Friday, June 13, 2014

Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Disney Studio Store

                                         Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Disney Studio Store

 Next to the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood, Ca there used to be the Disney Soda Fountain and Disney Studio Store. Late last year the Disney Soda Fountain closed and the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain opened. The Disney Studio Store remained a part of the location.

The Disney Soda Fountain was a place my husband and I would go when we needed a Disney Fix but could not get to Disneyland or we just wanted a special short date. We would hop the MetroRail and ride to the Hollywood & Highland stop and walk across the street to the Soda Fountain. It was a wonderful Disney Touch. Why Disney chose to close the Soda Fountain and allow Ghirardelli to take over I don’t have a clue.

Some of the problems with the Disney Soda Fountain was its limited size and the number of people it could accommodate at a time. They would have pin trading events there and sometimes the Pin Sharks got out of control. There were fights between traders and weapons showed up. It was reported that one person even got tasered over a pin! We never went when we knew there was a pin event.

We recently decided to stop at the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and we were not impressed. The Disney touches were mostly removed in favor of Ghirardelli pictures and ads.

Before you could go to the Disney Soda Fountain and have a wonderful lunch or dinner. Now Ghirardelli only serves ice cream with different types of chocolate toppings and brownies. So it is now just a desert stop.

It was no problem for us that they only serve deserts as we were hoping for an ice cream sundae. We were pleased to see they still serve the Pin Traders Sundae where they give you a limited edition pin along with the Sundae. We did not choose the Pin Trader Sundae but were still happy they have it.

When it was the Disney Soda Fountain was that they limited the number of people allowed in to eat. If you just wanted to shop at the store they let you in without much waiting, unless that area was also crowded.

When we got to the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain it was crowded inside. They were not controlling the number of people in the Fountain at all. There was a lone line to order. Once we ordered we were given a number and told to find a table. There were no tables available! As we walked around we noticed that there were tables (enough for fourteen people) were pushed together and there was a large group crowded around the tables. On the tables were Starbucks Coffee cups and Pin Trading books. There was only one Ghirardelli product on all the tables! It was obvious that these people had been there for quite some time and really had no plans on leaving anytime soon.

We wondered around for about 15 minutes waiting for our Sundae and looking for a table. Finally we asked a supervisor of the Soda Fountain if she thought it was right that the pin traders took up tables and did not have products from there. She went over and asked the group to please let the two of us have a table. She also mentioned that they had not ordered anything from there. Our Sundae came and we stood waiting for another 10 minutes or so for 2 of the pin traders to finally give us a seat!

The Sundae was fantastic (as all Ghirardelli Sundae’s are) and we enjoyed a few moments together. It was noisy there and the pin traders were still hovering around making trades and not caring they were crowding people who were trying to enjoy their treat.

While I will give the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain high marks for the quality of the Sundaes they serve I rank it at the bottom for atmosphere and comfort. The management needs to get control of the pin traders and limit the number of people in the soda fountain at a time. This is for both the comfort and safety of the customers.

While we used to go to the Disney Soda Fountain several times a year I don’t think we will be going back to the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain anytime soon if ever.

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