When our state shutdown, I realized that some of the most important ways we spend time together as a family would have to be reimagined. As a child, I grew up going to the drive-in with my parents and it was my favorite way to see movies. With theaters closed due to the pandemic, the drive-in movie theater has made a comeback. WE Drive-Ins just opened in Santa Monica and we thought it would be the perfect way to see Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon as a family.
Located in Santa Monica, minutes away from the beach, WE Drive-Ins shows new, first run movies. I had a chance to speak with the owner prior to watching Raya and the Last Dragon, and she shared her story of how the drive-in made its debut in the popular beachfront city.
Born out of the mandated stay-at-home order, founder P. Ben Chou felt like the simple act of going to the movies was a distant memory. And we can all agree that while it was very convenient to have new releases available via streaming platforms, it just cannot compare to watching a film on the screen at the theater. Chou leveraged his experience and relationships to launch WE Drive-Ins with the goal of restoring the arts, re-employing those who have been displaced, and giving back to non-profits and those in need.
What sets WE Drive-Ins apart from the other drive-in theaters that you see popping up around the city is the fact that Chou secured the right to show first run feature films. Additionally, the cozy, 50-car drive-in experience is designed for optimal viewing.
The VIP WE-Drive-Ins experience includes premium popcorn, beverages, vouchers from local and national partners, and advanced reserved parking for $30 per person (2 ticket minimum/6 ticket maximum per car). Limited tickets for individuals without the WE Experience Pack are available on a first come, first serve basis on the day of the show without reserved parking (email [email protected] two hours prior to the start of the show).
Families can also pre-order a meal from Mendocin Farms or Tocaya Organica the day before the scheduled showtime (orders should be placed by 11 am the day before the show). Concessions (candy, popcorn, drinks) can be ordered at anytime before or during the show.
It should be noted that face masks are required if you decide to leave your vehicle to use the on-site restrooms. Staff are gloved and masked and committed to providing a clean, safe environment.
WE Drive-Ins is located in the former Sears parking lot at the following address:
The Mark 302/former Sears
302 Colorado Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Disney Raya and the Last Dragon
It has admittedly been way too long since we’ve seen a new Disney film. We were really excited to see Raya and the Last Dragon after having watched a preview at D23 two years ago. The film takes families on an exciting journey to the fantasy world of Kumandra, where humans and dragons lived together in harmony.
Raya and the Last Dragon features a prominent Asian American cast, including the voice talents of Kelly Marie Tran (Raya), Awkwafina (Sisu), Gemma Chan (Namaari), and Daniel Dae Kim (Raya’s father). When an evil force threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. 500 years later, the evil force has returned. Lone warrior Raya sets out to find the legendary last dragon to restore the fractured land and its divided people.
The film’s animation is immersive, culturally authentic, and absolutely stunning. Raya is brave and kind, a princess in the likes of Mulan and Merida. She is a uniting force amongst her people, even when she’s apprehensive and wary of accepting help from others. Raya is also Disney’s first Southeast Asian princess.
Trust is an important theme throughout the film as the characters eventually learn to work together to defeat the threat of evil. And as is a common in many Disney movies, there are important lessons to be learned through the experience of grief.
Disney Raya and the Last Dragon Printables and Activity Sheets
Download these free Raya and the Last Dragon Printables, Recipes, and Activity sheets for your movie night!
Raya and the Last Dragon is showing in select theaters nationwide, including WE Drive-Ins and on Disney+.