The first movie I saw in the cinema was E.T. I was four years old. It made the impression of a lifetime and I have been a cinema enthusiast ever since. I have accessed cinemas with restricted mobility, always in desperate search for the nearest seat, on crutches, as a manual wheelchair user and more recently as a power ‘chair user. In the past I had to send an able bodied relative or friend ahead as a scouting party who had to report back on how accessible the venue was.
I always had a check list. Is there any steps at all? Is there any seats in the lobby? How long a walk is it from the nearest seat to the next? Were there adapted toilets and if there was, did they leave enough room for an electric wheelchair’s turning circle as well as an assistant? I wanted to know what the lights were like once the movie started, if the seats were comfortable or had any neck support and most importantly, did they serve decent coffee at morning screenings and fresh popcorn in the evening?
Odeon Cinemas has an excellent website where I have been able to find the answers to my accessibility questions. For the weird ones, contact details were easily accessible and I could actually talk to someone at the cinema I wanted to visit who did little things like put me on hold whilst they ran to check physically before answering the question. It is possible to check access to the cinema, access within the cinema, the size of the screen and access to individual screens as well as general accessibility information about each individual cinema.
Look up the cinema of your choice to find accessibility information about specific venues and have a look at Odeon Accessibility for statements about the access they provide.
If standard cinema prices is too steep, have a look at their specials and offers, like Kids Screenings at £2.50 per ticket, Bargain Tuesdays, Orange Wednesdays and Film Fan Mondays. For patrons with a disability, get a CEA Card, accepted at all Odeon cinemas, that allows you to take a carer along for free. There is no age restriction for a CEA card, both children and adults with a disability are eligible card holders.