The Gardenwalk mall near Disneyland has more than it’s share of problems – it’s not very well laid out, it lacks any real “anchor” stores like a Sears or a Target, it’s hard to tell it’s actually a mall from the street, and you could go on and on. So it hasn’t been very surprising that many of its residents have had issues, nor was it surprising when the theater went under. But then Ultrastar bought the theater and it seemed at least we would have that again. This was maybe not an improvement on the situation.
We went to the Ultrastar this past weekend to see “Tron: Legacy”, which David is supposed to review sometime this week. Our first sign something was still amiss at the seemingly cursed Gardenwalk is that even though we went to see the movie at 5pm on a Saturday, there was almost no one at the theater who didn’t work there. There was no line to buy tickets, no line to get snacks, no one in the actual theater when we went to get seats 10 minutes before the movie was slated to start. It was kind of creepy, actually.
Their ticket prices weren’t that off in comparison to other theaters, although it did remind us why we only attended 2 movies in a theater last year, and one of those was because we had a gift certificate. I could buy a half dozen downloads on Xbox or 3 months of Netflix for what we paid just to watch Tron Legacy. (Granted it was in 3D, but there was no other way to watch it either.)
But I’m still pretty peeved about the snacks. The popcorn was stale, the M&Ms were stale, and that plus 2 bottles of water was almost $20! I know concessions are usually expensive, but that seemed like more than AMC charges, and the food was stale on top of the high cost. Also they did not have Jr. Mints or any sort of ICEE product. So, that was a lose for us as well. But seriously, STALE popcorn? I expect that from a dollar theater night, not a first run movie. Sheesh. (Maybe they spent the popcorn money on their poorly named “d-box” seats?)
Anyhow, we got the theater for Tron Legacy almost to ourselves, with the exception of one other small group of people who came in right before it started. There may be some people out there who would enjoy a theater all to themselves, but I find it a little disconcerting. It didn’t help that one of the workers came in to talk to us just before the movie started, and you know his speech was prepared for addressing a theater that was maybe at least a quarter full and the whole thing was just sort of awkward instead.
So, we won’t be going back to that theater, nor do we recommend it to anyone. Not that it seems like it needs any help from us in going under, because if that was their Saturday night business level, I don’t think Ultrastar Anaheim is long for this world.
(Although, as a side note, what’s really weird is this is a CHAIN. You’d think they’d be better at picking locations or advertising or something.