So, last weekend we took Baby Cheang to watch Minions under the TGV One Utama Family Friendly Session. I've wanted to go for this ever since I read about it, just to see how Baby Cheang would fare in the cinema.
Long story short, right now, she's way too young, and was fidgeting the whole time, climbing the seats, and calling out to the other kids to play. She did sit down to watch the show a few times, but only for a minute or so, then started getting restless again.
Anyway, the TGV Cinemas Family Friendly sessions are designed exclusively for parents with babies and kids. To make it more comfortable for the kids, the cinema volume is lowered and the lights are dimmed, not turned off completely. There are also diaper changing tables and dustbins inside the cinema hall for parents’ convenience.
They also had a set of "House Rules":
- Kids are allowed to ask "WHY".
- Kids can scream and shout, and let it all out.
- Kids can make new friends.
- Kids are allowed to move around.
- Proceed to the toilet for anything wetter than tears.
Apparently, the sessions are available in TGV Cinemas 1 Utama every weekend at 11am. Tickets are priced at RM20 each, and the sessions are only available at TGV One Utama. You can click HERE for more information.
Overall, I thought it was a brilliant idea to have a session just for kids. And they even had pre-movie activities where families could take pictures with the Minions (we missed that though), and goodie bags as well. I even got free movie passes because it was Father's Day! Whee!
Anyway, here are some of my thoughts about the whole thing:
1) Kids are alright
Now, I usually hate it when parents bring their kids to the cinema, but this time, the entire cinema was full of kids, and I brought mine as well, so I guess that's ok haha. I have never seen so many kids in the cinema in my life. They were crying, screaming, and running around. Parents were walking up and down the stairs carrying or chasing their kids, and if it wasn't for the fact that this was MEANT to be a session for kids, I would have been really really pissed off. But since it was, and I had MY kid with me too, it seemed ok.
2) The parents are alright too
I lost count of the number of times I exchanged knowing and exasperated looks at the other parents. It was like a kinship - we were all on the same boat, we knew what each other was going through, and we didn't give each other crap about it.
3) Softer audio
The softer audio was essential. I never realised how loud the usual movie audio until LL pointed it out to me. In the beginning, during the ads the sound was way too loud, and some of the younger kids were closing their ears. And surprisingly, when they turned the volume down later, you could still hear the movie clearly, even with all the kids screaming and crying. It makes you wonder just how loud the actual volume is, and whether it's safe for adults, let alone kids.
4) Brighter lights
It was a big help that at least it wasn't completely dark in the cinema. Baby Cheang got to explore a bit, and when I had to carry her around, at least I could see where I was going.
5) Baby changing stations
While we didn't use them, it was nice of TGV to provide baby changing tables in the cinemas. Though it might have been a better idea to have a separate room altogether. Yes, yes, I know the House Rules say to "Proceed to the toilet for anything wetter than tears", but there was no clear sign saying DO NOT CHANGE DIRTY DIAPERS HERE anywhere around the tables, so people will probably still do so, which, could turn out to be rather unpleasant for the cinema goers (and the cleaning staff).
6) Round and round and round
Ok, this has nothing to do with the Family Friendly session, but damn, that Wheels On The Bus song really does get around and around, doesn't it? As I was walking up and down the stairs trying to keep Baby Cheang entertained, I heard at least three parents singing that song to their kids to sooth them.
7) What goes on seats?
A lot of bums, that's what. The seats are just the normal cinema seats, and since the kids, especially the smaller ones, are gonna be crawling around the place and seats, I WAS a bit concerned about exactly how clean those seats were. Maybe it would be nice if TGV could sanitise the seats first, or at least provide clean cushion covers or something?
8) A place to play
Let's face it. Most small children aren't going to be sitting still for the ENTIRE two hours of a movie. It would be nice if there was a little play area for the kids to play in as well.