Over the last year or so we, like many other families, have cut back on a lot of luxuries in an effort to save money. One of the frivolities is going out, whether for dinner, or the movies or some other activity that the kids enjoyed doing that usually involved spending big bucks! We started having Friday Movie Night at home. Sometimes we will download a movie on the PS3, other times we will just watch one of the gazillion movies we already own. We also try to do a fun dinner at the house, that we wouldn't normally have during the week, such as hot dogs over the fire pit (very cheap meal...yet fun family time) or fondue. But we are always looking for other options for an inexpensive evening out. One that we have found to be a true winner in our household is the Campfire Movie at Ft. Wilderness (Walt Disney World Resort). I know it's hard to believe that anything Di$ney related could be free. Not to worry, there are definitely ways to spend money during this evening out...but it is also possible to have a completely free evening (if you don't count the gas $ spent coming and going).
(we did splurge on a box of popcorn)
Ft. Wilderness Campground is one of Disney's resorts. They play a Disney movie (rated G or PG) every single night in a big outdoor campfire setting. They have stadium seating set up in the very back. They have some "log" style benches in the middle and then they have a big open area for laying blankets down to watch the movie. Parking is FREE! Bus ride to the Meadows Trading Post (a.k.a. Campfire) FREE! Entrance to movie FREE! Best of all you can bring your own snacks and drinks (or you can purchase some from the snack bar). You can bring your own Smore's ingredients and roast them over the camp fire (or you can purchase some from the snack bar).
The late Fall/Winter is definitely the best time of year to go. The crowds are not too big. The weather is gorgeous. Plus the movie starts and hour earlier than it does in the Summer months (due to longer daylight hours). This website lists the months movie schedule so you pick the best movie/date to take the family. Camp fire is lit at 6:30pm, Chip and Dale perform around 7pm and then the movie starts at 7:40 (times about an hour later in the summer months).
We took the kids on Friday night and saw the movie Brother Bear. Which was awesome because it had been YEARS since the kids had seen it they didn't even remember what the movie was about. So it was like taking them to a new release. We love living this close to Disney. We have taken advantage of the Campfire movie on a number of occasions and the kids enjoy themselves each time.
(waiting for the bus)