Why We Prefer Drive-In Movies With Our Kids

There are a few reasons why we choose to take our kids to the Drive-In movies instead of a regular movie cinema. Our kids are well behaved in public but at the same time I am not afraid of admitting my kids can be super annoying. Especially in places like a movie theater. We took our kids once to the cinema and at that time our youngest was 3 or 4. At that time, Despicable Me 2 was playing and that was what we took them to go see. My kids didn’t do too bad. They actually did pretty well – even our youngest at the time. But the theater was also packed with other younger kids as well which made it difficult to tell if they were really annoying anyone. It was actually a pretty good experience. Now if the theater wasn’t full of other kids, the experience might not have been so great.

I am not one who tends to get annoyed very easily with other people’s kids. I have 3 kids of my own so I understand. It doesn’t matter if it’s at the movies, a restaurant, etc. I get it. As long as a kid isn’t jumping up and down, climbing over seat, yelling or screaming their heads off, I’m cool. I was only annoyed once by someone else’s kid. My husband and I went out and went to see one of the earlier Transformers movies and there was a kid in the theater who would not stop yelling and flopping around everywhere. The kid couldn’t have been older than 4 or 5 years old. I could tell this child was bored. But we did get annoyed and eventually they were asked to leave. And that is the reason I don’t want to take my kids to a regular theater. Most likely they will do well but at ages 7 and 11 (our daughter is 16 so I have no worried there) I just can’t guarantee they won’t annoy someone and quite frankly, I don’t want my own kids annoying me either.

I don’t know how many Cruise-In/Drive-In theaters there are out there but I am so glad we still have one. Our local Drive-In is one of the longest running ones and we love it. They are pretty good about sticking to the nostalgia of the whole thing too. We love it. Now don’t get me wrong, if hubby and I are going out alone and want to see a movie, we will go to the cinema. There are of course both pros and cons about a Drive-In movie theater. I think it’s only fair to list the cons as well as the pros. But for us, the pros outweigh the cons. Keep in mind, these are based off our Drive-In movie theater. Other places may have different rules, etc.

The Cons of the Drive-In/Cruise-In Theater

  1. This might be the worst one – waiting in line. Our drive-in is really good about playing new movies as soon as they are released in the theater. This (along with other reasons listed in the pros) is a big reason why there is normally a really long line. We typically get there 2 hours before they open the gates. If we don’t, we end up in the back of a really long line of cars all the way back up the road. Getting there early allows us to get a good parking spot in the front.
  2. There are time when someone sitting in their car will turn their lights on for whatever reason which interferes with the movie screen. This is really annoying but our drive-in has a strict policy on this sort of thing and they do a good job of enforcing that policy so it rarely happens.
  3. You might need to use bug spray. If you choose to sit outside of your car, you might need to use some bug spray. It’s one of the differences between sitting outside and sitting indoors. You just can’t get away from it.
  4. Weather can be a factor. Before we plan to go, we always check to see if there is any rain forecast for the evening. Nothing worse than sitting in a stuffy car while it’s raining and not being able to see much of the movie.
  5. Prepare for a really late night. Our drive-in always plays two movies per night unless it’s a special occasion and they play three. We always stay for the second movie which makes us getting home about 2am. The kids normally watch the first movie and then fall asleep in the back of the car for the second one. Of course you can leave after the first one. The theater isn’t isn’t going to hold anyone hostage. I promise.

That’s about it. Most of the cons I have listed above can easily be avoided or remedied. Like the weather – we don’t go if there’s going to be rain.

The Pros of the Drive-In/Cruise-In Theater (Again, these are dependent on the establishment)

  1. Two movies for the price of one. Ours always plays at least two movies.
  2. Ticket prices are cheaper than any cinema around us. 
  3. Concessions are still a little pricey but they are a lot cheaper than at the cinema
  4. If you don’t want to spend money on concessions, bring your own food, snacks, and drinks. The only exclusion at our drive-in is alcohol. With good reason obviously. No one needs to be driving after drinking and they like to keep their place a fun, family atmosphere.
  5. You are not sitting in a dark room shoulder to shoulder with anyone. You have your own personal space whether you are sitting in your car or outside of your car in your chairs you brought. You aren’t interrupted by other people.
  6. This one is kind of both a pro and a con – When you get in the gates, you still have to wait until it gets dark before the first movie starts. But in the front, there is a big open grassy area where people are encouraged to bring footballs, soccer balls, frisbies and what-not to run around and have some fun before the movies even start.
  7. Great way to socialize. There have been a lot of people we would chit-chat with while we are waiting. Our kids run around and play with other kids. There have been times when our kids would decide to spread out their blankets on the grass and watch the movies with them. They are right in front of us (as long as we are parked in the front row) so we can see them the whole time.
  8. And last but not least – we don’t have to worry about being annoyed by others and we don’t have to worry about our own kids annoying other people.

This past weekend we took the kids to see Despicable Me 3 and Transformers The Last Knight. DM3 was enjoyable and the kids loved it. Transformers was really good. I can’t wait for the next one!

So there is why we prefer to take our kids to the drive-in. Do you have a drive-in/cruise-in theater in your area? Do you prefer the drive-in or the cinema?

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