Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Not So Ordinary Movie Night At The El Capitan

I don't work for Disney but I'm going to use this post to advertise for them. It's the least I can do considering what they did to make movie night with my son so spectacular this last Tuesday. Because the one thing you can't take away from Disney is that they know how to put on a show.

For over a year my son has been counting down the days until Pirates Of The Caribbean, On Stranger Tides reached the theaters.  I figured that for his patience he deserved to see the film in style. So I got us VIP tickets to see it at Disney's El Capitan Theater, a 1920s theater on Hollywood Blvd. that has been fully refurbished. VIP means we get reserved seats so of course chose center, first tier balcony, because really, how often do you get to watch a movie from a balcony anymore? The theater itself is gorgeous and seeing anything in that space would be a treat. But of course, Disney can't just leave it at that. Oh no. Instead when I got the tickets they suggested that I download the Android Pirates El Capitan app so I can more fully enjoy the experience. I figured, what the hell. It's free, right (unlike the very pricey 3D tickets)? But when I downloaded it and tried to see what it was all about the app explained that since I was not yet at the El Capitan theater I would have to wait to see what app features awaited me.

Oddly enough this made this app a lot more exciting for me and my son. I mean it's just a stupid free app but knowing that I had to wait to open it? Like it's a Christmas present or something? Well as sophisticated as I like to think I am, that just appeals to the little kid in me and it certainly appealed to my son. 

So again, I'm thinking, lets milk this for all it's worth. We arrive early so we can go to the El Capitan adjacent Disney's Soda Fountain where we had dinner and shared in The Fountain Of Youth (a special float that they themed after the movie). And finally we got to the theater itself.  

When we stepped inside the cast members at the door handed us our 3D glasses and two velvet pouches filled with metal (faux antiqued gold) pirate coins. After checking out the props from the movie that they had displayed in the lobby we checked in to the theater using my Pirate App (it even makes sure that you're checking in for the correct showtime). It instructed us to go to the VIP concession stand and show them my phone. I did and we were given two popcorns in novelty Pirates buckets, two bottled sodas and four metal pirates pins (the kind you can use for the pin-trading they have going on at the theme parks). The only problem I had at that point was finding a way to hold two popcorns, two sodas, two velvet pouches of coins, a bunch of pins and my phone without dropping anything. Even with my son's help I failed at the task but eventually made it up the stairs to the balcony. There an usher guided us to our seats.

So now I can go to the next feature on the app. My son and I gazed at my phone as a video played featuring interviews with the actors and behind-the-scene glimpses of the movie we were about to see. I tried to go to the next feature but it informed me that it wouldn't show me that feature until after the film was over (and since it knew what show we were there to see it had the whole thing timed out). So more stuff to look forward to.

And in the meantime we are in the most gorgeous theater on earth. After only three previews they had the Before-The-Curtain show complete with music, beautiful imagery, props reminiscent of what you might have seen in a 1930s Broadway musical (except more high tech) and cannons that shot gold confetti into the air.

Yes, really.

Oh yeah, and there was the movie too. I think it was a fun flick but honestly by that point my son and I were so unabashedly wrapped up in the whole Disney experience that it could have sucked and I wouldn't have minded too much. And as anyone who has ever seen any of the Pirates films knows, all of the action sequences are thoroughly enhanced by an awesome soundtrack.

Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger TidesAnd as it turns out, that was the last feature on my phone. When the movie ended we went back to my app to find out that I now had the entire soundtrack for the latest pirate film. 

And this was just an ordinary movie night at The El Capitan. Yeah, I know, it was totally over the top. But it was also totally fun. If every movie experience was like this I think I wouldn't be using Netflix so much.


TerriOsburn said...

That sounds AMAZING! I haven't even seen the movie yet, but when I do, it won't be anything like that. Wow.

Diane Kelly said...

What a "treasured" memory with your son! (Sorry I couldn't resist the pun!)

kyradavis said...

Admittedly, i had high expectations for El Capitan's Pirates event and yet they managed to surpass them. It really was cool :-)

Diane: When it comes to Disney, puns are always welcome ;-)

Brandy said...


Robin Kaye said...

Oh, how cool is that! Me and my kids are green with envy! Love the whole App idea! Leave it to Disney!

Melanie said...

I just went to see that movie in a regular, sort of boring theater -- but it was my first 3D experience. Impressed with the technology! (The glasses were really dorky, though)
Your review makes me want to make the trip to CA to see it again!