Night Out at Tiki Mission Drive-in Theatre

Tiki Mission Drive-In Theatre, which offers movies under the open night sky, is a unique movie watching experience.

The setup of the drive in is composed of 4 large lots divided by fences each with its own screen for projected movies. All four lots surround a small, tiki-themed building that serves food and has clean amenities.

The facilities, although lackluster in appearance, provide a blank slate for an ideal movie watching experience. The tiki theme does not reappear in the lots and is only really apparent in the dated building in the center of the lots.

Food at the theatre’s is a must-have, and Tiki goes above and beyond with their wide selection of snacks, candy and entrees. At most theatres, they limit the food items to overpriced snacks because of the mess that might occur if they sold burgers overflowing with chili sauce and fries. However, because customers provide their own chairs and facilities for watching the movie––their cars––the mess is also theirs to clean up.

I was able to buy two churros, a funnel cake, and popcorn for a total of $16. Because the menu is so diverse and includes full meals, customers will buy a full entree from the food booth and eat dinner while watching a film.

The setting and facilities are very customizable––a large, empty lot can offer a myriad of possibilities––so the movie watching experience largely depends on the type of car and the preparations made beforehand. Pickup truck drivers will back into the parking spots with a small mattress in the trunk and watch under the open night sky. People without built-in car radios can bring stereos.

Different genres may also garner different experiences. The wood backdrop and dark, isolated surroundings would prove an immersive experience for any scary movie.

Because there are only four screens, the theatre only plays eight movies every night. However, one upside to this is that customers can watch two movies for the price of one. If they buy tickets for one movie on lot four, they can also watch the successive movie playing on lot four at a later time. Tickets are inexpensive: $ 9 for adults and $ 5 for children under 10.

The best part about drive-ins is being able to watch in the privacy of your own car: no screaming children, no phone ringing, and no unnecessary commentary from strangers. Overall, the drive-in theatre is a great place for families, friends or just watching a movie alone in the privacy of your own car.

By Angela Zhang, In-depth editor

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