Well, this is good timing. Just as I was getting ready to tell you exactly how the Glendale (AZ) 9 Drive-In is Drive-In Heaven, the Arizona Republic sort of beat me to it. This will go better if you go read the article now, then come back and let me add what I saw.
Did you read it? Great. Now let me tell you some more about the place. The article says that the Glendale 9 was built in 1979, which would make it one of the world’s most modern drive-ins. Unlike most multi-screen drive-ins, the Glendale was designed from the start for this many screens; its central projector room services all of them.
That central projector room sits atop a central snack bar and arcade, all unusually spacious for a drive-in theater. Nearby there’s a playground, plenty of benches, and a beer cart. Woohoo! Another unusual feature is a row of roofs to shade a back row of cars. This is suburban Phoenix, and that’s got to come in handy during all those triple-digit summer days.
How about that landscaping? Everywhere I turned, I saw palm trees and flowering bushes (or are those trees) along the edges. The snack bar island had more little flowering bushes. Again, this is in the desert, so maintaining such touches can’t be easy, but they illustrate a commitment to provide a great customer experience.
I can’t speak to how busy the Glendale tends to be, since I was there on a Thursday night and left before it got dark, but I did get to see the nine freshly installed digital projectors ready to work. Considering the many estimates for how much one of those babies costs, the West Wind folks who own the Glendale probably had to lay out around a half million dollars, even if they got a quantity price break. The Glendale must be doing very good business to justify that vote of confidence.
The assistant manager told me the sad tale of the nearby Scottsdale 6, which West Wind ran until September 2011, when it couldn’t renew its lease. Unlike that case, West Wind owns the Glendale’s land, and it sure sounds like it’s going to be around for a long time. Thank goodness. I’d hate to lose my Drive-In Heaven.