hopefully that means it will be around for a while.

      1. I see a renewed enthusiasm for drive-ins. (No, seriously – they’ve been through the hyped-up phase and the unfashionable phase – about time they found a steady niche in the entertainment market.)

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