After I recently visited the traditional drive-in movie in Cologne and the additional pop-up Car Watch in my home town, 2nd May 2020 brought me to another drive-in movie. I visited the pop-up cinema in Dusseldorf, which has been put up in the trade fair area. I was very curious about this additional culture location at Covid-19 times, which did not only host a movie on that evening, but also an acrobatic show of the famous Roncalli circus.
Autokino Dusseldorf – Location & Admission
The Düsseldorf drive-in movies is located at the one of the major parking lots of Dusseldorf trade fair (which is also used for parking during soccer matches). The traffic situation is quite fine, as the drive-in movie is just allowed to cover 500 cars, though the traffic concept is able to hold significantly more traffic. The parking lot P1, at which the screen is set up, is just a short drive from the A44 motorway, two exists away from Dusseldorf Airport (here is a report of the Dusseldorf Airport Photo Tour).
Admission for the drive-in movies start at 22 Euro, which is the admission for one car including two passengers. You may add own children at a rate of 5 Euro. There are also VIP tickets which include better parking lots towards the front and exclusive catering for 89 Euro. As our ticket included the Roncalli circus pre-show, the one car ticket price was 46 Euro. The tickets do not include any food, but you can pre-book food (see below). Of course, you can bring drinks and snacks with you as well.
Autokino Dusseldorf – The Visit
The show was expected to start on 21:00 hrs. This means that the gates of the movies open one hour before. We arrived at the venue some ten minutes before opening. It was already quite crowded – and even though they felt to be quite prepared for the number of cars, it felt to take too long to get to your final spot, which we reached about 20:20 hrs. During that process, there was a lot of staff, but not all of them felt very helpful.
Compared to the two Cologne drive-in cinemas the key difference is the large capacity in Dusseldorf: roughly 500 cars may hold in front of the 400 square meter screen, which is driven by projectors, not LCD (which also means that the cinema can only operate during night hours). One reason for that is that the parking lot is huge – another one is that the especially the lateral distance between the cars was quite small, compared to the two Cologne venues. The screen is nicely elevated, which gives a good view on the screen, but also on the stages, which are located on both sides of the screen.
It still felt that the service provided by the venue was not ideal. For example, people were asked to switch off the cars’ lights, but nobody checked the cars, so quite some cars still had daytime light on during the movie – some even the full light, which is extremely bothering.
Leaving the venue after the movie was a real treat – even though we had a lot quite in the middle of the venue, so that the position was not ideal for leaving the place, the trade fair and sports traffic concept was just ideal – not a single stop until we were back on the motorway.
Autokino Dusseldorf – Roncalli Show (2nd May 2020)
The movie we watched were a recorded show of the German Circus Roncalli. For this special occasion, there were some artists on stilts dressed up like butterfly already before the show. Before the movie, there were some really high class artistic performances, which have been shown on the screen in parallel as well. A really nice addition to the movie, which overall lead to a very enjoyable night.
Autokino Dusseldorf – Services
Regarding food, the impression of the service was mixed. You could pre-book food – we had a package featuring a delicious sandwich, popcorn and small packages of chocolate peanuts and crisps. Including two soft drinks or beer (0.5 liters, mineral water one liter), the price was 12.50 Euro and definitely superb. Unfortunately, the queue at the food was very long. One reason for that was that you could also buy food at the same counter. The drinks were also not as cold as in Cologne.
The toilet situation was also weaker than at the other venues are visited. There were some mobile toilet booths, which are likely not the right option during Covid-19 times. The toilet container next to the food station was comparably small and did not feel that clean compared to the Cologne venues. At least, they provided hand sanitizer wipes.
Autokino Dusseldorf – My View
Watching a movie or a show during Covid-19 times in Dusseldorf has definitely some really nice amenities. First of all, the large and elevated screen gives a great view and food prices are very fair. The parking lot is huge, so being at the very rear might still not be favorable. Compared to the other two locations I visited, the organisation and service was unfortunately the worst so far. I would still recommend Dusseldorf, especially if you go for the concert. The high stage is definitely favorable for a show.
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