My First Drive-In Theater Experience

Growing up in Orlando did not offer me a lot of authentic, small town experiences.  For example, when someone mentioned “drive-in movies,” my mind went straight to the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  It’s a restaurant where you sit in fake old cars while watching cartoons and movie clips play on the screen:

Sci Fi Dine In Theater at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Of course this is not a legit drive-in theater, but I don’t remember ever hearing of an actual drive-in theater to go to in or near Orlando.  I gave up that the concept was probably outdated and that I would never get to go to a real one.

WELL, Tulsa does have its perks- one of which is that it *just* re-opened the Admiral Twin Drive-In.  The theater has two sides that each play one double feature starting when it gets dark.  My friend Briana and I ventured out on Saturday night to finally see The Dark Knight Rises.  Both of us were eager to see how this whole “drive-in” thing works (she grew up in New York- also not a big drive-in place).

Admiral Twin Drive-In

Based on what I had read, some people had complained of long lines getting in, so I played it uber-safe and got there around 7:15 (gates open at 7).  I wasn’t surprised to see the lot pretty empty, but we got a good spot in the second row back (there’s space right up to the screen, but the poles that mark the spaces for cars probably start about 50+ feet away).  After we got there, cars kept steadily coming in.  I would recommend aiming to get there at 8 if you plan on getting food.  You will still get a good spot, won’t face much (if any) of a line at the front, and you’ll have time to get food and settle in.

Now, I had no idea what the food prices would be or how strict they were about not bringing in outside food.  I decided to being some water bottles and a few snacks in my purse, but planned on eating some type of dinner at the theater.  They definitely don’t check any bags or your car for food, and there were a LOT of people who brought whole coolers of stuff.  I also saw a kid with a bunch of Subway subs, so yeah.  Don’t be afraid to make yourself a gourmet meal and bring it over.  Just maybe put it in the trunk until you park in front of the screen.

Admiral Twin Concessions Menu

If you do want to eat there, I posted their menu above with prices.  Their concessions and bathrooms (which Briana said were clean and decent) are located right under the back to back screens in the center of the drive-in.  I think the dinner options- cheeseburger, chicken fingers, etc. are VERY reasonably priced.  I got the chicken fingers with ranch and it was great.  They give you a good-sized portion that is not too much or too little, and it was nice and hot when I got it (few things are worse than cold fries).  I also opted to get their souvenir cup (see below)- and I NEVER get souvenir cups.  However, this one was only $5, and whenever you bring it back-for the rest of your life or however long this drive-in is open- you get $1 refills!  I plan on coming back- even being able to use it once more would get my money’s worth.  Plus, you know, I get to have another cup for home : D

Souvenir Cup for $5- Refills only $1

On the side we were on, you had to turn your car radio station to 88.3 FM to hear the movie’s audio.  You can turn this station on early because they play music before the film like regular theaters.  I was a little worried about my car battery dying with just the radio on, but I felt pretty assured that it wouldn’t- otherwise why would they broadcast sound that way? HOWEVER, it was really hard in this heat to not have the air conditioning on.  We kept the car off with the windows down for probably the first hour or so and I could feel my clothes slowly getting soaked with sweat (when we left at 11:45 pm, it was only down to 95 degrees!).  After the first hour, I turned the car on for about 5 minutes every 10-15 minutes just to circulate some air.  This worked well, and I was lucky to have a pretty quiet car as to not disturb nearby people.  Keep in mind that for a second, your radio will turn off to turn on the car, so don’t do this during key scenes.  Loud, action sequences would probably be best if your movie has them.  Many people sat out in chairs on the ground or in the back of their pick-up truck, so that’s also definitely an option.  I liked the sound quality of being in my car (the radio had absolutely no static- it was crystal clear), and the fact that I could avoid bugs- but then again, I’ve always been an indoor girl ; )

Amberjack in the backseat at Admiral Twin

Lastly, I really enjoyed that Admiral Twin allows you to bring pets as long as they stay on a leash.  Amberjack still has some issues barking and getting anxious when I leave, and she’s at her worst at night.  Because of this, I always try to get home before dark to appease her and my neighbors.  The drive-in, though, gives me a way to see movies at night without having to worry about AJ.  I just put together the dog-equivalent of a diaper bag, set up a little bed for her in the back, and she’s was all set.  Note: If you bring a pet, they have to remain on a leash at all times.

As for the actual movie, I thought The Dark Knight Rises was only okay.  I’m just not a huge fan of this Batman franchise.  I find them a little hard to follow and get confused a lot about why people are doing things.  I liked the last 5 minutes a lot though : D  And getting to see the Man of Steel and Hobbit trailers beforehand was a big plus.  I can’t recommend The Dark Knight Rises movie, but I will recommend the Admiral Twin Drive-In.  The good food, new movie at a cheap price ($7!!), fun atmosphere, and great sound quality made for a fabulous first drive-in theater experience.

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