My amazing visit to the El Capitan Theatre and Disney Soda Fountain was so much fun! How can you not have a crazy good day when it starts with Mickey Waffles!
Our day started with a breakfast celebration in the birthday room at the Disney Soda Fountain! They have a special room set up where you can have a red carpet experience and celebrate your birthday.
I had the chance to walk the red carpet and have my photo taken with Becky from What U Talking bout Willis. It was so much fun posing in front of the El Capitan sign and taking pictures with everyone.
After breakfast we headed up to the El Capitan Theater to learn about this amazing theaters history. We had the opportunity to tour the El Capitan with General Manager Ed Collins. Ed was a wealth of knowledge about the El Capitan Theater. I could see how passionate he was about the history and sharing it with everyone.
Ed advised us that the El Capitan was built in 1926 and what made it special was for the first 15 years the theater only did stage shows. The Chinese Theater across the street did all of the movies. The El Capitan hosted about 150 stage shows during its first 15 years. It was so cool to hear that all of the great names in the motion picture industry appeared on the El Capitan Stage including Rita Hayworth, Clark Gable, and Bob Hope.
The first movie that was shown at the El Capitan was Citizen Kane. This was a huge turn in the history of the El Capitan. The owner Mr. Toberman said that he would run Citizen Kane even though it showed an unflattering portrait of William Randolph Hearst. None of the other theaters would run the movie because they were worried that Mr. Hearst owned all of the newspapers that printed reviews of their movies.
After premiering Citizen Kane Mr. Toberman decided that movies were the way to go and closed the theater to modernize it. They ripped out everything and made it sleek and modern. The theater reopened in 1942 as the Paramount. The theater was affiliated with Paramount Pictures and ran for another 50 years with first run movies.
In 1989 Disney came to the then Paramount Theater and decided to restore it back to the way it looked originally as the El Capitan. The theater was completely redone and opened again in June of 1991 with The Rocketeer. I wish I would have taken a photo of Ed Collins while he told us about the opening of the El Capitan in 1991. You could see the love and joy that he gets from the theater and talking about the history. It was so amazing to see someone so excited and passionate about his job.
If you get a chance to visit the El Capitan make sure you leave yourself enough time to visit the Wall of Fame presented by Kodak. There are amazing photos showing the history of the El Capitan and many of the movies and stars who have been to the El Capitan. It is an amazing time capsule of photos that really shows the growth and change of movies over time.
I had the opportunity to see the Iron Man 3 Premiere at the El Capitan Theater and oh my goodness it was amazing! The El Capitan Theater may look like it is right out of the 1920’s but the sound system and screen are high tech! Before the show we had the chance to see the Wurlitzer Pipe Organ in use and it was crazy good. The El Capitan does 10 to 12 movie premiere a year! The next movie premiere they are doing is Monsters U. One thing we learned during our tour is they are going to do a stage show before the Monsters U premiere! How cool is that!
Once a year they host a stage show prior to the movie premieres to help showcase the amazing history of the El Capitan. I would love to have the chance to see a stage show and feel like I was back in the old days of the El Capitan.
After a visit to the El Capitan you can stop in at the Disney Soda Fountain and enjoy a sweet treat and fantastic studio store! The Disney Soda Fountain feels like you are stepping back in time to visit a real soda fountain. Everything from the cast members uniforms to the chairs you sit in feel like you have gone back in time.
When you visit the Disney Soda Fountain make sure you look up and check out the Disney Vault. One cool thing to note is the strip of film that runs around the ceiling actually reflects the DVDs as they came out starting in 2005! Can you name all of the ones pictured above?
I had so much fun visiting the El Capitan Theater and Disney Soda Fountain! It was amazing to take a moment and step back in Disney history.
IRON MAN 3 is currently playing at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, CA until June 20th in Disney Digital 3D and Real D 3D
Right now you can see a Display of Collectibles & Comic Books from the Private Collection of Stan Lee!
· For tickets call 1 (800) DISNEY6 or visit www.elcapitantickets.com
· Coming this summer at the El Capitan Theatre:
– June 21st – August 8th: MONSTERS UNIVERSITY (Plus, see Mike & Sulley in the MU Pep Rally with the Sprit Squad Live on Stage!)
– August 9th – September 19th: Disney’s PLANES
Thank you to Disney for arranging our visit to the El Capitan Theater and Disney Soda Fountain. All opinions expressed are my own.