El Capitan Theater and Ghirardelli

by Wendy Purdy

The PurdyCool gang recently journeyed to the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood to watch a 4D presentation of a favorite flick: "The Nightmare Before Christmas." After parking in the Hollywood and Highland garage (for which the El Capitan validates), we spent a few minutes perusing the "Walk of Fame" while waiting for the theater doors to open.

Holly and Taylor...ready for the show

Holly and Taylor...ready for the show

This theater, owned by Disney, often serves as the site for their movie premieres. It also offers special exhibits and events featuring both new and old movies. However, one cast member told us this annual showing of "The Nightmare Before Christmas" is the only "4D" movie currently in rotation. So, what makes the presentation 4D? Unlike some of the 4D offerings in the parks, you don't have to worry about squirting water, stinging benches or interesting odors. The 4D effects in this show mostly relate to special lighting and fog effects employed in the theater. (Be sure and check out Sally's innovative method of stealing popcorn in the poster below.)

As we settled into our front-row balcony seats, we received a surprise when a Wurlitzer organ slowly rose to the stage in front of the screen. The organist then treated us to a concert featuring both traditional Disney and Halloween tunes. We ordered our tickets on-line and chose the VIP option that included a commemorative bucket of popcorn and a drink, so we proceeded to enjoy these while listening to the music.

Of course, we all enjoyed watching one of our favorite movies on the big screen. Since we attended the earliest showing on a Thursday, the theater was not at all crowded. Thus, we did not feel too shy about singing along with the film's musical numbers. When the movie ended, we decided to follow our popcorn lunch with a treat at the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain located next door.

This Ghirardelli location seems to have an identical menu to the location in California Adventure. Through the years, we've managed to enjoy several different treats. Stephen and Taylor have settled on favorite sundaes, while I am still on a quest to eat my way through the menu. Holly, who perhaps has a better grip on her ice cream limitations than the rest of us, usually just gets a scoop of cookies and cream. Just in case you are wondering, though, here's some more detailed information on our sundaes:

*Midnight Reverie: Chocolate ice cream, handmade dark chocolate hot fudge, mini semisweet chocolate chips, whipped cream and an Intense Dark 72% Twilight Delight chocolate.

*Mint Bliss: Mint chocolate chip and chocolate ice cream, topped with handmade dark chocolate hot fudge, whipped cream and an Intense Dark 72% Twilight Delight chocolate.

*Cookie Bits Sundae: Vanilla ice cream nestled between cookies and cream ice cream, smothered with handmade hot fudge. Topped with whipped cream, chocolate chip cookie crumbles and two milk chocolate caramel minis.

After we finished our ice cream, we were stuffed and ready to go home.