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Starlight Cinema City Theater Gone But Never Forgotten

On May 29th, 2023, Yorba Linda lost our local treasure, Starlight Cinema City Theater. This community staple was more than a movie theater. It created memories, brought comfort, belonging, and stoked relationships. 

The warm glow of the vibrant neon lights lining the structure made many feel at ease and gave a sense of peace. Seeing the fiery orange-yellow CINEMA CITY sign from the 91 freeway reminded you that you were not too far from home. The welcoming atmosphere and staff always placed a smile on your face and brought a feeling of authenticity. This was all on top of the comfortable theater chairs and affordable prices. 

The pre-movie advertisements of the theater were short and sweet. The iconic line “We’ll see you at Starlight Cinemas” still rings a bell in many past movie goer’s minds. 

Cinema City was an independently owned and operated theater. The theater opened on May 24th, 1989 and was originally named “Cinemapolis”. This name was later changed to “Starlight Cinema City” after its great remodel in 2005.

The audiences that attended movie screenings at Cinema City were electric. Movie goers from all over Orange County piled to Starlight on their legendary premiere nights. In my personal experience, specifically the Marvel movie premieres were outstanding. The audience was composed of ecstatic fans who showed their love for the Marvel franchise and Starlight Cinemas every Thursday before the big box office hits were released. The people attending never failed to be polite and friendly. Being inside of the actual theater with all the devoted fans was an experience that is unable to be described. The audience reactions and energy levels never failed to be through the roof. After the movie was finished and the credits rolled people would talk to each other and discuss the film, speaking about everything they noticed in such a charming way. One student, Nathaniel Jones (12), speaks about his experience at Cinema City saying “I always enjoyed going to Cinema City. The workers were always polite and kind. The movie going experience was the best! It was a special place for sure.”

I always enjoyed going to Cinema City. The workers were always polite and kind. The movie going experience was the best! It was a special place for sure.

— Nathaniel Jones

From first dates to weekly hangouts, snagging tickets to a movie at Starlight Cinema was always a special event. The convenient location made it easy for everyone to attend. The theater was also perfectly placed next to McDonalds, Wing Stop, Golden Spoon, Starbucks, and In-N-Out across the street. 

Without a doubt Starlight Cinema City Theater will always have a special place in our hearts. The future Tesla Showcase has a colossal road ahead of it to provide anywhere near the impact our now gone, but never forgotten, Cinema City provided us over the years. 

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About the Contributor
Faith DeSio, Photojournalist
Faith DeSio is a senior at Yorba Linda High School. Baking and cooking continue to be her passions as she completes the Yorba Linda High School Culinary Arts program. Faith has started her own small business making baked goods - Just A Bite Bakery. Faith also loves watching movies with her friends and watching the YLHS Football games. Faith is enjoying her high school experience at YLHS. She looks forward to making her last year at the school as memorable as possible.

Comments (4)

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  • N

    Nikole GaleaDec 14, 2023 at 7:58 AM

    Faith, I am thrilled someone wrote about this ‘local treasure’. My heart goes out to this theatre and it will be forever missed. Thank you so much for this wonderful memorial for Cinema City.

  • I

    Imaan MotenDec 14, 2023 at 7:58 AM

    miss this theatre so much! its so sad that a center of our community is gone.

  • L

    Lydia ViramontesDec 6, 2023 at 1:14 AM

    This theatre has a very special place in my heart. My beautiful mom and I would go to the movies there once a week. We loved this place. So many bonding memories since my mom passed 5 years ago. This ritual brought her so much joy. Loved this theatre.

  • A

    Anjeli WebbDec 4, 2023 at 9:18 PM

    I loved the Cinema City, I have so many good memories of watching movies there with my family and friends. Thank you for writing this “homage” article, Faith!