The Disney Soda Fountain, adjacent to the Disney owned El Capitan theater, is like a small Disneyland outpost in Hollywood. Enter it and you could very well be in one of Disneyland's many shops where food, gifts and Disnified decor intermingle. The cramped space is divided about half and half between a gift shop and a soda fountain with a few tables. I had lunch at the Fountain a few weeks ago after watching a Tinkerbell movie at the El Capitan and expected the food to be roughly the same as the movie, recognizable and kid-friendly but overhyped and utterly unoriginal. On balance, I was about half right.
The food at the Fountain was uniformly bad. My French Dip was served on a roll that should have been parbaked but wasn't. The meat was sad and dry and the jus was little more than tepid salt-water. The pastrami sandwich was similarly uninspired with a few slices of deli pastrami on cold, supermarket-style rye bread. The hot dog was a lackluster Hebrew National.
But this is a fountain and they should really be judged on their fountain drinks. I figured there was some hope here, since at Disneyland, the sweets are nearly always better than the savories, but I was surprised at what I got.
I ordered a simple vanilla malt and what I got was a nearly flawless version of the classic specimen. The shake was thick but sippable through the straw, the malt was perfectly balanced with the ice cream, and yes, they even gave us that sadly endangered species, the metal cup with the overflow shake. Had they used home made whip cream instead of the can, it would have been perfect.
I wasn't expecting this milkshake to be so good partly because of the low quality of the food and partly because of the various absurd ice cream items on the menu, including various Disney themed toppings such as Mickey Mouse shaped sprinkles and Tinkerbell green marshmallow cream (which seems more akin to what you would get if you stepped on the fairy). I must say, though, that I'm now interested in trying some of their sundaes and other items.
The Fountain is usually packed after the more popular movies so avoid it as you're coming out of the latest Pixar release, and instead, go during show time, or better yet, take in a Tinkerbell movie.
Disney's Soda Fountain
6834 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028