I’ve always wanted to see a movie in the AMC Theater at Downtown Disney (also known as the Fork and Screen because you can eat while you watch the movie!), but there was never anything playing that I wanted to see when I was there. But Saving Mr. Banks is only playing in limited release in Canada right now, so when I learned that AMC was screening it during my current visit to Florida, attending was a no-brainer!
And what better movie to pair with a review of the Fork and Screen seating arrangement? So you get two reviews in one here, folks! First, I’ll discuss the dining experience (gluten-free options included) and then a brief look at the film itself.
First off, the theatre was excellent. Small enough to be intimate but with a screen big enough to do the movie justice. However, if you were watching a mega blockbuster action movie, one might wish for something bigger. But for a film like Saving Mr. Banks, it felt just right.
We went on Monday, December 30th, at 12:00 noon for the Fork and Screen presentation. You can see the little symbol just above the time I attended in the picture above. And here is a screen capture of the auditorium from the official AMC site, as taking pictures in the actual theatre is forbidden, and Disney even mentions that rule with the word ‘prosecution’ not-so subtly included:
The seating was very comfortable for the movie, but for eating, you had to sit on the edge of your seat so as not to spill on yourself. The picture above shows trays at each seat, but we had a counter at bar height. The trays would have been a bit better, but this is a minor point.
The food was fantastic! My in-laws had the Mushroom Swiss Burger ($10.49 – Sautéed mushrooms and Swiss cheese top an all-American beef burger with lettuce and tomato on a toasted brioche-style Kaiser roll served with fries). I had the Double-Decker Club ($10.99 – Shaved ham, turkey, and crisp Applewood-smoked bacon piled high on Texas toast with fresh lettuce, ripe tomatoes, and Parmesan peppercorn aioli with fries, instead of the chips). The portions were generous and well-priced for what you got. The full menu can be seen, with prices, on the DTD AMC website.
On the downside were the drinks: $4.50 for a diet coke! My complaint about this, beyond the obvious, is that the price was not marked on the menu. So it was quite a surprise when I got the cheque! I only had one glass with no refills so as to not need to make a pit stop during the movie. But if I had have known what I was paying, I would have drunk refills until I wet myself!
Now on to the gluten-free options. My wife had about five things to choose from, which anyone with Celiac Disease will tell you, is copious for Disney at one location. She had the Thai Bang Shrimp Tacos ($10.99 – White corn tortillas layered together with southwest sauce and Cheddar Jack cheese, then topped with sweet and sour slaw and crunchy breaded shrimp drizzled with Thai bang sauce. Served with fresh tortilla chips and house-made salsa). For the gluten-free option, the shrimp were grilled instead of breaded. My wife said the helping of shrimp was very generous and the whole meal was tasty indeed. And she didn’t have any reaction afterwards, so a good job was done with the food preparation to avoid cross-contamination, which is always a concern. So kudos to the kitchen staff and also to our servers, who were all top-rate!
And now to conclude with a very brief review of the film. We all thought it was wonderful. Only die-hard Disney fans will worry about the inaccuracies of the events being depicted. Tom Hanks did a credible Walt, but yes, he didn’t look like him. But mere minutes into the film, you completely forget about that and buy into Tom’s interpretation. This I will attribute to the genius of Tom Hanks, one of my favorite actors! We laughed, we cried, and everyone agreed it was, again, a wonderful movie.
A tip to those who have been jaded by people claiming the film misrepresents ‘known’ facts about the events depicted: Give your amateur Disney Historian the night off and just enjoy the film for what it is. Seriously. Take this tip to heart!
I will give the dining experience and the theatre itself a combined score of 4.75 stars out of 5, simply because of the exorbitant price of the drinks! The movie gets a 5 out of 5 stars. But if I had to pick on something, I’d have to say I’d have liked it to be longer. Not bad if that’s all one can complain about!
Final say: Go see this movie wherever you can! And when you do, have your say in the comments below, please.
P. S. – Don’t forget to save your tickets and enter them into your Disney Movie Rewards account for points!