Yesterday was a big day for me because I got to go to the movies. The last time I visited a theatre was over three months ago, before the arrival of baby Alice. As someone who used to attend the movies at least once a month, I’ve really felt the three month-plus drought.
Thankfully I was able to break that stretch on Thursday when Alice and I attended Cineplex’s Stars and Strollers program, which offers a “baby-friendly environment.” It runs at select Cineplex theatres across Canada, including the Yonge-Dundas location, which is where I checked it out.
The Yonge-Dundas S&S program runs every Thursday at 2pm, with the option of two different movies. Last Thursday, the choices were How To Be Single and The Revenant. I went with the first option as it was shorter (just over 90 minutes) and my husband wants to see the latter. While it wasn’t a great film, it was okay and did scratch my movie itch.
Part of the S&S pitch is that it offers, “Lowered volume and dimmed lighting.” The lightning was dimmed but not dark, making it easy to keep an eye on baby while still enjoying the movie. The volume on the actual movie did seem a bit lower but since I was watching a rom-com, the change didn’t impact my experience at all. However, the volume on the trailers was its usual loud self and unfortunately woke up a then-sleeping Alice.
S&S offers a change table right there in the theatre, which is a really nice touch. While Alice didn’t need it, it was a pretty popular feature, as was the ability to park stroller right in the theatre. Another nice touch? S&S movies are $2 cheaper than normal movies and no, you don’t need to pay for baby.
There were easily over two dozens parents and babies at the screening I attended. And while the babies did make some noise, it wasn’t as noisy as I expected. Alice handled the experience pretty well, even napping for about 30 minutes. She did have some fussy moments but thankfully only really cried at the very end of the movie (I was also happy that she wasn’t the first baby to start fussing).
Most of the parents sat in the first few rows, I guess so that they could easily keep an eye on their strollers. I sat closer to the back and on the very edge. That way I could easily get up and take Alice on a little walk when she got fussy without disturbing anyone.
Since I spent most of the movie making sure that Alice was happy, my S&S experience wasn’t as relaxing as a normal movie-going experience. However, it was still enjoyable and I’m glad I went. If you’re the parent of a baby, I recommend checking it out.