Night Watch

Cooler nights are here, meaning it’s a perfect time for couples and families to enjoy movies under the stars.

Roberto Gonzalez


Date Night at Leu Gardens
Harry P. Leu Gardens, Orlando
First Friday of each month, starts at dusk.
$5 plus tax
Romantic comedies, dramas and sci-fi contemporary blockbusters. No pets.


Popcorn Flicks in the Park
Central Park, Winter Park
Usually monthly on the second Thursday,
starts at dusk.
Classic movies, usually family-friendly. No pets.


Cranes Roost Sunset Cinema
The Plaza (by the fountain) at Cranes Roost
The second Saturday of most months, as well as two Thursdays in December, Starts at dusk.
Family-friendly and animated films (PG or G).
No pets.


Kissimmee’s Movie in the Park
Kissimmee Lakefront Park
Second Friday of every month, starts at dusk.
Family-friendly and animated films (PG or G). Dog friendly.


Wednesday Night Pitcher Show
Enzian’s Eden Bar
Every Wednesday from 7 p.m.
Retro favorites and cult classics. Dog friendly.


Avalon Park’s Movie Under the Stars
Town Park in Avalon Park
Usually the third Friday of most months.
Family-friendly and animated films (PG or G). Dog friendly.


Casselberry Movie in the Park
Lake Concord Park, behind Casselberry City Hall First Friday of most months (excluding January, June, July, August).
Family-friendly and animated films (PG or G). Dog friendly.


The Gear Sure, a blanket will suffice, but hardcore outdoor movie buffs know that to avoid a numb bum you’ve got to upgrade to a padded lawn chair, preferably one with a drink holder and flip-up table. A rolling cooler to keep your beverages and snacks cool is also a handy asset. Bonus Tip: At Cranes Roost’s Sunset Cinema, the blankets dominate the first few rows from the screen. Keep in mind that those with chairs are asked to sit farther back. Chairs are provided at the Eden Bar.

The Food Why settle for typical movie fare when you can stuff your basket with gourmet grub? Think artisanal sodas, Peterbrooke chocolate-covered popcorn, and gourmet potato chips. Some moviegoers even opt to bring a full dinner, including sushi or pizzas from nearby restaurants.  Bonus Tip: If you’re headed to Date Night at Leu Gardens, snag your provisions at nearby East End Market (, where you’ll find gourmet cheeses, homemade breads and decadent desserts to go with the bottle of vino you’re allowed to bring to this monthly movie event for couples. (Be advised: Leu is the only outdoor movie locale where alcohol can be brought in; alcohol can be purchased at Eden Bar.)

The Genre There are at least a half-dozen outdoor movies screened across Orlando each month, but choose your movie night wisely, lest you get stuck watching a movie you didn’t expect. While most movie nights lean toward family-friendly flicks, some events deviate, including Popcorn Flicks in the Park, which typically shows classics. Bonus Tip: Wednesday Night Pitcher Show, the free outdoor movie night presented weekly at Enzian’s Eden Bar, is definitely a 21 and up affair as evidenced by the JELL-O shot movie trivia and happy hour drink specials.

The Extras Expert outdoor moviegoers are like Boy Scouts: they come prepared to face the elements.  A few important items to remember: bug spray, an electric candle or flashlight (to find those car keys) and playing cards or a Frisbee to help pass the time from arrival to movie start. Bonus Tip: Several movie nights are held in places ideal for a pre-movie stroll. Arrive early to set up your gear in the best spot, then head out for a power walk until the film begins.

Plan B Thanks to our fickle Florida weather, especially during the summer, many movie nights are canceled because of rain. Be sure to have alternate plans in the works, such as a trip to the Picture Show in Altamonte Springs ( where movies that are a few weeks from DVD release still show on the big screen but at a drastically reduced ticket price ($1.75). Bonus Tip: Most movie night venues keep their attendees apprised of weather cancellations via their Facebook pages where they can transmit up-to-the-minute announcements.


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