SPRINGFIELD, IL (WCIA)
This is not 1955, but thanks to the Coronavirus Pandemic, the drive in movie theater is once again THE ticket to get for the Summer of 2020.
No, I’ve just never been as a kid or as an adult.Austin Pitman
If 2020 was a normal year, you’d head to the Route 66 Drive In in Springfield on a Friday or Saturday night to enjoy a movie with a car full of your friends and family, reliving the activities of a bygone era. Now with Covid-19, it is not only one of the only places you can go to, it is also one of the safest activities you can do.
I don’t know how you can socially distance better than being in your own car.Doug Knight, General Manager of Knight’s Action Park and Route 66 Twin Drive In
Doug Knight, the man behind not only the Drive In, but also all of Knight’s Action Park, has owned the land since 1992 with the dual screens open in 2002. The plot of land housed the defunct Green Meadows Drive In theater from the 1970s to the early 1980s. The land was flattened shortly after being sold, but once Knight took over, they were able to locate the original ramps for the current Drive In.
A NEW NORMAL
Business as you’d expect isn’t what it normally is, but it isn’t all bad.
- To keep the required six feet of separation between cars for social distance, cones are placed out, cutting down the spots from 252 to 175 for each screen.
- Since everything is shutdown, Hollywood isn’t pumping out the normal Summer blockbusters.
- Opened late on May 8th instead of the normal first weekend of April.
- Sales are at about only 50%
- Disney’s Mulan is slated to be released tentatively for July 24th, so new movies might be around the corner.
- Lot’s of independent studios are interested in showing their new movies.
- They currently show up to eight different movies a week, so there’s a good chance your favorite movie will play!
- Route 66 Drive in is open every night of the week, rain or shine!
We’re keeping safe and staying away from everyone else, decided to watch a movie!Brady O’Donnell
LEARNING TO ADAPT
The beauty of the internet has tremendously helped out a business built on being nostalgic. As late as last year, a blockbuster movie would send the line to get in onto the street. Now with ordering online to be able to better control for social distancing, there is hardly a line at all. All you have to do is show a barcode on your phone or print it out and it is scanned at the gate! The button below takes them to their website, just simply scroll down to the bottom.
Food ordering is also getting a 21st century update. Using the FanFood app, visitors at the Drive In or the water park can place their orders and pick their food up at the pickup window. Knight says that when things go back to normal, food orders would actually increase because people don’t want to miss out on their movie.
We’re learning a lot. Buying tickets online, we’re going to keep that. That’s awesome.Doug Knight, General Manager of Knight’s Action Park and Route 66 Twin Drive In
Artists are being creative realizing the potential that Drive Ins have since there aren’t very many new movies coming out, if at all. Country music star Garth Brooks has a sold out concert that crashed Ticketmaster’s website for a performance only seen on North American Drive In screens.
Knight says we can expect more high caliber singers like Brooks to do these for the next two years.
Illinois going into Phase 4 means that many businesses will be able to open up more. For the Route 66 Drive In, it means that patrons will be able to sit in front of their cars and won’t have to remain in their cars.
It is a family attraction, we advertise it as: put the jammies on the kids, come out! If they fall asleep, so what, if they fuss, so what.Doug Knight, General Manager of Knight’s Action Park and Route 66 Twin Drive In
Route 66 Drive In, the perfect way to spend a Summer evening during the Pandemic