All it took was a global pandemic for the drive-in movie theater to become popular again. Who would’ve thunk we’d ring in summer 2020 with an affordable, retro, 1950s-era activity? Follow these tips to ensure your drive-in theater experience is unforgettable.
Arrive At Least 1 Hour Early
With most traditional theaters still shuttered throughout the country, expect unusually long wait times to get into your local drive-in this summer. It’s a good idea to arrive at least an hour before showtime to secure a good viewing spot, preferably close to the exits (it can be a nightmare to leave a drive-in).
Bring a Portable Radio
Most, if not all drive-in theaters enable guests to tune into a specific FM radio station for film audio. When temperatures allow – which they may not if you’re in South Florida – use a portable, battery-powered radio to listen to the movie. Guests who wish to sit comfortably in their vehicle can do so without burning through their car’s battery.
Don’t Forget the Bug Deterrent
Mosquitoes can turn the most picturesque evening into a horrific nightmare. Keep the horror on the big screen by applying bug spray liberally, activating your Thermacell repeller, or installing vehicle window screens like the Skeeter Beater™.
Most movies will begin as the sun sets. However, since you’re arriving early, you’ll still need to keep the UV away until it gets dark. A squirt of SPF keeps the doctor away.
A night at the movies isn’t complete without soda and popcorn. Bring a cooler for drinks, a freshly popped bag of popcorn, and other goodies that you can munch on during the movie.
Although most drive-ins allow you to bring your own food, please check with your local drive-in theater for rules regarding outside snacks and drinks.
To avoid the oftentimes expensive concession-stand hot dogs, consider bringing dinner with you. Make sandwiches or grab a carryout pizza for the entire family. (Don’t forget the plates and napkins.)
Have Garbage Bags in the Car
A simple plastic grocery bag in the front seat should be enough to store all your used paper plates, utensils, napkins and wrappers.
Better yet, bring your Honda Odyssey for extra fry-sucking, wrapper-eating, rubbish-remedying clean-up. Odyssey’s in-vehicle HondaVAC unit, discretely and snugly packed in the cargo area, includes a 8-foot vacuum hose and is powered by the minivan’s 12-volt DC electrical system. Trash, watch your back.
Wear Your Jammies
No one’s checking if you’re wearing your best-pleated khakis or cutest sundress. Feel free to dress down for the occasion by donning your comfiest pajamas and bringing a blanket.
Pick Your Seating Option
Feel like watching the movie with family outside your car? Bring the foldable camping chairs, air loungers or a picnic blanket.
Want to have a lie-down? Reverse into a parking spot, clear out the back of your Honda Ridgeline, and stuff it with an inflated air mattress. The Ridgeline even comes with a built-in cooler.
Or simply stay in the front seat for a traditional drive-in experience.
Pack a Tablet and Headphones
Double-feature showings will usually start with a kid-friendly movie and conclude with a film more suited for adults. A tablet, cell phone, or portable gaming device, paired with headphones or earbuds, will keep children occupied if they’re not old enough to watch the second movie.
Leave Your Dog at Home
Unless there’s a special pet-friendly event taking place, your drive-in theater likely won’t allow dogs to come with. Dogs may be difficult to control, especially around other pups, and can be a major distraction to other moviegoers.
Wash Your Car
Grimy windows can ruin a drive-in movie. Spend the afternoon hand-washing your vehicle or bring it through a carwash for a decent albeit less thorough clean.
Have the Right Vehicle
The best vehicle for a drive-in is one in which you’re comfortable – whatever that means to you. We recommend versatile vehicles with extra space, like the Pilot, Odyssey, Ridgeline and Honda Fit. Honda Fit makes for an excellent car for drive-in theaters, as it features the 2nd-row Magic Seat®. Put the Fit into Refresh Mode by reclining the front seats back, and you’ve got a perfect view of the big screen.
Hard Rock Stadium: Drive-In Theater Advice
What? Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium is evolving! In the absence of NFL football, the Dolphins’ home has undergone a makeover for the summer. The stadium’s all-new Drive-up Theater and Fountain Plaza Open Air Theater setups are perfect escapes for families and couples looking for some semblance of normalcy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your trip to Miami’s newest drive-in theater:
- Choose the theater you’d like: Open Air is a vehicle-free theater that doesn’t allow outside food or drink; the Drive-Up Theater is for vehicles and offers a more traditional drive-in experience.
- Guests at the Drive-Up Theater can tune into 100.3 FM to listen to the film’s audio.
- Enter through Gate 6 and follow instructions to the Fountain Plaza Open Air Theater.
- Scheduled films vary depending on the theater. Buy tickets online or by contacting a Ticketmaster representative.
All proceeds from these theaters will benefit the Miami Dolphins Foundation Food Relief Program.