5 Best Student-Friendly Movie Theaters

by Caitlin Eha


College students love a good movie and attending theaters provides a great way to unwind and spend time with friends. Unfortunately, ticket prices are steadily climbing, making theaters more and more unfriendly to the student budget. Yet with a little foreknowledge, it can be simple to find good movie deals in the UCF area.

The best place for students to start is the SGA Ticket Center on campus, located in the Student Union. There, students can purchase discounted movie tickets for Regal and AMC theaters—$9.00 for Regal and $10.00 for AMC.

However, there are times when the Ticket Center isn’t enough, such as when students attend a different theater franchise or spontaneously go to a movie without buying tickets in advance. At those times, it’s important to be familiar with the UCF area’s theaters to avoid overpaying.

The following five theaters are the closest to the UCF main campus and are each evaluated for their cost effectiveness based on their regular ticket prices, offered discounts, and distance accessibility.


1. The Obvious Choice: Regal Waterford Lakes

  • Phone Number: (407) 207-4603
  • Location: North Alafaya Trail, Orlando
  • Adult matinee (before 3:00 p.m.) Ticket cost: $10.75
  • Adult Evening Ticket: $12.66

This theater holds the most strategic position of all five, standing just a few miles from campus in the middle of the Waterford shopping plaza. While its location makes it the obvious choice for UCF students, the Waterford theater’s ticket prices are not exactly student-friendly. Its adult matinee and evening prices are a tad higher than the prices at Regal Oviedo Mall (see below), and the student discount on Monday – Thursday evening showings is $11.70, not quite a dollar less than the normal price. Besides senior and children discounts, this theater does not offer any other specials.

On the plus side, Waterford is one of several Regal Cinemas in the area, which means both Ticket Center discounts and a Regal gift card can be used to save money at multiple theaters. Regal Cinemas also offer the Regal Crown rewards program, which is free to join and allows users to earn points from their purchases that can be used toward free concession and ticket purchases.

The Waterford theater shows a wide range of recently-released movies, and this combined with its proximity to UCF makes it a no-brainer choice for students with deeper pockets.


2. The Pleasant Surprise: Regal Oviedo Mall

  • Phone Number: (407) 977-7206
  • Location: Oviedo Marketplace Boulevard, Oviedo
  • Adult Matinee (before 3:00 p.m.) Ticket costs: $10.48
  • Adult Evening Ticket: $12.29

Only a few miles farther from UCF than the Waterford theater, the Regal Oviedo Mall also boasts some friendlier ticket prices. It is located inside the Oviedo Mall right beside the food court, which makes for convenient dining and shopping before or after a film. However, because of its mall location, parking can be a tricky situation, especially on busy nights.

The Oviedo Mall theater has similar prices to Waterford, and its student discount rate on Monday – Thursday evening showings is $11.22, only slightly better than its sister location. However, this theater has one distinct advantage over the other Regals in the UCF area: every Tuesday, ticket and popcorn prices are half-off for the entire day. This is ideal for students looking to take in a film after their weekday classes.

Like other Regal cinemas, the Oviedo Mall accepts Regal gift cards and the Regal Crown card. It also offers a broad selection of new movies. For students willing to drive a bit farther from campus, the Regal Oviedo Mall is a solid choice.

3. The Hidden Gem: Aloma Cinema Grill

  • Phone Number: (407) 671-4964
  • Location: Aloma Avenue, Winter Park
  • Adult Matinee Ticket: $5.00
  • Adult Evening Ticket: $7.50

Described by one UCF student as having a “family environment,” the Aloma Cinema Grill is a small but fantastically priced theater. Although it is farther from UCF than the first two theaters, it remains an easy drive for any student with a car and some extra time. Its size only allows it to show three films at once, but it does show current movies, not month-old releases.

On top of its already low prices, the Aloma Cinema Grill also offers a student discount of $5.50 for evening showings. Gift cards can be obtained for this specific theater. However, this theater’s most interesting trait is its dine-in feature. Moviegoers are served dinner while watching the films, making this a fun option for UCF couples looking for a date night location. Tickets and meals are sold separately.

For those willing to make a drive, or those who already commute to campus from the Winter Park area, the Aloma Cinema Grill is a great way to save on a fun evening.

4. The Standard Story: Regal Winter Park Village

  • Phone Number: (407) 628-0163
  • Location: North Orlando Avenue, Winter Park
  • Adult Matinee (before 3:00 p.m.) Ticket Costs: $10.75
  • Adult Evening Ticket: $12.24

Unfortunately for thrifty students, the Regal Winter Park Village is essentially the same story as its Waterford cousin, just at a much greater distance from the UCF main campus. However, for students who find themselves in the Winter Park area, this theater is still a valid option. Its proximity to a number of shopping and dining options make the Regal Winter Park a good choice for students looking to spend a weekend day away from campus.

This theater does offer a student discount on Monday – Thursday evening showings, like the other Regal cinemas, for $11.17, a slightly better discount than either Waterford or the Oviedo Mall. There are no other special deals besides senior and child ticket prices, but Regal gift cards and Regal Crown rewards are still options at this cinema.

5. The City Cinema: Fashion Square Premiere Cinema

  • Phone Number: (407) 894-0545
  • Location: East Colonial Drive, Orlando
  • Adult Matinee (before 6:00 p.m.) Ticket for 2D: $7.00, Ticket for 3D: $10.00
  • Adult Evening Ticket: $9.00 for 2D, Ticket for 3D: $12.00

For students planning to travel near the heart of Orlando, the Fashion Square Premiere Cinema is a large but surprisingly economical theater option. Its regular adult prices are noticeably cheaper than several of the other theaters mentioned, and although there is no separate student discount, this theater offers a number of seven-days-a-week discounts available to everyone.

Besides regular senior and child price deductions, Fashion Square offers $5.50 tickets for “early bird” showings before noon. The theater’s matinee prices are good for three hours longer than Regal matinees, and “late night” showings after 11:00 p.m. are just $7.00.

However, this theater is located inside the Fashion Square mall, so parking could be an issue. The other downside is that the Premiere Cinemas reward program only allows visitors to earn free snacks and drinks, not free tickets, unlike the Regal Crown program.  

All in all, the Fashion Square Cinema is a worthy option for thrifty students who find themselves near central Orlando.

Best Prices Student Discounts Closeness to Campus
Aloma Cinema Grill Aloma Cinema Grill Regal Waterford Lakes
Regal Oviedo Mall Regal Oviedo Mall Regal Oviedo Mall
Fashion Square     Premiere Cinema Regal Waterford Lakes
  Regal Winter Park Village