"Sundae" Brunch in
February 20, 2011
By Reuben Gutierrez
This Sunday Brunch article is dedicated
to Becky Staudt for inspiring today's topic!
Dining at Disney is quite a
memorable and popular part of visiting the
Disney Theme Parks because of the
high-quality food, service and experience Disney
always provides. Once I come
home from a week of great dining, I sometimes
wish Disney Dining was more accessible someway
somehow. True, I could pull
out my Disney cookbook and recreate a Disney
dish as I have before-but it will be tough
breakfast nook into a uniquely themed
setting, not to mention, my brother may not
appreciate being asked to wear his old
cast member name tag and serve me
breakfast. So am I left just
wishing for a Disney dining experience without
having to venture to a Disney park?
If you're lucky enough to be a California
resident, you've probably had the fortune to do
more than wish.
Over the past few decades, the
Disney Company has attempted to answer the call
for some outside-the-resorts dining venues (not
counting Anaheim and Walt Disney World's
Downtown Disney areas).
Disney Stores started opening up in the
late 1980s to the early 1990s, one particular
store in the Montclair Plaza Mall in
Montclair, California opened an adjacent
sandwich shop called Mickey's Kitchen.
That venue didn't last very long, so
today we'll be focusing on another attempt at
Disney Dining outside the parks that still
stands today (though there will be more on
Mickey's Kitchen next week).
Back in 2009, my family took a
trip to the West Coast and found a slice of
Disney outside of Disney, so let's take a stroll
down memory lane through Hollywood
As we walk down the
Walk of Fame, occasionally glancing down
at some famous names and glancing up at some
famous Hollywood landmarks, you may have to stop
and think for a minute that you're not at
Disney's Hollywood Studios or
Universal Studios. The
real Hollywood has the real Chinese Theater,
which looks significantly dirtier than the
Disney version, and screens non Disney movies
Harry Potter!). To
further make sure you're not in WDW, just dash
away from the busy street of traffic and dodge
away from Barney, Mickey, Hello Kitty,
Darth Vader as they beg for money to take
a picture with them.
Walk a little further down
towards the majestic
El Capitan Theater across from the Kodak
Center and you'll find a sweet little shop,
Soda Fountain and Studio Store!
As you cross the threshold,
you'll find a star out of line from the others
on the walk-it's actually the star for
Disneyland! This star
was rewarded in 2005 for reaching its 50th
Anniversary. Once inside the
soda fountain/store, you find yourself in a
place from the past. The Soda
Fountain portion of the shop is reminiscent of
the old 1940s and 1950s
soda fountains, complete with costumed
cast members and classic diner decor, with poofy
cushioned booths and gleaning metal cafe chairs
and tables. The biggest
surprise for me about the Soda Fountain was its
size. Being in a shop in the
middle of busy Hollywood Boulevard, you realize
how much of a luxury of space the
Disney theme parks usually afford.
The place was busy and bustling,
so we had to wait a bit for a table, but with
the shop as part of the space of the Soda
Fountain (a la
Cracker Barrel), the wait is no problem.
The Studio Store was basically a
conglomerate of all the great parts about the
mall Disney Stores that they took out.
A lot of art and collectibles were mixed
with the usual Disney gifts and merchandise
fare, along with some Studio Store exclusive
merchandise and the part that made the Studio
Store distinct: the biggest collection of Disney
Movies for retail sale. I
remember the giant, beautiful wall of Disney
DVDs, though I can't say it was every DVD
they've ever made-just the ones in print.
You'd think with the ACTUAL
Disney Vault (see below) near the ceiling
they'd have out of print DVDs.
After fretting about the lack of
OOP DVDs, we were called to our table and the
candy striped waiter handed us each a lovely,
classic diner menu featuring the soda shops
Word of advice, don't come here
ravenous for lunch-they do have some lunch (and
brunch!) items available, but not too many as
they are mostly an ice cream and soda shop than
a luncheonette. Also, a true
Disney dining experience isn't complete without
those expected Disney prices.
Check out the price for Mickey's Masterpiece
Sundae! It costs more than
the Kitchen Sink at Beaches and Cream, but comes
in a magical sorcerer hat dish.
My wallet and lactose intolerance
prevented me from ordering this fun looking
treat so I went for-what else? Brunch!
You can never go wrong with a
waffle, especially if it's shaped like Mickey!
Each bite was complete with a thin and
crispy, buttery crusty outside and soft and
fluffy waffle inside. With
the little pitcher of syrup, my brunch was quite
a nice presentation though again, don't come
here if you're hungry for lunch.
For the non-Ice cream menu items, portion
sizes were small, so a single menu item was a
bit lacking. Still, one must
remember, the place is a soda fountain and you
shouldn't expect to have more than a soda and
The Disney Soda Fountain and
Studio Store has been around for several years
and being next to the
El Capitan Theater, where Disney has a
lot of Disney
movie premieres and also tapes Jimmy
Kimmel Live, it gets plenty of traffic, and
continues to live on. It's a
great little getaway and a nod to Hollywood's
history of soda fountains in the glamorous part
of Hollywood. The shop
certainly lives up to Disney standards as far as
service and experience and it is visited by the
rich and famous of Southern California such as
these Disney stars!
Donny Osmond, and Raven Symone, most
likely for a Press Event for the Disney film
College Road Trip)
If you're not a famous Disney
star, you can pretend to be one, and celebrate
your achievements with an official Mousecar!
With one of those little statues sitting
on your table while you're chowing down on an
Ice Cream Sundae or gnawing the ears off
your Mickey Waffle, you can certainly feel like
a star or trick some kids into thinking you are
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