Every year Ant and I try to make the most of the Ford Fiesta Moonlight Cinema in Sydney’s Centennial Parklands which run from December to March. This year we went to watch the Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’hoole on the 18th of January. The weather was great, no rain, but instead warm and lovely clear skies. Being the school holidays we were expecting a reasonable sized crowd for the movie, but it was actually ended up being relatively empty. We arrived pretty early because we went straight from work and had to wait around for a while, which was not too bad since you can go for a stroll or have a nap in the parklands. We decided to queue around 6pm and were second in line, but the crowd didn’t really start to build until around 6:30pm (30mins before gates were open). The time actually goes by quite quickly once you get in, because you’re so busy setting up and having something to eat that an hour flies by and the movie is almost ready to start at 8:30pm.
One thing I really enjoy about going to the Moonlight Cinema is that the atmosphere because it is so relaxed. You are as comfortable as you want to be since you bring whatever you want to sit/lie on, just be prepared for adverse weather which may destroy things and the chatter of fruit bats. I remember one year a friend dragged along two big bean bags and we just lounged in comfort (carrying them back soggy though was another matter). This year we brought our picnic rug and a large pillow. It’s such a nice feeling being able to sit back, eat and enjoy the movie. We made Vietnamese rolls to take, but I took the wrong box so we had fewer than we hoped – it ended up being a good thing though, as we also had less to carry back and just enough to eat. This was the first movie we watched here in 3D. They supply you glasses for an extra dollar when booking the tickets, or if you have your own you can bring them. The screen looked a little small but worked well with the glasses and the 3D experience ended up being really good, particularly since the whole movie was in 3D. It was a great movie and all up another really enjoyable night out.
The tickets were $22 for the 3D movies, but regular movies are usually around $18. They have a great run of the latest movies, as well as, classics and there is usually something for everyone. If you go for the more popular movies it definitely pays to get there early and line up before the gates open to get good seats since it is “first come first seated”. If waiting is not your thing, they have a special gold class area, which give you a premium view as well as included beanbag seats for a premium price. Patrons of general admission can rent bean bag recliners from the venue at $7 with a $10 deposit (cash only), but there is limited supply so you need to be quick! They also have a bar and food on site for sale, but this closes once the movie starts. Good toilet facilities are also on site and the venue can cater for mobility impaired patrons.
A few things to note:
- Bring jackets (if they are waterproof even better)! Even though it was the middle of summer, the weather got quite cold and rather quickly once the sun set;
- Bring a picnic rug or something comfortable to sit on because you’ll be sitting for around 2 hours minimum;
- Pack food, but not too much – you don’t want to have to lug everything back and forth if you don’t finish it;
- Parking only opens after 6pm in the park;
- There is on street parking which is plentiful;
- Come early, the best spots get taken fast – but also sometimes it pays to be able to see where you’re setting up your party. (We saw some people who came 10 mins after the movie had started and it was dark and they sat on some unsavoury dog business.);
- Bring mosquito repellent, because the bugs come out and in force; and
- Carry only what you really need, it’s just not worth the hassle of carrying stuff unnecessarily!
Hope those tips help someone else!
They also run this in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth. There is a movie club, which saves lots of money if you really enjoy the Moonlight Cinema and want to go to several events and lots of competitions to win free tickets made available by their website!