Miss L turned 6 last week (what?!?!) and had a pretty mature request for her birthday party: she wanted to take all of her friends to the movie theater! Well, it just so happened that the latest Walt Disney Animation Studios picture, Zootopia, was debuting the weekend after her birthday… what luck! So we decided to honor her wish and throw her a movie theater birthday party!
Step #1: Create a movie-themed invitation
What’s the easiest way to get everyone excited about going to see a movie? The invitations! Unfortunately, since it’s a newly released film, there weren’t any invitations in the store that we could buy and use. Instead, I hopped over to etsy.com to grab a design and then printed them as 4×6 photos at Target in an hour! Total cost = $12
Step #2: Buy your movie tickets!
These days you can rent a movie theater for yourself during the early morning hours for birthdays or private screenings. We looked into the prices for a private showing at Cinemark, which required a minimum of 50 tickets ($7.25) and 50 concession packages ($9.25/each) and a $100 fee ($925 minimum). Cinemark and Regal also had kid birthday party packages were available and started at $420 for 20 people.
We decided to simply go to the movies with a group, got out the movie times the week before and scheduled our party during the earliest showing of Zootopia. We arrived at the opening of the box office (9:25am) and bought our tickets that day. It actually turned out great since we didn’t need a guest count finalized until that morning, so we didn’t end up paying for guests that cancelled at the last moment. Some theaters allow you to buy group tickets at a discounted rate, which might be a good idea if you’re seeing a very popular movie on opening weekend!
Step #3: Buy favors and plastic cups (for popcorn)
Again, since the movie is so new there weren’t a lot of “favors” available to choose from, but we went with the simple and useful choice: Zootopia plastic cups!
These cups served three purposes: they allowed us to save seats for everyone by placing them in the cupholders in the theater, they were popcorn containers for the kids, and they were the Zootopia take-away for the event!
I bought 2 large popcorns for the day and filled up each of the cups with popcorn. Then I left the popcorn in the row with the kids for refills, which they handled perfectly! (p.s. you’ll never want to order a large popcorn again after you fill up 14 cups of popcorn from it and still have some left over…)
Mr. M stayed outside with Miss L to pass out the tickets as the guests arrived. They dropped off the presents and he was able to take them to the car that was parked nearby (another advantage to getting to the movie theater when it opens). I went inside, set up popcorn, saved the seats, grabbed booster seats and directed the guests to them as they arrived. The kids all ended up sitting in one row together with their parents behind them. Our start time for the party was 10:00am, and since the movie started at 10:15am, everyone got seated on time when the previews started up!
Step #5: Celebrate the birthday outside the theater with cupcakes and a rousing round of “Happy Birthday”
At the end of the movie, we asked everyone to meet outside in the lobby. We sang a rousing version of “Happy Birthday” to Miss L and then went and grabbed the cupcakes and favor bags to distribute to everyone as they left the theater.
Step #6: Say THANK YOU with movie-themed Thank You cards
End where you started… with another themed card! This time, I created a Thank You card using a Zootopia font and Zootopia coloring book pages. Miss L wrote them all out on Sunday afternoon, and they were in her backpack for delivery to her classroom on Monday morning!
And with that… I can honestly say we pulled off a great birthday party for Miss L! I’m so glad that she’ll have this wonderful memory of seeing Zootopia with all of her friends for her sixth birthday! And checking out the upcoming slate of Disney movie releases… it looks like we can do it again when she turns 8 for WRECK IT RALPH 2!