I grew up seeing movies just about every weekend. It didn’t matter what movie, my dad took me, so I saw it. My first job in high school was at a movie theater, partially because I really wanted to see movies for free – I soon learned that this perk would be used more by my family than by me. In college I still saw a decent number of movies, but I was living near DC, so it was pretty expensive, so it wasn’t as often as I had in the past. Once moving back to Virginia Beach, I went back to seeing movies just about every weekend. After moving to Orlando, that changed pretty quickly. Movie ticket prices continued to climb, and they were much more expensive here than back home. After a few years, I was lucky if I saw one movie a month in the theater. We decided it financially made more sense to wait for the movie to either go on iTunes to purchase (which would be cheaper than two people seeing the movie in the theater), wait for it to appear on Netflix, or wait for it to arrive at Redbox. I was missing seeing movies in the theater, but it just didn’t make financial sense anymore.
MOVIE THEATER MEMBERSHIPS
Then came Moviepass. I was intrigued and followed along here and there to see if people found it to be worth it, but it just still didn’t seem like it made financial sense, considering I barely went to movies at the theater anymore. The theater we were going to, when we did see movies, started offering their own plan to rival Moviepass. However, the plan was much worse and actually would have cost us more money than just buying the matinee ticket we usually bought (we usually opted for standard).
AMC STUBS A-LIST...TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE?
So I was pretty set that I would just keep seeing movies on the rare occasion, and never purchase one of these movie plans. Then I heard about the new AMC Stubs A-List membership. Yes, it is twice the price of Moviepass ($19.99/mo + tax), and no you don’t get to see a movie every 24 hours, BUT I do get to see 3 movies a week (week starting Friday morning), there are NO blackouts, I can see any movie I want – IMAX, Dolby Theater, 3D, etc. without an extra fee. I can book my seats online ahead of time without an extra fee. I get points for paying my membership and points for concessions, like all other Stubs members, plus the drink/popcorn upgrades. I was intrigued to say the least.
I decided to give this plan a shot, because now I could finally go see a movie every weekend (or more) if I wanted to, I could see 3D and IMAX, instead of settling for standard, and 2-3 movies at the price I was already paying for standard, would pay for the membership. My first week was this week and being on Summer Break, I decided to see all 3 movies. It was amazing. I ordered my tickets and picked my seats on the app the day before (with no fees!), showed up at the theater, got my upgraded drink and popcorn, and I was good to go. I also saw a movie in the Dolby Cinema for the first time – really cool.
IS IT WORTH IT?
Do I think this plan is worth it? Definitely. If you like seeing movies in 3D, IMAX, or the Dolby Cinema, it’s honestly a no-brainer. Even if you see 4 standard movies in a month (one a week- not on Tuesday), it would completely pay for itself. My matinee ticket in the Dolby Cinema would have been about $15 on its own, so think about that for a minute. I paid $10 to see a standard movie at the same theater the week before with a girlfriend. So yes, I highly recommend the AMC Stubs A-List membership.
OK...WHAT'S THE CATCH?
What’s the catch? You are required to stay on the plan for 3 months without cancelling. After that, if you don’t like it, you can cancel. Otherwise, the membership is for 1 year; billed monthly. You cannot transfer your tickets to anyone; you will show your ID when they scan your ticket. Other than that, I haven’t noticed anything else worth mentioning. I’m honestly super excited to see a bunch of movies now! I’m already planning ahead to all the movies I was really wanting to see, and actually will now see them on the big screen! You can learn more about the AMC Stubs A-List membership here!
Have you signed up for the AMC Stubs A-List? Comment below to let me know your thoughts on it!
Do you use Yelp? These days, it’s pretty rare to find someone that doesn’t. On vacation and don’t know where to eat? Yelp. Have a craving for avocado toast? Yelp. Had the best or worst experience at a restaurant? Yelp. Yelp is a great tool to get ideas, see photos of the food you plan to order (especially if you are as indecisive as me), and help others know the best places to go. In the age of Yelp, everyone is a food critic.
Did you know that can be rewarded for using Yelp? Of course, you have to do more than just look things up; you must contribute, interact, make connections, and share experiences – both bad AND good. If you do this, you might just become what is known as, “Yelp Elite,” complete with badge and all.
Being the huge foodie that I am, I’m proud to say that I was rewarded “Elite” status last month. To say I was excited to receive that badge of honor is an understatement – I literally screamed out in glee!
So you are probably wondering, why is being “Elite” so special? Well, each community has their own Yelp Elite Squad with their very own community manager. (Here in Orlando, it’s Andi P.) The community managers plan special events that only Elites can attend! For example, in Orlando, they’ve had Florida Film Festival celebrations, pre-grand opening dinners at local restaurants, and even advanced movie screenings! I personally just attended my very first Yelp Elite event at the soon-to-open (April 23rd) Hawkers in Windermere, and oh boy were we spoiled! Free swag, free drinks, and incredible free food.
(Be sure to check my Instagram & Facebook posts for highlights of this event)
So as you can see, there’s more to Yelp than just reading a review or posting something negative. Get involved and you too might find yourself reaping the benefits of being a Yelp Elite.
Interested in seeing my Yelp reviews? Follow me here!
As we close out 2017 and enter into 2018, I figured I would share my 5 tips to how I made my life easier, faster and more efficient this year so that you can do the same in 2018!
Tip #1 | Restaurant apps:
I discovered the amazingness that is apps for restaurants; both fast-food and sit down. I’m talking being able to place your order for food or coffee as you leave your home and arriving to it sitting there ready for you on the counter. Or the sit-down restaurants that offer you to locate your bill, split it, add promos, and pay all on your phone so that you don’t have to wait on your server or hand over your credit card! That feeling I’ve gotten from knowing I’ve placed my mobile order at the Dunkin Donuts near my home as I walk out my front door and then walked into DD with NO PURSE and picked up my order before the entire line of people and crowd that was waiting, was pretty awesome. (Rockstar status? Lol) Or the time I’ve placed my mobile order with Chick-fil-A, pulled into the pick-up spot and had my food brought to me while the massive drive-thru and counter lines continued to grow. I’ve used similar apps for Moe’s, Starbucks, and McDonalds – once I discovered these gems I downloaded them all! I love that most of the apps offer you points and rewards for using the app too. It’s perfect for someone like me that likes to save money wherever I can, plus I love free stuff – who doesn’t?!
Sit-down restaurant apps are slightly different, as I mentioned earlier, but still a great way to make your life easier. Did you know places like Cheesecake Factory and BJs Restaurant & Brewhouse have these sorts of apps? Think of all the times you stand in that massive line at Millenia Mall for a slice of takeout cheesecake – you could have ordered it on your phone before you got there! These are amazing apps and I highly recommend them for an easier, faster and more efficient 2018.
Tip #2 | Delivery apps:
This year I used Amazon Prime for things like toothpaste, shampoo, sunscreen, cleaning supplies and much more to cut down on the time I would spend at places like Target, where I would normally buy WAY more than I ever intended to. This saved me time, gas and a gave me the freedom to do other things.
Here in Orlando, many food delivery apps are at our disposal. The main ones I use are Prime Now (part of Prime membership) and UberEats. I can get almost any type of food I want all day long! I order pizza, Indian, Thai, Italian, burgers, etc. This allows me to do what I need to do around the house, or really, what I want to do – such as sit in my PJs and binge on Netflix and Hulu shows – while my food is being prepared and delivered to my door! Which is my favorite? Well, I like both for different reasons. With Prime Now there is an order minimum, but if we reach $40 we don’t pay a delivery fee. Plus, if anything ever goes wrong, Amazon is usually pretty good about making it right for next time. An example: we ordered dinner from Red Robin but they couldn’t get ahold of the restaurant to place the order. Amazon contacted us via email canceling the order, explaining why, and providing us with $10 off our next order “for our trouble”. Great customer service! UberEats allows you to order with no minimum and many times has more options. Heck, if you wanted to, you could get froyo or a smoothie delivered to your door! The biggest catch is the delivery fee always applies. Both companies now allow you to add a tip thru the app as well, so you don’t have to keep cash on you. Prime Now has you tip ahead of time, while UberEats allows you to tip after delivery.
I haven’t tried grocery delivery apps, but that might be my next thing for 2018!
Tip #3 | Meal delivery websites:
This summer I decided to try out a few meal delivery websites. I did a lot of research, had my first-time promo codes and placed orders with Blue Apron and Home Chef. These are amazing ways to plan out a few meals a week (I always do 3) and not have to worry about grocery shopping. I found Home Chef to be my favorite of the two due to presentation of recipes, packaging and meal options. Now listen, I have been cooking most of my life – it’s always been a passion of mine – but my meals never tasted as good as these meals! I won’t lie to you, these dishes can be very time consuming and a lot of work goes into them, but it’s totally worth it! These companies send you recipe cards with step-by-step instructions on how to make a specific meal. They provide you with all the ingredients (except for usual at home items like EVOO, Salt & Pepper), already portioned out for you. After about an hour of cooking, I usually have a restaurant quality meal, perfectly portioned for the two of us, and I’m always getting compliments from my significant other. Something else I love is that you do NOT need to order every week. I use both the website and the app to control my meals from Home Chef and if I need to skip a week, I do. I sometimes go a month before getting a delivery, and this is totally fine with them! As far as customer service goes, If something was accidently left out of your box, you just send them a quick email and they will usually credit your account to make it right. This has only happened to me one time – a shallot was left out – so they credited me $5 towards my next order. You might be asking, “OK but how much is something like this?” Well, I do 3 meals for a week for 2 people and it’s $60 with free shipping (that’s $20 a meal or $10 per person per meal!). Honestly, I would be paying more to eat out or buying all the ingredients.. Want to try Home Chef with $30 off? Click here!
Tip #4 | Local businesses that come to you
I am a bit of a pet food snob and this can be a problem when it comes to finding particular brands at the usual pet stores. I used to have to travel to a specific store and then pray they had the food in stock. Sometimes I would get so busy I would wait till I was about to be out of dog food completely. This caused me a problem once when the store forgot to order the food and therefore was out of stock. I eventually stumbled upon the local company, Pet Pantry, out of Longwood. They are AMAZING! I get a text the week before my intended delivery to ask if I’m ready for food delivery and if not, they push it back, if yes they deliver my dog food on a specific day of the week and it’s waiting for me at my door when I get home from work! I have actually used Pet Pantry for a few years now and they have delivered to me at my old home and at my old office; in fact, they deliver all over Central Florida! This is a service and company I highly recommend. A big plus – they are SO friendly.
Slobbr Concierge is a new company I just started using in the last month. My keys are kept at my apartment leasing office and when I need a service, such as dog walking, feeding, sitting, etc., they pick up the keys and do it! I then get an email with a report on how it went and with photos of my pups. This was a huge help when I had family in town recently and we were spending very long days at Disney World. I had someone stop by, take them for potty walks, feed and play with them and then I would get the report knowing I could continue entertaining at the parks for a few hours longer. In the past, I would have either driven all the way back home (then back to the parks) or paid to leave them at the kennel for the day – huge hassle. This is a wonderful service that offers convenience to pet owners of Orlando.
Tip #5 | WDW Apps:
It’s no secret that I love Disney World and all things Disney. It’s also no secret that I go to the parks A LOT, especially when we have visitors. I’ve had plenty of friends tell me that they enjoy going to Disney with me because I plan it all and we get to do so much. Here’s the thing, it’s really simple to do a lot at Disney, you just need to know how to make it happen. How? I use the My Disney Experience App. If I know I will be going to the parks in 60 days, 30 days, 5 days or even 1 day, I am on that app booking dining reservations and Fastpasses (I can only book FP+ within 7 days but AP’s can do this 30 days before and hotel guests even earlier). I try to make sure my Fastpasses aren’t very spread out either. I try to book all 3 back-to-back so that the moment I’ve scanned my last one I am on that app making my next one – and I continue to do this. Sure, Fastpasses aren’t always available, but there is usually something, especially if you are at Magic Kingdom. My new favorite feature of the app? MOBILE ORDERING! Sense a pattern here? As much as possible, I utilize the new mobile ordering feature. I’ve gotten many meals at Satu’li Canteen in Pandora without having to wait in the long line. I’ve gotten Dole Whip at MK without having to wait in a line (and you know those are long!). I’ve sat at a table at Pinocchio Village Haus, Columbia Harbour House and Flame Tree Barbeque, instead of standing in line, while my food order had already been placed & prepared. I get that little notification that my order is ready and then I head to the mobile pick-up counter with no fuss. Keep in mind, not all of the quick serve locations offer mobile ordering yet, but they keep adding more. You can actually place your mobile order many hours before you are ready and then once you are there and ready you click on the button in the app stating so and boom – you order is being prepared and your payment is taken via the card linked to your account!
Another pretty good app to keep handy is the Shop Parks app. This is WDW’s merchandise app. This is a great way to locate something you were really wanting but now can’t find. Looking for that Aladdin shirt? Ok no problem, looks like they have it at World of Disney! Now, the app isn’t always perfect but it is pretty handy. They’ve even begun selling things exclusively through the app – remember those Dumbo and The Beauty & The Beast Dooney and Burkes? Yea, those went FAST and through the app only! I luckily scored them both, but it took A LOT of checking on the app for a LONG time. They eventually brought The Beauty & The Beast pattern to the parks, in different styles, but this isn’t the case for all.
Ok, so those are my 5 tips for how I made my life easier, faster and more efficient in 2017 – I hope they will help you in 2018! Do you use these apps and services? Are there other apps and services out there that you highly recommend? I would LOVE to hear them to help make my 2018 an even easier, faster and more efficient year!
And don’t forget… our FIRST Girls Night Out is January 23rd at Sugar Factory Orlando – can’t wait to see you there!
Wishing you a Happy New Year Orlando Housewives!
Hi! I'm Michelle. I love traveling, trying new restaurants, meeting new people, going to the parks, and playing with my dogs. I'm also super Disney obsessed - parks, cruise lines, movies - I love it all!
I host monthly networking events in the Orlando area for all women to attend. I look forward to meeting you at our next GNO!