I love going to the movies, and I love taking my kids to the movies.
I love everything about it: the experience of being excited to see something, the anticipation while waiting in line.
I love the comforting feel of questionable carpet.
I love the huge bathrooms and the thrill of seat selections (in the theatre; not the bathroom!) (okay, maybe the bathroom too?)
The only thing I don’t love about going to the movies are the prices.
Because we all know that it’s so expensive it’s ridiculous – especially in this day and age of streaming services.
That’s why I really appreciate the free disability companion pass that I can get at the movie theatre!
Free Disability Companion Pass at the Movie Theatre
Free Disability Companion Pass for the Movie Theatre
First of all, some of you might be wondering, “what is a disability companion pass?” – right?
Well, a disability companion pass is when the person who is accompanying the person with a disability gets a free pass to to see the same movie that the person with a disability is watching.
It’s offered, I suppose, because it’s assumed that those of us with a disability need help during a movie? I’m not sure, but I’ll take it if it means the movies will cost less!
In my family, the companion pass is kind of weird, because I am deaf, my daughter has Down syndrome and my son is on the Autism spectrum. I have the verification needed for three of us to get in on a companion pass, but since I’m the only adult, I just say that I’m accompanying my daughter (and then I ask for the captioning glasses).
When the kids get older, my older son could be the companion for my daughter, and maybe my youngest son can be my companion, and that way we’ll get in, four for the price of two! But right now, it’s just me in on a companion pass for my daughter, even though I also have a disability.
Theatres That Offer a Free Disability Companion Pass
A lot of theatres offer these – not all, but a lot.
You need to contact the theatre you want to go to, to be sure that they offer it.
The Regal chain definitely does though.
Regal Theatres Offer a Free Companion Pass – the Regal Theatres “Disability Discount”
The Regal Theatre Chain, which is one of the largest in the United States, offers a free companion pass.
This is directly from their website (linked here)
ADA Seating & Companion Pass:
- Regal Entertainment Group theatres are handicap accessible. All seating designated as “handicapped” with the familiar wheelchair symbol is reserved for the disabled and their companions.
- Guests attending our theatres in an assistant/companion role for one of our guests with disabilities may be passed in by management.
- If you need assistance for any reason, please ask one of our theatre personnel for assistance.
So, if for any reason you come upon any hiccups when you are getting your companion pass, just pull up their website and show them where they say they will let you in on the pass.
I should also note that you do NOT need to sit in the accessible seating area if it doesn’t make sense for you to!
The access pass for a theatre companion isn’t only about wheelchair using movie lovers; it’s anyone with a disability. If you don’t use a wheelchair, you shouldn’t be sitting in that zone.
What Disabilities “Count” for a Companion Access Pass?
The Regal guidelines are pretty loose and broad, so I beg of you to not abuse the system.
I think the general rule of thumb is, if you can get a parking placard for your disability, and/or an IEP/504/IPE, SSI/SSDI, etc – if the disability causes some big major life turns and configurations – then IT COUNTS.
If The Theatre Says They Don’t Offer Companion Passes:
If a theatre says they don’t offer a companion pass when I ask, I usually ask for the manager and then I tell the manager that Regal offers it. I like to give businesses a chance to level up on each other.
I do the exact same thing, by the way, with captions, and I’ve also been known to call in the manager if my stroller wasn’t able to pass through easily (- the Double BOB stroller, which is what I used with the kids, is the exact width of a wheelchair, so if my stroller couldn’t pass through, it meant it wasn’t wheelchair accessible, which is totally bogus and unacceptable: ACCESS FOR ALL, yo!)
Since I love movies so much, watching them with my kids is my chosen way of talking about things with them.
I love watching something and then critiquing it with lenses of popular culture, genre, trope, stereotypes and just about everything else.
I don’t think my kids and I “go the movies” so much as we “chew on a movie” and I think it serves them well.
We’ve done a lot of critical thinking exercises through movies – remember the discussion questions I posted as an example of that, based on watching the movie Wonder with my kids?!
I’ve got a bunch of movie reviews linked below – please check them out!
Helpful ResourcesDisability Related Resources
Meriah Nichols is a career counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one gifted 2E). Deaf, with C-PTSD and TBI, she’s also a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.