Taking your child to the movie theatre for the first time is another parenting milestone that I wanted to accomplish. So naturally, I wanted my 3-year-old daughter’s first movie theatre experience to be memorable and extra special. I have been waiting to take her to see Frozen Fever and Cinderella for months now, and the day has finally arrived.
The El Capitan had a special event for Cinderella showings (March 13th – April 16th, 2015). Before the movie starts, there was an immersive light and projection show accompanied by a live organist on stage. Olaf also shows up on stage, singing and dancing right before the “Frozen Fever” short is on. I have not had this kind of movie experience before, so I was just as excited to see it myself!
To prepare for the movie, I thought it would be nice if my daughter and I knew the original story of Cinderella. So we read books and watched the classic movie beforehand. Here she is reading on the way to the movie theatre.
We arrived in Hollywood about 45 minutes before the show starts, parked in Hollywood and Highland parking structure, and made our way to the theatre. It’s a very short walk so be sure to leave the stroller in the car. There is no room for it at the theatre anyhow.
The lines to get into the theatre will be long, so expect a little bit of waiting. If you are facing the theatre from the street, the general admission line is to the far left and around the building, and the VIP line is on the right (in the shade and on the side of the street). Waiting in line is probably the most difficult part of the whole movie-going experience. You know how much children love to wait. The general admission side is in the direct sunlight, so be sure to bring sunglasses and put on sunscreen for the little ones.
Once inside, they directed me to go upstairs in the balcony. As I got to the top of the stairs, I was in awe at how beautiful this theatre was. The stage and curtains looked so grand and amazing. You may want to find a good seat and admire the theatre from there because it fills up fast! A majority of the seats are marked Reserved, so find a seat quickly.
An organist was on stage playing Disney songs during the pre-show. You can sense how excited the audience was as they sang along to the familiar tunes. My daughter sat in her seat and happily clapped as the organist finished playing each song. She was having a great time and the movie has not even started yet.
Cinderella the Movie
My daughter really enjoyed the movie for the most part. However, there were some parts where she was not so thrilled with. One part she did not enjoy was when the step-mother and step-sisters were tearing up Cinderella’s pink dress. She thought that was not nice (her own words). She also did not enjoy the transformation scene where the animals and carriage turn back to what they once were. This scene is a bit dark since it’s after midnight and is quite loud as well. Her favorite parts of the movie were definitely the part where Cinderella’s big blue dress appears and the moment she dances with the Prince.
Like most 3-year-olds, she is very talkative and quite inquisitive. So throughout the movie, she had a lot of questions on what was happening and why they were happening. So just be warned, and come up with some creative answers to those questions!
Cinderella Props and Costumes from the Movie
One of the reasons I wanted to go to the El Capitan theatre instead of my local one was to see all the costumes and props that were used in the movie. The crystal glass slipper and dress worn by Lily James in the movie are displayed on the main floor of the theatre.
After you view the dress, walk to the Lower Lounge on your right to check out the display of other costumes and movie props.
As my daughter entered the area, she lit up when she saw the Fairy Godmother’s dress from the movie. She stood there for a few minutes to soak up the experience.
Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop
Once we finished browsing the different costumes, my family and I went next door to Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop for desserts and pins. I was thinking about getting the Pin Collector’s Delight, but the limited edition pin that comes with the new Cinderella Swirl Sundae caught my eye.
It was a very long day, especially with a 3-year-old, but we all enjoyed the whole Disney Cinderella Live Action experience at the El Capitan. Seeing the beautiful dress, slippers, costumes, and props up close just made us love the movie even more.
Tips For you and your Little Movie Date at the El Capitan Theatre
- Buy your movie tickets online ahead of time. There’s nothing worse than driving into West Hollywood, pay for parking, and finding out the movie is sold out for the time you want. It’s an additional $2 online per ticket, but it’s worth it.
- Earlier Show is probably better. I had the 1pm showing and the lines were pretty long and wrapped around the building (in the hot sun). So the earlier times may be better for shorter lines and less heat.
- No strollers. There’s no space for this. A baby carrier or having them walk is best.
- Ticket Price Differences. The VIP line wraps around the side with the most shade at the theatre and you get to enter first and have reserved seating. The general admission side line is on the far end of the building and you may be sitting in the sun for about 15-20 minutes. It’s a difference of about $10 per ticket. If you really want to see the beginning of the organist’s performance, the VIP tickets may be worth it.
- Parking Time. Parking at Hollywood and Highland is $1 for every 15 minutes, or $2 for the first 4 hours (with validation) and $1 for each additional 15 minutes. Parking is expensive, so plan wisely and don’t waste time.