University Triple Drive-In

11500 E. Colonial Drive,
Orlando, FL 32817

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Additional Info

Previous Names: University Suburban Open-Air Theatre, University Twin Drive-In

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University Triple Drive-In

The last drive-in to be opened in the Orlando area was the University Suburban Open-Air Theatre. It opened on June 10, 1970, screening the 1970 drama “The Molly Maguires” with Sean Connery and Richard Harris. The 1968 western “Villa Rides with Yul Brynner and Robert Mitchum was the second bill on the program. The new drive-in was opened by Rudy Buzlea dba University Theatre Inc. The new airer was opened at a cost of $250,000 and featured a tilted steel tower and screen that was 62ft high and 100ft long and built to withstand hurricane force winds. John W. Sanders of Apopke was the general contractor. The new airer was designed, owner and operated by the Buzlea family. The concession stand was 3,200 square ft, which provided ample room for movie goers since the drive-in had a 600-car capacity. Provisions were made for individual air-condition units on the speaker posts. Whether they used them or not is unknown.

The University reopened with twin screens on June 14, 1974. They were the only drive-in theatre in the Orlando area to reconfigure their parking ramps layout to be a twin. On May 6, 1983 the theatre reopened as a triple screen drive-in. Apparently the third screen didn’t make out. Starting in 1985, the theatre was screening movies as a twin screen drive-in again. Rudy D. Buzlea died on May 16, 1986 and on September 14, 1986 the last movie was screened and the University Triple Drive-In was closed for good. The asking price for the property in July of 1987 was $2.9 million. Carl Black Chevrolet-Buick-GMC is now located on the site.

GPS: 28.566003, -81.213911

Contributed by Randy Studer, David Buzlea

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

davidcoppock on January 3, 2023 at 2:02 am

Closed on 14th September 1986 with on screen 1 with “Heartburn” and “Up in smoke” and on screen 2 with “Friday the 13th part 6” and “Cats eyes”.

kennerado on July 23, 2023 at 9:26 pm

Historical aerial images seem to show the second(?) screen actually stood until the late 90’s.

Kenmore on July 24, 2023 at 5:42 am

Several structures were built on the old drive-in site by 1990. They, along with the second screen, remained standing at least to 1999. By 2002, the entire property had been razed flat which also took away the screen.

davidcoppock on July 24, 2023 at 8:20 am

The twin screens opened on 14th June 1974 on screen 1 with “American Graffiti” Charley Carrick" and on screen 2 with “Serpico” and “Badge 373”.

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